Last month the volunteers managed to advance as far as the tree line, and with the help of scouts from 29th Odiham, Fleet Cubs and RSPB Young Wildlife Explorers, we hoped our nearly sixty-strong team would progress as far as the margins of the pond.
The terrain was pretty rough and it’s hard work wading through marshy water to get to the large clumps of alder, willow and birch sprouting out of the boggy depths. It’s even tougher, lurching, slopping and occasionally slipping, as you drag the chopped wood back to the fire.
After a murky start, the sun was shining by the time we stopped for tea. It was good moment to pause and admire the beautiful Autumn colours around the pond (until the wind changed direction and smoke from the fire brought tears to my eyes).
We covered a fair amount of terrain, although we didn’t quite make it as far as the pond. Hopefully, cattle will be able to graze the area next year, to keep re-growth at bay.
As I sat down on a tree stump, to pour the water from my wellies and check no small, aquatic creatures had taken up residence in between my toes, it was satisfying to view the difference we had made to the landscape.
If you like reeking of bonfires, peeling off wet socks, and finding odd bits of plant and ash in your hair – join us for more fun in the marshes next month!
Photographs: Cathy Holden