#The Kipp

Native Woodlands

The 4,600 trees we planted in March 2019 will soon be 3 years old. There have been very few losses and, thanks to our efforts at weeding and re-staking, the trees are now well established and, generally, able to look after themselves.

I think May can be described as having been a benign month. Damp, but not too wet, cool, but without any severe frosts. Not the sunniest May, but nor was it too dour.

April 2021 Update: Birds and Blossom, Berries and Cherries!

On Wednesday evening (the 21st) the first swallow of 2021 was spotted in the arboretum. On the same day, the last skeins of geese were seen heading off towards their northern breeding grounds. This must surely be the moment in time when winter transitions to summer!

Whilst it has been a strange and challenging year for us all, nature, and in our case the Kippford Community Nature Reserve, has come through relatively unscathed.

Walking round the reserve the other day I was struck by the silence. The songbirds that have filled the reserve with song for the past four months have fallen silent as they enter their summer recess. They will start up again in the autumn as they seek to establish territories ahead of the next breeding season.

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 lengthening days and warming sunshine are bringing a burst of life to the nature reserve.

The alder, with its vibrant blue buds, and the impatient wild cherry are leading the way in the native woodlands.

One year ago today we officially started tree planting in the Kippford Community Nature Reserve. Since then we've planted 4,600+ trees; created three water scrapes, and a pond; laid our first paths in a 6 acres section; installed 8 benches.

This week we erected the “Kippford Community Nature Reserve” sign at the lower entrance. The sign is made from heavy duty oak and should, we hope, last many years. We are also erecting a small A3 sign acknowledging all those who contributed to the purchase of the land as well as the sponsors who helped fund the work we have been doing over the past year or so.

For those of you who have not been following progress on the nature reserve, we thought a resume of the year’s work might be of interest:

In association with the D&G Metal Detectorists Group we are delighted to open the Kippford Community Nature Reserve for a special one day event.

The first trees arrived on Tuesday. These are the larger, pot-grown specimens, 42 in total. We made a good start on Wednesday and Thursday, and have only 15 more to plant tomorrow (Friday). Many thanks to the volunteers who were able to come along this week.

We are making good progress preparing the planting sites ready for the arrival of the trees, but there is still lots to do.

The completion of the paths has made it much easier to visualise suitable planting areas for the ornamental birch trees. In fact, if you have walked the paths over the past week or so, you will have seen tree stakes “sprouting up” across the landscape as we work out what goes where.

For those of you who have yet to check out what we’ve been doing in the bottom field of the nature reserve, here’s a bird’s eye view.

It’s been a 5 month wait, but finally the Forestry Commission has approved our native woodland planting and confirmed that the grant payment will be in our bank account by the end of this month. By doing the planting ourselves we have minimised the costs and will have a few hundred pounds surplus to add to the community funds. Many thanks to everyone who volunteered.

The full lengths of the 1.8m and 1.2m paths have been excavated and laid with sub-base. Several culverts have been dug to direct the run-off of surface water and have been severely tested during the downpours of the past few days.

Work is pushing on with the first paths in the Kippford Community Nature Reserve.

Recent rain has made working conditions a little more difficult, but Dempster’s are still making very good progress.

The tray (trench) for the 1.8m path has been fully excavated and the sub-base material should be finished in the next couple of days. There are then 6 culverts to be installed.

Work on the footpaths commenced this morning.

The team from Dempster Plant Ltd arrived at 7.30 am and were soon cutting the route of the path out into the lower field. The project will take a few weeks to complete, during which time you are likely to see deliveries of hardcore and timber arriving at the lower gate.

We will post some photos as soon as the first section of path is laid.

We are continuing to refine the plans for the arboretum. The latest list of birch (betula) species is given below. For those interested, you can see what they look like on Google Images.