Volunteer days and events at the Plantation

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!