Sunday, 28 November 2021

Fencing at Styal on Sunday 28th November 2021

Seven of us met up with Craig on a crisp winter's morning for a task that was hopefully going to keep us warm.

Our worksite was only a very short walk from the car park on the path leading to the steps down to the mill.  A cleft fence had been started by another group and unfortunately it wasn't as level as Craig would have liked, so our first job was to take part of it out and put it back deeper in the ground so it was all of the same height.  Once this was done we continued erecting the fence going away from the car park towards the steps.

It did at times prove quite a hard task as we were having to dig into sandstone  this meant in a few cases the posts had to be shortened. None of this was made any easier by the snow that started to fall late morning.

Just as we were packing up we had a visit from Craig's family whose two daughters went home very happily with the four remaining cup cakes.

Thanks to Craig and my colleagues for a very productive workday.

Andy Hill

Monday, 15 November 2021

Removing fencing at Styal on Sunday 14th November 2021

On a beautiful morning,  caught out by the surprise ice on the car, 6 on us met up with Stuart in the car park at Styal.

From there we had a shortish walk to our work site for the day to continue with a job we started three weeks previously of removing fencing from around ponds in a field that is used for cattle.  Luckily they had moved the cattle for us but left plenty of cow pats.

We set to and cleared a fair section before stopping to observe the 2 minutes' silence at 11:00 and then have our brew.  By lunchtime we had almost finished the pond area that had been allocated but Stuart, once that had been completed, pointed us in the direction of the next fenced area to be cleared.

It was a good day and Stuart was more than made up with what we had achieved.  Thanks to everyone who turned up for all the hard work and to Stuart for having us.

Before ...

... and after


Monday, 8 November 2021

Tree thinning at Alderley Edge on Sunday 7th November 2021

11 of us met today at Alderley Edge to continue the job we began on 17th October - digging up and cutting down birch saplings in an area of woodland across the road from the Wizard Car Park.  Removal of the saplings will allow bilberry and heather to re-establish beneath the native trees.

Unusually we were unsupervised (the ranger does not work weekends), but we knew what we were doing from our visit last month.  Tree poppers were an excellent tool to pull up the small saplings and proved that the right tool for the job makes things so much easier (and enjoyable!).

In the morning, half the group worked in the same area as on 17th October and the other half worked in a new area across the lane.  All morning, both groups struggled to get a bonfire going despite valiant efforts!

We took cake and coffee at 11:00, lunch at 1 and called it a day at 3.  Three people had to leave after lunch so at close of play eight of us remained to make the fire safe and return the tools to the rangers' toolshed.


Sunday, 31 October 2021

Workday fencing at Styal on Sunday 31st October 2021

Seven of us met ranger Vicky in the car park at 09:30 to continue tasks funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Vicky was a few minutes late due to the weather so we all huddled in the Outdoor Education Centre to escape the torrential rain.

The work site was just a five minutes walk to a field used by the Bollin Valley Partnership to graze longhorn cattle, the job - taking out an old barbed wire fence in preparation for contractors coming in to erect a new stock fence. We had also worked in the same field in August, planting wildflower plugs.

We used loppers and bowsaws to clear the scrub away, took off the wire using fencing pliers and claw hammers
then dug out the fence posts.
Barbed wire fence has to be carefully rolled to stop it springing apart when laid flat.
We finished the day tidying up the edges of the popular walking path that skirts the field.
There’s nothing to show for all the hard work - but that’s the point!
The product of our labours, ready for disposal.
A very enjoyable day, especially as the rain stopped soon after we started work and held off until we were back in the car park.

Text and photo's from Jean

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Rhody bash at Lyme Park on Sunday 24th Oct 2021

Thirteen of us arrived in the main car park to meet Ranger Flo before walking up to the Stables block, where Ranger Issy welcomed us and we all walked to where we'd be working, at Coal Clough Pit, by the side of the Deer Sanctuary.

Safety talk before we got started

The weather was a bit mixed and it rained on us a little on occasion,

but it was a great day, we cut down and burnt lots of rhododendron ponticum (the common, invasive variety) on not just one, but two fires!! - although it was nearly three when we noticed some embers had landed on a nearby rotten trunk which was smouldering!

A roaring fire:-) 

It was a lovely workday - we had a new volunteer and some established members who'd not been out with us for a while joined us, including Sue who is also a Lyme Park Ranger, and who popped over to say hello.

It was great to catch up with Ranger Issy and also Ranger Flo, who'd only been at Lyme Park for a couple of weeks. 

By the end of the afternoon we let the fires die down, but continued cutting the rhody so it was ready for another time, or for another group to burn if they got there first.

Photo's from Sue and Adrian

Tree thinning at Alderley Edge on Sunday 17th October 2021

Ten of us met up at the carpark at Alderley Edge in the drizzle for our first workday here since June last year.  After collecting tools we crossed the road to an area closed to the public which has been cleared of big trees but where birch trees have self seeded.  Our task was to remove the birch saplings some of which were 4m high.  The Alderley Edge mid-week group had already cleared part of the area and left plenty of wood to burn.  Despite the drizzle we managed to light a roaring fire.

The rain soon eased off and left us with a dry spot for the morning break (vegan choc cake and ginger cake).  Some of the small saplings could be pulled up by hand, others needed a bit more equipment.  We had mattocks and two “tree poppers” to use for the smaller stuff and the bigger stumps were pulled out with a hand winch attached to one of the mature trees.

By mid-afternoon we had cleared the patch of saplings so we put rope round the fire and headed back to the carpark having done a good day's work.  Local Granellis ice cream van was there for refreshments.  I know it’s good ice cream because I used to live 12 doors down from the factory shop!


Sunday, 17 October 2021

Zoom quiz on Thursday 13th October 2021

After the success and enjoyment of our first zoom quiz on 9th April, tonight we held our second.

Nine of us took part and between us set seven rounds of 10 questions.

First round was band/singer 'say what you see' followed by NT properties, natural history, GK, 80s music, GK and films/sequences.  None of the rounds were too easy and some very were difficult with half marks being a good score.  The top three were Andy S with 36 points out 60, then with Megan 35 and Daniel with 34.

Thanks for Sue and Ally for organising the evening, to all the question setters and everyone who took part.

At the end we talked about organising a Christmas zoom quiz in December with Christmas attire mandatory!  Details TBC.

Daniel Black