WORK SESSIONS 2021


Conservation work on Brook Meadow
Management of Brook Meadow is essential to maintain an appropriate habitat for wildlife and to enhance the biodiversity of the site. To achieve this, the conservation group works in co-operation with the local Council and other agencies to keep the meadow in good order both for wildlife and for public use. It holds regular conservation work sessions to manage grassland, scrub and woodland and, generally, to keep the meadow clean and tidy. The rivers are primarily managed by the Environment Agency to maintain a good flow of water, avoid flooding, and to create a good habitat for fish, Water Voles and other riparian wildlife.


Volunteer work sessions
Regular conservation work sessions on Brook Meadow take place on the 1st Sunday and the 3rd Thursday of each month throughout the year.  Work sessions start at 10.00am with a guaranteed finish time of 12 noon. Everyone is welcome and tools are provided. We meet at the new tool store HQ at the end of Seagull Lane. Safety for all volunteers is a priority and risk assessments by trained members are given at each session. There is a break when refreshments are served.
The main tasks include cutting and clearing of the grassland and scrub, removing broken tree branches and keeping pedestrian paths open and clear of obstacles. Clearing litter is a priority. Children and students from local schools and colleges are welcome to join in for work experience.


SUNDAY AUGUST 1st – 2021
Conservation Work session

Report by Kathy Edwards. Photos & wildlife by Brian Fellows
Twelve volunteers (including leader) turned out on a cloudy but very warm morning, with little wind.

The sun broke through on one occasion but not enough to warrant the task of checking the reptile mats today. There are more mats still to lay and it is hoped that this will be done at the next work session when Dan and Terry have completed the job of numbering the remaining mats. The Meadow looked splendid after its annual cut, even more so after everyone’s hard work during the morning. Kathy was leading and most of the volunteers arrived at the start time of 10.00. The usual welcome, briefing and safety reminders were soon concluded.
The tasks chosen for today were:
1          Path clipping, especially the central and south meadow and Palmer’s Road Copse .
2          Power scythe paths in Seagull Lane patch and along the butterfly path round the Lumley area, as well as the round meeting circles on the north meadow.
3          Litter pick and clean signcases .
4          Clear steps in north-east corner and near Frank’s seat.
5          Tidy trees/thin growth in the play area circle.
6          Move wood piles to possible hibernaculum site.

The most pressing jobs today were cutting the grass paths, clearing the steps and main paths of brambles, and nettles. Armed with shears, Pam, Debi and Terry diligently tackled the overhanging vegetation on the paths, starting at Palmers Road Copse and systematically working their way back through the meadow to HQ. Patsy was also cutting stray vegetation on some of the minor paths.

Jennifer was the able litter picker and signcase cleaner today, while Colin set to work on the urgent job of clearing the steps in the NE corner as they were totally overgrown.

Nigel, as usual, undertook sterling work with the power scythe. He initially cut the paths in the Seagull Lane patch, as well as a small patch for the siting of the Hibernaculum.
Maurice had brought some wood and soil from home which will be useful for when this is constructed.

Dean and Tony raked up the grass arisings from the mowing and also cut back some of the more vigorous trees and bushes that were overhanging the grass path.

Nigel went on to cut the two circles and also some scallops on the east side of the Rowans. While cutting the scallops he collected a piece of wire that effectively stopped the power scythe cutting blades. With some ingenuity, and with a lump hammer, normal cutting was soon resumed! The area around the Rowans was obviously a challenge today as Dan had tried earlier to cut the vegetation with the strimmer, but without success.
Maurice had already been cutting and thinning out the willow in the play area circle and he went on to finish this job. This is proving to be a really good space for the community to use and it is intended that we try to keep it well trimmed.
A stop for coffee and biscuits at 11 am was welcome. Thank you Pam for being so efficient at providing and serving out much needed refreshment.
After coffee most of the volunteers returned to finish their previous tasks, with Jennifer finishing off raking the Seagull Lane patch paths and Dean and Tony raking the circles.
Colin cut back the grass on the steps near Frank’s seat.
The overgrown butterfly path around the central wild flower area was power scythed and any overhanging branches were helpfully cut by Debi, and the higher ones by Maurice with Dan’s trusty secateurs.
This busy session ended at 12.00 and the tools were packed away. The tool store was locked at 12.15.

Wildlife observations
Some of the normally white Hogweed flower heads are turning an attractive shade of pink.
The Japanese Spindle bush on the west bank of the river just south of the north bridge now has white flowers. In autumn it bears orange fruits (arils) which last through winter.   This evergreen shrub is native to Japan but is planted in this country. I am not sure how this specimen got here, but it is now very well established.
More wildlife observations are on the blog at . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news-blog/


THURSDAY JULY 15 – 2021
Conservation Work session

Report by Reg Newnham.  Photos and wildlife by Brian Fellows
Fifteen volunteers (including leader) turned out on St Swithin’s Day
At the start of the session the weather was sunny and warm – a good omen for the Summer to come? Reg Newnham was leading. All the volunteers arrived at the start time. There were no new volunteers. After the usual brief welcome tasks were described and allocated.
The tasks were:
1   Remove twig barrier from around the north meadow flower rich meadow.
2   Cut Blackberry path & mow Child area on north meadow .
3   Work on repair of steps down to the river in north-east corner.
4   Lay Reptile mats according to plan from David Search .
5   Litter pick and signcase cleaning.

With many tasks, the group split into small groups.
Pam, Jennifer, Patsy & Gordon set to work removing the twig barrier, always a difficult task due to the growth of surrounding vegetation. This year was particularly difficult as there had been so much top growth. Reg said he will recommend in future years we just mark this area with stakes. The small and larger branches were left in piles for future construction of hibernacula.

Tony with assistance (Colin & Gordon) power scythed the ‘Blackberry path’ at the top of the north meadow where the best Blackberries grow. They also mowed the ‘play area’.

Terry built up and infilled the steps leading down to the north river by the railway line. More hoggin is still required.
Following the plan made by David Search, Dan, Kathy, and Geoffrey prepared the ground and placed the reptile mats. Some of the old mats could not be reused so Dan, in advance of to-day’s work party, prepared and numbered new mats.   This task will continue with the next work session.

Lesley & Beryl did their usual litter pick and sign case cleaning. This is a most important activity, keeping the meadow smart and presentable.

We were pleased to welcome Robert the Norse litter man to carry out his regular emptying of the litter and dog bins.  Such an important job.  Thanks Robert.
A welcome stop for coffee at 11.00 with a good selection of biscuits. Thank you, Pam.

After coffee, work continued as above.
Dan helped Patsy to identify some plants from leaves using his new iPhone Plant ID app.
At 12.00 all tools were returned to HQ and a productive session was finished. HQ was finally secured at 12.25.
The next work session will be on Sunday 1st August.

For Brian’s wildlife observations
Go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news-blog/


SUNDAY JULY 4 – 2021
Conservation Work session – Sunday 4th July 2021
Report by Kathy Edwards. Photos and wildlife by Brian Fellows
Fourteen volunteers (including leader) attended today’s session. It was cloudy but the predicted rain did not materialise and indeed it proved to be warm and at times rather muggy. A number of volunteers worked up quite a sweat on their tasks today! Kathy was leading and ably assisted by Colin who, as usual, had kindly co-ordinated the attendees and job list for her in advance.   All of the volunteers arrived by the start time of 10.00 and we welcomed Patsy to the group. Helena offered to take the group photo which meant that Brian was on it for a change!
Following a reminder of the names and introduction of the First Aiders together with some discussions about the assigned tasks everyone dispersed to all areas of the meadow to undertake the tasks In hand.
The tasks chosen for today were:
1          Clearing vegetation from the main paths.
2          Cutting brambles by the Hazel trees at the North Bridge.
3          Litter picking and sign cleaning.
4          Plant Greater Burdocks
5          Repair steps to the North East corner
6          Remove Hemlock Water-dropwort flower heads from Central meadow flower area

With all the rain and warm weather over recent weeks the grass and brambles on the meadow have grown with luxurious abandon and many pairs of shears were needed today to cut back the overhanging vegetation on the paths. Pam, Juliette, Helena and Patsy set to work on the main routes through the meadow and did sterling work trimming the nettles and wayward brambles.
The brambles near the North Bridge were too much for shears so Geoff and Debi exchanged these for the long handled scythe/cutters and managed to clear an extensive area near the hazel trees.
Nigel was a whiz with the power scythe and managed to cut the circle in the North Meadow as well as numerous overgrown paths, including the Seagull lane patch. He also cleared the ground just outside the tool store so that Colin was able to plant the four Giant Burdock plants that Brian had raised from seed. It is planned to keep this area free of competing vegetation while the plants become established.

All plants in

Maurice and Terry worked hard together all morning on the repair of the steps in the North East corner. This involved collecting stones to infill and proved to be hot work. The job is not quite completed, but will hopefully be done at the next work session.
Lesley was as thorough as usual in her litter picking and cleaning sign cases, often having to rummage in the long grass to retrieve the discarded items. She also did a bit of nettle bashing!

Dan kept up the maintenance of the child friendly area by giving it a mow.

Tony worked on removing the last remaining Hemlock Water Drop Wort flowers on the Central wild flower area.
There was a welcome break at 11am for coffee and biscuits, helpfully provided by Pam. Helena provided an additional treat of chocolate coated ginger.

After the break Debi and Juliette both raked up arisings from Nigel’s power scything. Debi raked the circle, while Juliette did the wide path that had been specially cut to allow access for the annual cut of the Meadow, planned to take place during the next month.
Colin and Geoff headed to Palmers Road Copse where they cleared a couple of branches that were across the path. They also did a trim of the overhanging nettles and brambles.
All the other volunteers continued with their earlier tasks and the session ended at 12 noon. This was a productive work session with everyone’s hard work clearly visible on the meadow. The tool store was locked at 12.20
The next work session will take place on Thursday 15th July 2021.

Wildlife observations
For Brian’s wildlife observations during the work session go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news-blog/


Conservation Work session – Thursday 17th June 2021
Report by Colin Brotherston. Photos by Brian Fellows
Twelve volunteers (including leader) turned out on an overcast morning with no wind. The temperature was 20° C at the start of the session and there was no precipitation. Humidity fairly high. Colin arrived early to unlock HQ and get tools ready. All the volunteers had arrived by 10.00. Dan was not present on the group photo. There was a short welcome talk to allocate tasks. Most volunteers had indicated their intention to attend.
The meadow was looking superb with growth in abundance everywhere. This required some tidying up for the benefit of users. Jobs for today were:
1          Litter picking and signcase cleaning.
2          Clear vegetation from overhanging paths.
3            Remove flower heads from Hemlock Water-dropwort in the Lumley area
4          Repair steps down to the river in NE corner.
5          Clear suffocating plant growth around Great Burnet on north meadow.
6            Conduct power pruner tutorial.

Lesley did a litter pick as usual. She was joined by Beryl. They did not find too much litter which was encouraging. Lesley also cleaned the signcases.

Maurice lead task 6 showing Kathy, David and Gordon how to use the new Power Pruner safely. It is hoped that this will be an invaluable tool in the autumn when trees and bushes need attention. This task was completed in the first 30 minutes.
Jennifer and Suzanne departed to clip overhanging vegetation from the main paths. This is a task which will need to be repeated. It is hoped that Norse might get around to strimming the paths before too long.
Dan and Terry set out to repair the steps to the river in the NE corner. (task 4) In particular they needed to remove an iron pin which had become prominent. Colin and Brian discussed whether steps are needed here at all as this section of the river is a good place for dogs to splash. Colin was of the view that the steps were of some value.
Pam led task 3 to remove flower heads from Hemlock Water-dropwort in the Lumley area. This is an alternative and less wearisome method of controlling the spread of this invasive plant onto the Lumley area.  She was joined by Kathy, Gordon and David. The cut flower heads were finally bagged up and removed.

Coffee and biscuits were enjoyed at Frank’s seat.
After coffee Task 3 was continued. Dan joined Brian to do a recount of some of the orchids.
Maurice attended to minor tasks including some careful clearance of Meadowsweet which was threatening one of the Great Burnet clumps.
Terry tidied up the steps in the north-east corner with the task requiring more work at a later session.
The session ended shortly after 12.00 and the tools were packed away. The tool store was locked at 12.10. So ended a good session with good progress on all tasks.

For wildlife observations including the orchids count
go to . . .
https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news-blog/


Conservation Work session – Sunday 6th June 2021
Report by Maurice Lillie. Photos by Brian Fellows
Continuing our carefully pre-planned sessions of volunteer work parties, to ensure compliance with Covid Rules, 13 volunteers, including leader, assembled at HQ, into predetermined working groups. Brian took a record photo of those present.
Five tasks had been arranged as follows.
Clearing overgrowth of vegetation around entrance information boards and sign cases. Lesley set to work with gusto and extended her task to include removing nettles from adjacent walkways.
Nigel, driving the Power scythe, set of along the raised gravel paths to cut back the recent spurt growth of stinging nettles, carefully avoiding the avenues of Cow Parsley and other plants, most notably a particular variety of Ragwort, not yet in bloom, on the North Path.
Nigel then cut the scallops in the North Meadow and created a new site for a future Hibernaculum nearby. This is the start of a proposal to construct/enhance several new and other hibernacula.
Under Brian’s watchful eye Nigel mowed the two casual paths in the Seagull Lane patch, taking care to avoid cutting the freshly flowering Germander Speedwell.  The tall vegetation around the five oak trees was also trimmed. Nigel also cut the “ butterfly path” in South Meadow.
Pam leading a team comprising Jennifer, Gordon and Debbie, armed with shears and David S with a strimmer, did a closer cut back of nettles along the main path, following Nigel’s initial cut, to stop the tall stinging nettles from drooping over the footpaths.

David used the strimmer to remove the overgrowth on other occasional grass paths and beside step’s handrails. The steps down to Frank’s Seat were also trimmed of grass. This job was one of two main tasks for the day and was successfully completed. The work was clearly appreciated by many members of the walking public, judging by the number of compliments received.

The other main task was phase 3 of the removal of Hemlock Water Dropwort in the wildflower area in the east side of Central Meadow. The primary reason for this action is that this vigorous plant threatens to endanger this wildflower area. Old hand at this task, David P assisted by David Mc and Tony, dug out, bagged and cable tied then transported 10 bags of whole plants to the south east corner of North Meadow, where they will decompose over a period of about six months.

Terry and Dan, while avoiding two clumps of interesting vegetation and docks, mowed the play area in North Meadow and removed the cuttings – much to Brian’s delight!

Pam provided refreshments at half time as always which were much appreciated by all!!

The next volunteer work session will be on Thursday, 17th June. Details will be circulated beforehand.


Orchids on Brook Meadow
During the work session we had a visit from a couple of very keen ‘orchid hunters’ named Jim and Dawn from Worthing. They had come over to Emsworth especially to see our orchids, having seen the news on our wildlife blog.

They were most impressed with the quality of the Southern Marsh Orchids and admired some very fine Common Spotted Orchids. They asked to see the hybrid orchids which were showing very nicely. To cap it all, Dawn found the first Brook Meadow Bee Orchid of the year near the path round the Lumley area. Well done Dawn!


Conservation Work session – Thursday 20th May 2021
Report by Reg Newnham. Photos by Brian Fellows
Thirteen volunteers (including leader) turned out on a calm but, with the feeling of ” the calm before the storm”, an overcast sky & threatening drizzle. Reg Newnham was leading. All the volunteers arrived at the start time. There was a new volunteer, Aaron Rose who was made welcome to the group.

Tasks were described and allocated.  The tasks were:
Litter picking
Removal of Hemlock Water-dropwort from Central Meadow’s flower rich area and backfill where there had been removals.
Fill in hole by Beryl’s seat
Cut scallops in North Meadow and mow and rake the “child area” also in North Meadow.
Strim the Riverbank south of the north bridge.
Complete the dead hedging by the S-bend in the river
With many tasks, the group split into subgroups.
Lesley and Jennifer did their usual litter pick and were also acted as the duty First Aiders for the session. Fortunately, in this respect, there services were not required.

Lesley and Jennifer also spent some time looking for the first signs of orchids on the main orchid area of which there were many with spotted leaves!
The largest subgroup, with Kathy in charge, worked on the removal of the Hemlock Water-dropwort from the Lumley area. This is designed to prevent this plant from spreading across this valuable wild flower area.  With all the recent rain the wet soil helped the team, but this is a mammoth task and there remain many plants.

Kathy Edwards filled the hazardous hole that had appeared in front of Beryl’s seat closely watched by Tony and Terry!
Nigel cut the grass and raked as required in the North Meadow.
David Search, using the strimmer, cut back the vegetation by the riverbank. As this kit had not been used for some time it needed some attention to start.
Terry and Aaron worked on the dead hedge fence by the river and, after 18 months, it was finally completed. Well done.

A welcome stop for coffee at 11.00 with a good selection of biscuits. Thank you, Pam. The coffee break was held at Beryl’s seat. This was the first time we have been able to have refreshments owing to the Covid restrictions which are now relaxed. A small celebration of getting back to some normality.   After coffee, work continued as above.

At 12.00 all tools were returned to HQ and a productive session was finished. HQ was finally secured at 12.23.
The next scheduled work session is Sunday 6th June.


Conservation Work Session – Sunday 2nd May 2021
Report by Maurice Lillie. Photos by Brian Fellows
Weather: 10 C overcast and part sunny. Continuing our carefully pre-planned session of volunteer work parties by Colin, to ensure compliance with Covid Rules, it was pleasing that twelve volunteers arrived at HQ at the usual time keen to “get on with it”. Brian took a record photograph of those present at the outset, socially distancing!

Four tasks had been arranged, as follows.
Litter-picking. Jennifer and John, appropriately armed with litter pickers, mauve bags, and hoop, set off to start at Palmers Road Copse and surrounding paths. Later reports that they filled a large bag with litter. What a difference that made.
Nigel driving the power scythe and Pam carrying shears and rake proceeded to the Rowan plantation to trim the around the trees and the spaces in between them. On the way there, Nigel stopped off to cut the ‘Play Area’ in the North Meadow.   An excellent job well done.

The main task was to remove the increasing spread of Hemlock Water-dropwort from the Lumley area to prevent it damaging what is the most important wild flower area on Brook Meadow. Assistant Leader Kathy assisted by, Debi, Dave P and Geoffrey, dug out, bagged, transported, and dumped 15 large bags of whole plants. Each bag was securely tied with a cable tie, to prevent leakage. A box of surgical gloves was provided to be worn underneath the usual gloves to ensure that the most likely point of skin contact would be eliminated as the juice from the plants can damage skin.

See below for a video clip of this work

I chose the space behind the grass dump in the south east corner of NM to place the bags for at least six months to ensure decomposition. This was an excellent heavy job well done. A further two sessions should see this task complete.
The ongoing task of rebuilding the dead hedge along the “S” bend continued under the watchful eye of Terry assisted by Helen Baco and John Hughes. A track made by dogs down to the river near the north end of he dead hedge was blocked with a short section of dead hedge construction. Here’s Terry erecting new fence posts.
In between taking photos of the work activities, Brian helped Dan to identify some of the plants that have recently emerged on Brook Meadow. Here’s a shot of Dan inspecting a growth of Hoary Cress on the bonfire site on the Seagull Lane patch. Interestingly, only two plants have successfully got a hold in the ashes of the old bonfire, namely Hoary Cress and Creeping Thistle.
Tasks not carried out and therefore moved to a later date are –
Mowing the ‘meeting circles’ in the North Meadow.
Re-cutting the scallops in NM and other places – CM and SM and SLP
Reinforcing the informal dead hedge in CM, north west corner.
South meadow servicing eastern edge path and clearing scattered twigs and branches.
North meadow northeast corner clear tree cutting debris and adding to hibernaculum.

Next volunteer work session will be on Thursday 20 May. Details will be circulated beforehand.

Video clip of the removal of Hemlock Water-dropwort


Conservation Work session – Thursday 15th April 2021
Report by Kathy Edwards. Photos by Brian Fellows
Fifteen volunteers (including leader) turned out on this lovely sunny spring morning. It was a calm day and the early slight nip in the air quickly became less evident once everyone started working on their tasks. Kathy was leading and ably assisted by Colin who had kindly co-ordinated the attendees and job list for her in advance.   Most of the volunteers arrived by the start time of 10.00 and we welcomed Beryl to the group.

Following some changes to the pre-assigned task list and a few safety reminders everyone busied themselves with the tasks In hand. The tasks chosen for today were:
1      Continue work on the dead hedge.
2      Distribute the remaining wood chippings on the paths.
3       Litter picking.
4      Collecting wood/bonfire,
5.      Clearing wood piles in the south Meadow
6.      Covering the dead fox in Palmer’s Road Copse .

The dead hedge working party was split into 3 groups. Terry and Reg continued to knock in further stakes . . .

while Pam and Dan sourced suitable willow branches . . .

for Jennifer and Gordon so they could expertly weave the willow branches in between the stakes.

The groups worked very hard at producing an effective and sturdy dead hedge. Hopefully the task will be completed at the next session. In between weaving the new dead hedge Gordon and Jennifer also did some repairs to the lower dead hedge that was obviously being used as a cut way to the main path, collecting some of the material from the long grass nearby.

The last of the wood chippings were finally laid on the paths, with Mike, Nigel and Tony filling and carting the wheelbarrows and Suzanne raking the chipping out on the paths. With very little rain in the last few weeks most of the paths are now fairly dry although there were still a few damp areas that have now benefited from the application of the wood chippings.

Lesley was as diligent as usual in her litter picking and cleaning sign cases, helped today by Beryl.
David S and Colin initially had the unenviable task of covering up the dead fox in Palmers Road Copse. It has now been dead some time and although fairly well hidden it was felt that covering it with branches/wood chippings would allow it to decompose naturally out of sight. David then lent a hand with the cutting of dead hedge material.

While the willow was being cut in the north meadow it was decided that Nigel would cut the small area of grass in front of the fallen willow. Nigel managed to get the power scythe working without any problem after its winter rest and once the cutting was completed helped Colin with raking up the arisings.

This is an ideal area for children to play, climb and picnic. Brian was also pleased to have his favourite sitting area trimmed!
In keeping with current restrictions there was no coffee break and work continued until 11.30 when the tools were packed away. As usual everyone worked really hard and this was a busy and productive work session. The tool store was locked at 11.50.
The next work session is planned for Sunday 2nd May 2021


Conservation Work session – Sunday 28th March 2021
Report by Colin Brotherston. Photos by Brian Fellows
Seventeen volunteers (including leader) turned out on an overcast morning with light winds and occasional gusts. The temperature was 10° C at the start of the session and there was no precipitation.
This meeting followed the usual COVID secure session format with no break for coffee and a shorter time span of 90 minutes.
Colin arrived early to unlock HQ and get tools ready. All but two of the volunteers had arrived by 10.00. There was no welcome talk and the register was pre-prepared. Most of the volunteers had communicated their intention to attend so tasks were pre-allocated and started almost immediately.
The tasks chosen for today were a continuation of those from the last session.
1            Spreading chippings on to the muddy paths in the north meadow and Palmers Road Copse
2            Installing posts and weaving the S-bend dead hedge
3          Moving cut branches from the NE corner to the central dump area.
4          Cutting dead Reed Canary-grass from the Butterbur area in the central meadow.
5          Litter picking

Lesley did a litter pick as usual.
Nigel refitted a wheel to one of the wheelbarrows. The tyre had been re-inflated and hopefully will be good for some time.
Kathy and Juliette started by planting some snowdrop bulbs. It is hoped that these will brighten the meadow in late winter. This task was quickly finished and they joined other teams.
Two teams of three worked on spreading wood chippings onto muddy paths. One team in the north meadow by Beryl’s seat and the other in Palmers Road Copse. The mud is beginning to dry but it is hoped that the chippings will encourage walkers to use the paths and not make new bypass routes.

Another two moved the cut wood from the north east corner (task 3). This task is not finished.

Terry led a team of 5 to continue work on the dead hedge (task 2), preparing and fixing posts into position and starting some of the weaving.
Maurice and Mike cut material for weaving between the posts. It is necessary to use freshly cut material for weaving as this will bend without snapping. There is still plenty of hedge to be repaired so this task will continue.
Another team of two/three worked on removing dead Reed Canary-grass  from the Butterbur area. Extreme care was needed to avoid stepping on the flower spikes of which there were plenty.

Thank you Catherine and Juliette

Brian and Dan will count the spikes next week and it is hoped that there will be an increase from last year when the count was low. Some of the arisings were placed at the entrance to the north cut circle. There is evidence of dog disturbance here and this needs to be discouraged to avoid damage to bulbs.
Colin organised the teams to ensure everybody was usefully employed.
The session ended shortly after 11.30 and the tools were packed away. The tool store was locked at 11.50. So ended a good session with good progress on all tasks.
The nest work session is planned for Thursday 15th April 2021.


Conservation Work session – Thursday 18th March 2021
Report by Colin Brotherston. Photos by Brian Fellows
Thirteen volunteers (including leader) turned out on an overcast morning with no wind. The temperature was 7° C at the start of the session and there was an exceedingly small amount of precipitation.  This meeting followed the same format as the last COVID secure session with no break for coffee and a shorter time span of 90 minutes.
Colin arrived early to unlock HQ and get tools ready. Some volunteers were already waiting and everyone had arrived by 10.00. There was no welcome talk and the register was pre-prepared. Most of the volunteers had communicated their intention to attend so tasks were pre-allocated and started almost immediately.

Here are some of the volunteers at the start of the session.

Jennifer and Kathy signing a card for Wally and Rosemary Osborne’ 60th Wedding Anniversary.  Well done!   Wally was an original member of the group and former chairman.

Reg moving a trolley full of tools, etc

Terry the axe man

The tasks chosen for today were a continuation of those from the last session.
1            Spreading chippings on to the muddy paths
2            Installing posts and weaving the S-bend dead hedge
3            Erecting a barrier for the flower rich area in the north meadow
4          Litter picking

Kathy led a team of 5 to tackle task 1. The chippings which had been dumped in the Seagull Lane patch by recent tree cutting contractors were barrowed to the muddy paths between the North and Central meadows. The chippings were then raked onto the path. There are still plenty of chippings to be distributed. This task requires a lot of energy partly because the chippings have to be transported a considerable distance to where they are needed.

 

Terry led a team of 3 to continue work on the dead hedge (task 2), preparing and fixing posts into position and starting some of the weaving. There is still plenty of hedge to be repaired so this task will continue.
Maurice led the wildflower task with 2 volunteers. This task is now finished.

Brian wished to do his annual Butterbur flower spike count. But this task required that some of last season’s growth of Reed Canary-grass needed to be cleared away so the spikes could be visible. Despite the help of one volunteer this task proved rather difficult, the reed grass being too tough for a slasher.
It was agreed that at the next session on March 28th we would allocate two volunteers to assist with shears. Care needs to be taken to avoid stepping on the Butterbur flower spikes. Brian is of the view that as long as the count is made by the beginning of April it should not be too late.
Lesley and Jennifer departed to litter pick by Palmers Road car park.
Colin organised the teams to ensure everybody was usefully employed. There is one wheelbarrow wheel that has a soft tyre and this needs to be repaired before the next session.
The session ended shortly after 11.30 and the tools were packed away. The tool store was locked at 11.50.
So ended a good session with good progress on all tasks. Volunteers appeared to enjoy themselves. It is planned to continue sessions with this format for the next couple of months.
The next work session will take place on Sunday 28th March, one week earlier than normal to avoid clashing with Easter Day.


Conservation Work session – Sunday 7th March 2021
Report by Colin Brotherston. Photos by Brian Fellows
Sixteen volunteers (including leader) turned out on a dry sunny morning with no wind. The temperature was 7 deg C at the start of the session but with some warmth in the sun it did not feel cold.
This was the first work session of the year. Sessions had been suspended in January and February due to the Covid 19 emergency. However as most volunteers will have received vaccinations and the infection rate falling it was deemed time to start up again with a few precautions.
Colin and Maurice arrived early to unlock HQ and get tools ready. Most of the volunteers arrived by the start time of 10.00. There was no welcome talk and the register was pre-prepared. Most of the volunteers had pre-announced their intention to attend so tasks were pre-allocated and started almost immediately. There was no break for coffee and the session was slightly shorter.
The tasks chosen for today were:
1            Spreading chippings on to the muddy paths
2            Installing posts and weaving the S-bend dead hedge
3            Erecting a barrier for the flower rich area in the north meadow

Volunteers preparing for the work session

Kathy led a team of 5 to tackle task 1. The chippings which had been dumped in the Seagull Lane patch by recent tree cutting contractors were barrowed to the muddy paths between the North and Central meadows. The chippings were then raked onto the path. This area is always very muddy and there remain many more chippings to spread at future sessions.

Job completed

Terry led a team of 6 to continue work on the dead hedge (task 2), preparing and fixing posts into position and starting some of the weaving. This task will be continued at the next session.
Maurice led the wildflower barrier task with 2 volunteers. This area will need further work at future sessions.

Colin organised the teams to ensure everybody was usefully employed and attended to a few minor tasks including erecting notices on the wildflower rich area and applying dry lubricant to padlocks which were becoming corroded with lack of use during the winter months.
The session ended promptly at about 11.30 and the tools were packed away. The tool store was locked at 12.00.
So ended a good session with good progress on the three tasks. Volunteers appeared to enjoy themselves. It is planned to continue sessions with this format for the next couple of months.
The next work session is planned for Thursday 18th March 2021 from 10am to 11.30am. Colin asks anyone who intends to take part in work sessions to contact him first so that the tasks can be planned in advance. colin.brotherston@btinternet.com Phone: 07779 759696


For Workday reports for 2020 go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news-archives/

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