When you can’t see the wood for the, er, brambles…

Our latest volunteer session was dedicated to clearing some of the brambles that dominate large parts of HBUF. In themselves they do provide some decent habitat, but left along they do tend to take over. By managing them, with controlled cuts done in rotation across different parts of the site, we hope to give other plants and wildlife a bit more of a look-in.

One animal we hope to encourage in other parts of the site, nearer the brook, will be harvest mice. A recent survey by volunteers from Wiltshire Wildlife revealed some likely nests. Clearing some of the brambles and promoting some long grass will hopefully provide them with some better habitat.

And never fear, we will always have plenty of brambles for your blackberry picking needs, as some patches will be managed in rotation, being cut back every four years or so, while others will be left as-is and only trimmed back to keep the paths clear.

Below are some before and after shots. We’ve revealed some of the trees that were planted in the early days of HBUF. The brambles have done a good job of keeping them safe, but they’re big enough to look after themselves now!

Photo of trees poking up above a thick mat of brambles
Silver birch and fir trees revealed in patch where brambles have been cut down

Thanks to the folk who turned out to lend a hand. It’s a tough job persuading those brambles to clear off. Some of them were huge, and after so many years they’ve woven themselves in and out and up and down so each one takes many cuts before it can finally be removed.

Volunteers lined up in front of the area being cleared of brambles.
Our volunteers for the bramble clearing… Sue, Simon, Barry, Andy, Trevor, Bob and (behind the camera) Ian.
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