Summertime on Salthouse Heath
This summer, we enjoyed a couple of much-anticipated tasks at the lovely Salthouse Heath. We last visited over a year ago when we were still the North Norfolk Workout Project, led by TCV’s Fin and Mark, so site manager Ed was very pleased to see us!
For the first task in July, we were helping to remove small trees and gorse that was invading an important conservation area. It is in this wooded, fenced off part of the Heath that an experiment is underway to see how easy it is to return native ground flora to the woodland areas of Salthouse Heath, which will in turn aid biodiversity on the Heath.
In August Ed led us on a very interesting butterfly transect walk over the Heath. We saw ten different species on our stroll, including Common Blues, Graylings, Small Coppers, and Small Heaths. This information will be sent onto Butterfly Conservation, and be used to help future management of the site.
We also found a geocache (well done Helen!) on our travels, and learnt a bit about the history of the Heath from the Bronze Age saucer barrows, to the memorial to the crew of a crashed WWII Lancaster Bomber.
Clearing up in Cromer
Alongside the North Norfolk District Council rangers, we spent an afternoon filling a skip with all sorts of rubbish (including bricks, tiles, a fishing line including lead weight, and various bits and pieces of garden waste) from Cromer’s Station Woods.
Once part of one of the lost railways of Cromer (hence the name!), this little woodland is now at the heart of a busy community, and is enjoyed by lots of people as their closest bit of green space in town.
September of Wildlife
As part of The Conservation Volunteers ‘September of Wildlife’ events, held at Pigneys Wood near North Walsham, the Workout Group were treated to a fascinating Plant and Fungi walk.
Brilliantly led by Dr Tony Leech, together we found over 50 species of plants and fungi. These included Dovesfoot Cranesbill, Red Cracking Bolete, Knotgrass, Branched Bur-reed, Water Chickweed, Black Horehound, Meadowsweet, Purple Loosestrife, Scurfy Twiglet, Spear Thistle, Weld, Birdsfoot Trefoil, The Blusher, Hazel Milkcap, Goatsbeard and Fleabane – to name just a few!
We also spotted a mouse scurrying away along a hedgebank; lots of hazelnut shells chewed by mice; a buzzard flying high overhead; a little egret on the pond; lots of little frogs crossing the paths in front of us as we walked; dragonflies, and some butterflies enjoying the early autumn sunshine.
Raking rows in Runton
Both tasks are important to get done in early autumn; hay needs to be collected before the rain comes, and we had to remove the balsam flowers before they set seed and spread any further onto the Common.
Once raked into rows, the hay could be more easily collected by the Hawk and Owl Trust and turned into bales for winter fodder for the Shire Horse Centre.
In the hot sunshine, hay raking was a really satisfying job and good exercise. It was great to look back at the end of the afternoon, and see what we had achieved between us!