A Busy October

After a period of enforced dormancy, the Society is on the move again.


Although the ‘Redlake Valley Now and Then’ mini-festival had been cancelled because of rising Covid cases, some outdoor events carried on under the banner of ‘Chapel Lawn Three in One’.

For the ‘Wetland Wander’ on Thursday 7th October, seven people arrived at New Invention to be given a guided walk around the new wetland there with AONB Project Oficer Alison Jones. Alison explained how the rushy area at the bottom of the sloping field had been deculverted in July 2020. The aim was to help reduce sediment in the River Redlake and to assist the slowing of the water flow, as well as the creation of new wet woodland by planting 90 trees. Already, the variety of wildlife has increased markedly, with many sightings of damselflies and dragonflies, snipe, stoats, wrens, and heron. Wildflowers are beginning to push back into the new wetland, notably Marsh Bedstraw. Water shrimp are in profusion among the Watercress stems and roots, which will provide a source of food for many other species. Each year will see more changes as the trees grow.

On the following day, 16 people accompanied local naturalist, Rob Rowe, on a foraging walk along the valley, with a pause for a hedge-laying demonstration by Michael Bright. Alongside many other fascinating facts, the foragers learned that sliced burdock root makes delicious chips, comfrey leaves can be used as a poultice for arthritis, and coltsfoot leaves rolled into a ‘cigarette’ are a good way to clear a wheezy chest. Between Pentre and Wheelbarrow Bridge there was an unresolved discussion to try and determine whether the ‘Pentre Pippin’ leaning across the road is a wild crab apple tree or an old garden variety. 

Then, on the Saturday, the Kemp Valley Apple Group visited the village hall to press and pasteurise apples. Altogether, about 200 litres of delicious juice were produced and taken away by those who had brough fruit. The general consensus was that all three events should be repeated.


A brief but necessary AGM was held partly in person and partly by Zoom on 27th October . Annual accounts were presented and declared in good order. All six board members agreed to continue in post.


The first of this season’s work parties took place on Sunday 31st. After heavy overnight rain and a couple of morning showers, six volunteers busied themselves continuing to build steps on ‘Henry’s Quillet’. Amazingly, ten steps had appeared by coffee-break and another four added before the supply of materials ran out. Many thanks to all who turned up, worked hard to use up available materials and drink the coffee! The next work party is on Sunday 28th November: meet at 10am in the Chapel Lawn village hall car park. All welcome. The aim at present is to complete the new, shorter flight of steps into the lower reaches of the wood, and to improve the level pathway that connects it to the main flight, thus creating a short, circular walk that provides a perspective of the wood not fully appreciated from the public footpath.

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