Our book club (The Moorvericks) are currently reading a book that includes some discussion on philosophy and its influence on each and every day. The main character (a Russian Aristocrat under house arrest after the Russian Revolution – do I sound intellectual yet?) argues that weather is a major factor on his life, and so it proved on Saturday 4th November. We were still being rained on by Storm Ciaran through the Friday night and I was convinced I would have to cancel the working bee, but after the dogs and I took our morning constitutional and the wind had dropped away, I decided we should give it a go and end early if more showers came in.

What a lucky choice (or was it fate?)! The sun came out and with 10 volunteers raring to go, we got lots done. We still await a formal all clear on the bridge, but a team of 3 set to and it is now looking really good with the foundations refilled and a nice coat of paint. Hopefully the formal stress test is imminent so by the time you read this I believe it will be open – but check on the Friends of Stara Facebook page for the latest update before planning to get back into Broad and Treovis woods.

Another team retrieved fallen branches from around Colquite wood to build up the dead hedge along the river – the flora on the river side of this is starting to look much healthier so thank you for your cooperation. The river was very swollen but thankfully it stayed within its banks without too much damage – long may this be the case!!! This time of year is good for tree clearance as the birds are not nesting and with the leaves finally starting to fall, we can see which trees to target. So, a third team started the thinning of the western cedar plantation which the riverside path climbs through as it approaches Colpit Cottage. These trees are experts at growing into any light they can which creates a dark woodland floor with little undergrowth or opportunity for the native species we are keen to nurture. By clearing select trees we can open up the light and encourage a better environment. It also means the ground will dry out faster which is particularly important in this part of the wood as the whole bank is wet – so much so I‘m told that in years gone by Colpit Cottagers used to use the two springs as their water supply. Drying out the ground will also help the large trees in that part (primarily oak and chestnut) to cling on to the very thin soil – so well worth the effort.

Thank you to all volunteers who did “chance it “ with the weather and well done.

Our next working bee will on Saturday 2nd December – 10.00, meet in the car park – see you there.
Piers