Witchford Village

Open Spaces Group Update - February 2016

Posted on: Feb 10, 2016
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Millennium Wood
The Open Spaces Group hedge layers began their work in January and laid the first 5 m of hedge. This task will continue through the winter and be completed by the time the hedge comes into full leaf (there are some hawthorn shoots that have opened already).

Edna’s Wood
In January volunteers carried out woodland management in Edna’s Wood, which is on the Permissive Path between the Old Recreation Ground and Long Meadow. The work was mainly to clear vegetation and replace matting around the trees, and to replace tree stakes and guards.

Old Recreation Ground and Community Orchard
In the adjacent Community Orchard two donated quince trees were planted in January, bringing the combined total of fruit and cobnut trees to 78. Pruning of the hard-fruit trees was also carried out by volunteers in January. Pruning of the soft-fruit trees will be completed in the summer.

The Parish Council has approved a Management Plan drawn up by the Open Spaces Group for the Old Recreation Ground and Community Orchard. This is an agreement whereby the Parish Council retains responsibility for the management of this community amenity, but many of the management tasks identified are delegated to the Open Spaces Group. The Management Plan includes a year-long programme in the form of an Activity Plan up to November 2016.

Bird nest-box cleaning and renovation
The OSG maintains six bird nest-boxes in Sandpit Drove and two in the Millennium Wood. In January two were reinstated in Sandpit Drove after being repaired during the winter. Of the others, four of the hole-nesting boxes had blue tit nest remains in them. Another is a kestrel nest-box that was filled up with twigs and leaves, possibly by squirrels, though in the past it has been used for nesting by stock doves. All were cleaned out and checked for damage and secureness.

Wassail in the Wood
The third Wassail in the Wood took place in the Millennium Wood in January. There were around 30 adults and children attending, entertained by musicians and songsters with wassail songs by lamplight around an impressive log fire. There was cider made from Witchford apples, and perry made from local pears. The proceedings ended with fireworks to emulate the bangs of the traditional wassail ceremony that will ensure a good harvest of apples.

Would you volunteer with the Witchford Open Spaces Group?
Witchford Open Spaces Group volunteers have been working for conservation and people’s enjoyment of the countryside since 1989. Some of us are the same volunteers that were around in 1989! Many residents of Witchford are aware of and appreciate the benefits that the OSG has brought to the community over the years, encouraging wildlife and promoting green spaces and access to the countryside. We do however rely entirely on volunteers, and if our good work is to continue into the future, we need more volunteers, and in particular the support of younger members of the community.

If you would like more information, look on this website at the video we made in 2014 to celebrate our 25th anniversary. If you feel you can contribute to this worthy cause please contact Richard Braund on 665222 or e-mail richardbraund50@hotmail.com.

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