Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>
2nd February 2022...

Although it was a damp and dreary day, it was a very exciting day for us. We held our first ever workparty in Resp Haw and Bull Coppice woods in the beautiful Rusland valley.

These woods were generously gifted to us by local member David Archibald two years ago but with Covid we have been unable to get into them and explore with our volunteers. So spirits were high yesterday despite the weather, and our new team of 9 volunteers worked really hard.

The woods have some remnants of atlantic rainforest and are dominated by oak, yew and birch. Our first task was to remove beech regeneration to stop it taking over the wood and shading out the light and understory for other plants. We had taken over some tree tubes and stakes from High Borrowdale to tube up some of the regeneration of oak and hazel.

The wood should have an understory layer of hazel, thorny species and holly but with the severe deer pressure in the area none of the regeneration is able to develop and grow. It was disappointing that we found hardly any regeneration to tube at all! Rectifying this will form some of our plans for the woods in the future, along with trying to make the wood more resilient.  

We are hoping to work with our friends at Rusland Horizons to see if we can restore/regenerate some characteristics of the atlantic rainforest here. It was upsetting to see the amount of damage the woods have suffered with the storms, so we spent some time clearing trees and branches were we could off access routes, but clearing the rest will require specialist help and equipment.

There were however some lovely signs that spring is coming closer with catkins on the trees and the first shoots of the bluebells on the lower slopes of the wood, something to look forward to in the months to come.