Here is an extract from the Spring 2005 Newsletter:

“A useful spin-off for me from the replanting was that it led to writing a poem, the first in quite a long while, so I’m self-indulgently putting it in.” (and I’m reprinting it now because it’s unfortunately still relevant.)

“Below, the river whitens over weirs, eddies and swirls,
chattering ceaselessly. Grey-blue, lap-winged,
trailing spindle-thin legs, a heron lurches upwards
from the trees below, and flaps upstream.
We have cleared the conifers along the bank –
her runway’s clear now, she can fish and thrive.

Above, we labour on, endure the elements,
the inhospitable ground littered with stumps,
with brash. We plant young oak, hazel, birch –
first-aid for a struggling planet’s lungs.

I look up to the watery sky, watch a sliver of silver
jet towards the west. That single flight
can neutralise our efforts here. We could despair,
allow futility, impossibility to end our work.
Instead, we pick up spade, stake, guard,
Root one more sturdy oak into receptive earth.”

April 1st 2005 marked the arrival of Duncan – a very appropriate date, heralding several months of fun and hard work! Another quote from the same newsletter:

Duncan & Anthony from Pentiddy.“Duncan has arrived! He’s been here for a little over two weeks now, and already his presence is making a visible difference (Here he is on the right with Anthony from Pentiddy. Note the 5 stars on the caravan! They came about as a result of his cheeky request for 5-star accommodation, as did the red carpet, unfortunately not visible in the photo!)

So far he’s been clearing the riverside footpath in Broad Wood, which has become quite dangerously overhung with wind-thrown trees that had damaged other path-side trees (photo on left) Duncan is experienced in, and very good at, working with volunteers, as many of us have already found out – we’ve worked hard and had a lot of fun! Dunc is very keen to work with Friends of Stara while he’s here, which hopefully will be until early autumn. Here’s what he has to say:

clearing the riverside footpath in Broad Wood,‘I’d like to induct, teach and train as many of you as possible in both forestry and estate conservation management skills,so that Stara Woods maintenance can continue into the future. It also helps to keep me on my toes regarding good practice.

….. If you haven’t already left your mark on Stara Woods (or even if you have), your help would be much appreciated.’ “

Duncan on our first walk through the woods to determine the work he was going to do.Well, Duncan, 18 years on the marks you made on the woods and on all of us who had the opportunity to work with you are still clearly visible. Your legacy lives on – thank you!

Here’s a last photo of Duncan on our first walk through the woods to determine the work he was going to do. Very memorable for having to resort to single file at one point just to stop talking for a while!!!