Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Off Human Bundage

Sorry about the pun on the title of Somerset Maugham’s literary masterpiece, but purely by accident his planned alternative title “Beauty from Ashes” may also yet prove appropriate.

For those of you, who by now, are thinking that finally, I have completely lost the plot, I am of course, referring to the excellent work carried out last Sunday, by the group of Friends, whose ages may have differed by 60 odd years, but whose aim was united in ridding the bund of the dreaded Willow growth.
Bless 'em all - The Long and the Short and the Tall

The plan was simple; following on from the excellent work carried out by the Conservation Volunteers (MK Green Gym), in restoring access to the bund, and starting at the far end, our aim was to pull out as many seedling Willows that we could and cut back close to the base as many young trees as possible. Once our work is complete MKCs Contractors will treat the willow to prevent regrowth. This we hope, should keep the bund relatively tree free, for at least a few years.
Many hands make light work - some of the team in action at the far end of the bund

The cut trees were piled up in stacks and when dry will be burnt, to prevent the cuttings taking root and the problem starting all over again (that’s the ashes bit).

When dry the cut willow will be burnt to prevent it taking root

By the three organisations working together in co-operation, it means that vital habitat maintenance can still take place, despite the severely restricted funds available and in this case, the bund returned to a suitable habitat for the ducks and waders, for which it was originally designed. In turn, we hope that permit holders and school visitors will benefit from improved views and increased numbers of waders and other migrating birds.
Examination of the roots show that willow can regrow from the smallest twig

The bund is of course strictly out of bounds to permit holders and day visitors unless they are part of an official Friends Working Party. It was, therefore, very interesting for the members of the team on Sunday, to see how the habitat has changed over the 20 months since we last carried out similar work. Yes, a lot of the Willow growth had returned, but in between the small trees, we found large patches of chamomile and wild water mint which was giving off a heady scent and providing food to many bees and butterflies.

Some of the young willows had incredibly long roots

We also discovered a couple of giant caterpillars which were carefully relocated to give them the best chance of survival.
Our Moth expert Gordon Redford has now identified this
as the  Caterpillar of the Poplar Hawk Moth

As always, everyone worked hard, but thoroughly enjoyed the morning, making new friends and enjoying each other’s company and of course the chat over a cuppa in the centre once we finished for the day.

If you are part of the Friends Group and are thinking about joining us one Sunday to help with habitat maintenance, but are not too sure what to expect, or maybe are thinking of joining the Friends Group and getting involved in one of our activities, but are not sure if it is for you. Why not come along to one of our Open Sundays (the next one is this Sunday the 15th September) and have a chat with myself or one of the other Committee members and find out a bit more about us?

You will find we are a very friendly bunch and there is a place for everyone irrespective of age, ability or experience.

Tony Bedford
Chairman FoHESC

All photos taken by Malcolm Stewart

1 comment:

  1. Partnerships, co-operation and co-ordination. It's good to hear that progress is being made and that looking after the bund is part of the plan. Jolly well done.

    And in case folk don't say it often enough, very many thanks to you all for your hard work.