What a year this had been! (no, I’m not talking about the lockdown).

After a very wet winter we are experiencing the driest spring ever recorded (records go back to 1886). Lovely though the sunshine has been, these are not ideal conditions to establish new trees.

The native woodlands, now in their second year, have developed extensive root systems, helping them to cope with the drought. Thanks to the team of volunteers, all the trees were weeded in April and, as I write, the trees are putting on new growth.

The new trees in the arboretum are finding life a bit more challenging. We are responding to the lack of rain by repeat watering to maintain moisture around the roots.

However, we were caught out by a hard frost on 11th May which damaged many of the young shoots (you’ll know all about it if you are growing potatoes in your garden).

We’re confident most of the trees will recover and, in the autumn, we will replace any that didn’t make it.

We’ve taken our first steps towards creating meadows on the upper reserve, having topped (cut) a couple of acres of grass. We will probably cut twice more through the summer, removing the cuttings to deplete the nutrients in the soil. This process allows wild flowers and herbs to establish rather than the coarse grasses which currently dominate. It may take two or three years, but we think it will be worth it.

You may not have noticed, but there is an old well on the nature trail above the kissing gate. We believe it is at least 200 years old. It is still full of water despite the drought!

We have had the well restored to its original design, using the original stone - have a look in the young trees on your right about 200 metres after the metal kissing gate.

Restored Well

Restored Well

Meadow Topping

Meadow Topping