Autumn & Winter 2012

Raking Hay in the Autumn Sunshine

In early November we were at the beautiful West Runton Common, which as a County Wildlife Site is one of the most important places for wildlife in Norfolk.

There was still a bit of raking of the meadow to get finished before winter set in – raking is an important management technique of managed grassland as it removes the dead, matted grass that can suppress the growth of wildflowers. Rotting grass (left after hay making in summer) would increase the nutrient levels in the soil, and if left behind over winter would encourage plants like nettles and hogweed, rather than the more delicate wildflowers that need a nutrient-poor environment.

Seeing the Wood and Planting Some Trees

Late November saw us back at Green Flag Award-winning Sadler?s Wood in North Walsham. It seemed like there was a nip of winter in the air this afternoon, as we got busy planting a hedge of native species to act as a barrier to the children’s play area. We then moved on, after tea break, to plant some 50 oak saplings in the coniferous part of the wood to add to the site’s future biodiversity; we were also treated to an impromptu guided tour of the site by Will the NNDC ranger, as he pointed out ancient trees and hedgebanks, as well as telling us about some of the upcoming projects at Sadler’s. In one part of the wood we were even lucky enough to catch the lingering, musky scent of a badger marking his territory!

Tree-mendous tree planting!

We have been kept busy this autumn, working to clear and re-plant some of the rides that run throughout Holt Country Park. First we cut back low-growing vegetation (such as brambles) on either side of the public paths, removing any little saplings that were growing in the wrong place (some get transplanted elsewhere in the wood).

When the area is opened up to allow more light in, we are able to plant hundreds of native tree species, encouraging more biodiversity in the Country Park, creating wind barriers, and so attracting more butterflies, beetles, bugs, birds and wildflowers to make the site their home.

 

 

By Lucy Seely

 

 

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