After an uncertain start last Sunday morning, the rainclouds dispersed and eight willing workers turned out for the first working party of the winter at Quillet 2879. There was a lot to do. The hazel branches and miscellaneous bits of wood from garden sheds that we’d used five years ago for the lower section of the stairway are starting to rot, so we measured up for replacing them. More holes – presumably made by rabbits – have appeared low down on the lengths of plastic deer fencing that we’ve not yet protected with chicken wire. They had to be temporarily patched. Most rewarding, now that we are confident that the deer fencing is working and hazel is able to grow without being eaten, was making a start on the remaining, etiolated hazel that’s not been cut for decades and is nearing the end of its natural life without intervention.
From this ….. …. to this next year?
A pleasant surprise was that some of the hazel outside the deer exclosure that had been coppiced by children from Bucknell School two years ago, was still surviving predation by deer – but only just. To keep it alive until such time as we can afford more fencing, we reinforced the various Heath Robinson methods we’d used at the time.
Four ‘quilleters’ that morning were first timers to our working parties, so particular thanks go to Ros Patching, Gary Price-Hunt and Brenda Dyson from Clun, and to Dave Wright from the School House B&B in Chapel Lawn that looks out onto Brineddin Wood. In the picture, Ros can be seen gathering hazel wands for Clun schoolchildren to use to carry lanterns on their procession to meet the Snow Queen when she switches on the Clun Christmas lights.
And finally, an Oak Apple: