Happy New Year everyone – let’s hope it’s a better one than 2020! Unfortunately it looks like things will get worse in the short term with the coronavirus out of control at present and its latest mutation 60/70% more transmissable. It is against this background, that we have taken the decision to defer any restart of our conservation programme until the beginining of February at the earliest. We had hoped to start up again in January but given the increased risk of transmission and the fact that some of our volunteers reside in Tier 4 areas, it would not be sensible to do so – we hope you will understand.
December has been a relatively quiet month in Pondhead although some work has been ongoing. In the past month our small maintenance/chainsaw team have met once a week, working mainly on the new wet shelter which is gradually taking shape and getting taller. Once it gets to roof stage, the idea is to create a grass roof and we already have an offer of free lawn turves from a local supplier which we can seed with wild flowers. We have also put the stakes in for the new stockade, ready to be woven when conditions permit.
The charcoal kiln is still away being renovated and is nearing completion so should be back on site soon. A recent inspection of the work indicated that it been done to a very high standard and should be good for many more years hopefully. Once back on site we’ll give it a shakedown burn before putting it to bed until the spring.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news in Pondhead! A large beech tree blew down just before Christmas near the owl carving on the circular trail completely blocking it. In view of the size of tree, we advised Forestry England of the situation and they cleared the part of the tree blocking the ride. Regretably, the cure was far worse than the initial problem! When we subsequently took a look at their work, we were appalled to find that they had left the ride in a dangerous and almost impassable state by using a large tractor/forwarder on heavy clay. As none of the cut timber has been moved from the site, we are at a loss to understand why heavy machinery was used in current waterlogged conditions. This was a section of the circular trail that was the subject of many volunteer hours to make it accessible to the Disabled Ramblers Group. The damage is worse than the following pictures show and secveral people have already complained directly to Forestry England – if you would like to join them, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care everyone and hopefully we can start to meet up again in the not too distant future when Covid is back under control.