Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

It was a really atmospheric day with the volunteers on our land at Mike’s Wood at Staveley on Tuesday. For many it was the first frost of the season and we arrived to crystal clear sunshine and stunning views. Things soon changed and before long we were working in thick fog! But with only a couple of days to go before the start of December, it was time to break out the mince pies and spirits were high.

We were joined by a record number of volunteers and lovely to see many old friends but also lots of younger new friends willing to learn new skills. The first task of the day was to head up to the top of the wood to check out the new bench that our tree surgeon Pete Walton had lovingly made for us to replace the 20 year old one going rotten. It is a lovely bench with lovely views, and we hope all visitors will enjoy it. 

Pictured: The new bench lovingly made for us by tree surgeon Pete Walton 

The rest of the day was spent on two tasks. We had recruited some wallers to join us and they started fixing a gap caused largely by the badgers jumping the wall. The original idea was to rebuild the wall with a badger smoot/hole. But, the quality of the stone was so good, and the gap was in the middle of the central wall that we decided to put in a new badger or people gap and build two new cheek ends so everyone can use the new gap to walk up to the top of the site.

Pictured: Decisions decisions for our volunteer wall gang!

The other half of the group were coppicing. The wood will soon be 30 years old and we do have regeneration but it is always a good idea to have diversity in a wood, both in species and age structure, especially to provide climate change resilience. It seems very strange to be cutting down trees when we are usually planting them but we want to keep the path through the wood open and we also have a stand of ash regeneration which unfortunately has died with ash dieback.

Pictured: Coppicing to encourage diversity and age provides resilience for our woodlands

To make the day even better, just as we were finishing, the Tawny owl gave us a fly past 😊 

Pictured: One of the owl boxes on-site at Mike's Wood

There are now only two workparties left this year. But, plenty more to come: We have just put the dates for all the workparties for 2023 online. We will be emailing it out to all those of you who have signed up to the workparty reminder list shortly.

You can see our calendar of workparties here and sign up to join us>

If you would like to join the list of regular workparty emails, let us know via [email protected]