It was only a matter of time until the professional bench-builders hit the trail.
I would say that this one took Aaron and myself about 45 minutes to build… Ahem, sorry, did someone say, 1 hour and 45 mins? Only the throngs of people passing-by will ever know the truth.
The old rectangular bench needs to be hoofed down the path towards Draycote at some point. Time is short so we can probably just move it a few meters away from the new bench for now and then find a new home for it in the summer.
Whatever, the old benches cannot stay next to the new benches. It is playing havoc with my OCD just to think about them so massively out of place.
As with the whole picnic-bench theme, we promised to give each bench site a different appearance. We have the bird-feeder and mini wild-flower meadow bench, we have the views across The Heath and pollinator-attracting wildflowers bench. This bench is in a natural clearing and the edges are going to become hedges, so maybe we should call it the hedgerow bench. The name hasn’t really grown on me yet, though!
On this side, we need to cut the trees down to a five-foot height and then encourage the hedge to thicken up over the spring and summer.
The other side will need even more encouragement. Luckily, I have secured a ‘hedge-pack’ from The Woodland Trust to enable us to put in decent hedges along the edges. This will not be delivered until Autumn though, so we will just have to do the best that we can until then. We can dead-hedge with the cuttings from the other side, for now.
We can seed with our wildflower mix and specifically, hedge bedstraw. This will create a corker of a wildlife spot for wildflowers in the sunny aspect, and fungi in the shaded one.
The fourth and last bench, well, it is actually the second bench in the run, just needs a bit of scrub clearance and then seeding with lady’s bedstraw. If we have time we can make scallops up to the bird-feeder bench, and seed with more lady’s bedstraw. This will encourage our bloody-nosed beetle population to flourish and expand southwards.
In the autumn we can do the same with the four picnic benches south of Potsford Dam, and then it is just a case of encouraging the different aspects of each bench area, and scrub control.
The way I am seeing the next five weeks-
Wed 27th Feb – Create the hedge at bench 3 and move the old benches a bit.
Mon 4th Mar – Work on the hedge at bench 3.
Wed 13th Mar – Clear scrub at bench 2.
Tue 19th Mar – Clear scrub at bench 2 and scallop towards bench 1.
Wed 27th Mar – Seed all areas from bench 1 to bench 4.
We also need to do a bit of remedial work on stumps at the underpass and I think the bat-boxes need slightly longer landing ladders.
A quick look up and down shows the path between clearings.
We still have loads of trees between clearings, however, there is a good view along the path so people don’t feel enclosed and intimidated whilst walking along it.
And lastly, I spotted a brimstone butterfly just north of the bird-feeder clearing on Sunday, and whilst out on my travels over the last week, I spotted Chris, Reece and Linda, so just to let everyone know that our extended greenway volunteer group are all fit and well.