Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday 3rd October: Orchard Management

This month's task was helping to improve the old orchard in the middle of Mowsbury Hill Fort, adjacent to the golf course. Orchards are a nationally important habitat; the orchard at Mowsbury has been somewhat neglected and the task was to begin to clear back scrub from around the orchard to improve the light. Further work to help restore the orchard should take place later in the year.

Despite the dire weather forecast four stalwart volunteers helped to bash scrub back around the orchard, raked off grass from a nearby wildflower glade, which is covered by hundreds of orchids in the spring and began to knock back some of the scrub by the glade too.

The rain mainly held off and all had a very enjoyable day clearing back scrub. As ever Priory Rangers would like to thank Paul N., Paul B, Gordon and Alan for all their hard work, it is much appreciated.

The next task is coppicing at Putnoe Woods on 7th November. The wood is divided into several coppice plots and the hazel is cut on a seven-year cycle. The coppiced hazel is used for stakes and binders for hedgelaying by local conservation groups, by a local morris group for morris sticks, as well as by schools who want natural materials for local craft projects. Cutting a different plot each year gives rise to a variety of habitats of different age and degrees of canopy cover, encouraging a diversity of flora and fauna.

If you would like to help us maintain the biodiversity of these beautiful woodlands please come along and help on the 7th of November.
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