Wow! For May’s working bee we continued the tree TLC-giving up above the caravan. Talk about spring colour and the trees emerging from their slumbers. It looks great, especially in the sunlight. You must give yourself a treat and go to see this area before the bracken grows up and fills the gap between the lower branches and the ground. The many different tree species up there are putting on a great show and through June you will see a tremendous variety, all growing like mad.

PIERS’ WORKING BEES REPORTBUT… be careful – the dead bracken on the ground is fabulous shelter for all sorts of beasties including sun bathing adders – Britain’s only native poisonous snake. I haven’t seen one in the woods, possibly because they are very shy. But surprise them, and they have a painful last line of defence! Also, our dormouse population will be wide awake and deer will be having their babies so please keep to the paths.

Speaking of paths, another group of
volunteers has started the path improvement work that we will be continuing through out the summer months. As you will have gathered from my ramblings over the last few issues of the Link, our paths have taken (in the words of a Nordic football commentator) “one hell of a beating” from the very wet weather and there are several spots where they are quite literally worn out. We have various plans so please bear with us, and if you feel like helping please get in touch.

Another reason we need to work on the paths is Ash Dieback. Simon has written about this before, and our Ash stocks are still suffering. One especially bad area is the upper part of the path to/from Treovis hamlet, where there are 20+ mature Ash clusters along our boundary with the field, all ready to shed a heavy branch on unsuspecting walkers below without any warning. The science is beginning to show that even from this state the trees can recover, and given the difficulties tree surgeons have in cutting these trees down (it’s never clear which branches will take their weight on a safety rope) we are going to set up detours around this stretch of path. My apologies for these changes but these detours will be in place for quite a long time and may become permanent as we see how things progress. Ultimately its your decision whether you follow our recommendations, but be in no doubt – trees can be deadly if they fall and you are underneath. Please be smart.
If anyone, particularly in Treovis, wants to speak to us about this our contact details are below. The plan at present is to open up a deer track that runs from about 20 meters North

of the Treovis junction down to the brook path and hopefully work on this will be well under way or maybe even completed when you read this. There may need to be other detours so please follow any guidance given.
The last part of our efforts in the early May Working Bee was to use the trunks of 2 ash trees that fell on the footbridge in the winter to build bank re-enforcements on the western bank. Hopefully, this will reduce erosion around the western pier of the bridge in the future.

*Lastly, from me, May sees the start of the mid-week, mid-month working bees …. MWMMWBs…. Suggestions for a better name gratefully received. Basically we will be meeting in the evening (6.00 to 8.00ish) of the middle Wednesday of each month through summer to crack on with all the work we have to do. Maybe see you there or at our regular working bees on the first Saturday in the month (10.00 to 1300). Enjoy the woods.

Anne: thanks to you and the volunteers for another good session’s work, Piers. An addition about Ash – we have to fell a few trees with die-back that definitely pose a potential hazzard to walkers. This may have been done by the time you read this. We don’t like felling trees unless it’s really necessary, but safety and the overall health of the woods sometimes means we need to.