More sensory delights this week with our annual work party over in the delightful How’s Wood in Eskdale. Local resident and Friends member Peter had an advance scout round so we had a task list. Quite a list too: two wall gaps, repairs to wooden ‘bridges’ and a bit of new netting on top to stop slips, deer fence repairs, evicting a stray rhododendron and path clearance. (Rhododendrons might look pretty but if left uncontrolled, they will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life. Their extensive root system and leaf litter is toxic to many other plants.

As with Mike’s Wood last week there were bluebells but the sensory delight this week revolved around hearing.  The bird song was amazing, punctuated only by the tooting of the L’al Ratty steam train and volunteer chatter and laughter.  At our volunteer training day on birds last year we learnt about a fantastic bird app called Merlin. It helped us identify the songs of wren, chaffinch, willow warbler, song thrush, cuckoo, and many more. Peter was entertaining us modelling a toupé made of cable ties... the fresh air must go to our heads sometimes!!

On Thursday it was a visit with the boss to see a member who is thinking of gifting us land in future.  This happens once or twice a year, but sometimes, as with our new wood near Carlisle, people gift us land without even telling us.  Any advance conversations are guided by our Land Acquisition and Disposals Policy which sets out various tests we must meet to acquire or dispose of land.  The generosity of our members is humbling.  As part of our new strategic direction we will shortly be starting a review of our land holdings. So, if you have thoughts on what we currently have or what you would like us to have in future, do let us know.

Next week is dry stone walling at Mazonwath, (book here) and a visit to the wood we have just been gifted east of Carlisle. More on that next time...