Fortunately the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo had passed by Wednesday 22nd and we were greeted with a lovely autumn day for our return to Valley Mire. Having made decent inroads into the scrub last winter the re-growth to be tackled during our first session in the area, was not half as daunting. We set to, concentrating on the removal of those stalwarts of scrub - birch, pine and bramble. Our intention to have a thorough clear of our chosen patch before advancing into neighbouring areas next time. A favourable turnout meant we were soon getting stuck in with the loppers and bow saws. As with our recent work on the Heathland Ridge, I was once again spraying the fresh stumps with herbicide to try and discourage future regrowth. We also exposed plenty of invasive Rhododendron ponticum but their control is most effectively left to specialist contractors.

Joe, Gerald and Lesley remove scrub whilst revealing Rhododendron ponticum.

Dave removing side shoots from the larger birches he has sawn.

Peter enjoying the sunshine as he works.

Good volunteer numbers call for synchronised Kelly Kettles - lunch break anyone?

Michael making good progress in his patch of birch.

The birch scrub gradually receding as Brian wades through the bracken which is now dying down naturally.

Nigel concentrating on our late afternoon push to gather birch brash for piling.

A totally different scene by the end of the day with scrub on the horizon only.

Once again, still energy left for smiling and sharing a joke.

Thanks to Lesley who has an excellent excuse in the school run for avoiding the traditional team photo and to Joe, Dave, Nigel, Michael, Peter, Brian and a warm welcome to Gerald. It was a fun and productive day in very pleasant weather.

We'll be back to conquer more Valley Mire scrub on Wednesday, 5th November, contact the Wealden Office if you'd like to be there.

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