We had a really lovely Spring day for this workparty – the sun was shining but the wind kept the air a bit keen, so I decided that we’d go to the bottom of slope 3 and finish off some of the scrub management.
The aim of today’s work was to continue the long-term project to make and maintain a variable-height scrub mosaic in the lower third of slope 3. In this area we want to have broken blocks of scrub of varying height with paths of varying width snaking through them. The overall effect should be to provide good cover and blocks of shelter for wildlife but also to have the ground exposed enough in places for grass and low, flowering herbs to grow.
So, today we concentrated on lowering the height of certain blocks of scrub rather than removing them completely. This is usually done by selecting the tallest bushes and removing them at ground level, or in the case of woodier bushes and trees we occasionally pollard them at waist height to promote growth at different heights above the ground.
While all this was going on Beryl also had the first good look on the orchid slope and at the end of the session we had found 78 orchids. Much more work to be done (there are approximately 590 ‘live’ plants to look for) but it is a good start, considering the lateness caused by the cold winter.
Buzzards & Red Kites were seen circling over us very frequently and a male Brimstone put in an appearance, fluttering around the scrub and making use of the sunny clearings we’d made. A drone-fly called Eristalis tenax was also seen.