Thursday 13 February 2020
It’s been quiet over the winter period – Christmas takes up lots of energy – but things are picking up now. We’ve had some conservation hedgelaying at Lindengate (thanks to Leila from Chiltern Rangers) and the whips are ready to be put in the ground for gapping up and a new hedge. Pupils and parents from the school at Widmer End had a great morning making bird and hedgehog boxes with me on the calm Saturday before the storm that followed. They have now put in lots of homes for hedgehogs, birds and amphibians around their new pond, and have prepared the ground for the short hedge that they want to plant. As they did this, we scattered and trampled in some wildflower seed. We still have some plans for the woodland area there, with some heavy lifting of debris, a tree survey and a new mowing regime around the edge of it to let some of the grass grow a bit longer.
As I write, Leila is laying some large hawthorns along a field edge at Donkey Lane Orchard in Chinnor to let some more light in for the fruit trees. The Orchard group (part of Greening Chinnor) have done a fantastic job reclaiming this site from the bramble, clearing the ground and stabilising some of the trees. They have had around a third of the trees identified now and hopefully we’ll be able to do more at the end of this next fruiting season. With an Apple Day in October, January’s Wassail and a Blossom Day planned for 26th April, this site is a real hub of activity and enthusiasm.
There’s plenty more planned work on the Rough Around the Edges sites, as well as new groups to encourage to take up the support the project can give them. I’m beginning to see and plan the kind of training that groups need – from species ID to first aid – so that they are all more confident about their sites and projects for the future.
It’s clear that many people would like more opportunities to learn about bird, plant and invertebrate ID from a beginner’s level, and I will be trying to get out and do some very simple site surveys for groups. If there are any keen volunteers who think they might be able to help me with these, please do get in touch. If nothing else, I’m finding that this project is a great way to explore some hidden corners of the Chilterns.
Katie Horgan, Rough Around the Edges Project Officer