On the 18th and 19th September, ‘The Hedgehogs’ once again visited Fleet Pond to help with our conservation tasks. The group’s members are all graduates of Southampton University and former members of Southampton University Conservation Volunteers (SUCV) – see a previous post for further information!
Describing this visit, Pete Newbold writes:
Even after having graduated from Southampton University for 3 years or more ‘The Hedgehogs’ are still going strong. We returned to Fleet Pond again this year to help out with our annual battle against willows, mud and water using our normal tools of a big pile of bow saws and a sizeable fire.
Many thanks go to Colin Gray of FPS for organising our accommodation and the work tasks again! 15 volunteers stayed overnight at Fleet Baptist Church and woke bright eyed and bushy tailed for the Saturday. After a cooked breakfast to fuel us we arrived at Fleet Pond. With a swift tool talk and briefing we ploughed into Brookly reedbed to tackle the alder and silver birch. Even after our long gap since last doing conservation we soon got into the hang of it, with John, Hugh and some of us others generally ignoring the advice to leave the big trees to the chainsaws – much preferring the challenge and the very satisfying noise as they fell to the ground. After a hard days work with a nice large fire and jacket potatoes for lunch we had cleared a significant area and made a large pile to start the next day’s fire.
After an interesting night in the Baptist Church with nice home cooked fajitas to refuel us, followed by lots of sleep and another fried breakfast those of us that were left on the Sunday arrived at Fleet Pond for Day 2. Again we jumped into the reed bed feet first and cracked on with the work. Swiftly processing the leftovers from the previous day we had the fire roaring back to life and we moved on to the edge of our clearing. After a solid morning’s work we came to the edge of the water and spotted our targets growing in the pond. After some precarious balancing acts and getting a large tree stuck in the middle of the pond we managed to clear all the unwanted growth around the edge of the reeds.
Stopping at 3 o’clock to give the fire a chance to die down gave us the time to admire our handiwork and generally collapse after the weekend’s hard but successful work.