We’ll very definitely be well into spring by the time you read this – if not early summer especially as I saw my first two swallows of the year today (very beginning of April) sitting on the wires above Roaring House Farm! Working alongside the River Mole later a kingfisher flashed by and a little egret flew across in the distance. How good a day was that?! Along obviously with the fabulous sight of the woodland wildflowers at this time of year – celandine, primroses, bluebells, wood anemone and greater stitchwort to name but a few.
Storm Katie passed through a couple of weeks ago and we lost a few trees, luckily not many. One big old hugely ivy clad tree fell across the main track and was a challenge to clear taking the best part of a morning. It was one marked to be monitored on our tree safety inspection which we have to carry out across our sites every one or two years so in a way quite a relief it is down – one less to worry about. The debate about ivy is hugely complex with some saying it strangles and kills trees and others saying it doesn’t and it provides valuable extra habitat etc… And sometimes if it has been left for a long time it may be all that is holding a tree up! I tend to look upon it as ok or not ok depending on where it is and how much there is in the surrounding trees or area.
We’re hosting a few events over the summer on Norbury Park this year as joint ventures with other partners. These include one with a company called The Little Welly who basically aim to get children age 4 -10 years out enjoying the countryside and away from computers or inside games. SWT already does a lot to encourage children to be out in and learn about the countryside and to respect it and behave responsibly with our Education and our People and Wildlife Department and through the Forest Schools program. We’re also joining with the local area of Girl Guide, Brownie and Rainbow groups running a day called ‘Growing Up Wild’. These events although obviously using areas of the Park shouldn’t really inconvenience other users of the Park and please remember if you do have to change your usual route it is only for one or possibly two days. We’ll put up signs in advance.
Sawmill Open Day is again in September this year – not in May as originally advertised. Postponed for various reasons Sunday 18th September is the date for the diaries.
Our summer work program has begun – repairing and replacing fences, steps, signs, seats, gates, stumps etc and no doubt soon we’ll be out tackling enthusiastic vegetation to maintain the many access tracks and paths. We’re also planning major river work days this year clearing invasive species such as Himalayan balsam and removing the various log jams – some small, some massive that have built up over the winter.
Norbury Park Volunteer Group continues to go well – look out on the notice boards for future dates and details or contact me Andrea.email@example.com 07990582291. Generally we meet on the third Friday of the month.
Andrea Neal, Ranger