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Leaves and trees fall in the autumn

by Rod Kebble

Brash (trimmings) and timber from a chestnut felled by Countryside Restoration Trust volunteers in Tankersford Copse, behind the new dairy.

A coppiced chestnut in Tankerford Copse, behind the new dairy. The "brash" (trimmings) on the left will be used to help protect the stool (stump) from deer, as new shoots emerge from it. The thicker timber on the right will be put to a variety of uses.

The Pierrepont conservation group was back at work in mid-October. On Friday 14th, five volunteers were tending to the hedge in Reeds Left Field, adjacent to the Rural Life Centre and the RSPB’s Farnham Heath reserve, while another was coppicing chestnut in Tankersford Copse.

A misty autumn morning at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

A touch of autumn mist behind the new dairy.

On Saturday 15th, four volunteers made further inroads into the rhododendron in the copse, while another built a stockade around the stump (“stool”) of one of the felled chestnuts, in order to protect the shoots which will soon sprout from it from being nibbled by deer.

Three Countryside Restoration Trust volunteers demonstrate how they get to grips with rhododendron.

The ABC of rhodie-bashing: Ann, Brian and Colette demonstrate how it's done.

At lunchtime, we discovered we had all been bitten when clearing rhodies on the previous working party a fortnight earlier. The bites appeared where clothing met skin but the identity of the culprits is as yet unknown. A job for the monitoring group, maybe?

Cutting chestnuts and rhodies will keep us busy through the winter, along with planting new hedges along the road below the dairy.

A collection of "silage sausages" at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

"Silage sausages" next to the dairy. Over 1,000 tonnes of feed are in the winter stockpile, which should last well into next Spring. The sausages contain wheat and maize grown on Pierrepont Farm itself and under contract on other local farms.