Management

This winter’s work in Compartment 4

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Volunteers had already been at work over the last year, opening up the old tennis court and pond areas. The water was too deep for us to extract this fallen willow but the contractor’s machine was able to drag it out for us.

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We had also cut back some of the rampant scrub to free up drooping telephone cables ensnared there. (They have now been raised.)

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For the duration of work on Compartment 3, the wind had been southerly, blowing smoke clear of adjacent houses but then it swung to south west, creating for our neighbours some problems with smoke and ash.

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South of the pond, a large blackthorn thicket gave way to a field of willow-herb with developing thicket of elder and sycamore. The contractors felled all of the latter to prevent their flying seeds populating the whole area. They retained some hawthorns and a few spindly apple trees of unknown provenance which they discovered among the blackthorn. (In the photo above, they are on the left while over towards the Old Coastguards is another apple, perhaps originating from a discarded core.)

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Removal of vegetation uncovered a depressing amount of litter which required an impromptu work party to collect up.

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More interesting was the exposure of this slab of dressed stone whose curvature and incised track identifies it as part of the gun-track from the top of a Martello Tower which once stood here.

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Use of a heavy tracked vehicle enabled us to do the work efficiently and quickly in spite of the soft ground but it has chewed up some of the canalside path. Nowhere, however, is it impassable or deeply muddy and it should dry out in the coming weeks. Those parts of the cleared land which had been shaded for decades will take a couple of years to recover but more open parts will have grown up again by early summer.

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