Fortunately the unpromising forecast had not deterred our hardy volunteers. Having met up in the drizzle and set up 'camp' beneath the trees, we turned our attention to the task of the day.

We manage the varied habitats of Tudeley Woods for a whole host of species including native wild flowers, rare and fascinating fungi, invertebrates, reptiles, mammals and of course birds. Today's activity was undertaken specifically with butterflies in mind. We were Ride widening by coppicing traditional species such as Hazel and clearing scrub in a broad band alongside the established trail.

Work commencing - views up and down the trail

This creates sunny, connected passages which enable butterflies to navigate the Reserve in search of a mate. A diverse ground flora then arises to provide nectar, a secure place to lay eggs and food for emerging caterpillars. Experience shows that dragonflies also favour this open habitat and we were delighted to catch tantalising glimpses of what we suspect was a Hawker making the most of the mild weather - possibly Southern, but unconfirmed in the grey light.

Kelly Kettle, invaluable for keeping spirits up in the damp!

Clearance progressing  well.

Despite the unpromising start, the rain subsided and we even had glimpses of sunshine and blue sky, which made our work a great deal more pleasurable. This only left the mud on the trail to contend with after excessive recent rains and needless to say, provided a few comedy moments. By the end of the day we could see real progress for our efforts, having cut a decent swathe of vegetation.

A job well done - even the distant information board is now visible.

So an extra special thank you to Alison, Charlotte, Dave, Gabrielle, Gareth and Michael for braving the rain and remaining cheery throughout – a pleasure to work with you as always.