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FoPV Work Morning Roundup - Thursday 13th July 2023

Hello Conservation Volunteers

Once again, a big thank you to all those who turned up for our latest work morning, for which the main task was the annual Himalayan balsam pulling (again!) in the Wet Woodland.

Our chief balsam scout, John G, had been out a few days earlier to do a reccy on where these dastardly invaders were growing and to form a plan of attack for when the ground troops arrived on the Thursday morning, armed with wellies, sticks and midge repellent!

The method is to try and pull up each balsam plant intact with its roots so it can't grow again, the knack being a gentle pull as low as possible, a tug particularly near the top of the plant usually results in the stem breaking off. Failing that, taking off the flowering part will at least stop it spreading its seeds this season. Once pulled out the plants are draped over tree branches well off the ground so they will dry out and die.

We weren't counting, but a few thousand plants must have been pulled out during the morning. We came across some large enswathes of balsam towards the back of the woodland which was very boggy, and the wellies were sinking over ankle depth into the mud! There is still a lot left to pull with some in the middle of a tangle of bushes which we will need to return with loppers to enable us to reach the balsam.

For those who may be interested to see on a map, these are some of the areas we will need to return next time:-

Maybe it was the jungle strength formula repellent but there didn't appear to be any insects trying to get a bite, although we did have one unfortunate volunteer get a wasp sting on the back of her hand, fortunately she had no allergic reaction, and it didn't stop her enjoying a coffee at the end of a hard morning's work pulling up the balsam.

Some of the group had first ventured up towards the waterfall looking for any balsam but only found one to pull out on that stretch. A slight concern there was one so we will have to keep an eye out up there for more.

Elsewhere, Dave, Peter and Stuart continued work on the railings up the cobbled path and have now completed the task all DIYers hate i.e. preparation, scraping off the old paint and rust, and preparing the surface for painting. All the railing has now had a coat of red oxide primer and half has had a coat of white undercoat, so it shouldn't take much longer to complete the undercoating and put the topcoat on. It looks so much better already with the white undercoat.

Ann did some gardening and a bit strimming to tidy up the flowerbeds around the store.

The next work morning is on Tuesday 25th July 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.


A Selection of photos from the work morning

Julia with one balsam plant out by its root.........that won't be growing anymore!

Chris surrounded by some tall balsam

Pulled balsam draped over tree branches to dry out

Hanging up balsam

Railing with completed primer and partly undercoated



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