As well as our longer projects our Volunteers also tackle many shorter, day long jobs, around our patch. This is the time of year when we are between the intense woodland work and the start of the regular path cutting projects and is a time to catch up with the smaller jobs around our sites. The following projects undertaken during April are typical of the sort of things we do.
Earlham Park: On Friday 5th April we were at Earlham Park with Matt H where we cut back a section of footpath alongside the River Yare between Heronry Pond and the UEA boundary. Fallen branches were moved away from the footpath and the edges were mowed and brushcut. The stock fencing was checked, and loose posts repaired or replaced. Willow brash beside the pond was cut back to stop this taking over the site and was then used to repair damage to a nearby area of the riverbank where deep cuts caused by erosion were edging closer to the footpath. The willow brash was laid in the cuts and staked in place. Eventually this will silt up and grow, filling the gaps and re-establishing the riverbank. We then turned our attention to the nearby Violet Grove where fallen trees blocking the woodland path were cleared. Liz and Bonnie went off with a wheelbarrow full of mulch and checked and topped up the young trees within the metal tree guards.
Marston Marsh: We returned to the marsh on Thursday 11th April to complete a few jobs started a few weeks previously. The fence beside the new entrance gate was removed and replaced with a new post and rail fence to complement the new gate. One of the old posts happily fell over when we removed the rails, but the other post wouldn’t budge despite all our efforts so was eventually cut off at its base – hard (and inelegant) work when you are on your knees and cutting close to the ground. Holes were dug and a run of new posts were installed, and the rails fixed to these. The remainder of the willow coppiced previously was pulled out of the dyke and burned. Tim and Ian emptied an old cattle trough of years of accumulated debris ready to be removed sometime soon. And the final job was to replace a plank on the bridge crossing a dyke on the far side of the site. Paula was in charge and had made a tangy and zingy orange cake to perk us all up. I gave my scones an Easter flavour by adding mixed spice.
Earlham Millennium Green: On Friday 12th April we were the other side of the Watton Road with Matt H to catch up with some tasks on Earlham Green and around the Millennium Pond. Contractors had recently coppiced some trees along the old hedgerow, so we planted plum and bullace whips to fill in the new gaps. The grass around the pond and beside the boardwalk was given its first cut of the season and the areas around the kissing gates were brushcut before the nettles etc could take hold. The pond looks a lot different since the old fishing platforms were removed but this made access for mowing a lot easier. The platforms will be replaced sometime soon. so an opportunity for our Volunteers to get close to the water! A few brave blackbirds were busy collecting worms for their young very close to where we were working. They were taking advantage of the disturbed soil and letting us do their digging work for them. It was a lunchtime finish on a cold and dank day.