Hello Conservation Volunteers
Well, after four sessions clearing Himalayan balsam that was the final one for this year where we had groups out in the Wet Woodland and also around Forge Dam looking for it. A big thank you to all those who took part in the session.
The river was not in spate this time so we could cross at the normal point into the Wet Woodland and straight away found some balsam which not being in flower last time had been missed.
Towards the back of the Wet Woodland the volunteers were delving further into the jungle like conditions. Amongst the fallen trees, brambles, bushes, and deep mud the balsam was flourishing being protected by their impenetrable surroundings. Cutting through the undergrowth led to some of the taller specimens with large roots, having grown unchallenged for a few years - now removed. One final large area was cleared before calling time for this year.
It can be a little disorienting in the dense undergrowth, particularly when having to clamber over fallen trees and avoiding deep muddy bogs, and trying to find our way back to the crossing point proved a challenge. Following the "breadcrumbs" of previously pulled plants strung over tree branches led us back to the river but lower down than anticipated, however, eventually everybody was back on terra firma on the other side of the river and ready for coffee and cake!
The second group cleared balsam found near the bridge below the cafe and also removed a pile of floating wood which was threatening the head goit to Wiremill Dam. With the water levels lower they were able to get onto the island where there was plenty of balsam, having gone unchecked these last couple of years. All they could find has been removed. Monkey flower (mimulus) was found to be flourishing on the island, a plant which is native to the UK but not common here and obviously liking the marshy island.
Behind the cafe on the cobbled path, Dave and the painting crew finished off painting the railings.
Down at Shepherd Wheel, Ann and a couple of volunteers cleared some weeds and tidied up in the courtyard, removing dead brambles which were hiding the plaque and the sycamore seedlings which were growing everywhere.
One final thank you to Mandy who provided the cake!
The next work morning is on Tuesday 22nd August 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Chris N in the undergrowth surrounded by bushes and balsam in the Wet Woodland!
More like a jungle than a Wet Woodland!
Peter with an armful of balsam near the car park
Peter and Chris H on the island
Monkey Flower (mimulus) found on the island