Hello Conservation Volunteers
Another great turnout for our latest work morning, a big thank you to all those who attended on a lovely sunny morning. Forge Dam was looking splendid in the sun, new path, benches back, and the new ducklings were enjoying their swim in a larger pond without the silt! The muddy areas used by the contractors are now also starting to green up with the grasses and plants starting to return - hopefully the wildflower seeds we planted will come through later in the summer, and the yellow hi-vis jackets could be seen stretching from Whiteley Woods to the top of Forge Dam and also up in Festival Woodland for the various tasks of the morning.
Question: how many men does it take to install an information board? Well looking at the photos, 7!
One of the morning tasks was to install an information board in Festival Woodland which will soon have a display panel with information about the history of Festival Woodland and a map of the various trees which had been mapped out and labelled previously. The Magnificent 7 successfully accomplished their task and the board is looking good in its position at the bottom of the main path (we trust the board is still standing and doesn't need its third leg!)
At the top end of Forge Dam near the hibernaculum a group were being instructed by Ranger Matt on making a dead hedge to block off the gap on the bridleway to stop people taking a short cut and damaging the newly planted hawthorn whips. This natural fence looks so much better than the previous attempts with first the rope and then the plastic orange fence (which both got trampled down) and should now protect the whips until they have grown and can fight back against anybody taking a short cut!
There is a mass of non-native cherry laurel on the steep bank side near the horse hop which is crowding out the native woodland plants and grasses which are trying to grow underneath it, in particular wood fescue. Another group have cut back some of the cherry laurel and the wood fescue should hopefully start to flourish this summer, if you look carefully you will see it starting to grow. More cherry laurel was also cut back near the start of the goit.
There is an interesting article here on wood fescue in Forge Dam and the conservation work of FoPV volunteers in the past to protect it https://blogs.tees.ac.uk/ambroisebakerresearch/tag/forge-dam/
The final group after clearing out some debris at the goit grill worked their way further downstream clearing blocked drains as well as cutting back and moving fallen trees and branches from the path, and then worked their way back up the other side on the bridleway doing the same. The new plumbing rods made the job much easier, being more flexible and actually screwing together properly - none were lost in the drains! Also being bright red they couldn't be missed in the undergrowth like the old brown, wooden ones.
The next work morning is on Thursday 11th May2023 where we are expecting a tipper full of mulch which we will need to spread on the hawthorn whips planted at the end of last year. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Installing the Festival Woodland information board
"Do you think that is deep enough?"
David has arrived to supervise proceedings. "A bit more to the left lads"!
The Magnificent 7 showing off their morning's work, aka Tony, Paul, Peter, Dave, Mike, Chris and John
Linda, Ben, Glyn and Anna working on the dead hedge
The finished dead hedge
Les and Phil clearing the goit grill
Trying out the new rods
Cutting and moving a fallen tree
"Nope, can't see it at this end, Les!"
A large lump of concrete blocking the small pipe was removed. The water is now flowing through freely and not backing up