Archive for January, 2012


Wed 4th Jim and I volunteered to collect up the litter that had accumulated in Bandshed Wood. Dave asked us to check for wind damage along Tunnel Top as well, so we went there first. We didn’t spot anything dangerous, but there was loads of litter, which we left so that we could clear Bandshed Wood. We each filled a sack, mainly with cans, in little over an hour.
We dressed appropriately for the short sharp showers that accompanied the cold wind and walked down to the Rifle Range from Anderton Car Park. Elna, Jim and I climbed up the left hand side of the terraces. We were paddling for most of the way as springs emerged all the way up. Our task was to remove the scrub that was establishing itself. We used loppers and bow-saws to tackle the thorny problems and tossed them away to the right. Dave arrived to attack the larger specimens with his chain saw. The lights were glowing on the works across the river when we called it a day.

Thu 5th Even before we were ready to leave home for Marbury, we could hear the wind roaring in the trees in Bandshed Wood. There had obviously been an incident in the park, as cars were parked in front of the cabin, so we left our car on the main car park. The gales had downed a silver birch, which was lying across the drive beyond the yard. A large group of volunteers set about helping to clear it away.
Dave suggested that Elna and I go back to Anderton, but this time we would be working on the willow sculptured serpent. We used loppers to remove the longest of the willow growths and then Elna tried using the bar to create a planting hole. It proved to be too heavy to be of much use, even for the much younger Gareth, who was working on the other sculpture. Elna and I decided that we could be just as effective pushing the sharpened willow cuttings into the ground. There were some obvious gaps to fill. Frances took over from Elna after lunch. Dave kindly indicated that the weak points in the structure were in the middle, which meant that we had to pretend to be sixty years younger and crawl into the snake on our hands and knees. Our knees soon began to suffer and after an hour and a half we’d had enough. Frances reckoned we’d planted at least 50 cuttings. Litter-picking came as a welcome relief and we collected the remains of a Grolsch party that we’d spotted yesterday tossed amongst the blackthorn near the Dragonfly Gates.

Wed 18th
Sandra and I drove down to Haydn’s Pool to join Dave and four other volunteers. It was time to remove willow from the fields at the back. The resident cattle came to check our credentials and wandered off when they were satisfied that we weren’t carrying any food. It was very wet underfoot with water as high as we have seen it for a long time, making wellies the most appropriate footwear. We began cutting with loppers, bow-saws and chain saw, then we dragged the branches to the boundary fence. I stayed there to add the brash to the dead hedge of previous years. That kept me busy for the rest of the day. Meanwhile others were trying to make a bonfire to avoid more dragging long distances over the rough, wet terrain. I find it very satisfying to make something out of the brash; no-one else will see it at the back of Haydn’s Pool.

Thurs 19th I drove three other volunteers back to Haydn’s Pool. Today we were working on the far side of the field. Seven of us thinned smaller trees and shrubs from the open field. We then had to clear a path through the trees wide enough to drag the branches into the woodland and add them to old dead hedges or brash piles.We had our work cut out to keep pace with Dave, who had turned his attention to the trees on the edge of the woodland, removing unwanted species and pollarding willows with his chain saw. We created snaking heaps within the woods that will serve as shelter from the worst of the weather for the grazing cattle and habitat for small mammals. We certainly felt the benefit of the shelter from the cold wind. Dave finally gave up his sawing and joined in the dragging, but, although we cleared a large area, there are still some branches left for next week.

Wed 25th Amanda was the lone ranger today. By the end of the morning most of the volunteers were working with her in the Arboretum. We cleared paths, some of which had disappeared beneath a thin layer of turf, made possible where the sunlight penetrated. After lunch we went to Haydn’s Pool to continue shifting brash left last week.

Nest-box Making, Saturday 11th February

Make and take away a nest-box to put up in your garden, as part of National Nest-Box Week.
The event will take place in Marbury Lodge near the Rangers’ Cabin in Marbury Country Park from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
There will be no charge but donations are welcome.

Contact John Gilbody 01606 882065 for further information


FoAM’s Winter 2011-12 Newsletter

The latest edition of our Newsletter has been published and you can find it by clicking Newsletter Winter 2011-12.

Read about the successful opening of Marbury Lodge, our new visitor shelter.  Also, get your diary out and look at our list of events planned for 2012.  We hope to see you at many of them.