Archive for August, 2010

FoAM Constitution

Our Constitution was amended following the unanimous approval of resolutions which were tabled at our AGM held on 17th May 2010.  The Constitution has since been updated at a Committee Meeting held on 15th January 2018.  You can find a copy by clicking FoAM Constitution


1st  Diana, Ian, Jim and I chose to go to Carey Park with Pete to collect timber for charcoal burning. The fine weather means that we have sold out again. The trees on the summit had been thinned earlier. We found where they had been left and extricated them from the undergrowth. Peter felled a few more so that by lunchtime we had almost filled the trailer.  

Diana and I worked with Pete again, this time to give the barriers on Marbury Lane a lick of paint. Pete opened the tin of Autumn Gold and decided it was just too yellow. He nipped off to B&Q, leaving Diana and me to remove the grass etc. from the base of the posts by Brine Pump Cottages. He returned with Medium Oak, which was deemed a more appropriate colour. Between us we painted the three barriers along the lane. Jim had found himself redundant and joined us to paint the last barrier near the tip entrance. We finished in good time for tea. Unfortunately, on the way back Peter spotted missing rails by Witton Mill Bridge. He and Diana saw the four rails lying neatly in the grass, presumably awaiting collection. Peter found hammer and nails in his van and we repositioned the rails.

Lime down

 7th One of the trees in the Lime Avenue had been blown down on Saturday morning. Chris and Pete led all eight volunteers in a clear-up operation. The chipper, chain saw, bow saws and loppers were all that were needed to reduce a 100 foot tree to a heap of chippings, a pile of logs and two lengths of trunk. Chris took a group to the car park to deal with another victim of the high winds.

Going up & branching out

Liz and I were left to tremble at the foot of the adjacent lime tree, on guard as Pete hauled himself up to remove damaged branches 50 feet above us.

Funny how there’s always time to do a bit of litter-picking. I half filled a sack in the out-of-hours car park.

It rained heavily over lunch, but it wasn’t bad enough to make us put on waterproofs whilst preparing timber to go in the charcoal burner. The ragwort season is upon us again and we began clearing the field at Dairy House Meadows. Vernon and I worked together, with him digging and me pulling. The rain had done little to soften the ground so it was back breaking work. The consolation was the sighting of a small skipper butterfly and a hobby flying over the ponds in search of dragonflies.

8th It was back to Dairy House to pull more ragwort, only today there were fewer of us to tackle the problem. Surely we cleared this field last year.  The cattle were very friendly and came to see what we were doing until they got bored and wandered off. No such luck for us until lunchtime beckoned.

Frances and I rather foolishly volunteered to paint the Woodland Hide. Being of the shorter variety our reach was limited. In addition, we were not keen on ladders and left the higher areas to Pete, who was in his element. We slapped paint on all reachable surfaces and dripped it on ourselves, whilst fending off the biting insects that seemed to be out in force. We needed someone more flexible to get into the wheelchair recess. As no small boys were available Pete came into his own again. The gate had not had a coat of paint before and was rather fiddly. Don’t look up inside the hide as we ran out of time to finish the job and you’ll see how far up the posts Frances and I could reach.

15th Elna and I decided to sort out the leaflets in the rain soaked shed. First, though, we tackled the leaflet cupboard in the office. Dave and Chris claimed that they wouldn’t be able to find anything. Nothing new there then. We rescued boxes of leaflets that had escaped the deluge and loaded them into Steph’s van ready for safe storage at Whitegate. We found room for some booklets in the office cupboard. We opened up the damp cartons and stowed the drier contents in the caravan. There were still some sodden remnants that we could do nothing to save. 

The cars and vans returning at lunchtime had to park on the driveway as a cherry plum tree had fallen and blocked their path. Our first task after lunch was to clear the way. Chris found another tree on the edge of the car park that was dead and needed felling.



21st Liz, Dave, Jim and I tidied up yet another cherry plum that had fallen in the car park. The weight of the fruit and the heavy rain had wreaked havoc. We drove down the lane to gain access to Anderton Nature Park. Dave wanted to cut back the overhanging and encroaching vegetation before his holiday. We split up so that Jim and I went along Witton Brook as far as Carden Ferry Bridge, while Dave and Liz went along the upper path and around the loop. Meanwhile Ian and Robin were approaching from the other end of the park. I’d kept my waterproof on all morning, rather than carrying it along with the tools and the litter-picker. Still it didn’t rain and I got somewhat warm.

22nd Elna and I took loppers to Furey Wood, but before we could start cutting back, we collected half a sackful of litter from around the car park. Maria and Jim M were also cutting back, but they were equipped with strimmers. After we’d removed drooping branches, which gave us a shower, Elna and I spotted more litter, so we took another sack and filled it with cans and bottles.

Four volunteers helped Chris load the trailer, already holding a layer of ragwort, with more recyclable rubbish (cans, glass and plastic bottles). It didn’t take many minutes for us to unload into the appropriate receptacle at the tip. Everyone then mucked in back at the yard to empty the sodden shed. We found room to squeeze some things into the next shed or the caravan. Some things were beyond saving and ended up in the bin.

28th Liz, Jim and I walked down to the Mere Hide with Pete carrying sickles and loppers, litter-pickers and a sack. Over the weekend revellers had partied around a fire in the hide and the area needed tidying up. The view from the hide was mainly of nettles, which had grown rapidly during the recent humid weather. Jim and I negotiated the slope and steps with care as we cut down as much of the nettle cover as we could reach. Liz was more adventurous and tackled the bushes on the edge of the mere. She was well camouflaged at the bottom of the bank and we listened out for a splash in case she landed in the water. Pete was altogether more confident and agile, slashing away at the vegetation to ensure that there was a clear view from the hide. The adjacent path was subjected to similar treatment with nettles and holly removed. We wandered around to the orchard slashing brambles and nettles on the way. The main purpose in the orchard was to remove lower branches from the fruit trees so that Pete could mow the grass more easily. Jayne and I took the same tools to clear brambles along the path from the yard to the top of the slipway on the way to the bridle paths around the fields. By the end of the afternoon my forearms were nettled and prickled, but our efforts should enable those who follow to avoid similar injuries.

Behind bars

29th Four volunteers drove to Witton Mill car park with Pete. We cut back along the lane to improve the view for drivers leaving the car park. It meant taking blackthorn back to the fence with bow saw and loppers. We had to be careful to avoid the vicious thorns. Many sloes were, unfortunately, not given the chance to ripen. We did more tidying up around the car park and then we parked the vehicles near Butterfinch Bridge. Pete wanted to open up the view through the bars on the bridge. He took a trailer piled high with our prunings back to the yard.

Sloe burn - plum job

Another group of volunteers had filled the other trailer with cherry plum trimmings from Marbury car park. Both trailers were emptied onto the burning site. A bonfire was on the cards and it was more than I could resist. The pile looked to be more than I could manage in an afternoon, but Joanne and Maria decided to take on the challenge with me. After two hours we had reduced the heap to a scattering of glowing embers.