We had a full house (allowing for Covid restrictions) in the Village Hall for our AGM on 30th June.
Our Chair, Ann Edwards, reported that the last year had been a strange and difficult time, but in spite of that, the Blyth Woods group had continued working when we could.
We cleared the pond in Malster’s Field last autumn. The pond is now holding water and plants are beginning to grow. Water Crowfoot is flowering in the pond itself. We replanted some of the new trees there that hadn’t made it in last spring’s dry weather and will do more this year.
We built a new footbridge from the corner of Grove Piece onto the field leading down to Back Road, as the ditch had become impassible following heavy rain. We also installed a new bench in Grove Piece.
Our bird boxes have been well used, with blue tits the dominant species. Barn owls and kestels are frequent visitors, though not nesting yet. Badger tracks and brown hares have been spotted. The floral diversity continues to increase.
We encouraged ‘Footpath Art’ during the long winter.
We planted some new fruit trees in Merton Woods orchard and cleared and mulched the existing ones. We also planted new hedging in the gap between the old Woottens site and the orchard.
Blyth Woods has now taken over the management of Vicarage Grove on a lease agreement with the Church, which means we can manage Grove Piece, Malster’s Little Field and Vicarage Grove as one unit, which we are calling Grove Woods.
Projects for the future include activities with the school, reassessing the ash dieback situation, plotting and photographing the significant trees in the area and continuing to look for other areas that might be better used for woodland or rewilding.
Our Chair finished by thanking the team and encouraging those who are interested to join us, either as a member or as a volunteer. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our Guest Speaker was Argus Hardy of WildEast.
Argus is a farmer, architect and committed conservationist, with a passion for the Wild East of England, its landscapes, people and wildlife, and one of three founder trustees of WildEast.
Apart from a 50 year project to bring back the lynx, WildEast’s mission is to ‘rewild’: to recover what we lost fifty years ago by encouraging farmers to restore hedges and create wildflower meadows, wetlands and areas of scrub on their land. Village and city communities can help by providing wildlife ponds and areas for wildlife in school playgrounds and churchyards. Even the individual can make space for nature in our gardens, balconies and rooftops.
In only a year WildEast has already achieved much for nature recovery across East Anglia. It has been working with farm shops, the East of England Co-op, the National Trust, farmers, schools, whole villages; and with overwhelming enthusiasm all have taken up the WildEast Pledge to restore and rewild. WildEast’s ‘Map of Dreams’ is taking shape. (www.wildeast.co.uk)
Argus ended his inspiring and invigorating talk by praising our village conservation groups and urging us to unite in projects to create our own ‘Wild Wenhaston’.