The last two weeks volunteering effort has seen the midweek volunteers back at Hem Heath armed with our bow saws. We’ve been continuing the coppicing work and enlarging the glade. It seems like we’ve been there forever but looking around today it is possible to see how much work we have done. Fingers crossed with a final effort next week we’ll be all finished up there and can turn our attention elsewhere.
The last couple of weeks have shown me cutting down trees isn’t just a case of do a bit of sawing and let gravity do the rest. I seem to have the knack of choosing a tree that gets hung up or caught in a nearby tree. Last week I managed to cut too low so that I didn’t create a ‘hinge’ and the tree, although cut all the way through, just remained standing on its stump. A hefty kick from Greg managed to drop the tree and then he used a branch to walk the tree out so it eventually fell. This week all of the trees I chose seemed to get caught in neighbouring branches. It’s pretty impressive that a single branch can hold up the weight of the rest of a tree. Luckily the other more experienced volunteers were at hand to help me out whenever I got a bit stuck.
Not surprisingly, given the amount of noise a work party can make whilst felling trees, there isn’t normally a lot of wildlife around but I’ve managed to find the odd little bit. A few inverts have put in an appearance; I found a slug on a branch I was cutting last week and spied a spider scuttling across some leaves. A pair of ladybirds put in an appearance today, lulled out into the open by the surprisingly mildness of the season. Fungi have caught my attention slightly after finding a few different types upon the wood we’ve been moving. There’s also been some first signs of spring, with a few shoots pushing their tips above ground.
The hope is that we’ll get the work finished next week; there’s not many trees left in the area that we’re working in but I may have said that in my last post so I’ll wait and see.