On the evening of 7th July about 20 members went to N.T.Stackpole. There Head Ranger, Chris Oliver, led us on a walk through four areas.
From the site of the old house, we looked down on the man made lake. Vegetation is gradually creeping in, and will eventually reach the arched bridge, unless action is taken. Clearance is being considered, but would need to be combined with measures to limit the flow of silt from further up the valley.
In Lodge Park Woods, the laurel, that had taken over, has been cleared. The specimen trees planted in the 19th century can now be seen. Rowans have been added to offer some autumn colour.
Striding on to Hill Lodge Woods we saw the phases of coppiced land. Wildflowers brightened the newly cleared land. In later zones brambles dominated. In more mature zones the tree canopy limited the undergrowth. After ten years growth the wood is harvested and the cycle repeated.
The final zone was Castle Dock Woods, where the storms of winter 2013/14 brought down many trees. Fortunately,with the increased use of timber as fuel, the estate can sell on the wood that is in excess of their own requirements. The funds raised support further woodland management and replanting.
After the tour, most of the party went on to the Stackpole Inn for food and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to you”, as Trevor Humphries shared his birthday cake.
Thanks to Jim Price for arranging the evening, and to Margaret Price for getting our food orders to the pub!