Archive for 2009

December’s journal

2nd Chris took four volunteers down into Hopyards Wood to do some rhododendron clearance. Diana, Ian and John tackled the rhododendron while Chris and I tried to get a fire going. Everything was wet; even the cardboard brought to start the fire was damp because it had been in the barn. We managed to achieve some flames, but it was far from a blaze. We dragged the branches onto the bonfire and a small area nearby was cleared. The others had moved further down the slope so we had to drag uphill. We decided to try another fire at the foot of the slope on the least wet area. We struggled and failed. We tried again and we finally had a bonfire going by the time the light was fading and we had to install warning notices and leave it for another day.


3rd We returned to Hopyards Wood in slightly increased numbers. We had greater difficulty than yesterday in starting a fire in the rain. It was even soggier underfoot and the fern clumps were less visible, resulting in my full-length position on the ground. Much to my embarrassment Chris and Diana rushed to my aid, but the only injury was to my dignity and I spent the rest of the day in rather damp trousers.

Chris felled a couple of holly trees as part of his plan to improve the edge of the arboretum. They were heavily laden with berries so the branches provided a timely harvest for Christmas decorations. Volunteers stood on the lane and the entrance road to warn car drivers and then as quickly as possible we cleared the roads of logs and branches.

9th ordersSteph had organised a team task day, so numbers were up to six rangers and seven volunteers. She had marked the non-native Swedish whitebeam, with a red splodge to indicate their doom. Rangers were armed with chainsaws or paintbrushes, volunteers with loppers and bow-saws. We worked our way along the track from New Warrington Road beside Neumann’s Flash. The trees were felled, reduced in size, dragged clear and left in piles over the fence. Steph and Tony were the ones wearing the protective suits and carrying paintbrushes to treat the stumps with Round-up. Pete spotted some offending whitebeams without the red mark, but they too were doomed. When all were removed attention switched to lowering some of the hawthorn to improve viewing points over the flash and to thinning some of the ash trees. At the end of the day, with all gates secured, a convoy of vehicles took us back to the cabin for a cuppa.

16th It was a grey, damp day from the start. Ian, Frances, Vernon, Jim, Liz and I drove up to Anderton to do Dave’s bidding. A couple of weeks ago with volunteer help he had begun to recreate a view of the Boat Lift from the car park.  Tlift viewhere was a stack of brash at the edge of the car park ready to put through the chipper. That was the first job for Jim and me. When that was done we joined the others on the slope. They had already made a good start on building a dead hedge on a line before the ground fell away more steeply. Most of the brash had to dragged up the bank and it was hard work. I opted for the easier option and stayed working on the dead hedge where the tree stumps were trip hazards to be avoided.

Next year Aintree
Next year Aintree

It rained heavily between twelve and one and we were convinced that the slope would be too slippery to complete our task, but it drains very well at Anderton. With the finishing touches almost done to the dead hedge, Dave started banging in stakes for a second one further down. He didn’t want a route to be established down through the newly created gap in the trees. He even persuaded us to construct yet another dead hedge before we finished for the day.

Events Listing for the Whole Year

View Diary Dates to see a listing of events for the whole of a year.

Tree o’clock

IMG_3304Friends of Anderton and Marbury and other volunteers joined forces with Cheshire West and Chester ranger, Stephanie Hefferan, at Neumann’s Flash as part of the BBC Breathing Places national Tree O’Clock event on Saturday 5th December, in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the number of trees planted across one country simultaneously in one hour. Steph sounded the start of Tree O’Clock using the horn in her van and we began planting. The ground was somewhat resistant to our spades, but by 12 o’clock we had planted more than 80 trees, most supplied by Mersey Forest. The butty van on New Warrington Road supplied welcome hot drinks for the 17 volunteers. Most of the volunteers were FoAM members, but 5 saw the banner on the gate and came to give us a hand and a few trees. We hope we have contributed to a world record, but in any case Northwich Woodlands have benefitted from the event.