© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Hanging around...

In the heat of the summer morning, walkers may just have spotted a small group of five people lurking in the undergrowth along the fence running from the children’s play area to the orchard. It was another meeting about the management plan of the park.

The orchard community has already planted some plants, including dog rose, along some of the fence, which will eventually (hopefully) grow up to obscure the ugly fence that is now so obvious since other greenery was removed. In more shaded areas it was agreed that holly – so much of which has been removed from various parts of the park by the destructive illegal clearer – should be planted. It is probably the only thing that will thrive in such a shaded area, and is vital for wildlife, including the beautiful Holly Blue butterfly.

Once again we will try to block off the wide path that runs along the fence, which was illegally cleared by a mystery person. The orchard community have tried twice now, and both times someone has removed the barriers they have put in place. Hopefully, it will be third time lucky, and we’re considering putting up a sign to explain what is happening, and why, so that people understand why this new path is no longer available to use.

Once again we talked about how trees that come down must be replaced. This is particularly vital as a couple of trees in that area of the park are ear-marked for felling. To my mind, this is something that needs looking into urgently.

Some of you may have noticed the huge pile of wood chippings by the tarmac path, so we had a chat about what to do with those. Some will be used along the parts of pathway that get boggy when it rains, while another load has now been earmarked to put around the log piles on which children play, to make them safer. A quantity will be composted, using a technique where water is added to rot it down (I also suggested adding nettle leaves, which speeds us the decomposition process massively. For more information on this, go to Nettles: An Unlikely Hero.)

The most exciting use though is that a pile will become a permanent structure, moved a little further back from the path, or possibly moved to a different area completely. What is that point of a pile of wood chippings? Well, they make the perfect home for Slow Worms, Toads, Grass Snakes and more!

As I walked back from the meeting, my attention was attracted by some bits floating down regularly from a tree. A Grey Squirrel was showing off his acrobatic skills by climbing to the top of the huge Scots Pine, then dangling upside down by one foot to feed. It looked perfectly comfortable and stayed there for several minutes, nibbling away merrily at tender young cones. After marvelling at its daring, I went home. Time to get back to reality and do some work.

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