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Roads. Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

October 29, 2010

By Becky

SAS

Lots has been happening over the last month; from gorse cutting at Coombe Heath, sowing wild flowers in remote meadows, putting in new signs, and pond related adventures.

We're right ol' country folk

At the start of October, we went to fix a gate post at Stonehill Down. As you can imagine from its name, it’s really quite stoney, so digging the new holes took forever. Whilst we were in a fence mood we also went to scout out the electric fence at Winfrith and made some repairs to it so the cows can’t get into the river.

Then on a fine sunny Friday the Supersquad split into two teams. In the red corner were Ali, Becky and Josh and in the blue corner were Sam, Big Lew, Big Lew’s friend and Olli. The red team headed off to Portland to cut cotoneaster in the King Barrow Quarry, whilst the blue team were going to take the trailer back to Brooklands, then go to West Bexington to put in a new sign and then meet up with the red team in the afternoon. That was the plan any way…… but it was a Friday…. drama happens on Fridays.

The enemy.... cotoneaster

So the red team headed off to Portland where it was chucking it down with rain, so they went on a little tour before starting work, they visited Portland Bill and the Stone Circle and then headed to the reserve. But then disaster stuck and Ali’s little car decided to stop working at a roundabout. Luckily a very nice man turned up behind us and helped us push it to a safe place whilst we got an escort from the police you turned up behind him. We were eventually rescued by the AA man who although spending absolutely ages fixing it managed to get the car working again. So hats off to him for saving us.

Ali's poorly car

Meanwhile Josh and Becky went for a little walk to see if they could see the blue team from their vantage point overlooking Chesil Beach. But it was far too foggy to see that far. Meanwhile, the blue team were having adventures of their own; they’d made it to Brooklands and found that an electric fence had to be put up to keep the sheep in. Then they headed to West Bexington to put in the sign.

The blue team were out there somewhere

The red team eventually managed to make it to the reserve and cut some of the cotoneaster but by this time it was pretty late and we wanted to make sure that the car would make it back before the end of the day so we headed home, the blue team also decided to head home, after they also had a tiny vehicle drama.

We made it!

The following week it was time for some gorse cutting and burning at Coombe Heath. The two days we were there the army were practising their shooting on the range nearby so it sounded like we were under constant attack. So instead of making boring piles of gorse we made huge barricades to protect ourselves in case the army decided to come and invade. Unfortunately there isn’t photographic evidence of this, but believe me when I say they were absolutely massive. Whilst some of us were cutting and barricading, the rest had set the fire to gorse mark gorse and John was busy mowing the fire breaks. The barricades of gorse were so large that the squad had to go back another day the next week to burn more of the gorse.

Getting ready for gas mark gorse

The squad has also been sowing wild flower seeds in 3 sites in Dorset, this was new to them, but was pretty easy to pick up. We were helping the Pastures New Team reseed fields belonging to landowners who want to restore some of their land to wild flower meadows. After mixing the seeds with some sand to prevent the seeds blowing away we walked up and down the field scattering the seed mix and singing farming songs.

"Am I doing this right?"

We’ve also had pond days with Rachel (and cake). The first was in North Dorset, near Duncliffe Hill, where we spent the day clearing the trees out from an over grown pond. Warden Neil cut down three of the trees and gave it to the piranhas (aka the rest of us) to cut up into little pieces to put onto the fire.

Sam and John stare in disbelief at all the work Becky is claiming the credit for

After we’d finished we went on an educational tour of Duncliffe Hill and found a huge old Ash tree. So we all went down the steep slope to look at it….

Tree-tastic

….and Becky fell over.

Inevitable really

Our other pond adventure was at Kilwood. As it was another Friday we had more vehicle drama as the land rover got a flat tyre, but that was easily solved and we could get on with the task of cutting back the gorse from around on of the ponds as it was being shaded too much by it. It was so shaded in fact that most of us hadn’t realised that there was a pond there. John likes mowing fire breaks it seems so we sent him off to go and do that.

A traditional 'before' shot

There's the pond we were looking for

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