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Three men went to mow

by Rod Kebble

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteer Ann Bates looks on while Margaret Ashdown and Marilyn Cane clear head-high bracken from the volunteers' outside seating area.

Ann Bates looks on while Margaret Ashdown and Marilyn Cane clear bracken from the volunteers’ outside seating area.

Nine volunteers turned up for the working party on 24th August and tackled three jobs between them. While Brian Lavers and Ray Ashdown went east to deal with some rhododendron stumps that were showing new and unwelcome signs of life — by injecting them with a glyphosate solution — Ann Bates, Margaret Ashdown and Marilyn Cane went to the west to flatten bracken.

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteers Brian Lavers wields the drill and Ray Ashdown stands by with the syringe as they tackle a recalcitrant rhodie stump from which new growth has sprouted to a height of a couple of feet (610mm).

Brian Lavers wields the drill and Ray Ashdown stands by with the syringe as they tackle a recalcitrant rhodie stump.

Brian Sams and I were given the job of painting the floor of the education room, to make it ready for the arrival in October of a dedicated CRT education officer to liaise with local schools on the subjects of farming and wildlife. Jim Cane started off with the rhodie team but defected to the bracken bashers, where he was joined by Martin Boag.

Counrtyside Restoration Trust volunteer Brian Sams takes a break from mopping the raw concrete floor of the education room, prior to painting it slate grey.

Brian Sams takes a break from mopping the floor of the education room, prior to painting it slate grey.

Having started the day thinking that it would be a good idea to take a strimmer to the ferns, the ladies changed their minds when Martin’s petrol strimmer proved so noisy that they couldn’t hear themselves chat, so they moved off to another bracken-infested patch and carried on working — and chatting — there.

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteer Jim Cane uses an old wooden, two-handed scythe to clear a swathe through the bracken...

Jim Cane clears a swathe through the bracken with a scythe…

In the meantime, Jim had been working with an altogether different implement — a scythe — and was quietly working his way through the undergrowth. He was joined later by Brian Sams wielding yet another tool for removing bracken.

... while his fellow CRT volunteer Martin Boag lays into the ferns with an orange coloured petrol-driven strimmer.

… while Martin Boag lays into the ferns with a petrol-driven strimmer.

The back half of the education room floor was swept, washed, rinsed and painted before lunch, with another coat going on afterwards. It will now have a fortnight to dry before the front half is tackled…

Having given the education room floor two coats of paint, Brian Sams relaxes by taking a one-handed swap hook to the bracken.

Having given the education room floor two coats of paint, Brian Sams relaxes by taking a swap hook to the bracken.