Workday Activity Sun 29 Sept 2013
I was pleasantly surprised when the volunteer numbers built up to 13 for the first workday of the autumn. Unfortunately David could not remain long as he had previously damaged his shoulder at home. While the trolley of tools was being dragged to the coppice area I took a few people to see the Yellow Stagshorn fungus which had returned to the same tree stump in West Gorse where it has appeared in previous years.
At the coppice area we had to select a new fire site - a well-lit glade seemed suitable so we set about widening it with the help of Cyril's chainsaw. Once the fire was lit we were kept busy throwing on the material Cyril had cut, but retaining anything which could be used later for tree stakes, charcoal, etc. More material was cut and burned, then a third cut was left for us to deal with next time. While most of us were involved in that activity a smaller group were cutting with hand tools and using the material to strengthen a dead hedge.
As predicted, we did find several fungi including a small Fly Agaric and something which was either Toothed Crust or Split Porecrust, and a number of other species.
Workday Activity Sunday 4th August 2013
The bench which sat at the top
of Greenhill Way in the car park field, just before the entrance to the wood,
was removed by five volunteers and transferred to a new position in Field 3
(Great Hill). In the old position new
holes were dug in preparation for a new seat donated by the Friends. (The seat was installed by Ted, Cyril, David and John on 7th August with the ehlp of two guys from Norbury Sawmills - the manufacturer).
Another five volunteers worked
in the Jubilee Plantation to cut down or remove nettles, wild clematis and
anything else which was burying the many tree whips, some of which are still
very small though the more vigorous ones have reached heights of four feet or
more. Where the original small whips
were marked by a larger stake we cleared around some of the stakes to let more
light and moisture to reach the whips. While we were happy with what we achieved there is still a lot more work
to be done.
When I left the wood I continued
on to Hutchinson’s Bank where I found a Dark Green Fritillary and two Clouded
Yellow butterflies. Having sent an
email to warn Martin Wills, I received a reply in which he said he had seen
four Clouded Yellows. It looks as
though there has been an influx so keep your eyes open!
Workday activity Sunday 2nd June 2013
The team was composed of Ted, David and new member Barry Holiday. Over a period of about four hours we cleared vegetation around most of the seats and benches in all five fields, possibly leaving a few untouched along Vale Border in the car park field. There are still others in Linden Glade and at the Gorse Plantation which will possibly need attention. We did not have time to look at the Jubilee Plantation. At the top left of the car park field we found a Scorched Carpet moth and in field 3, down the southern hedge, we found a White Helleborine with huge white buds. As we left a seat we had been working on in field 3 a couple said, "You were concentrating so much you missed the deer which ran across!". As we were walking past the opening into Broad Walk we noticed a Roe Deer walking across the path followed a few seconds later by another.
Workday Activity Sunday 5th May 2013 - Attendance 8 workers
The two Lindas joined me in the Jubilee Plantation where we endeavoured to remove some of the wild clematis and nettles. John came along to reinforce the group and we cleared around several of the tree whips. We also burned some of the strawy dead nettle stems collected on the last workday. When the Lindas went home for lunch John and I went to the coppice area where four others were cutting and stacking material for making charcoal later in the month. This activity continued for some time and the site now looks tidier.
Sunday 14th April 2013 - Attendance 7 workers
On a very warm day seven of us got to work in the Jubilee Plantation to try to clear some of the excess vegetation. Removing the dead stands of nettles from last year was relatively easy as no tools were required - the stems snapped easily and we soon built up piles of the material. The wild clematis was a different story. With tools ranging from secateurs and loppers to shears and hoes, we made slow but steady progress in the attack on the clematis, but largely concentrated on cutting the material to the ground rather than attempting to dig it out. It will regrow but if we tackle it again during the growing season we may succeed in frightening it a little! More work needs to be done so some of us will try to fit in a few more workdays. The Friends 250 whips are about two years old while the 60 put in by the Brownies are one year old. Many seem to be surviving but it is probably inevitable that a few will be lost. Throughout the day we were entertained by frequent visits from male Brimstone butterflies and a single Comma.
Sunday 7th April 2013 - Attendance 10 workers
N & K began by supplying logs to a couple of customers then persuaded them to join us in clearing the brash. New volunteer, G, who has worked on Hutchinson's Bank,came along and last week's volunteer, R, was already at work when we reached the coppice area. D, LL, JZ and I completed a work party of ten. We cut up some of the nearby brash and quickly got a fire going. Brash was soon finding its way on to the fire so I went inside the deer fence and threw out most of the brash left there by the contractors. By the time that lot was on the fire all the other brash piles outside the deer fence had also been cleared by the rest of the party. Once we had controlled the fire we left around 1.30pm, taking back with us to the toolstore a couple of Ash logs for N to cut up and bag. N had also dealt with another customer for wood.
Sunday 31st March 2013 - Attendance 5 workers
Five or six of our usual crew were not available so I thought I might be on my own. I was relieved when Cyril phoned and offered to bring his chainsaw. Once we reached the car park we were joined by the first of the three R's - new volunteer Roger. Before we moved off the second appeared - Richard - and once we were at the coppice the third arrived - Rob. We quickly drove six stakes into the frozen ground to support a huge pile of twigs while heat was building in the fire. With piles of brash visible in every direction we each worked at our own spots, dragging material to the fire and soon throwing on large branches. By the time we stopped adding on material we had cleared over 80% of the brash so that it is now possible to move easily round the stacks of tree trunks. The remaining brash will have to be removed next week along with anything left by the contractors (assuming they remove the tree trunks).
Sunday 3 March 2013 - Attendance 6 workers
Four of us met in the car park with two remaining behind to fill sacks with logs and the other two dragging the trolley with tools to the coppice site. By the time we had a fire started the first two had joined us, and later two others appeared for a short time. Most of our work involved clearing the brash which had been left from last week but we also cleared some of the inevitable scatter of twigs and small branches which tend to litter a site like ours. While removing some of these small branches we found a number of Witches Butter fungi (Exidia glandulosa) growing on them. Later, attracted by the odd noise made by a Carrion Crow, we looked up in time to see a Sparrowhawk soaring overhead. Finally, on our way back to the car park we loaded the trolley with logs and took them back for splitting.
Sunday 24 February 2013 - Attendance 8 workers
Seven of us met in the car park where two stayed behind to fill sacks with logs and the rest of us went to the coppice area to meet an eighth member. Hazels were cut down by chainsaw and material for charcoal, logs and fence stakes were put aside and the remaining brash was burned. The chainsaw was used to cut up ash logs left by the work of the foresters, producing several loads of material which were transported to the toolstore. As the chainsaw will not be available next Sunday it was used to cut down more hazel and sycamore, which will be left to next week, and also some holly which was partly used on a dead hedge.
Sunday 3 February 2013 (and following week) - Attendance 6 workers
In the absence of some of our usual workers who chose to be on holiday we were reduced to a group of six. We managed to burn the huge piles of brash we produced last Thurs together with more created by some cutting today. So far as we could we removed a lot of cut material which was scattered over the ground and managed to complete this work by 2.30pm.
Two of the group also wandered around the area between Courtwood Grove and Addington Border looking for Laurel. This is a foreign, invasive species which poisons the ground around it so we are aiming to eradicate it from Selsdon Wood. The following Thursday we cut down dozens of laurels with a chainsaw - some 20 feet high with multiple stems up to eight inches diameter. The stumps were painted with glyphosate to kill the root and we ripped up self-layered branches and generally piled up the cut material, occasionally using a mattock to dig up small or stubborn roots.
When I returned home 100 hazel whips had been delivered - supplied by Croydon Council. On Friday I made two trips in the snow to the coppice area where I dug a couple of holes and heeled-in the whips. They will have to stay there until we think the conditions are suitable for digging 100 holes to plant the whips properly - this will be done inside the deer fence.
Sunday 30 December 2012 - Attendance 7 workers
Two people worked in the
toolstore cutting up a large quantity of logs and producing 26 sacks for
sale. The remaining five people went to the coppice site where only a
minimum of coppicing was carried out as we spent most of our time
collecting fallen branches, cutting up material produced on a previous
workday, clearing access to the next area in which coppicing will
continue, and generally tidying up the area. Most of the material was
burned and the fire enabled us to have a lunch of baked potatoes, plus
some homemade mince pies and Christmas cake. As we had previously
decided not to have a workday on Sunday 6 Jan, the next workday will be
on the last Sunday of January - 27th.
Sunday 2 December 2012 - Attendance 11 workers
Eleven of us met in the car park on a cold and frosty morning and immediately split into two groups. The first group took the tools and went to the coppice area while the second went to look at the large Horse Chestnut which had finally fallen by the kissing gate leading into Baker Boy Lane. With the help of a chainsaw the chestnut was trimmed to improve access, though the kissing gate is still partially blocked. In the coppice area work continued removing old Hazel stems and an occasional Ash, retaining wood for sale as logs or for making charcoal and burning what remained. Elsewhere an Ash was cut up for logs and taken to the toolstore to dry out.
Sunday 4 November 2012
- Attendance 4 workers
Four stalwarts braved the rain and began by supplying five sacks of logs
to someone who had contacted Neale. As he had the space in his vehicle he
was persuaded to take another five sacks. With Neale's new trolley we
went to our coppice area and filled the trolley with logs which had been cut on
a previous workday, transported them to the toolstore and stacked them to dry. We
returned for a final load, removing the last of the cut logs and adding them to
the stack in the toolstore. After one and a half hours we went home.Sunday 28 Oct 2012 - Attendance 11 workers
Two people continued bagging up logs in the toolstore while six more
walked up to the coppice area where we were joined later by another three. At
the beginning of the month we concentrated on clearing bramble, resulting in a
large mound waiting to be burned, building a rack to store tree stakes,
binders, bean poles, etc, and in the process produced another large amount of
branches also waiting to be burned. This Sunday we began by getting a
fire started and gradually got rid of the bramble and branches from the
previous workday. Coppicing began in earnest, producing even more
branches which found their way on to the fire. As usual the group began
to disperse at different times and by 2.00pm we had all left the site, by which
time the work area was much clearer than at the start.
During the day we kept finding fungi. Candlesnuff was very common,
Clouded Funnels were in several places and old rotting timber had a
selection of species including Elder Whitewash, Birch Polypore and various
Sunday 7 Oct 2012 - Attendance 7 workers
people collected wood and transported four barrowloads to the toolstore. One person was already at work in the coppice area when six more of us
arrived. We began coppicing small trees, retaining the larger bits of
timber and using the smaller bits to create dead hedges. A storage area
was created in which samples will eventually be placed of bean poles, pea
sticks, tree stakes, deer fence stakes, hedging binders, wood for charcoal
making, etc. We hope to retain as much useful material as possible but
inevitably some will be burned - e.g. the large pile of bramble we collected
Sunday 30 Sept 2012 - Attendance 11 workers
A team of three concentrated on cutting up wood left by the foresters in Greenhill Way and in the process created a large amount of logs which were later stored in the toolstore to dry. They will later be available for sale. One member had started early and was hard at work cutting up some of the branches, and then joined seven others to begin clearing brambles and other trip hazards in our coppice area in preparation for later work. A few small hazels were cut and used to begin a dead hedge.
Sunday 1 July 2012 - Attendance 4 workers
We cleared the benches/seats in field 2 but found that an old bench that we found buried 2 years ago had died. In addition we cleared a path into the Jubilee but rain stopped us clearing anything else. We also cut back several shrubs & trees partially obstructing Vale Border. Few ringlets and meadow browns. Quite a lot of pyramidal orchids around field 2. (Report by David Malins who led this Workday.)
Sunday 1 April 2012 - Attendance 5 workers
Five stalwarts turned up to tackle the wild clematis in the Jubilee Plantation. Pulling by hand occasionally pulled out small plants by the root but usually only enabled us to remove the top growth. Better clearance was acheived using a garden fork, hand trowel or hoe. We also took the opportunity to erect longer stakes beside many of the whips we planted last year so that we are able to see them more easily, particularly if they become covered again by clematis and goose grass. As several of the party had other tasks to do we stopped after three hours, reasonably happy with what had been done in the time.