On the trail of the lonesome pine (and birch)
Keen to help keep this SSSI heath clear of young pines and birches, our work here ensures the wooded areas remain under control. We removed many small saplings, preventing them from encroaching on the open areas of heather, where they would be in direct competition with other more delicate plant species, and also the mature heathland trees.
The more mature pine and birch trees (as pictured here) were left alone to grow on in splendid isolation.
Bronze age barrows, buzzards, beetles and bluebells
For our last task afternoon in March we headed off to the beautiful Salthouse Heath. Despite a chilly spring breeze, the group was soon hard at work, cutting back and clearing in a wooded corner full of bluebells. These native flowers had been gradually disappearing under brambles and fallen branches, but now they are free to bloom later this spring.
We learnt how to ring bark some of the invasive sycamores and birches, allowing them to become standing deadwood, which is important habitat for all sorts of insects – and we found time to build two frog hotels (which could soon have residents as the pond had lots of frog spawn), and carefully clear some scrub from around the only pond on Salthouse Heath.
As a well-earned treat, Ed then took us on a short stroll to a couple of the Heath’s three thousand year old barrows; during the walk, we spotted many door beetles out and about, four high-flying buzzards, and a very speedy brown hare – all sure signs of spring!