How time flies during a Pandemic. It's June once again and Covid restrictions were lifted.in time for the annual Old Copse workday in May, with Mark Chase and his team of deer stalkers. In contrast to the hot dry weather on last year's work party, this May was wet. We were lucky though, and it only started to rain right at the end of the day. 18 workers got a great deal done, including repair of the roadside boundary fence using sturdy chestnut fence posts; removal and processing of a large quantity of timber from various felling sites in the wood, and repairing a leak in the water supply which entailed mechanical digging. The range of machinery they brought with them, from chainsaws and log splitter, to a digger/ fence post basher made a crucial difference to how much could be achieved in one day. Tiring but satisfying.
After a long cold winter, Spring rain and a bit of sunshine has brought astonishingly exuberant growth . There's more regeneration this year than we've witnessed in the almost twelve years since we've been restoring Old Copse. From ground and shrub layer to canopy - everything is sprouting. The tree whips we've planted and protected from deer have greened up and started to put on a growth spurt. Natural regeneration has included birch, rowan,willow, oak, beech and wild cherry. This hasn't come about by chance but is due to a number of crucial factors such as the rainy Spring and gradual felling of the pine plantation to let in more light - but not too much. It's a tricky balance - too much light encourages bracken and bramble. It's such a joy when the ground flora starts to return, e,g, Lily of the Valley, wild daffodils, wild garlic, honeysuckle, wood anenome. In the shrub layer broom and alder buckthorn are all gradually increasing. A small new glade was created to the south of the cabin last Spring , and cleared of dense bracken. This Spring 50% of it was covered in bluebells. We're hoping for 100% coverage next year. Results like this makes work at Old Copse very rewarding.
It's been so wet that the ducks have been leaving their 11 acre 'Pond' to stroll down the Ride for a change of scene. The cuckoo is safely returned from its gruelling journey from West Africa, and we're hoping to hear again the strange call of the Nightjar near the cabin soon.