Wednesday 8th October arrived with a deluge of rain from the out set. Knowing we would be working amidst water retaining, waist high heather and bracken and that wet conditions would last on and off throughout the day, the decision was taken to postpone our Work Party. I believe this is only the second time since our September 2012 re-launch, the previous time being when a blanket of snow concealed temporary irrigation trenches on The Reserve making for hazardous passage! Make no mistake, we are not a fair weather bunch by any means, but it's one thing to get a bit soggy around the edges during the course of the day, but to start out that way, with no prospect of getting dry and no hearty fire to warm the cockles, is no joke.
Thankfully our trustee Volunteers rallied to my call for a replacement Work Party scheduled for the 15th October. Luckily the long range forecast continued to improve day by day, until Wednesday arrived dry and mild. Having overcome the rain obstacle, we were soon presented with our next challenge - 9 cars trying to converge on the RSPB Car Park when unknown to us all, Dislingbury Road was closed at both ends for routing maintenance. Thank goodness for mobile phones - we were all gathered at an alternative location by 10.12!
It's always a bit of a hike up to the Heathland Ridge, but an excellent way to warm up for the rigours ahead. We were soon in our work location, with the day's task to continue the clearance of birch and pine scrub we had tackled previously. With 10 willing volunteers, there was every prospect of finishing this area and returning to our previous spot to tackle bits we had missed and to also extend the area back to the boundary line.
I was not disappointed! Everyone worked terrifically hard and aided by our excellent new loppers and bow saws, the scrub was soon a distant memory. We even had the novelty of synchronised Kelly Kettle boiling, as we now have a second kettle to ensure that Work Parties of this size don't have to have hot drinks in 'sittings'.
Here are a few images to give you a taste of our productive day....
Michael, Lesley, Richard & Nigel wade into the heather to remove birch & pine in their chosen patches.
Joined by Peter...
Lesley & Peter removing young Scots Pines with their new loppers.
Joe & Gabrielle showing it's all about teamwork.
As Peter, Gabrielle & Richard put the finishing touches to the area we worked on last time,
Nigel, Michael & Joe have a sociable chat & a bit of fun after their hard work, meanwhile Peter, Brian and Gary are still hard at it.
An impressive scrub free zone and....
the brilliant team who achieved it, along with shiny new Kelly Kettle, loppers and saws.
Fungi is starting to bloom again after the dry spell, this puffball with its unusual hues was growing in a patch of grass within the sand of the Heathland Ridge.
It was a great day and I really appreciate Brian, Gabrielle, Gary, Joe, Lesley, Michael, Nigel, Peter and Richard giving up an unscheduled Wednesday to enable us to get back on track.
They're coming thick and fast - our next Tudeley Work Parties are Wednesday, 22nd and Sunday 26th October, do contact the Wealden Office if you'd like to join in the fun!
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654