Rhododendron clearance continued on the Ridges today with grateful help from members of Salesforce and Optalis.
Work also took place on the lower part of the Ridges at Iron Stone Pond to clear unwanted debris and logs. It was good to see new vegetation sprouting up around the pond with signs that various wildlife such as deer and water loving insects visit the site.
Workday 11th May 2022
Repair and Improve
Significant increased usage of the sites in the last couple of years has required various maintenance work from the volunteer team. The work schedule for Simon's Wood this month included Rhododendron clearance to open up rides and trails, repairing knee rails at the car park entrance and replacing treads on damaged boardwalks.
Workdays 10th & 16th March 2022
16th February 2022
Brush cutters led the way on the heathland in Simon's Wood today to cut the overgrown heather and promote healthy regrowth at low level for a denser heathland coverage. This work is called monoculture - the cultivation of a single crop in a given area. The cut heather was distributed to new areas where hopefully new plants will establish from the scattered seeds.
Tree Planting in Simon's Wood
Following on from the removal of spindly silver birch trees in Simon's Wood last month, we were back again planting young Hazel trees which will improve the area by becoming more diverse adding a lower canopy plantation. We were joined again by a group from Salesforce and all the extra pairs of hands certainly made a difference.
28th January - Back at the Farm
A group of volunteers went back to the Growing Places Turgis Green Farm to install new fencing and replace the rotten raised bed sleepers. This work will carry on again next month as there is always something to be done!
19th January 2022
Volunteers were in Simon's Wood today and split into 4 work groups undertaking the following tasks:
- Replacing the old 'Dragon's Teeth' in the car park with larger and stronger versions.
- Clearing and burning the invasive rhododendron previously cut early in 2021.
- Cutting overgrown heather on the heathland to encourage new and healthy growth.
- Removing spindly silver birth saplings in the plantation area to prepare the way for planting Hazel trees next month. This will give a varied and low level canopy to the area and the cut silver birch will provide a varied habitat for wildlife.
12th January 2022
The volunteers were back on the Ridges for the first time this year accompanied buy a group from Salesforce and also Jamie and Jason from the National Trust.
Work consisted of clearing evasive birch and pine saplings to open up the view and provide various habitats for wildlife. The frosty January morning swiftly turned out warm and sunny enjoyed by all including emerging butterflies!
Helping the Community
24th November 2021
A group of volunteers went along to the Growing Places Farm at Turgis Green
to replace the rotting sleepers on the footbridge and also fit new sleepers to some of the raised beds.
This is a joint initiative between the volunteers and Growing Places Berkshire and we are more than happy to help out when we can.
Lots of heavy lifting required but it was all in a days work and very worthwhile........and enjoyable!
Ridges Heathland Revisited
Workdays 10th & 17th November 2021
We were pleased to welcome another group of volunteers from Salesforce on the 10th November to help us tackle the regrowth of birch and gorse on the heathland. Many pairs of hands really do made a difference and the following week volunteers continued with the good work.
Wed 10th November
Wed 10th November
Wed 17th November
20th October 2021
A group from Salesforce joined us this week for the first time in 2 years so it was good to see the familiar faces again and also a few new ones!
The target for the day was clearing the Heathland of birch re-growth and their help certainly made a difference.
One of the first tasks for September was the Car Park tidy up. Hedge trimmers were used to tackle the vigorous Spring/Summer growth and an aggregate fill will be added to the lower section of the car park to extend this area which in winter becomes boggy.
Removal of Birch and Pine regrowth on heathland in Autumn/Winter should take place annually. Without intervention, this landscape would revert to a wooded area and the important habitat and bio-diversity it provides would be lost.
We also returned to Wellingtonia Avenue for the second time this year with both strimmers/brushcutters and the Grillo which is fundamentally a ride on lawnmower with attitude!
4th August 2021
The upgraded and new boardwalks on Simon's Wood Centenary Trail are now fully installed and local residents are already seeing the benefit.
Grateful thanks must go to Finchampstead Parish Council for their support in funding this project along with a very generous donation from fellow volunteer Duncan Clark. We couldn't have done it without you!
7th July 2021
Preliminary work undertaken today in readiness for installation later of the new boardwalks on the Centenary Trail in Simon's Wood.
Car Park Repairs
Simon's Wood Car park has had its makeover with pot holes filled and additional car parking spaces created to make visiting and parking a better experience all round.
This was all made possible by the many generous donations received via Just Giving. Thank you again everyone!
Wednesday 14th April 2021 - First Day Returning to Volunteering
A great first day back today with volunteers returning for the first time for many months. The numbers enabled 4 independent groups to work on a variety of tasks in separate locations throughout Simon's Wood.
The National Trust welcome new volunteers and if you have a specific knowledge or expertise relevant to woodland ecology and conservation please do contact us to register your interest, however there are no opportunities at present but we would still like to hear from you so do please use our contact page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Alternately you can contact the National Trust directly about volunteer opportunities at email@example.com