Autumn with its storms now seem long past and as I write we are into an extended spell of clear, frosty weather. The New Year Working Bee saw similar weather which was a welcome change and with the river dropping from very high levels we had a chance to get into the woods and get busy.

Here’s the rainbow that came out as we were setting out the refreshments for our festive feast – a hopeful symbol for the year ahead!

Our work is always split between maintenance tasks (such as the recent efforts on the bridge) and genuine conservation activity, trying to improve the woods for environmental benefits to the area. These later tasks are driven by a plan which looks forward and sets out what we need to do to enhance our status as an Ancient Atlantic Rainforest. This month we were in between these two priorities. All the work was to do with cutting and clearing timber, but for different reasons.

We had paths to clear from fallen wood but also felling other trees to create space for the native species we are looking to encourage. The primary target now is the self-seeded conifers that still pop up in the heart of Broadwood. Those of you who were visiting the woods over 20 years ago will remember that the steep contours were covered in these plantation trees, but after a wholesale clear out and re- planting, they still pop up and grow very quickly.

While we were playing at lumberjacks another group of volunteers were preparing our annual New Year’s picnic. We stopped work around 1130 and gathered for very welcome soup, mulled wine, cakes and…… Of course, the important thing was we had a chance to discuss the working bees and what we should do over the next 12 months, and I can confidently say there is lots to do so any of you making New Years Resolutions to

The next bee will be on Saturday 3rd February at 1000 , maybe see you there.