At 09.55 on Saturday morning (18th Feb) there were only half a dozen people gathered at the Memorial Stone to take part in the Pruning Day on Jean Argles Wood. By 10.05 there were 30 people(!), all equipped with ancient and modern secateurs and much enthusiasm. A lot of well-known faces (including Rev. Carol looking very much the part in jeans and a dog collar!) but also many new faces of people moving into the area or just discovering Miss Whalley’s Field. Welcome to all!
The group had a briefing from David Redmore (our go-to tree expert) about how to prune….and also how to sharpen your secateurs! Thanks to Helen Brister from the Council who came along to support us with secateurs and sharpening files for the volunteers.
The aim is to allow the trees to grow proper trunks without lots of side branches. This will create an ‘understorey’ below the eventual tree canopy which will support a wide variety of natural life.
After this, Chairman Paul, (looking very inspirational!) led his troops down the rather boggy field to begin work.
By this time the sun had disappeared but it did not take long for the work team to prune most of the ‘wood’, taking care not to cut the birches, wild roses etc, which don’t need pruning. In the meantime a second group was planting specially selected fruit trees near the lower end of the wood. It is hoped that these will thrive better than the species planted some years ago. In order to help these trees to get off to a good start, they were planted in rich top-soil, courtesy of the thriving local mole population (see picture above!).
There was also some general litter clearing and tidying up. Everyone can look after the Field on a day to day basis, removing litter, reporting problems and generally keeping an eye on things. The Field is a huge asset to our area and we all have a responsibility to look after it. Thanks to all those who already do this, on their daily dog walk or just passing through occasionally.
Finally a special mention of one of our most loyal supporters, County Councillor Lizzie Collinge, seen here cheerfully brandishing her secateurs in her customary bright red coat!