One of our members works for Network Rail and, on 26th October, he organised a “Corporate Event” in Ox Close with his colleagues. The day was a great success. The day started by filling and lighting one of the charcoal kilns and other activitied included moving logs and using the stock trailer to round up the cows from the Marsh to transfer them to the wood. The burn produced a respectable 41 bags of charcoal.
Much work has been done recently at Elliker Field and Wood. Now that the cows are removed from the field this has been cut and raked.
The log store (just out to the right of the picture) is completed and we plan to create a pond in the field into which rainwater run-off from the roof will be directed.
During the winter months, the eastern boundary of Ox Close wood has been cut back. Trees that were overhanging the field have been removed or trimmed back to allow more light to the field edge thereby benefitting any growing crops. To maintain a boundary a new hedge has been planted along this side of the wood. Thanks go to The Woodland Trust for supplying the plants, guards and supports.
During March, a group of Trust volunteers visited some Duke of Burgundy butterfly sites to do a bit of habitat maintenance. The food plants of this butterfly are Primroses and Cowslips. Scrub was cleared to allow light to penetrate to the ground to allow these plants, primroses in particular, to thrive.
Following this work members, along with other conservationists, returned in May to see the fruits of their labours and were rewarded with sightings of twenty adult Duke of Burgundy butterflies. Other butterflies seen were five Dingy Skippers, a Small Copper and a Red Admiral.
Work has started on the construction of a log store in Elliker Wood. We plan to move most of the log piles (others are habitat piles) from Elliker Wood and some from Ox Close so that the logs can season for a couple of years under cover before they are used. We intend to start selling logs to the community in the autumn of 2017.
Over the last three months a great effort has gone into creating new habitats in Elliker Wood. Rides have been cleared along the top, bottom and eastern sides, boundaries have been fenced, the old and decaying hedgeline along the eastern side has been laid and pedestrian and vehicular access gates have been installed.