Raking hay on a late summer evening while chatting to like- minded folk who enjoy being out in the woods is a pretty good way to spend some time. Watching swallows feeding over the meadow, identifying plants that have appeared since the barley cultivation ceased and planning ways forward to support the regeneration of woodland were all part of the work party in Malster’s Little Field. We raked off an area beside the pond that had been cut the day before and piled the vegetation to one side in a heap that grass snakes might find attractive. Our intention is to create a damp, wild flower meadow but it will take time to establish. We hope to help the process along by seeding the area with local wild flower seed and by transplanting seedlings grown from local plants. Cutting and raking should reduce the vigorous growth of grass and give other plants a better chance.
Last year we cut four patches in Malster’s, two areas were controls and two areas were seeded with local wild flower seed collected from paths, verges and field margins near- by . We aim to repeat the process this year and so we raked the four patches that had recently been cut for a second time. It is too soon to see any dramatic change but some yellow rattle plants were spotted so that is encouraging.
It only took us an hour to do that so we then introduced April, a new ‘Friend’, to the copse that leads off Grove Piece on the north side. It took a bit of bramble cutting and branch trimming to uncover the small entrance but we were soon inside where we found a good sized parasol mushroom.
Another interesting evening was spent in Grove Woods earlier in the summer when we weeded the hedge planted by the school and also the trees planted for coppicing. The hazels have survived well but some of the sweet chestnut will need replacing this autumn. We all became aware of how well the bristly ox-tongue was faring when we looked at our socks. In fact we all had to spend time removing the barley seed and prickles but it was worth it!
If you would like to join the next work party it will be held on
Saturday 9th October , meeting in Grove Woods at 10am, you would be most welcome.