Saturday, 22 March 2014

Spring work on the reserve

Our winter work programme has come to a halt on the reserve now that Spring is with us, and an early one it is at that. Ground nesting birds such as Woodcock and Common Curlew have been seen and heard more regularly, whilst the Skylarks are setting up territories on the western end of the site. They have in previous years bred successfully on the meadow that borders Peddars Way, the County Geological Site pictured below, and this year seems no different.

In order to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds we stop any scrub clearance or work on the heath and in the woodlands. Instead, our Spring and Summer work programme for our volunteer work parties focuses more around site maintenance and improving access and interpretation for visitors. Some fencing jobs planned will enable us to continue preparing the site for the upcoming project (see consultation document on post dated 23rd November 2013), whilst at the moment we are also taking the opportunity to finish off the children's natural play space in the main car park.

This small project was started last year with input and inspiration from Hopton school, followed by practical days creating objects in the play area by the sites Junior Ranger group and volunteers. The most recent instalments are some wooden toddlers seats carved in the shape of mushrooms, courtesy of Bradfield Woods, as well as an extension of the willow bird viewing screen.

Wooden table and seat for toddlers in the foreground. The bird viewing screen in the background is to encourage children to watch for wildlife in the wild area and in the bug hotel.

Volunteers doing temporary willow weaving

The bug hotel in the wild area, with a hedgehog hole at the base.

We are also hoping to include a natural bird feeder in the wild area, interpretation for the wild area with the bug hotel, and a larger mound around the pipe for children to play on.

The play space has all been created with natural materials from our nature reserves, or from donated items, and so is gradually coming together over time. Once it is completely finished we are hoping to have a small family afternoon to celebrate!

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