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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 8/12/2015

Posted: Tuesday 15th December 2015 by Joe.P

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

We were flying solo this week, as the boys from the Wildlife Trust were on a training course.Thankfully they had already trained us well, so on the odd occasion they can't make it, volunteers can step in. My colleague had been trained as a first aider by the Trust, which is a must have for a solo day, and I was in charge of tools.

Collecting the tools and the tea equipment from the office in Edgbaston was like a slick military operation. Paul had left the tools boxed up and the tea box ready. The team had the kettle boiled, flask filled and car packed up quicker than a traffic warden can sharpen his or her pencil, and all with lovely smiles to brighten the murky morning - thanks guys. It was so slick I got to the Bog early enough for a recce of the area we were to work on, so I could form a plan for the day in my mind. I also counted and listed the tools to make sure we didn't leave any behind - easily done.

One by one the other volunteers started to arrive, a small but international group, representing the USA, Spain, The Peoples Republic of Cumbria, and two West Midlanders. But it was a day during which we proved we were all Brummie by nature and for nature. 

We didn't need to venture too far into the bog, as our target was a wooded stretch to the left of the meadow by the performance area. The mission for this International Rescue was to prevent the brambles from spreading into the meadow, untangle four little oak trees being smothered by gelder rose, and coppice any hazel.

It was obviously an area that hadn't been tackled for a while, as a couple of feet into the wall of bramble we started to find coppiced stools from last time which had just been shaded out, so not grown again, and the old dead hedge. The brambles were about an inch in diameter, and the hazel trunks so thick they needed a bow saw. So imagine our surprise when a dog walker stalked across to us with intent, demanding to know what we'd done with the path - his dog's favourite path! We managed to point him in the right direction, assuring him there had never been a path where we were cutting.

On his return, he approached us in defence of the "bunnies" of Joy's Wood, wanting to make sure that we weren't destroying their habitat, as they love running through that area apparently. We explained that coppicing extended the life of the hazel, that the Oaks would grow tall now free, and pushing the bramble back was really just maintaining the original meadow boundary. But what clinched it for him was our beautiful dead hedge, which he imagined the rabbits hiding behind in a lovely protected rabbit world - nice one. 

There's so much hazel in this area we'll have to return another day to finish it, but at least we know we can turn it into hutches - Bostin'!
Mary Girvan

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