Volunteer Days

The Big Help Out at HBUF

On Monday the 8th May we’ll be taking part in the Big Help Out, King Charles’ initiative to encourage more people to volunteer in their local communities.

On the day, volunteers will be given a tour of the site, to learn a little about our history and the type of tasks our volunteers get to do throughout the year.

That will be followed by a chance to get hands-on, building some ‘dead hedging’ to protect some of the local wildlife, and improving the habitat for some of our smaller residents.

It’s a great opportunity to get involved if you haven’t been out with us before, or to reconnect if you haven’t visited for a while.

To find out more, and to register, checkout our events page.

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Our Volunteer Day in February has moved!

Our monthly session to look after the forest, originally scheduled for the 18th, has had to be postponed by a week, and will now be taking place on the 25th February from 1pm to 4pm. Feel free to join us when you can, for as long as you like.

We will be cutting back a section of the blackberry bushes that dominate the Ballman field. It will be the start of a four-year cycle, tackling one section of the arear each year to vary the habitat and introduce new life to the area.

It will also reveal the trees that were originally planted in the area, giving us the change to see them in all their glory and showing off some of the different species that have been planted.

Gloves are a must and thick trousers recommended to keep thorns at bay. Sturdy secateurs or loppers would be handy, though we do have some you can use if you don’t have your own.

We’ll meet at the top of the picnic field to kit up before heading out. If you plan to join us later then you’ll find us next to the Celtic Tree Circle.

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Dead Hedge 2.0

For the first volunteer day of 2023 we revisited the dead-hedge that we put in to protect some of our wildlife and gave it a bit of an upgrade.

Sadly, the original had suffered from being battered by stray footballs from the pitch next to it, and from unwanted human attention.

The new one, we hope, is a bit sturdier. Aside from the heavier posts and beams that are part of it we’ve also planted some willow cuttings taken from one of our trees. The hope is that these will take root and become a living part of the hedge that we can train to provide an even sturdier natural barrier. Not exactly a Whomping Willow but enough to fend off poor shots on goal!

We can’t help with football skills, but hopefully the new fence will withstand the off-target balls.

The day before we set out we heard that a tree that had fallen and blocked the path that leads into the woods from the Cricklade field. Andy was very happy to get the chance to try out his new electric chainsaw. We also took out the top trunk of the big fallen willow across the brook, which had started to rot and might have posed a safety hazard if it came down while anyone was playing on it.

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A bit of wood work

The original fence around the pond had been showing its age and finally succumbed to vandals earlier this year.

Some of the volunteers at our October session finished off replacing the rails and added new posts for a bit of extra support.

And just in time… a week later the area they were working in was under water as heavy rain cause the burna to flood.

Hopefully it’ll be another ten years before we have to replace them again!

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It’s time to mow the meadow

Each year we give the wildflower a bit of a trim. This keeps the grass in check and helps the wild flowers to thrive.

The grass has been cut. Now we need to rake up and remove up the cuttings and put them to good use elsewhere. This year we’ll be using them to mulch the new trees in our Miyawaki Forest and Celtic Circle.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s good fun. Our volunteers are a fabulous group of people.

We’ll be working in the wildflower meadow from 10am until about 12. All ages welcome (there’s a job for everyone).

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HBUF Volunteers

At the end of last year we started our work parties, getting together once a month to tackle all the major jobs that needed doing. It worked brilliantly, with new areas cleared and trees & wildflowers planted.

We did have some volunteers that were unable to join us on the chosen weekend, and others who are keen to do more. So now that spring has well and truly sprung we’ve decided to meet every Sunday. So if you want to pop in every week or once in a blue moon, you can now pick a day that suits you, and we’d love to see you.

There’s plenty to do, so we’ll be meeting every week as the weather allows to maintain the existing planting and prepare and plant new areas.

Lots of jobs, from litter-picking and refurbishing the covers on our younger trees through to a bit of clearance work.

If you have any questions you can email Andy at “contact (at) hreodburnaurbanforest.com” or get in touch on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/HBUFSwindon

We meet every Sunday at 10am by the container in the picnic field.

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April Powers

Your superpower? Creating a wildlife oasis in the centre of Gorse Hill and Pinehurst for generations to enjoy.

We’ve got a lot to do again this month, with a wide range of jobs that we need your help with across the site. Please join us on our usual outing on the 3rd Sunday of every month between 10 and 12, next event on 25th of April.

Photo of purple and white fritillaries in the grass of the wildflower meadow
Fritillaries in the wildflower meadow

While you’re there, be sure to visit the wildflower meadow, where the fritillaries that we planted last year have started to come up!

As well as the familiar clearance and planting jobs that need doing we have unwanted visitors to evict! The Himalayan Balsam growing along the banks of the stream is an invasive species that’s crowding out native plants and has to go.

Checkout the event for more details of exactly what we’ll be up to and where to meet.

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March On…

Our work party this month sees us tackling a wide range of jobs. We’ve got chipping, strimming, planting, and all sorts planned. There are even some trees that need to be freed!

We’ll be spread out in a few areas across the site, so everyone can keep distanced. Please RSVP so we know how many are coming and can plan accordingly.

We’re giving our new chipping attachment for the tractor it’s first outing. To make way for our new birch grove we’ve removed a big pile of brambles that need to be chipped.

In the picnic field the trees have outgrown their supports and need to be freed from the rubber bands holding them. In many cases it’s now the trees that are holding the posts up rather than the other way around.

And in the areas that we’ll be clearing there are new trees to go in, as well as the ongoing task of making sure our 2019 plantings are looked after.

Please RSVP so we know how many people are coming and can plan to keep you all safely distanced. We’ll send you details of exactly where to meet and what you might need to bring for the various jobs.

March On… Read More »

We’re back..

We’re restarting our work parties this month with some more tree-planting.

We will be doing this in a covid-safe way by avoiding meeting as one big group. To help us plan this please register for the event so we know who’s coming.

We will be doing some new planting to replace trees that have been damaged or removed and giving a bit of TLC to our younger saplings. Depending on numbers we may also be doing a bit of litter-picking in some areas.

The planting will be happening on 21st February.

If you’d like us to keep you up to date with the latest events and goings-on at HBUF, why not subscribe to our mailing list? We’ll send you a maximum of one or two emails a month with event details and other news.

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Cancellation notice for Jan 17th Work Party

Work Party Suspended

Sorry folks…

The trustees and have agreed to cancel January’s session, and we will review when we can start up again on an ongoing basis.

Even before the lockdown, when we were at Tier 4, it seemed wrong to go ahead. With the national lockdown now in place our decision seems even more justified.

Technically there might have been a way we could work within the restrictions, but we would prefer to act in the spirit of the measures being taken, rather than trying to work to the limits of what we can get away with.

Thankfully, Hreod Burna Urban Forest remains a fantastic place for people to come for their daily exercise. An oasis in the middle of Gorse Hill and Pinehurst.

We’ll be back up and running normally just as soon as we can. In the meantime we are looking at ways that you or your family group might be able to ‘adopt’ an area to look after on an individual basis, without the need for us to all meet up. For instance, maybe you could adopt an area of planting and keep the saplings staked and protected. We’ll be exploring the practicalities of that over the coming week.

If you’re not already, please do consider subscribing to our mailing list to be the first to hear of our plans as they unfold.

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