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Maintaining and Improving Tarvin's Woodland

1st September 2022 @ 6:06am – by Charles Bradley
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saxon heath woodland with notice board

The woodland is managed, on behalf of the village, by Tarvin Community Woodland Trust Ltd., but all of the work done to care for it is carried out by our stalwart band of woodland volunteers. Most of the work is carried out by the Thursday group – a band of mostly-retired people who spend their Thursday mornings throughout much of the year doing all of the tasks that are required in the longer-established (and better developed) sections behind the school and Crossfields. Work on the Taylor Wimpey section of woodland, set up as a part of the Saxon Heath development, was, in part, delegated to the other group of volunteers – those folk who, because they are gainfully employed, are only available on Saturday mornings. Anyone so inclined is welcome to join this group – the more of us there are, the more quickly the tasks are accomplished!

The Saturday group was previously quite small and, because of the pandemic, it has not met for the last three years. Some things were still done by individual volunteers – particularly in terms of planting wild flowers in the "meadow" area off Fairfax Avenue – but, to a large extent, Mother Nature has been left to her own devices – and a great success she has made of it! (Why, oh, why, am I surprised when I write that!) However, Mother Nature's timescale is somewhat longer than ours and getting wild flowers established for our enjoyment is a task that we can speed up if we give her a hand.

We meet next on the Saxon Heath estate on Saturday (3rd September 2022) between 10am and 12 noon, at the kissing gate into the meadow on Fairfax Avenue. The meadow has already been mown and all of the mowings have been raked off (to try to avoid increasing the soil fertility) by the Thursday volunteers, so that we can get busy straight away. The three tasks that we have to accomplish are 1). sowing Yellow Rattle seeds, 2). planting a number of pot-grown wildflowers and 3). planting the bulbs of Snakeshead Fritillaries.

Jacqui suggests that people bring along hand forks to disturb the soil for Yellow Rattle seeds. The more obvious tactic of using rakes will fail, she thinks, because the larger rake head may get caught up in the grass and therefore will be unable to disturb the soil sufficiently. Trowels will also be needed to plant the wildflowers (growing in small pots) and the tiny Snakeshead Fritillary bulbs. Anyone who has problems with their knees may like to bring a kneeler!

There will, of course, be lots of coffee and biscuits (including chocolate biscuits!) to sustain us in our efforts! If there are enough of us, the tasks ought not to take too long but they need to be done at this time of year if they are to be successful. If you are able to spare an hour or two on Saturday morning, we'd be really pleased to see you.

Do come along if you can on Saturday, 3rd September 2022 between 10am and Noon. Meet at the kissing gate on Fairfax Avenue.

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