On Saturday we had the first morning of the new Randwick Woodfuel project. This is about doing conservation work in the Randwick woods in return for taking some wood away. I have been trying to set up for over a year - see here Feb meeting last year with details!
There have been various challenges - not least for the National Trust who have been re-organising themselves. I had a meeting in October (see here ) and now it has finally come to fruition and it was loads of fun.....
Click on 'read more' to see more photos, more about the day - and coming in March will be a video.
Saturday we arrived - drizzle cleared pretty soon but it was wet under foot - luckily there was space in the car park for us all without having to use the field. We were met by the Countryside Ranger, Tim Jenkins, who has been wonderfully accommodating to the group - his interest and passion for improving the biodiversity of the woods was infectious - we started with a health and safety talk that struck the right balance between the very serious issues and being intersting enough to not loose anyone's concentration!
First up was burning alot of the brash and cuttings - the area we were working on is a pasture and has in recent years had trees like Turkey Oaks and others growing up - these are damaging the pasture and need removing. Some of the trees also need to come down - this of course is not popular with some - but it really is about restoring and enhancing very special areas of biodiversity - the video that I am putting together will give more on this.
Anyway I sadly had to leave early before any of the wood was dragged out - my brother was in a Panto in Bristol! Couldn't miss that - he was great!
I have spoken to some of the 8 or so people who joined this first group and it sounds like the rest of the session went really well. There is still much to do - we have two more pilot sessions before the summer that are booked - and indeed are already well over booked by those wanting to participate! My hope is that we can set this up again in the Autumn with regular groups - certainly it looks likely if it works as well as this session did!
In the Summer there might be other opportunities for conservation work - and some in the group have expressed an interest in joining that...we'll see - for me it is great to work with the National Trust to reconnect people with the local natural world and community. A great project - big thanks to those (like at Hawkwood) who inspired me to take it forward - but especially the enthusiasm of those interested and participating in the project - and of course Tim Jenkins who has been fantastic!