Happy New Year to you all and many thanks for all your hard work in 2016.
Your hard work and time expended has now been recognised with a national award. We have just been advised that our project has been judged the 2016 Volunteer Project of the Year across the whole of the UK’s fifteen National Parks. The award is sponsored by National Parks UK and the following is a quote from their website: –
“We are incredibly thankful to each and every one of our volunteers who help to make the UK National Parks what they are today. To help us show our gratitude, each year we hold the National Parks Volunteer Awards.
The Awards are aimed at thanking all of our volunteers for the incredible work they do all over the UK. Although there are only four awards* given out each year (*individual, young volunteer, group and project), the Awards aim to give recognition to many more volunteers from all of the 15 parks.“
To each and everyone of you who have been out to Pondhead in all weathers to help us and give your time freely, this is your award – please give yourselves a big pat on the back. With the award comes a “bursary” of £1000 and we are still awaiting details of the conditions attaching to this but as we are desperately short of storage, we are hoping that it may be used for this purpose.
Turning to other matters, Christmas has come and gone and just prior to the festive season we kicked it off with our Woodman’s Breakfast on 22nd December which was attended by a good number of Pondhead volunteers who enjoyed bacon and sausage baps and vegetable soup washed down with mulled wine and cider. Unlike the days either side, it was a beautiful sunny day and we took advantage of it to have a big bonfire to burn up some very large piles of brash from previous conservation tasks.
In other parts of Pondhead, the chainsaw team have been busy coppicing the old hazel stands in Rosie Close and Crab Tree Close which haven’t been touched for several decades. Our volunteers, have been following closely on their heels piling up charcoal timber and having a series of bonfires to clear the brash. At present we are on target to have finished all this work by the end of January and be away from the badger setts before they start giving birth in mid February.
By the end of this month, we will be concentrating on a wider variety of tasks including live hedge laying, together with some stream and ride maintenance. We also have 600 young trees of various varieties that need planting during February and are ordering another 1000 young hazel plants to repopulate areas in both Rosie Close and Crab Tree Close.
More dates have been added to the Events Diary covering the above tasks which takes us towards the end of February. Most of our conservation tasks will finish by mid March prior to the start of the bird nesting season. After that we will be concentrating on charcoal production again – the charcoal retort was collected by the manufacturers just prior to Christmas and is currently in Exeter undergoing some major repairs but should be back in plenty of time.
Finally, a reminder that we will be at the New Forest Volunteer Fair in Lyndhurst Community Centre on Sunday 29th January where we will be giving a short presentation of our multi award winning project at 11.00am. Hope to see some of you there.