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Storm Damage

Tuesday, November 30th 2021

The damage caused by Storm Arwen on Saturday is extensive and will take weeks to clear away. At the top of the green trail there is an area of windblown trees that is a giant tangle of branches, trunks and giant root plates.

The trees that have succumbed to the gale force winds are not all in one place; they are scattered around the whole reserve making the clean up operation extremely difficult. Staff and volunteers began 'phase 1' of the tidying operation yesterday by carefully removing dangerous hanging trees with a winch. Today, the second phase was underway as several large root plates were dropped back into place where possible.

Some of the fallen trees were then dressed and cut up into manageable chunks so that the wood could be moved and the paths were cleared of debris. As the woodland is inaccessible the larger pieces of timber were piled into habitat piles. Brash was removed as if left it will become a fire hazard in the summer months.

It is important to remove the wood from its 'landing place' as much of it is laying on wildflower banks like the one shown here.

On the boundary with the training area some of the root plates had lifted a post and wire fence a few metres into the air! (The 'before' photo')...

This was a priority to repair to prevent the neighbouring sheep from wandering into the woodland. 

After lunch, the team replaced some of the root plates and fixed the fence.  As you can see from the 'after photo' there is still a lot of work to do!

Many thanks to all who helped out today and especially to Ian for all of his winching and chainsawing!

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Willow Weaving

Sunday, November 28th 2021

On Friday it was the last Forest School before Christmas so the families made some festive wreathes to take away.

First, the Willow was harvested in the area that was coppiced last winter. The children were surprised at how colourful the new shoots were; they ranged from green to bright red.

They were also amazed at how tall the new shoots had grown in just one year!

Using loppers the children cut the Willow from different places so you couldn't even tell they had been there, sneaky!

With their bundle of Willow whips it was time to head back to the centre and get creative.

Back in the warmth of the classroom the circular frames soon took shape.

It was a team effort!

Everyone had a go.

Next, it was time to add some foliage to the frame. The wonderful scent of the Grand Fir branches filled the air.

Ribbons, bows, berries and dried orange slices were added.

Even the youngest family members got involved!

Thank you to the children and their parents for their support over the year. There was going to be a Willow weaving session for adults but sadly the storm damage has now had to take priority. However, if you would like to come along and gather some wreath making materials in return for a donation you are more than welcome to, afterall there are plenty of conifer branches after the storm! Contact the Reserve Managers to arrange a 'harvest' if you are interested!

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Considerate Contributions

Sunday, November 28th 2021

People support the reserve in many different ways. Last week (before the storm hit the reserve) a group from the Personalised Learning Centre helped out by removing Willow that was encroaching on one of the streams in the scrapes.

Rather than waste the cut stems, Elizabeth used them to create a festive display on the Christmas sales table.

It wasn't long before one of our younger visitors discovered the goodies hanging from the branches in the Field Centre!

Thank you to everyone involved from cutting the Willow to making the display and purchasing the items! 

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Storm Arwen

Saturday, November 27th 2021

Last night and throughout this morning Storm Arwen battered most of the UK. Sadly, the high winds have caused a huge amount of damage to the reserve's woodland habitats.

Conifers with their shallow root plates often fall victim to gale force winds and several have been uprooted all around the site.

Whilst some have been pushed over with the roots still attached, others have literally snapped part way up.

Including some very tall ones!

The green route is blocked in several places and is closed to visitors until further notice.

Staff and volunteers will be working hard during next week to make the trail safe again.

Our apologies for any inconvenience, please bear with us whilst the planned winter work is put on hold and the storm damage is cleared away.

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Look Both Ways

Friday, November 26th 2021

We are coming to the time when my eyes are not distracted by a movement or a flash of colour, showing that there could possibly be a bug around.  Now is the time to appreciate the views and scenes of Foxglove.  It is also time to stop and stare at the sky, often to see the rain approaching very quickly!  The forecast on Wednesday was for relatively mild and dry and not too much wind.  The blue sky across the moor was a delight.

I turned and walked across the middle moor towards the Stone Circle.  Oh what a change!

Instead of the golden brown Larch against a blue sky, I was faced with dull brown needles against an almost black sky.  The shadows from the stones were impressive.

I continued my walk across Hague Bridge and looked at the autumn colours.  The sky did not look so threatening, posssibly?

On to the the Sedge Warbler patch that has been cut and raked by the volunteers.  Back to black threatening clouds but the sun was highlighting the leafless trees.

Turning to head towards the Phragmites I almost needed my sunglasses on!

The sun was catching the reed seed heads making them glow in a golden light.  Overhead the rain clouds threatened.

We made it back to the Field Centre just before the rain started.

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Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

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Upcoming Events

December Winter Worky Day

Saturday 4th December 2021 | 10.00am - 3.00pm

Join our staff and volunteers for a fun day of practical habitat management tasks.  Specific tasks will be chosen nearer the time.  Come ready for all weather conditions and bring your oldest outdoor clothes as tasks will be mucky and may involve bonfires.

Booking is essential for this FREE event as a hot cooked lunch will be provided. 

January Winter Worky Day

Saturday 8th January 2022 | 10.00am - 3.00pm

Join our staff and volunteers for a fun day of practical habitat management tasks.  Specific tasks will be chosen nearer the time.  Come ready for all weather conditions and bring your oldest outdoor clothes as tasks will be mucky and may involve bonfires. 

Booking is essential for this FREE event as a hot cooked lunch will be provided. 


Undergrowth Newsletter

Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54

Find out what has been going on at the reserve during the lockdown!

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