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Green Team’s Final Project

August 26, 2011

By Members of the Green Team

Because of the recent fire, DWT are in planning to put livestock on to the heath in order to control the excess growth of birch, bracken and millenia grass. Our project is to prepare the area along the old fence line near the reservoir site at the Corfe Mullen end of Upton Heath, so fences can be built and old weak fences replaced. This is very necessary as if there is no fence then there are going to be a lot of cow pats around Poole, and DWT would have to spend a lot of time rounding up cows from all over the county.

The first few days we split into two groups, one concentrating on clearing away an old dead Laurel hedgerow and the second taking down a section of old fence. Both teams worked well in the extremes of weather. Monday was way to hot, burning in fact and no breeze at all and then Tuesday was the total opposite – we had torrential downpours. However, Tuesday was cake day. Louise made a very yummy chocolate cake, which made going out in the rain worth it.

Tea and cake anyone?

On Tuesday, Louise and Noel wound up the barbed wire from the old fence line whilst the rest of us started to cut down the trees at the next section of fence.

Bug Girl

Today (Wednesday) it was not raining, in fact the sun was out, but it was not to hot to work. We felled mighty mighty (ok average sized) tree’s, removed the old fence, including the rusty and potentially lethal (at least to Earl) barbed wire.

Cutting back the 'mighty' trees

Whilst we were doing this, Becky set about the larger tree’s with her huge chainsaw, felling all in her way. By lunch you could see down the whole length of the fence line and Earl was able to play without risk of death.

Cornflakes and frosties for lunch? They must be students

Noel’s dog Earl has been coming along with us because everybody knows that a dog needs exercise. All week he has been finding rocks for his collection, I think he’s up to a hundred now, possibly. He also loves to show everyone his rock collection, but unfortunately for him, we don’t find it that interesting.

Whilst Earl collected rocks we achieved this

As we cleared away the leggy gorse and birch saplings, we uncovered lots of wildlife. Toads hopped away, Woodpeckers and Ravens made shrieks and screams as they flew away.  We even found the poisonous yet strangely attractive, Fly Agaric mushroom. The Vikings are supposedly them to have taken them before battle, but we even though we could hear machine gun fire in the distance, we decided that we were safe on the heath and didn’t need to try it.

Fly Agaric

Today (Thursday) we made good progress and took down an impressive 40 metres of fence-line. This included rolling up all the knackered wire and removing the fence posts. There was also the slightly more risky job of rolling up metres of barbed wire.  The weather today started of rather grey so Noel set-up his tent in record time to give us shelter from the rain we thought was coming however luckily we were wrong and it stayed dry all day. Like usual Earl was adding to his rock collection and today he was even more hyperactive and crazy than normal. Congratulations to Tim who passed his GCSEs and will now go to Kingston Mauwood College.

Common lizard eating a worm

Friday: Last day of the Summer Project for the Green Team.

The Green Team ventured once again and for the last time (this season anyway) into the depths of Upton Heath. Today we were joined by Alex, who  due to a rain check on his usual volunteering with the RSPB decided to tag along with us. He also served as a lift in to the center for Louise.

Firstly we set about building a temporary bridge that would serve as an access route onto the Heath where there is normally a steep bank and ditch. We used two old sleepers and some decking. The result is pictured below:

Building the bridge

We then carried the bridge to where it was to be located and dug groves in the earth to ensure it would stay secure and strong enough for people to walk across. We tested it, as Noel put it: Beatles Abbey Road style.

Seems solid enough

Next we loaded the van with the tools we would need and headed off to our next location.  The aim for today was to remove the fence posts that we were unable to remove yesterday and continue with the coppicing of trees along the stretch for the new fence line. It was not long before the Heavens opened and we were forced to retreat to the van, we passed time by playing I-Spy and the Celebrity Alphabet game. The rain soon cleared and it was back to work.

We Spy something beginning with N

Once we had finished we headed back to the Center to prepare for the afternoon volunteers BBQ to celebrate the end of a good and productive Summer Project.

The sun came out just in time for the BBQ

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