Pondhead has been relatively quiet over the past month as a result of the latest lockdown. It’s fortunate that prior to the start of lockdown at the beginning of November we managed to collect and stack almost all of the charcoal timber that had been lying around the inclosure, thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and the Alaskan Malamutes. Looking at the stack, we now have plenty for next year’s production which is the reason why we will be doing little, if any, coppicing this autumn/winter season.
With regard to our autumn/winter conservation programme, it is unlikely that we will restart it until the new year but this should still allow us sufficient time for the work we had planned. As a result, will not be listing any new tasks in the Events Diary until after Christmas. We also hope to get Angela and her Alaskan Malamutes back at some stage. Unfortunately, the present restrictions mean that we will not be able to hold our annual Woodmans’ Christmas Brunch this year. Hopefully, as we move forward into 2021 there will be the opportunity for a summer volunteers’ BBQ. Let’s hope that they get the Covid vaccination programme rolled out as soon as possible to enable us to get back to some semblance of normality!
During lockdown, members of Pondhead’s management team working in pairs have continued with some essential maintenance work. The chainsaw team have completed the felling of the diseased ash to the south of the circular walk and the timber is being used to construct a new wet shelter in the charcoal area which is currently at base level. The old stockade and former wet shelter have been cleared from the site with aid of a big bonfire and the area tidied up to allow space for the new structures. The upright stakes for the new stockade will be going in shortly and one of our first conservation tasks in the new year will be weaving a fence around them.
In the past week we took delivery of 12 standard small leaf lime trees which have been planted as a small copse in the wild garlic (ramson) area along the Limewood boundary. In doing so, we hope that it will provide sufficient shade in due course to encourage the wild garlic to gradually grow back following its decimation by forestry operations last year. The whole area is now looking much tidier following the work of our volunteers prior to lockdown and that of the chainsaw team who have now cut and tidied up some of the larger timber that was strewn across the back of the site.
Small leaf lime trees are also regarded as pollinator magnets. Their flowers have a rich, heavy scent which attracts many insects, particularly bees. They are also very attractive to aphids, providing a source of food for their predators, including hoverflies, ladybirds and many species of bird. The trees also feature heavily in mythology and are associated with romance, lovers and fertility so be careful out there!!
For those of you who have been walking in Pondhead recently, you may have noticed that our charcoal kiln has been missing. For the past few weeks it’s been with the fabricators in Romsey for a partial rebuild ahead of the next season. A completely new inner chamber is being installed together with some other remedial work. Hopefully, it will be back in its normal location shortly when we will need to do a test burn followed by some new paintwork to the exterior.
Our latest Pondhead clothing order was received several weeks ago but we haven’t been able to get orders out because of lockdown. However, you will be able to collect your orders from Perry’s shop, “Down to the Wood” in Lyndhurst. If you are waiting for an order and wish to collect it from the shop, please email email@example.com and we will make sure your order is available for collection.
Finally, we wish you all a peaceful Christmas and , hopefully a more normal 2021.
REVIEW OF THE YEAR IN PICTURES