Scrub cutting, dragging & dead hedging

Since the 24th October there have been 2 more work parties at Fishlake Meadows, both of which have seen a lot of rain! On 4th November, the first Sunday work party, we made a start on clearing another block of the mature willow scrub that runs parallel to the Barge Canal. Clearing more of this scrub has several benefits; it creates better views across the nature reserve from the Barge Canal, it continues the programme of rotational scrub cutting and should allow the reeds to expand and grow right through the area that’s opened up.

Before scrub cutting on 4th Nov and after scrub cutting on 7th Nov

Top photo showing before scrub cutting started on the 4th November and the bottom showing a much thinner block of scrub at the end of the work party on the 7th November.

Seven volunteers came along to the work party on the 4th November, and made a great start on cutting the willow, dragging it out of the knee deep muddy water, and stacking it up ready for dead hedging. They worked incredibly hard, managing to drag all of the material cut that day to near where the new bit of dead hedging was going.

Work party 7.11.18 dead hedge

Volunteers making a start on the dead hedge from the huge pile of cut willow.

On the 7th November, with a few more people and a huge pile of cut willow, half the group made a start on dead hedging, while the other half continued cutting and dragging. Again, everyone worked very hard and managed to get all of the material already cut in to a dead hedge.

Work party 7.11.18 brash pile before

The pile of willow at the start of the day, the volunteers starting to cut up the brash for the dead hedge.

Work party 7.11.18 brash pile and dead hedge after

After! All the willow has been cut up and made in to a very neat dead hedge.

The dead hedges create wonderful habitat for birds and invertebrates. The dead hedges that we built last year frequently have robins, blackcaps and great tits foraging in them. They are built by intertwining cut material to create a dense pile of brash. As the brash begins to dry out and die, the hedge will sink down, allowing more brash to simply be added to it the following year. A big thank you to all the volunteers who have been to work parties so far this year.

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