A partnership between the Woodland Trust and the National Trust

Making way

The Old Ways

The evening volunteering activities continued at Fingle Woods this week with an ongoing task to open up a footpath along the bottom of Hall’s Cleave. The route follows an informal path that has been used by local people for many years, winding its way beside the stream and under some of the tallest conifers in the whole of the wood.

Ken, Hywel and Christine – new volunteers at work, clearing a path beneath the grand fir trees

Ken, Hywel and Christine – new volunteers at work, clearing a path beneath the grand fir trees

The route was affected by the major felling operations in this part of the valley last year when a large area of infected larch was cleared. The disturbed ground and brash piles have become a barrier to walkers but now the way will become clear for people to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this secluded part of Fingle Woods. Once a definable path is opened up, the volunteers will continue to improve access to the area by building some new wooden bridges over the stream. Clearing away the brash and pulling up the prolific grand fir seedlings will also open up the ground so the natural woodland wildflowers will have a chance to grow.

Jim White, the work party leader, explained that “the path follows a disused pack horse track and you can see the evidence of the old route as you pass the remains of a charcoal hearth. Once the path is opened up, people will be able to walk through the woods between Clifford Bridge and Mardon Down”.

Rusting remains of an old charcoal kiln

Rusting remains of an old charcoal kiln

At the end of the session the volunteers stood back to enjoy sausages and burgers, cooked on a wood burning stove. These evening sessions have been a good chance for new volunteers to join in with the woodland restoration and talk about the work going on.

The kettle is on, fuelled by wood, providing fuel for the volunteers

The kettle is on, fuelled by wood, providing fuel for the volunteers

If you would like to join the Fingle Woods volunteers, please contact Jim White by email jim@whitewoodmanagement.co.uk

by Matt Parkins

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