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The fifth week began with following on from the meeting on the previous Friday about starting a sheep flock for Wytham Woods and Hill End. It was very interesting to research what is needed to start a flock of sheep and hopefully this is knowledge which can be transferred to other places in the future. I enjoyed learning about this and the responsibility of doing this. In the afternoon we purchased a lot of PPE for the volunteers to use and this has been put in the new PPE cabinet. A log and inventory has been created of all the new equipment and hopefully this will last for years to come. Thanks to The Friends of Hill End that we were able to purchase this. On Tuesday I continued planting trees in Wytham with the Oxford Innovation Group in Wytham Park. This was highly enjoyable as ever and I'm looking forward to the next session with them. Work is underway for a website which I have been helping to coordinate which will document these trees yearly. In the afternoon I continued to…
Four weeks have flown by! The week began unexpectedly when on Monday morning I found out that an Austrian Forestry School were coming to Hill End for a tour of Wytham Woods and that I would be helping lead this group with Richard. We had no idea what to expect other than that they were learning to become foresters, had an interest in hunting and were from Austria. We first showed them the Wytham Woods Laboratory With Leaves videos in the meeting room. We then took them on a route we had hastily planned, through Bean Wood to the WW1 trenches in Nealing's Copse, to the new Radbrook Pond, Broad Oak, a Badger set on the Swindford track, The Chalet, My Lady's Seat and then back to Bean Wood. On the way we explained the history of the Estate and the research and management in the woods. Main themes here were birds, badgers, deer, climate change and Ash Dieback. The Austrians were keen to talk about their experience of ash dieback and to see some living ash trees as nearly all of the…
This week has been based entirely at Hill End undertaking some maintenance across the site and planning ahead for the future. The North dorm and Springfield Chalet were painted with the help of volunteers to smarten them up for upcoming visits. The Springfield Chalet will be used for the WW2 days and there are a few of these in the future so it was good to feel that this had an immediate benefit and will hopefully improve the visitor satisfaction. I spent Tuesday learning about pond management and am working on a management plan for the ponds at Hill End, hopefully this will be able to extend across the Wytham Estate. Now that I have a better understanding of ponds I feel like I am now in a position where I can add pond management tasks to the volunteer task list, as if this wasn't long enough! Being able to work in the ponds with volunteers however will be a hugely rewarding process as they are of high conservation value to protected species such as Great Crested newts, and also …
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It has been a productive second week as ffennell Ranger through a variety of tasks across Hill End and Wytham Woods. The Monday was spent investigating software that could be used to manage jobs that need to be done around Hill End. This will be useful in planning jobs for the volunteers, ranger and land manager. If this works well hopefully it can be implemented across the Wytham estate to earmark jobs that need to be done, such as repairs to the deer fence or fallen trees. Tuesday was spent starting to do the surveying of Ash dieback on the main paths in Wytham Woods using their own Ash Dieback App. This will help the woodland manager to plan ahead for the impact of the disease and protect the public from the threat of dead trees. This is something that will need to be undertaken at Hill End given the number of visitors that come to the site, and is something I hope to start soon, alongside tree safety inspections across the site and in the forest school areas. On Wednesday the fri…
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The first week as ffennel Ranger has been very enjoyable as I have been working with two volunteer teams. 4 volunteers from the Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park in Ruddington, Nottingham came for the week for their biannual residential visit. They have been coming twice a year (May and September) and camping in the Sawmill Yard since 2007, and are full of enthusiasm. On Tuesday I joined the team and alongside the Wytham foresters we repaired the interpretation sign at Botley Lodge carpark. I joined them again on Thursday to help build tree guards in the Wytham Park. Trees will be planted in these  by the Oxford Innovation Group to mark each time they help to start a new business. I very much hope to be involved with planting and building more tree guards here in the future as I am very fond of ancient parkland. I hope that the oak trees being planted this year will one day give people the joy that the veteran oak trees presently in the park give me. On Wednesday I led the usual Fri…