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FoPV Work Morning Roundup - Thursday 13th June 2024

Hello Conservation Volunteers

Thank you to everybody who came along to Forge Dam for our first foray of the year into the Wet Woodland for Himalayan balsam pulling. We were pleased to see the return of Nicola and Julia from IQVIA and Sarah now at Roche on their annual work volunteer day - a good chance for a catch-up and natter in the woodlands whilst pulling balsam! (Apparently Julia has recently discovered balsam at the bottom of her garden but from past experience with us knows how to deal with it)

Assembling at Forge Dam attired in long sleeves, trousers, wellies, gloves, and midge repellent plus a stick for testing mud depth we trooped off up past the dam and across the river into the Wet Woodland. We'd also taken some loppers again as the pesky balsam has taken to hiding amongst the dense bush growth making it difficult to reach and pull out.

A small patch was spotted straight away and quickly dealt with, but it seemed there was not as much as in previous years near the river. However, as we moved further back, we came across some large areas of both large plants and some very small ones. A few were in flower, but the majority were still at the budding stage. As usual, the pulled balsam is hung over branches of trees well off the ground to dry out and die.

Although it was too wet to get right into the top corner, we actually seemed to run out of balsam to pull this time which is a good sign of the work done by volunteers over the years. We won't rest on our laurels though, there will be more in there, no doubt we have missed some plants and annoyingly sometimes no matter how careful you are at pulling them out gently complete with their roots they snap off and the root stub cannot be found to remove separately, trapped beneath the roots of other plants and bushes.

A large patch of balsam was again growing near the stream running down below Forge Dam which was also removed.

Fortunately, we didn't come across any bees or wasps this time and only had to suffer the midges and other flying insects.

Heather has since reported she found a very small tick, probably at nymph stage on her leg.

Information on ticks can be found here ->

Unfortunately, our cake supplier, aka Mandy, was unable to attend so we had to forego the cakes this time...maybe next time....

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


A Selection of photos from the work morning

In the thick of the Wet Woodland pulling balsam....

Piling up balsam high off the ground.....

....some higher than others....looking more like a banana tree!

Sarah, Nicola and Julie back at Forge Dam



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