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Week 23

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This week has again been about cutting back and burning as much as possible before the nesting season. Monday was a messy day, with two bonfires and lots of dragging of branches cut a few weeks ago. On Tuesday I helped the woods team to cut a hedge in the Wytham Church yard. This was a massive undertaking but I got huge satisfaction from doing this, firstly because I was a help to them and also because it was a lovely community job to do in a great setting. Wednesday was a busy volunteer day with our willow sculpture, firstly cutting the osier bed to provide materials for the sculptures, spears for the ancient settlements programme and bindings for the hedge laying. Thursday was an enjoyable day doing a pole saw course, which was a great refresher for general chainsaw maintenance and tree pruning. It was a fun day with a great instructor. On Friday we cleared a fence line on the SSSI and helped our willow sculpture volunteer to finish off the sculpture he has been working on in

Week 22

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It feels like spring is finally on its way after a long and wet winter. On Monday I was at Hill End, we had a meeting about centenary projects and I helped to clear fence lines around the site before the start of the nesting season. On Tuesday I was at Wytham, I did the weather station, then worked with Rob from Hill End to do some sweet chestnut coppicing with a school group. They will be using this material to build a bush craft shelter in their new school grounds. I was surprised at how engaged and well behaved they were, and hopefully this was an experience that will stay with them for a while. On Wednesday and Thursday I had forest school training, Thursday was especially good as we did a big fry up on open fires. On Friday I worked with our new volunteer to do some more hedge laying. The trees are really big but we are making some progress with it. 

Week 21

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Following another storm at the weekend there was some more damage to repair around Hill End on Monday. Tuesday we fitted the sluices to the ponds pictures above. Both were challenged and involved a lot of head scratching, but that made it all the more fun. On We4dnesday with the volunteers we did some bedding, cleaning up after the family days, and then did some more hedge laying. It's starting to take shape... On Thursday, despite the snow (!) we were able to go to a nursery to collect some trees and stakes etc. for a planting session on Monday next week. It was good to see the ordering process and also talk to the people there about growing planting. We then went to the ponds which we worked on the week before. The wooden sluice had worked but needed some modifications to it, and the plastic and brick one was working well and we were pleased to see that it is starting to fill back up, finally. On Friday I was mainly office based, drawing up a list of apps which groups coul

Week 20

This week has been a busy week at Hill End with the half term family day and two residential bookings at the weekend. A lot of time was spent preparing the site for these and battling the bad weather, but the challenge was an enjoyable one. On Monday, after clearing fallen trees and repairing the roof on the bush craft shelter so that the site could be used on Tuesday, we started laying a hedge by the challenge trail. It's really thick stuff so the chainsaw was essential but we have made some progress with the volunteers we had on Monday, and hopefully this Wednesday we can continue to improve it. On Tuesday I repaired a fence which was blown over by the storm and also helped to set up and prepare for the family days. We also continued to clear out the compound - now there's going to be some big bonfires! On Wednesday the volunteer group did an amazing job cutting the North Dorm hedge and tidying the compound up for the weekend. A huge improvement. On Thursday I was in Wyth