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New volunteers meet the rhodies

by Rod Kebble

New volunteer Annie Silver is shown the ropes by old hands Brian Sams and Ann Bates, who have spent the past six winters "rhodie-bashing".

New volunteer Annie Silver (on the left) is shown the ropes by old hands Brian Sams and Ann Bates, who have spent the past six winters “rhodie-bashing”.

Over the past couple of working parties, we have been joined by two new volunteers, Jill Summers and Annie Silver. On 16th November it was time to introduce them to the traditional Pierrepont winter task of “rhodie-bashing”.

Although much of the Rhododendron Ponticum that once occupied large tracts of Tankersford Wood has been removed, enough remains to give the volunteers a workout to keep them warm on a cold winter’s morning.

(And untouched supplies of rhodie await in the less accessible parts of Wey Wood — but we’re keeping that a secret from Jill and Annie for the time being…)

Released back into the wood was Brian Sams, whose days of painting the education room floor an even shade of battleship grey have now ended with the completion of the task (marred only by a few muddy boot marks since the paint dried).

The area cleared of rhodie showed signs of having been tackled not too long ago but the work had, unaccountably, not been followed-through with the application of a glyphosate solution to the stumps. No such oversight will occur this time.

Jill Holland, our other new volunteer, untangles some overhead rhodie growth from the branches of a birch tree. Beside her is a pile of "brash" (trimmings and small branches) from her work earlier in the morning.

Jill Summers, our other new volunteer, untangles some overhead rhodie growth from the branches of a birch tree. The pile of “brash” (trimmings and small branches) shows Jill had had a busy morning.