Well, we had a really good turnout for today’s working party; at 19 only two off the current season’s record.
Those 19 picked a really lovely morning to work on the section of The Common known to us as Area B. This is the section of mixed grassland on the Warren Road side of the bridge, to the east of the boardwalk. It is very rich in wild flowers, and is also a good place for butterflies, so it is important that it is cut every two years, and that the encroaching Alder seedlings are removed so that the area remains open.
Grizzly had been grizzly lately, so to ensure there were no breakdowns to hold up the work of the working party most of the remaining vegetation in this area had been cut earlier in the week. Grizzly was however given the opportunity to shine, and rose to the challenge magnificently, so that all of the area is now cut. Not only cut, but cleared away to the edge of the site too.
And ahead of the cutting and clearing, the Alder removal team was working away; we must have removed several hundred saplings over the last few weeks, far more than we have ever achieved by different methods previously.
We had our usual half time break, enjoyed all the more with the lemon drizzle cake baked by Margaret and Tim. Chairman John felt moved to address us all, and we all felt moved.
So we have now cut all we needed to for this season. Natural England had asked us to start earlier, to attempt to weaken the reeds which are encroaching on the central, orchid-bearing area, which we did, despite the heat at the end of the summer. Patches of invasive Michaelmas Daisies and Bracken were also cut back before the main programme started. We also turned out on another searingly hot morning to pull up all the flowering Himalayan Balsam plants we could lay our hands on, again to control the spread of a particularly harmful (if attractive) invasive species. We turned out when it was cold, when it was foggy, and at least once when the rain was torrential. Many of us plunged into holes in the mud up to our knees; some plunged further still.
Throughout it all we remained good humoured and actually happy to be working well together, in good company, for a good cause. Even though the main cutting programme has been achieved, more working parties are scheduled, and more jobs will need doing. It’s a great site, but not by accident.
Here is Chairman John's message of thanks:
Yesterday was a truly splendid effort, rounding off an impressive and heroic season's work. We have completed the cutting programme with three sessions in hand, something never achieved before, and as for all that work with the "Tree-popper", that's another best result ever; all involved can justifiably feel proud of being part of Southrepps Commons Trust.
Next scheduled session is 19th of this month and I shall consider how best to use it. We were specifically tasked with knocking back as much scrub as possible along the south eastern edge of where we were yesterday. When Natural England set us that task during one of their routine inspections I thought, "In your dreams," but now we really have the chance to do it. I might set a small group to work building the last bit of boardwalk joining up with the container; it's like a papyrus raft on Lake Titicaca at the moment!
On behalf of the Parish Council, Southrepps residents, and visitors, thank you.
Regards from John