Sunday, 6 September 2015

Oak woodland clearance at Erddig, Sunday 6th September 2015

Today's workday almost didn't happen! After frantic attempts at setting up a workday, James at Erddig came to our rescue by agreeing for us to join the Merseyside and Chester groups.

Emails were circulated in the few days beforehand, and we managed to muster a good turnout, with seven of us attending (Lisa, Matt S, Tim, Neil, Tricia, Adrian and Emily enjoying her first MNTV experience). We even had to disappoint the odd person, capping numbers at seven to avoid having too many people overall.

This was our first trip to Erddig (near Wrexham) for many years, but the journey was shorter than anticipated, and the grounds very beautiful, with some enormous mature trees and dazzlingly colourful wildflower borders. And the sun was shining!

The worksite presented us with a wall of tangled greenery. Our task was to identify the oak saplings that were planted a few years ago, and then cut back everything else so the young oaks wouldn't be outcompeted by other trees and simply die off.

The plan is a long-term one. The area will become an oak woodland, with the weaker trees being thinned out in 15-20 years time, and the remaining trees growing tall and strong, ready for harvesting in about 200 years. I doubt we'll see the end result - even Adrian may have hung up his bowsaw by 2215!

Lisa's lemon drizzle cake went down a treat at break time, and by 3pm the three groups had collectively cleared a large area where the oaks now had space to breathe and enjoy clear views to the sky. We burned the remaining brash, with Neil taking the prime role tending the fire.

At 3.30 we were ready to head back down the M56 after a great workday. Hopefully we'll be back at Erddig in 2016!

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