South Hants National Trust Volunteers were at the forefront of ‘The Rise of Northwood’ project where they helped to erect tree shelters for a new wood pasture.
The project is being carried out on the National Trust’s Slindon estate, where they are converting areas of former agricultural land, back to to woodland. An exciting five year project.
This is an area that volunteers and staff from National Trust have been coppicing over the last few months. The area is known as a PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites). By this it means softwood has been planted for financial reasons, changing the makeup of the wood. Much of the softwood has now been felled with the aim of returning the site to a native woodland. The area in this picture is hazel coppice. The idea is to cut an area each year, so you end up with different areas for different wildlife. The area has been fenced to stop deer eating the new hazel shoots. This time last year, you would have been lucky to see any sky from where this picture was taken.
I feel a bit guilty about this. Having spent the morning in the New Forest taking photos, I arrived back at Mottisfont to find the other volunteers pretty much dead on their feet having started clearing out a ditch ready for re-fencing. I continued to take photos…..
This week, I have mostly been involved in making boards using a Woodmizer. Well… I haven’t made the boards, that was left to a skilled operator. I just operated the fork lift to move things around, and throw the slab wood in piles. But it’s been a good 3 days that I have been involved and everyone can be proud of our efforts. This is a photo of one our our bigger trunks. Impressive!
At this time of year, it’s important to go out and capture the bluebells that carpet this green and pleasant land. I have a good reason to be satisfied with the bluebells this year, because this area in the photo is one that I have worked on as part of my volunteering with National Trust. We have cleared and expanded the ride through the woods – mainly to help the butterflies move around, but as a bonus it helps the bluebells because of the extra sunlight.
I paid a visit to Mottisfont House and Gardens this morning. This is where I volunteer on a Monday, mainly in the countryside. The River Test, famous for its fishing, runs through the estate, and I’ve been watching it gradually encroach into the surrounding fields. The change between Monday and today, is astonishing and now the fields are completely flooded. The UK has been at the receiving end of a conveyor belt of storms coming across the Atlantic, and many areas are flooded, in some cases up to five metres deep. It’s difficult to predict when the floods may even start to recede. We had a storm most of yesterday afternoon and evening, and the water from that will take a couple of days to filter down.
My volunteer group is due to visit Rockford Common, in Hampshire, in a week or so. The common is owned by the National Trust. This is a photo from a previous visit, where I could get up the bank and take the photo from above.
There are many varied tasks as a countryside volunteer. One of them includes shepherding sheep! We didn’t do too badly, with only one of the sheep remaining outside the box. We were rounding them up for some treatment to the lambs.
This was completed for “People in the Countryside”. It depicts a group of volunteers planting new trees in the New Forest in Hampshire, England. This was based on a photo I saw in the National Portrait Gallery in London called “Actors’ last Supper” by Alistair Morrison. I liked how everyone was doing something different in a posed shot. This wasn’t posed so though and it worked out really well.
‘Resuscitare’ is a new sculptural installation at Mottisfont House and Gardens in Hampshire by Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva. These are five trunks that have been in the woods on the Mottisfont estate for some time, and have been extracted from the woods, cleaned, patterned with gold gilding, and then buried in the ground in a circle (within an existing beach tree circle) with the roots at the top. My contribution was digging the holes to put the trunks into! This is my slightly different view of the installation. Terrific work, with the help of Mottisfont staff and volunteers, and well worth a trip up to Mottisfont to see it.