Archive newsletters and events at the Plantation

FOREST SCHOOL IN FISHPOND PLANTATION

WoodsWork Forest School, run by Bea Jackson and Rachel Cameron, began an exciting new project with Burton on the Wolds Primary School in September 2016. A designated forest school area has been established in the Fishpond Plantation, accessed from the school playing field, providing an excellent site to engage the children in a variety of woodland activities. Throughout the 2016/17 academic year, each year group will have their own 6 week forest school programme. So far years 3 and 6 have completed their programme and now it's the turn of the year 5s. The aim of each programme is to introduce the children to the outdoors and to teach them to appreciate the woodland environment and the health and social benefits that can be gained from spending time outside. They experience den building using natural materials, learn about nature, get creative with woodland objects and play games. During the sessions the children learn a variety of skills through play and engaging with activities they may never have experienced. In doing so they learn resilience and problem solving but most importantly they have fun.

If you are interested in learning more about forest school, go the Forest School Association website http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/ for information.

Plantation News 6th & 13th March 2017

Just before ten on Sunday morning 6th I was sat in the Pavilion watching the rain hammering down outside. I had unlocked the shed but was wondering, gloomily, if it was worthwhile actually getting anything out.

I'd reckoned without our intrepid volunteers. By ten there were enough to get started and by half past there were eight of us working in the Plantation. With our two teamakers arriving for the midway break, we had a very respectable turnout despite the weather.

Because it was so wet, we abandoned the idea of planting trees and dragging branches around, and concentrated on the piles of chippings, which were pretty dry once you got below the top layer. We thought this was the priority as the paths were getting very muddy and the biggest pile of chippings was obstructing the entrance.

Initially we though we'd stay for an hour and see how the weather went. In the end, it eased off enough for us to be able to do a full morning and to clear the piles of chippings.

We managed to cover the worst of the paths but there are still quite a few muddy areas, which we will have to tackle when the next pile of chippings is available.

Alongside this, we cleared a large chunk of tree which had blown off the top of one of the diseased trees in the storm, and was hung up on a healthy tree close to the path.

On Thursday 9th students from Brooksby Agricultural College were in the wood all day on their last visit of the year. Tree planting fitted in well with their college curriculum, so they planted the last 20+ of the Six Acre trees. They worked on several smaller projects such as clearing snowberry, lamia and ivy, but their other main task was clearing the debris out of the pond near the steps. Here several trees and branches which had fallen into the water during the recent storm needed removing and as a result several very wet and muddy students shared the minibus on the way back!

Our thanks to Martin Woolley from Brooksby and Cath Thomson for organising these visits again this year. Martin is moving on to pastures new in a few weeks but we have been assured that the collaboration with the college should continue next year. Our particular thanks to Martin for his help and guidance as well as the very useful student visits and our best wishes for his future career as a freelance ecologist

While they were busy a few volunteers from the village were able to work around them and sort out some of the storm damage. There were only a few of us, as you would expect with very little advertising or advance notice, but the two large piles of fallen branches by the main entrances bear witness to the amount we managed to do. We were also joined by a new volunteer who has grandchildren in the village and came along to plant two oak trees by the Springfield Road entrance for them. She has committed to caring for these trees along with her grandchildren and we look forward to watching their progress and welcoming the involvement of two more village children. (We realise the oaks are too closely planted, but they are still quite small and if both thrive we can always move one.)

Lyn Cooper, Plantation Volunteer Co-ordinator

Plantation Newsletter – 6th February 2017

Many thanks again to those who came to our volunteer morning on Sunday 5th February. In the end there were ten of us, which was pretty good given that several of our regular volunteers couldn't make it.

The morning was damp with even a brief shower, and cold enough for us to be glad of doing some fairly vigorous exercise. We had two main tasks to complete.

Firstly, the safety issue of the slippery steps needed sorting out and this was tackled by our bridge engineers. If you go round by the ponds you should find the new wiring over the wood on the steps gives you a better grip. The chippings should rot down over time and filter through the gaps to form a good solid surface that isn't so badly affected by wet weather.

Secondly, we wanted to get more of the Six Acre trees in. It was decided to focus on the hazels and around a dozen of them are now planted round the Plantation in the spaces between trees. We hope to get the rest of the trees in on our mid-month Thursday volunteer morning. (23rd February)

In spite of having those jobs taking up much of the group, we also managed, individually and collectively, to clear and spread the rest of the pile of chippings, rake up leaves near the pavilion, collect more brash for chipping and clear away the fallen tree which was blocking one of the cross paths – not forgetting the invaluable job of making a mid-morning cuppa. A very useful morning.

It's also time again for the letters to come round to ask our supporters to help with the funds for another year. We give a lot of consideration to how the funds are used and are always open to your ideas about how the woodland could be improved for the village and the wildlife. To become a friend of Burton Plantation, ask for information or share your ideas, phone 01509 889770 or email the parish clerk burtonclerk@gmail.com and she will pass your request on to me.

Don't forget to get into the Plantation to enjoy the snowdrops – recent mild weather has really got them started and they will be at their best soon.

After 23rd February, the next volunteer morning is Sunday 5th March. Hope to see you there.

Lyn Cooper, Plantation Volunteer Co-ordinator

News from Burton Fishpond Plantation 9th January 2017

The first volunteer morning of the year on 9th January was damp and murky and mild, which was not pretty but ideal for the task we had in hand.

We had received, for a nominal cost including delivery, 57 trees and bushes from the Six Acre Nursery. They are all, as far as we can tell, as many are unlabelled, native species. They include rowans, wild cherries, oaks, birches, hazels, guelder rose and dogwoods, all of which will be useful in the Plantation. (We will keep an eye on them in case any turn out not to be what we thought they were.)

They are all in need of planting as they are outgrowing their pots, which is presumably why we were offered them, and it is to the nursery's credit that they wouldn't sell them at full price as many others do. So, we dropped other activities to concentrate on planting as many as possible. The ground was soft and surprisingly dry, although of course roots in the wood are always a problem, but otherwise conditions were as good as we could wish for planting.

Ten volunteers worked their socks off and we managed to plant about half the trees, focussing on those which most urgently needed planting. We had planned to continue the following day alongside the Brooksby land management students. Unfortunately the students had to cancel due to illness. As it was pouring with rain by 10 am they won't have been too disappointed. The remaining trees were left for another day. The rain however was just what the newly planted trees needed.

The next lot of planting will need more preparation work, as we have put the first batch of trees into the obvious cleared spaces so we will need to prepare more ground before we plant next time. However, we have two sessions in February, 5th and 23rd so hopefully between them we can get the rest in. By then the snowdrops will be more visible too so we can avoid damaging them in the process.

If you would like to know more about Burton Fishpond Plantation or help with the planting of the trees come along to either of the volunteer days at 10am. The Plantation also has a page on the village website burton-fishpond-plantation

Look on the website for the date of the next management meeting. You are welcome to come along to this meeting, see what goes on, ask questions and make suggestions. The wood belongs to the community and will only thrive with the input from lots of local residents. Your involvement is greatly appreciated.

Plantation Newsletter – December 5th 2016

Thanks again to all those who turned out on Sunday on a chilly, dry and bright morning, just right for the energetic work we needed to do.

On Monday 28th November a group of first year students from Brooksby Agricultural College came to the Plantation on the first of several visits, during which they plan to thin out the dense growth around the ponds and clear debris from the area that will be under water later in the season.

Later in the week the brash they collected was chipped, and the dead trees they felled, as well as some left from previous work, chopped into manageable pieces by a contractor. (We appreciate that the pile of chippings is not ideally placed and removed quite a lot from the tennis court side of the pile to widen the access. I'm afraid that is the best we can do until January unless enough of us can find an hour or so to shift it before then.)

On Sunday 4th December our bridge repairers continued their sterling work making their way round the paths, mending and assessing the bridges as they go.

The rest of us were gathering the remaining brash and ferrying lots of logs from the pond area and many other parts of the plantation ready for the log sale. I suspect there were be a few sore muscles and backs on Monday morning!

However, Warwick tells me that the log sale raised £190 – a useful addition to the funds as well as helping with the management of the woodland. We always retain much of this type of wood as habitat piles for the wildlife, but because of the number of trees we are losing, mostly through disease, we need to reduce the amount of lying wood.

A second group of Brooksby students was in the Plantation again on Monday 5th December and continued with last week's work. They will be back in the New Year.

Please note that the January Sunday volunteer morning will not be on the usual first Sunday in January. For some reason the committee thought the turnout might not be great that day! Instead we will meet on 8thJanuary.

Unless something unexpected turns up this will be the last newsletter of the year, so it only remains for us to thank everyone who has contributed to the Plantation during 2016, whether by volunteering, donating through the Friends of the Plantation, helping with the organisation or simply by being encouraging. We need and appreciate you all.

Our very best wishes for a happy and relaxing festive season, and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year

Plantation news - November 2016

The mild autumn weather has enabled volunteers to make a good start on the winter maintenance jobs. Great progress has been made digging out the invasive snowberry. An area has been cleared of snowberry at the south western end, here it is planned is to increase the variety of woodland flora by sowing seed and planting species characteristic of woodlands in the East Midlands.

At the end of October a team of 11 volunteers from Santander came to Burton Plantation. If you've been round the Plantation in the last few days you can't fail to see what they have done. To beat the morning rush they all arrived at 7.30 am where their team leader had prepared a cooked breakfast in the pavilion. They worked really hard for a full day, some repairing and extending the chestnut paling fence along the northern field side. Others spread chippings on the paths, dragged out quantities of brash for chipping and burnt the accumulated pile of snowberry. Once again The Plantation committee wish to extend their thanks to Santander for including Burton Plantation in their Discovery Days programme. Thanks must also go to Roberts and Lyons for sourcing the chestnut pale for the job at very short notice and delivering it promptly on the morning of 26th October in readiness for the team from Santander to make a start.

Work has almost finished on clearing out the nest boxes, most of them have been used this year – but not always by birds! Some of the wooden ones have suffered from squirrel damage, so this winter it is planned to purchase more bird nesting boxes, not only to replace some that are badly damaged or rotten, but also to put up additional boxes in suitable areas of the wood. Donations of nest boxes and bat boxes gratefully accepted.

The next volunteer day is Sunday 4th December from 10am to 1.00pm – followed by a log sale at 1.30pm from the Towles Field car park. After that there will be further volunteer days on Sunday 8th January, Sunday 5th February, Thursday 23rd February, Sunday 5th March, Thursday 16th March, Sunday 2nd April and Sunday 11th June. All are welcome to these sessions. Tools, equipment, instruction, hot drinks and biscuits are provided. Just turn up – even if it's only for an hour, see what's going on and find a job that you can do to help care for this lovely woodland.

Catherine Thomson, Heritage Warden

News from the Santander volunteer day on 8th May 2014

The management committees of the Plantation and the Playing Field in Burton were pleased to welcome 23 volunteers from Santander Bank on 8th May 2014. The volunteers came from several areas of England as part of their company's Community Days programme. Unfortunately it turned out to be the wettest day we have had for well over a month. We had to admire their determination to carry on no matter what the weather did. Painting the playground fence was clearly out of the question but we did achieve several of our other targets for the day namely a spring flora survey in the woods and some additional fencing to support areas where we intend to 'gap up' the hedgerow. Other useful maintenance jobs were completed such as removing ivy from the trees bordering the school, so the health of the trees can more easily be monitored, and levelling the ground where tree thinning has taken place on the Playing Field.

Despite being thoroughly soaked our valiant volunteers worked really hard throughout day and all agreed that it was a pleasant change to sitting in front of a computer screen. Our thanks go to them, to the 6 volunteers from Burton who helped run the project and to Roberts and Lyons Ltd Fencing who were very supportive in supplying the materials we needed for the day.

Santander team at the end of the day when the rain eventually stopped!

The Santander Survey - 29th September 2012

On the 29th September we were delighted to welcome seven members of the Santander Diversity team who had volunteered to conduct the very first survey of our community wood, under the expert supervision of the Woodland Trust's Neil Tallbot. This is an essential task and needs to be carried out every six months as we can see how the wood evolves and it helps us to manage it.

Burton Plantation, Community Woodland Report
December 2011

We are very fortunate that most of our volunteer days are blessed with good weather. December 4th was no exception for the best part of the day. It was a clear bright morning and 14 volunteers turned up. The main task was to gap up parts of the hedgerow with young hawthorn whips. This was easier said than done. With the lack of rain over the last year the ground was exceptionally dry and hard, we resorted to a pickaxe at one point! Much time was spent transporting water to the newly planted trees. The rain during the afternoon after work had finished proved well timed. We also planted trees that had been raised as seedlings in people's gardens and put up some more nest boxes.

We are always pleased to see new faces at these sessions. It has been encouraging that this autumn we have had a number of new volunteers. At the present it seems to suit most people to just come for the morning. In January therefore the timing will be 10 – 1pm, with a break at about 11am. Not all the jobs require physical strength, we always need people to man the pavilion, to greet arrivals and make drinks. Tools, gloves, refreshments and training are provided, but it is advisable to wear old clothes and boots.

Burton Plantation, Community Woodland Report
November 2011

The last volunteer day on 6th November was a glorious clear sunny day. The morning session was well supported by people from the village and a variety of tasks accomplished. The ideal conditions enabled a couple of unsafe trees to be felled, the logs stacked and the brash chipped. The volunteer doing a litter pick was delighted to report that she had hardly found any. Checking and emptying the nest boxes is an important and revealing exercise. This year was no exception. It was found that a couple had suffered damage and are in need of repair. Six out of 11 functional boxes contained nests and had been used. A bat was using one of the remaining 5!

We were fortunate in the afternoon to be assisted by twelve Loughborough University students. They worked on the paths, removing trip hazards, improving accessibility and safety. Vast quantities of wood chippings were then spread on the most well used paths. As ever they worked with enthusiasm and energy.

At the next volunteer day in December it is planned to install a further 12 nest boxes, kindly donated by Brooksby College. There will also be some transplanting of young trees into their final locations and planting hawthorn whips to thicken up part of the hedge.

We are always pleased to have new volunteers. Breaking the day into two sessions seems to work well for most people. The morning session is from 10 am until 12.30, usually stopping for a hot drink at 11.00am. The afternoon session is a bit shorter from 1.30 to 3.30. Not all the jobs require physical strength, we always need people to man the pavilion, to greet arrivals and make drinks. Tools, gloves, refreshments and training are provided, but it is advisable to wear old clothes and boots.

Student Volunteer Team November 2011

Bluebell Day Report - 8th May 2011

As predicted the bluebells had all but finished by the Bluebell Day on 8th May. Fortunately, due to the publicity about the day many people reported to us that they made a point of walking in the woods before the event to see the bluebells. The day itself was very enjoyable, despite a ferocious wind that at one point threatened to blow away our willow weavers, baskets and all. Nearly 50 children took part in the nature trail activity. The volunteers manning the Wildlife Trust stand had a constant stream of people asking interesting questions, as did John who was giving out information on composting. Our wood cutting demonstration proved quite a draw and people were very pleased with their bargain wooden planters and mushrooms – made to order on the day.

In just a month the woods are now in full leaf, and ground vegetation such as cow parsley is dying back. In the absence of rain our seasonal ponds are dry. It is likely that this is to be the future pattern with these ponds. Clearing some of the trees surrounding the ponds has enabled more groundcover and waterside plants to establish thus increasing the habitat value of the area. This trend has been given a helping hand by a team of volunteers from Santander who gave up a day on 7th June to plant waterside species that are found locally but not necessarily in these woods. It is hoped that this will help to gradually to increase the biodiversity of the woodland.

This is the last volunteer working party until October. We hope people will continue to walk through the woods during the summer months. Do let us know of any interesting sightings.

Catherine Thomson
Burton Plantation Management Committee

Committee information stand and Master Composters Picture

Showing the children how to weave with green willow.

Youngster's Treasure Hunt 25th February 2011

On 25th February 2011 Leicestershire County Council laid on a couple of hours activies for the youngsters of the village.

The first clue is found!

Another clue is found!