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Green gym gyrations for geriatrics!

by Rod Kebble (aged 66)

As the youngest person present yesterday, I shall probably get into trouble for the title of this piece. However, none of our much younger volunteers were on hand, so pensioner power made itself felt in the woods.

The rhododendron selected for clearance had previously been left alone due to the presence of an active badger sett. The badgers have now moved on (they appear to have a number of setts on the farm that they occupy in rotation) and work could be carried out without disturbing them.

A clump of rhododendron selected for clearance.

Marilyn Cane drags some felled material past a clump of rhododendron that will be the next to go.

Four photos show the clump being cleared piece by piece.

Ann Bates and Brian Sams clear the clump piece by piece.

The clump of rhododendron has been cleared, opening the ground to the light for the first time in many years.

The rhododendron canopy has been cleared, opening the ground to the light for the first time in many years. The stumps have been left to give something to grip for wrestling them out of the ground. Failing that, they will be injected with a glyphosate solution.

Having decided to have the morning coffee break before starting work — to give the morning’s rain time to clear away — the volunteers set to work with a will and the stumps of rhodie were soon decorated with discarded layers of clothing as people warmed up and the calories from the chocolate cake were worked off. The piles of rhodie brash and of useful rhodie logs grew satisfyingly high and work ceased 15 minutes before the planned time, due to all the rhodies having been removed.

A photo of only the second bird's nest to be found in the rhododendron in six years of clearance.

During this working party, this old bird’s nest was found in a rhododendron. It is only the second nest to be found in six winters of rhodie clearance.