January

Sandra dead-hedging
9th The mist took a long time to clear and the sun never did make an appearance. There were seven volunteers with Dave in the morning at Marshall’s Wood. He was enlarging the glade by felling encroaching willows, silver birch, alder and hazel. Our job was to drag the brash into the woods to create a dead hedge and leave the logs as piles for habitat. Sandra and I were assigned to the dead hedge whilst the others dealt with the haulage. After lunch volunteer numbers dropped to four, so Sandra and I had to drag the brash to the dead hedge ourselves. The other pair were building a second dead hedge on the other side of the track to reduce the dragging distance.
clearing the track
10th Joanne and I teamed up to finish off yesterday’s hedge in Marshall’s Wood before moving to the other side of the track, where the men were already working. Dave was busy with the chain saw and we battled to keep up with him, failing miserably. However we managed to ensure that the track was clear for walkers before we threw in the towel feeling rather tired.
more dead hedge
16th It was very frosty and the ground was hard. Juan and I walked down to Marshall’s Wood from the main car park at Anderton to meet up with another 10 volunteers, all ready to haul brash into the wood to continue the dead hedge. Although we were mob-handed progress still seemed slow as we were serving two chain saws. Chris had decided to help Dave out! In the afternoon Amanda brought her chain saw to support the effort. Volunteers didn’t have a chance to keep up with three rangers. At the end of the day, although we left a few piles of brash, the paths were clear and there was a good length of dead hedge snaking through the woods.
pruning fruit trees
17th It was frosty again and there were even a few snow speckles. It was a relief not to be going to Marshall’s Wood for a fourth day. Brenda had arranged that we would prune the apple and pear trees in the orchard. There was a quick revision of the pruning techniques learned on last year’s course before the main action started. The prunings needed to be burned to destroy any diseased wood. David and I were prepared for a bonfire, but we struggled. Everything was cold and wet. Eventually, by two o’clock, we had something like a fire and we could pile it all on. The orchard now looks as if it’s cared for.

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