Where have all the young men gone?

Despite the set back of having our tools stolen the hardened Grafton grafter still turn up every Wednesday.

Picture below shows Mike, Cyril and Burt all are 80 this year – Mike and Cyril have been regular volunteers since the start 21 years ago.

The Octogenarians
Cyril presented with a Birthday Cake!!!
The work goes on
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Brown Hairstreak Eggs

Thanks to Simon P and gang we have a copy of this years egg count. You can also compare it with last years count (in black and brackets) It shows that Blackthorn needs cutting every two years rather than four to give best results!!!

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Despite the set back…….

Despite the set back of the tool theft and lack of chainsaws and brush-cutters the work goes on at Grafton and cold weather has meant fewer volunteers. However we have almost finished the second coppice plot. We are also seeing the first signs of spring with the hazel catkins out already.

Coppice Plot
Hazel Catkin
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The Theft…..

Over the last 21 years 10 – 15 elderly volunteers brave the winter weather to work in Grafton Wood. They have turned it into a place of great beauty and a haven from wildlife, a jewel in our intensively  managed rural landscape.

The wood is open for all to enjoy and is the home to some of our most endangered species.

Two charities supply the tools but over the Christmas period the tools have been stolen – two chainsaws and a brush cutter. This will limit this winters planned activity. We will not be able to leave tools in the wood and will have to carry them across each week.

What sort of society do we live in where a group of people are working in their own time for the good of their community only to be thwarted and hindered by the very people they are trying to benefit with an act of mindless vandalism. 

If you would like to help with this problem do answer this post.

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Its Christmas……..

Grafton Volunteers Christmas lunch as a thank you for all the hard work of the year.

We meet at Lower Kites Wood and Miriam cooks her famous venison casserole. We have a work morning first burning brash then the lunch followed be mince pies. As a highpoint Big John delivered his annual ode to Grafton Volunteers.

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Brown Hairstreak Egg Count

Simon and the gang have started counting Brown Hairstreak eggs.  The good news is that they have found eggs in new areas away from the Grafton core site.  However the egg count in the Orchards adjacent to Grafton Wood showed the lowest count since 2000.  This is consistent with our observation of adults seen in the summer being extremely low. 

We can only speculate as the reasons:

The orchard management has changed in recent years – July grass cutting which also removes Blackthorn sucker favoured for egg laying.  A considerable amount of the hedges have been flailed.  The Management of the Blackthorn Block in the orchard is no longer being done. 

The other factor is high summer temperatures and lack of rain. 

Simon will be checking the eggs in the wood next week – so watch this space. 

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Grafton Ride Management

Despite the poor weather Grafton volunteers continue with ride management.  Ride 14 from the main gate and the south ride have been widened.  See pics

 

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