© Andrew Moon

Rain threatened, but never came, but the volunteers did.  The largest work party for some time. Luckily there was plenty of work for all in more or less the same part of the reserve by Stocker’s House. I say luckily because it is sometimes difficult to find work for everyone in the same area.

We cleared the alder saplings away from the larger pond by the wooden broadwalk. Which were turning the pond into woodland; we cleared a path behind the hedge at the entrance to the reserve, so that we could layer the hedge when needed; we then removed undergrowth in the small copse we planted years ago by the lockkeeper’s cottage as the undergrowth was stifling some of the smaller trees.

Our usual high standard of catering was maintained with Jammy Dodgers, Hobnobs and delicious chocolate gingernuts. Plus, tea and coffee.

Our thanks to Nigel Daley, Ken Davies (good to see you again), Emma Brading, Milesh Dodia, Helen Harbrow, Paul Knutson, Tim Lawrence, Sheila and Tony Lee, David Neal, Eileen Petch, Ian Watson, Jack Westbrook, Dominic Wilson. And a special welcome to newcomers, Milesh, Tim, David and Dominic.

Emma Brading

For the first work party of the new season we welcomed two new workers- Eileen Patch and Helen Harbrow. We began the job of clearing a path through undergrowth to make way for cattle fencing in the meadows between the lake and the River Colne.

Also in attendance were Nigel Daley, Evelyn Fox, Andy Schofield, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.

Ian Watson

Prospects didn’t look good for the last Sunday work party of the season. It was cold, rainy, and overcast.  I didn’t expect anyone to turn up, but went to the meeting place, just in case.

To my surprise, Jack Westbrook arrived though the weather was still miserable.  Then Dawn Goodair turned up and miraculously the weather changed.  The sun came out and the sky turned blue.  Clearly it was the ‘Dawn Effect’. So we decided to repair the field gate in the fishermen’s car park, give the flooded kissing gate entrance a firmer footing and use old corrugated iron to inhibit growth around the alder saplings we had previously planted in the Margaret Partridge plot. (They will be useful as refuges for snakes, small animals and who knows what!)

But we were shocked to see that the bank protection installed by our country management company had been deliberately destroyed. We are pretty certain we know who did this and I will be taking this up with the parties concerned.  Finally, we have now managed to get Hillingdon Council to take away the large pile of asbestos which we collected when we removed the remains of the old hen and pig houses from the plot. Emma Brading, a new member, was also one of our party.

Ian Watson

The weather was overcast as we set to work thinning out the trees outside Stocker's House. We then removed some of the weeds that were strangling the young saplings.

Our thanks to the workers Tony and Sheila Lee, Dawn Goodair, Markus Kang and Nigel Daley.

Nigel Daley

 

Our work party continued the good work by clearing spaces and planting 9 alders (very good winter feeding for small birds) We also thickened up our fence with a bit of hawthorn and dog rose.  Finally, we cleared the site of corrugated iron sheets – leaving one or two strategically placed to give living accommodation to small mammals and reptiles.

Thanks go to Dawn Goodair, Emma Brading, Jack Westbrook, Nigel Daley and Ian Watson.

Ian Watson

Another small party which completed the job of coppicing the hazels. This also produced more excellent posts for dead hedging.  We also cleared the area where the large bittercress grows.  Brambles and stinging nettles were beginning to take over.  Stocker’s is the only place in Hertfordshire where large bittercress is found.

Thanks go to Steve Cohen, Nigel Daley, Evelyn Fox, Tony and Sheila Lee, Jack Scruton and Ian Watson.  (It was good to see Steve and Jack again. It’s been a long time!)

Ian Watson