Sunday 16th April was a lovely morning for our conservation session in the woods. Nineteen volunteers attended and our focus was the footpath running parallel to Dorset Way. Due to the recent heavy rainfall the pathway had become quite muddy.
When the paths are flooded, walkers meander into the undergrowth to find a drier route. While this helps to keep feet dry it can also damage young plants such as bluebells or lesser celandines which grow on the margins.
The lesser celandine is a native wildflower from the buttercup family and is now flowering in the woods.
Our aim was to improve the pathway so that everyone can use it, and the undergrowth on either side is left to grow and is less trampled. We watched how the water flowed, dug additional drainage channels, cleared some of the mud and edged a section of the footpath.
This bill hook is a useful tool for splitting wood into pegs. The pegs were then used to hold the pathway edging in place. It was great to have children join in with the conservation work.
Richard from WBC Countryside Service dropped in with some left-over field maple saplings and, although it is a bit late in the season for tree planting, we gave it a try.
A lovely sight was a pair of nuthatches spotted nest building in the trees that were planted in the area where we have previously cleared the rhododendron.
Stephanie Mckay (Conservation Team)