Work Day 14 March 2004
Graham and Alison Carter
Ken and Dawn Lee
Neil and Louise Cross
Margaret de Brelar
The weather was really quite nasty, with plenty of rain and a strong breeze, so we decided to call it a day by half past one. However we managed to achieve a good deal in that time and everyone should be congratulated on turning out on such a day.
Before we started work in earnest there were lots of discussions and catching up to do. Lyn had very ably steered the management plan through the County Council cabinet and gained their agreement to Radipole Community Wood becoming a local nature reserve. She explained that we are still waiting to hear back from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, and from English Nature. She was confident that we could start to plan for an official designation in May.
Cathy explained how she had been talking informally to a contact in W & P B C with a view to the dog mess clean up character, Scoopersonic, opening the wood officially as an LNR. For those who haven't yet seen him, Scoopersonic is someone dressed in a dog costume, a dalmation to be exact, who is trying to get the Council's clean-up after your dog message across in a light-hearted way.
Margaret told us about her work in growing primroses and violets at home which were now ready to be planted out. We are agreed that this would be a very welcome addition to the wood, and help to restore plants that have been lost over time. It was very interesting to hear that Margaret used to see the flowers in the area as a child, and we hope that thanks to her we will all see them again in years to come.
We then talked about planning for the future growth of trees in the wood. We decided to cut down some of the Scots Pine to make room for other trees to grow to their full capacity. If trees are not allowed enough room to grow they will become very tall and thin, like the trees found in commercial plantings. We chose to remove the Scots Pine because they are not native to this type of woodland and they provide very little benefit to wildlife.
It was also agreed to pursue funding to enable us to buy saplings for a hedge to plant next spring alongside the path by Radipole Lane. Lyn explained that they would be planted at about five plants to a metre. She stated that this wouldn't involve too much work as the ground is relatively clear already, which was generally welcomed.
Then we started work, with Neil setting to work on cutting down the surplus pines, and most of the others began the long job of hacking back the brambles around the old hedge. Most of this bramble was dead wood, having grown too long and provided little benefit to anything.
Steve and Graham dug out some old steel gateposts, a relic from the days when the wood had been used for grazing. Luckily the ground was very wet and easy to dig so they came out without too much difficulty, when the surrounding concrete could be smashed off with a sledgehammer. Thanks to Graham for fetching his tools, without which the job would have been quite impossible. A small tree was dug up in the process and replanted at the end of the hedge, so we will watch its progress with interest this year.
Then Steve went off with a ladder and 8 nestboxes, kindly donated by John Jefferies, and attached them to some of the older trees surrounding the wood. The boxes are suitable for some of the smaller birds, ie blue tits, but we should really have put them up last month in order to get a better chance of them being used this year. Something else to watch for.
By this time there was an extremely large pile of old bramble which had been cut down, and a surprisingly large area of the wood had been reclaimed for use. We then discussed how the old hedge could be improved with new planting and maintenance of the existing trees.