Wednesday, 18 December 2013

It's Nearly Christmas!

Hi, I suppose I'd better introduce myself. I'm Rebecca and I'm going to be assisting Chris with his rangering until the end of February. Just a little bit about myself: I'm originally from Devon and have been volunteering with the National Trust on the South Devon Countryside property for the last seven months. Prior to that I was volunteering on Dartmoor with Natural England after graduating with a degree in geology in September 2011. I absolutely love working in the countryside and hope to have a great career in conservation.

It's only my second week here but Chris and I have already been hard at work maintaining the Edge. As winter is drawing in and the weather is getting worse we've been busy removing trees or branches that are likely to fall into the roads or footpaths with the winds and snows, as well as the general thinning and coppicing work required to maintain the woodland. Last Sunday we had the excellent help of the South Shropshire National Trust Volunteers, coppicing and burning material along the path at Granham's Mount (pics below).



Work has also started on the improvements to the main Wenlock Edge car park, improving access to the bridleway and allowing the sheep to graze the site safely, improving the limestone grassland on the site. So far we have felled and burned several overhanging trees on the site, added a new gateway and started installing the fence that will prevent the sheep from getting in the way of cars. In the new year work will be done to create the new access path and increase the number of parking spaces on the site.

 Chris using the post-banger to knock in fence posts.
 A massive Hawthorn to tow to the burn site, but the tractor handles it easily!

It's a lean time of year for the wildlife, which is great for us as it attracts plenty of birds to the feeders such as tits, nuthatches, chaffinches, green-finches and woodpeckers. There are also nuts and berries on some of the trees, like the hawthorn and holly, attracting lots of wintering birds like field-fares and red-wings.

 A Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanut feeder.
 A Red-wing making the most of the Hawthorn berries.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
See you in 2014!