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Happy New Year from Tarvin Woodland!

31st December 2017 @ 6:06am – by Charles Bradley
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woodland walk

Everyone associated with Tarvin Community Woodland sends the warmest of greetings to the people of the Tarvin community, together with their very best wishes for 2018.

The period at the end of one year and the beginning of the next, the 'New Year', is a good time to take stock of what has been achieved during 2017 and what we are going to try to do in 2018.

Firstly, there is a lot that happens in the woodland on a routine basis. Every day, the bird feeders are filled and the woodland is checked by one of the Trustees. The birds using the woodland are noted during a survey each month, so that we can establish patterns over a full year and this will provide the necessary information upon which we can base our on-going care for the birds that use the woodland. On most weeks of the year, the volunteers are out, taking care of the woodland and putting in-hand the planned improvements. There are two groups of volunteers. One set, which is made up mostly of retired folk, meets on a Thursday morning and has largely been involved in the work of creating and maintaining the older Crossfields and Broomheath sections of the woodland. The other group, newly established during 2017, meets occasionally on a Saturday morning and is comprised mostly of people who are still in work and so have very limited time that they can give. This group has concentrated upon the newest section – the Saxon Heath woodland. It is the hard work of both groups that has resulted in the woodland being awarded its eighth consecutive Green Flag this year. If you would like to be involved in caring for our woodland, do get into contact – you will find details on the woodland website: www.tarvincommunitywoodlandtrust.org.

We feel that it is hugely important to keep the folk in Tarvin (and especially those who make use of the woodland) up-to-date with plans and happenings. Each month, two bulletins are put into each one of our woodland notice boards. One of them describes the jobs that have been tackled (and possibly achieved) during the past month. The other one will list the tasks to be attempted in the month to come. In parallel with these, each month we submit a set of "Woodland Notes" for publication in the Tarvin Parish "Grapevine". This is the appropriate point at which to say a sincere "Thank You" to the Vicar, Rev'd Adam Friend, for finding room to print our articles so frequently. Everyone associated with TCWT is very grateful to him and to St Andrew's Church. Additionally, because not everyone in Tarvin will get to see either (or both) of these, we distribute an A5 newsletter through every letterbox in Tarvin, Oscroft and Stapleford twice a year – in April and September. Add to these the occasional articles, such as this one, on TarvinOnLine and you can see how keen we are that Tarvin's woodland should be high in the consciousness of everyone in Tarvin.

community woodland

We also are involved in three high-profile Tarvin events each year (plus our Coffee morning in October). The three events are our plant sale in May (which enables us to raise a lot of the money needed to run our woodland), Tarvin Fête in June (at which the Trustees are able to meet a great many people and hear their views on how the woodland should be managed) and the Apple Pressing Day in October (which is just enormous fun for everyone!) The Coffee Morning plus the Plant Sale enable us to raise the cash needed to keep the woodland operating. We have three main sources of income – a grant from Tarvin Parish Council (used to pay for insurance and some petrol for the mower), donations from Tarvin people (who are very generous but whose contributions alone would be insufficient to keep us operating) and our very necessary fundraising, which must make up the shortfall. Our plant sale and coffee morning always take place at Tarvin Methodist Church and this is also the right point at which to say a huge "Thank You" to the chapel for the massive support they have always given and continue to give to us.

One of the activities of which we are most proud is our involvement with Tarvin Primary School. It is a good few years now since first we set up the "Jim Grogan Countryside and Wildlife Award" and the winner in 2017 was Annabel Thorp. There are details on the website. We have also spent time with classes of children, who were having their lessons in the woodland. What a wonderful thing it is for the children of Tarvin to have a woodland so close to the school that it can be used as a classroom extension!

There have been some very noticeable acquisitions in the woodland this year. The largest was a green shipping container, fully boarded out, in which we can store all of our maintenance equipment. The most noticeable piece of kit acquired is a brush cutter, which enables us to restore those areas that need cutting to an appropriate state much more quickly and easily. The installation of the container was done without a problem; our resident civil engineers prepared the site and the container was swung from its' lorry into position without a hitch. Those trees and shrubs that had to be pruned have all begun to grow back and the container is 'disappearing' into its surroundings very nicely. We have also recently installed two information boards, one of which tells visitors how the woodland has come about and the other describes our vision for it in the future. Help in funding these was received from the George Heath Foundation, to whom we are immensely grateful. Additionally, we have begun to use smaller wooden boards which can be put in or removed as necessary. These have been specially made for us by Derek Rawden Their function is to tell people about fascinating flowers, trees, birds, animals within the woodland – we hope that a walk will be made more interesting by learning a few things that folk didn't already know. Finally, walkers will have noticed that Gordon Ledwards has made two metal seats (to match those in the rest of the woodland) for us to put alongside the path in the Saxon Heath section of woodland.

woodland walk autumn

Lastly, there are two other points that deserved to be remarked upon. Firstly, the Trust is in negotiation with the CWaC Public Rights of Way Department to have the footpath which passes through the new Saxon Heath woodland designated as a public footpath, so that the public footpath will then extend from Austins Hill to Townfield Lane. The second of the points concerns our level of understanding of the plants and animals with which we work. Willing the Trustees might be – but expert botanists or zoologists they are not! Therefore, a consultant for the Trust has been appointed. She is a lady called Jane Roberts who is expert in trees and woodlands – and how best to look after them. She has agreed that we can refer to her and obtain good advice as to the most appropriate ways in which things should be done. Her influence is already showing, in that our new management plan goes about describing our planned work in a different way. We weren't getting things wrong before; instead, Jane is now helping us to do things even better. And that is the important thing – we all want Tarvin's woodland to go from strength to strength. If you would like to be involved with any of our work, just get into contact. There is ample opportunity for everyone to play their part! And the more of us who are actively involved (in whatever way), the more truly it will be a COMMUNITY woodland!

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