Archive for November, 2013

Christmas Decorations Workshop, Sunday 15th December

A chance to create some stunning decorations from natural materials gathered in the woodlands.

10.00 – 12.00 in Marbury Lodge near the Rangers’ Cabin

For information contact Joanne Redley 01606 44728


Wed 2nd. Chris, Jim and I sorted through the charcoal and bagged it all up. Whilst I stapled the sacks and stowed them away in the shed, Chris, Jim and Keith set up the kiln again for yet another burn. After lunch Elna and I did a few jobs with notices and then we tried route for the autumn walk in a month’s time. We collected a few leaf and fruit samples to store in case there weren’t any later.
Marbury LaneThu 3rd. Jim and I joined Chris, Ian and Pascal at the bench on Marbury Lane. Yesterday Chris and Dave, assisted by volunteers, had taken the bench out so that they could fell a dangerous Turkey oak. They had managed to leave the road clear, but there were still piles of timber to move and the bench to be replaced. We loaded the timber onto the tractor bucket so that the logs could be tipped into the trailer. Many of the logs were too heavy for me to handle, but I got a break when Helen arrived with her gang and needed the gate opening. Chris moved the bench back into position using the tractor forks and it was secured with concrete. It began to rain after lunch, but not enough for waterproofs whilst we put another load of logs onto the trailer. As the rain came down more heavily we donned waterproofs to clear piles of leaves from the roadway next to the Lime Avenue. Autumn is here.Anderton car park

Wed 9th. Martin and Lorraine gave me a lift up to Anderton, where Dave gave the volunteers a hedge-laying demonstration, before setting us to work in pairs. I’ve always been a bit tentative with a bill hook, so I didn’t attempt to hack into the larger hawthorns, but I managed the smaller blackthorns. Volunteer Dave and I received conflicting advice from rangers Chris and Dave about which side of a crab apple tree to take a branch. What’s a volunteer to do? I was more confident about raising the canopy of the crab apple and retreated to the car park side where I could get a better view. Our morning’s work would help Dave’s hedge-laying course at the weekend get started.
We moved to the Dragonfly Gates for some more hedge-laying, but this time there were some big trees involving chain saw work. Diane and I cleared shrubs that had encroached beyond the hedge line. We found it difficult to see the ‘line’ at first, but once we’d got in amongst the blackthorn on our knees with bow-saws and loppers the line became clearer. At the end of the day there was the satisfying evidence of where we’d been working. Under the trees we’d been sheltered from the heavy rain showers. The huge puddles as we crossed the car park to go back to Marbury indicated how much rain there had been.hedgelaying

Thu 10th. A group of volunteers returned to Anderton to continue hedge-laying. Jim, Elna and I worked on the other side of the track cutting back the branches that wouldn’t follow the line of a hedge when it was laid. It was mostly hazel and hawthorn and thankfully no blackthorn. Some of the white poplar had thrown up suckers that were still small enough to cut back with loppers. The hazel and hawthorn were larger and we needed bow-saws to remove the offending branches. The hedge-layers were creating piles of brash that we put through the chipper. Dave provided more material for the chipper by felling some of the white poplars that had been planted as fast growing nursery trees to shelter the slower growth behind. The original plan and the line of the hedge became clearer. The hedges and log piles will provide significant habitat for birds, small mammals and invertebrates. The last two days have provided the first real winter work and my body is aching. Dave, Connor, Jim

Thu 17th. Jim and I worked with Dave and Connor at Anderton. Next to the path by the car park the hedge-layers had left piles of brash, which we fed into the chipper. It wasn’t pleasant as most of it was hawthorn. We spread the chippings around the crab apple trees as soil improver. We took loppers to the lime trees alongside the driveway and removed any epicormic growth and low hanging branches. This would enable the man on the mower to proceed without getting a smack in the face with wet leaves. We spent most of the time wielding loppers above our heads, so after a couple of hours my arms and shoulders ached and I’d had enough.

Thu 24th. Amanda made a welcome return to Northwich Woodlands to cover for Dave and Chris, who were on holiday. Jim and I completed the work on the lime avenues at Anderton.