Witchford Village

Open Spaces Group Update - November 2018

Posted on: Nov 14, 2018
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Kevin’s Place
Sixteen volunteers gathered at Kevin’s Place on a Sunday morning in early October to cut the grass in the meadow of the old orchard. This was the annual mow and raking off of the current year’s growth to encourage the germination of wild grasses and flowers next spring. The morning’s work was followed by much appreciated baked potatoes, bacon baps and mince pies for the volunteers.

Sandpit Drove Conservation Area
Following the mow at Kevin’s Place the mower was set to work cutting parts of the wildflower meadow in Sandpit Drove. Several volunteers then raked off the cuttings in two mid-week sessions in preparation for autumn sowing in the meadow of wildflower seed funded by the parish council. The mown areas will be scarified and the seed sown into the disturbed ground to increase the density of wildflowers.

At the end of October the ditch clearance between the village college and the meadow has yet to take place, but will happen during November. The first part of this task, to provide access to the ditch between the pond and the meadow by removing the dead brambles and elder, was carried out in October using a machine arranged by the parish council.

Millennium Wood
During October the gates to the Millennium Wood were removed as the first stage in the replacement of the gate posts, which were failing. In an operation organised by the Woodland Group (the committee set up to advise the parish council on the management of the wood), the gates were replaced in an all-day operation by volunteers (with much appreciated support from neighbours Nigel and Andy, who provided water for concrete and refreshments for the volunteers). The new posts, made of oak and almost 3 m long, were purchased from a sawmill near Thetford. The gates are in store for refurbishment, when they will be cleaned and oiled, and the lettering repainted.

Another task carried out in October in the Millennium Wood was the restoration of the hedgehog hibernaculum. Rotten timber and the whole of the roof were replaced. It was also modified by removing the pipe entrance and replacing it with an internal tunnel, and the whole structure incorporated into a log pile. It’s hoped these measures will make it more attractive for hedgehogs wishing to hibernate. This assumes that there are hedgehogs in or around the wood. Are there any reports?

There will be a woodland management session in the wood on Sunday 9 December: Volunteers will for example clear the entrance path surface and prune back the edging shrubs; trim the boundary hedges; and place tree guards around shrubs. There will be a bonfire and seasonal fare to enjoy at the end of the session.

Witchford Open Spaces Group volunteers help to maintain and improve sites throughout Witchford to encourage wildlife and for the enjoyment of the local community. We welcome new volunteers, young to not-so-young, at any time. Why not come along?

For more information about the Open Spaces Group contact Richard Braund on 665222 (e-mail richardbraund50@hotmail.com). See us also on Instagram at Witchford_Open_Spaces.

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