George’s Hayes

There’s been a slight delay to this blog post as I’ve been down in Hampshire visiting the boyfriend. I’m slightly jealous of where he lives as standing in his doorway I’ve seen my first Red Kite, plenty of buzzards and at night time I can hear Tawny Owls calling in the woods next to the bedroom. On my train home today he text me saying that a pair of Kites flew over his head whilst he was doing survival day activities with children. There’s a possibility that either the Red Kites or the Buzzards nest in a tree about 200 meters from his door; if they do this year he may struggle to drag me away from watching them! Anyway enough about my jealously, and on to last weeks volunteering. We spent both days at George’s Hayes. George’s Hayes is a ancient woodland site, halfway between Rugeley and Lichfield, known for its abundance of native wild daffodils. Our task for the two days was to thin out an area of Ash trees. At some point in the not too distance past the whole area had been cleared and the Ash trees took advantage of all this space and quickly sprang up. Although the trees were lacking leaves it was pretty obvious thatΒ when they obtain their foliage, due to how close they are to each other very little light would reach the ground. Armed with our trusty bow saws and loppers we set off creating space between the trees.

Trees before any thinning
Trees before any thinning

There were signs of the red deer amongst the tree; marks on the bark where they’d rubbed against it and piles of their droppings scattered around. Rather damp clay piles showed where moles had struggled their way through the wet earth. A pair of ladybirds were found sheltering in a nook on a branch and there were plenty of fungi amongst the stumps for me to take photos of and puzzle over once I was at home.

Funghi - some sort of puffball
Fungi – some sort of puffball

Wednesday was a bizarre day as it started out nice but the weather quickly went downhill. With the wind picking up we sheltered in the minibus to eat our lunch before decided the weather was too bad to continue, so after a quick dash to collect the tools, we admitted defeat and headed home. Thursday was much better with the sky bright and blue apart from a very brief shower after lunch. It also meant that we were able to treat the stumps of the trees to prevent any regrowth occurring. One of the John’s also found a patch of rhododendron which was quickly dealt with.

Beautiful blue sky! Drastic contrast to Wednesdays weather!
Beautiful blue sky! Drastic contrast to Wednesdays weather!

Thursday was also the better day as Greg bought marshmallows for us to toast on the fire πŸ™‚ It’s been something I’ve been thinking of doing since someone mentioned it when I first started volunteering back in July but I always remember at the wrong time. I’m pretty sure most of mine ended up with ash on them but they still went down well! And according to Lucy they have no calories because they’re so light a fluffy; bonus!

Thinned out trees
Thinned out trees

Next week we’re off to Thorswood to deal with some Birch scrub.

Beth x

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