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FoPV Work Morning Roundup - Thursday 8th February 2024

Hello Conservation Volunteers

For all those brave souls who came to our very snowy work morning at Forge Dam, a very big thank you! We hope you all got home safely.

Ranger Matt had informed us of a large holly tree across the Porter which had come down in a recent storm and would be ideal material for building the second dead hedge where the temporary orange fence currently is on the bridleway. We all had in our minds the size of a "large" holly tree and were suitably aghast at the size of this - an absolute monster of a holly tree, with branches thicker than the trunks of many holly trees - if there is another in the valley larger than this fallen brute please let us know!

Not deterred by the unexpected size, a team removed the masses of thinner, outer branches first before moving onto the large branches, leaving the skeleton trunk devoid of branches laying across the river. Left over brash was piled up to make another habitat for insects and wildlife.

The dead hedge near the hibernaculum had been damaged by people climbing over it, which in turn was affecting the hawthorn whips and needed attention. Another team set to work, firstly to reset the stakes which had become loose and then to add more material to strengthen it. It was the intention to cut the willow down in the north-west corner of Forge Dam and use to build up the height of the hedge, but this was not feasible on the day, and instead branches from the holly tree were carted across for the team to use. After adding some additional supporting stakes and weaving in the holly branches the height of the hedge has been doubled! Hopefully this will deter anybody trying to climb it.

Thick branches to be used as stakes to start building the second hedge were selected and moved over to the second hedge building team, however after a few attempts to knock them in with a sledgehammer it was decided to leave it until another session and use a post rammer (and hopefully better weather!)

There was only one casualty of the morning, one of Simon's waterproof gloves sprung a leak resulting in the yellow fur lining dye transferring to his whole hand......forever now known as Yellow Hand Simon!

The only disappointment of the morning was the (lack of) flapjack. Mandy had specially baked some flapjack for the troops which we were looking forward to eating in such inclement weather, but being a fair weather only volunteer has popped them back in her freezer until the sun comes out!

A great morning's work by all and a deserved coffee in the cafe afterwards (minus the flapjack!)

The next work morning is on Tuesday 27th February. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.


A Selection of photos from the work morning

The holly tree stretching from the far left to the second yellow jacket from the right

Cutting up the holly tree as te snow became heavier

Heather: "Stop taking pictures and help me move this!"

Holly tree at the end of the morning with the large brash pile in front of it

Chris and "Yellow Hand" Simon knocking a supporting stake into the first dead hedge

Simon showing his yellow hand with Mel and Chris at the restored dead hedge

The completed dead hedge

Heather at the second hedge

Steve, Mel, Dave and Chris knocking off for the morning

Just as well we didn't need the throw ropes!

This is what we could have had - a nice tease by Mandy!

A selection of photos around Forge Dam looking picturesque in the snow


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