October volunteer day

Thanks to all that came on Sunday for another hugely enjoyable and productive day!

The first task was to plant a tree and shrubs in areas that has previously been cleared and prepared for planting. Two mock oranges (Philadelphus ‘Purpureomaculatus’ and Philadelphus ‘Casa Azul’), and a witch hazel (Hamamelia x inermedia ‘Orange Peel’) were added near a dogwood and lilac that were planted on our open day the day before.  We have lots of dear in the arboretum, so it’s really important to protect all these new plantings.  That was the next job and involved lots of post-bashing fun with our shiny new post-driver.

Meanwhile a team got a huge bonfire going, and burnt through loads of piles of bramble and rhododendron that had been cut over the last few months.  We gathered seasoned silver birch branches to take up to our wood pile by the roundhouse too – all-important fuel for the kettle!

The lunch break provided an opportunity to peruse our new selection of Field Studies Council guides to plants, fungi and invertebrates too (alongside some tea-drinking of course!).

in the afternoon we cleared bracken and bramble on a slope near the arena, and undercut lots of rhododendron there also, allowing access to a spectacular veteran sweet chestnut (at least 350 years old).  We also enjoyed looking at some of the fungi found around the woods, including a fascinating Beefsteak Fungus (Fistulina hepatica), which looks rather like it’s bleeding (photo below).

We were joined throughout the day by independent evaluator Amanda Pyne who is evaluating our project in order to report to our funders, the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  We’d love to hear feedback from all our volunteers, so if you’d like to contribute you can complete our online feedback questionnaire here, and our online monitoring form here.

Thanks to all of you and see you in the woods again soon!