Activity Reports

 

Friends of Poets’ Walk

1st Half-yearly Report 2020       January – June

Due to the interruption in our volunteering due to the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown, the reports for the first two quarters for 2020 are combined in this 1st half-yearly report.

The Volunteer Workforce

Eighteen individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of January and the end of June.

The 12th March turned out to be the last Thursday working party before lockdown. By the end of June, the paths team had still not returned to volunteering due to the impossibility of working along the busy formal paths while observing social distancing, and the age of many of the volunteers. However, essential wild radish control on Church Hill was done on 14th May by three (two from the same household) habitats team members, observing strict social distancing and other regulations. Subsequent working parties were limited to a few volunteers doing essential scrub control jobs.

Working parties took place on 15 Thursday afternoons.

Three Thursday sessions were rained off, and wet weather significantly reduced numbers on three other occasions. Attendance per Thursday session ranged between 3 and 15.

Eleven hours were spent scything and strimming nettles on the Wain’s Hill lower rampart slope. Four hours altogether were spent mowing the 1923 path on Church Hill and Hack’s Way.

The total number of volunteer working hours over this 6-month period was 306.

Working Party Tasks

1st half-yearly map 2020All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was halted in mid-March due to Covid 19.

On Church Hill the most challenging task was to cut back many years’ growth of multi-stemmed Holm oaks on the scrubby hillside above the coastal path, with the help of the Woodcutters for Wildlife. Elsewhere, scrub and thicket habitats were promoted by cutting back sycamore shoots, and glades were enhanced with follow-up nettle and bramble clearing. Invasive wild radish, which is much less than in previous years, and marginal brambles on Church Hill were grubbed out. Hack’s Way and the 1923 path (both PROWs) were petrol mown. The green gate bank beside the churchyard wall was cleared of remaining nettles and then scythed in June.

On Wain’s Hill the lower parts of the rampart slope where nettles predominate were brush-cut, scythed and raked off in June. Vegetation encroaching on the path behind the cemetery allotments was also brush-cut to restore good access. Along the path to the battery site elders were pollarded and nettles forked out.

Co-operation

Thanks go to the Clevedon Woodcutters for Wildlife for contributing a total of 18 hours clearing previously felled and now regrown Holm oak on difficult terrain above the coast path. They also replaced five woodland steps in Salthouse Woods and tidied the whole flight.

A big thank you also goes to one public-spirited local resident who regularly cleared away huge amounts of rubbish from the battery site following rowdy nightly parties during hot weather.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website.

The Friends of Poets’ Walk Map leaflet can be downloaded from the website. A mapped walk, which originally appeared in North Somerset Life (September/October 2017), can also be downloaded.

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Future programme

The planned re-building and consolidation of a short section of wall at the battery site has been postponed due to Covid 19 but will hopefully take place before the end of this year.

More Holm oak above the coast path on Church Hill will be cut next winter.

The annual ragwort pull will take place in July. Wild radish on Church Hill will be grubbed as often as necessary to prevent seeding.

The end of September will see the mowing of the 2 north-west facing slopes on Church Hill. It is hoped that Green Mantle will again take on the late summer (September/October) cut of the Wain’s Hill ramparts, after which volunteers will rake the arisings further into the woodland.

Conclusion 

Despite the long break from volunteering due to the Covid 19 outbreak, Poets’ Walk has remained in excellent shape, no doubt owing to the continuous work that the volunteers have put in over the last eight years or more. A few important seasonal jobs, such as mowing of grass paths and the essential control of invasive species, were undertaken by a couple of volunteers. All our volunteers are looking forward to restrictions being lifted so that they can get back to work!

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, July 2020

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 4th Quarterly Report 2019   October – December

  The Volunteer Workforce

Twenty individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of October and the end of December. These include one new volunteer in the paths team.

Attendance per Thursday session, which comprises a paths group and a habitats group, ranged between 11 and 16 (no in-between, drizzly days this quarter to discourage people from turning up!). The average was between 13 and 14 per session.

Working parties took place on 9 Thursday afternoons. Three other Thursday sessions were rained off in advance of setting out. The total number of volunteer working hours was 240, which includes a total of 13 hours on 3 Mondays in October strimming and scything the second steep slope on Church Hill and strimming the nettles along the formal path below.

Working Party tasks4th quarter report map 2019

All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying and sweeping of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing and included sweeping of slippery autumn leaves.

On Church Hill the quarry glade adjacent to the central formal path was further enhanced by trimming back ivy on the limestone rock face and pulling and grubbing nettles in the immediate area. Brambles encroaching onto the grassland plateau were cut back and roots grubbed out. Mowing and raking of the 2 steep grass slopes was completed and the ‘green gate’ bank beside the churchyard wall was tidied.

As last year, the annual late summer cut (and initial raking off) of the Wain’s Hill ramparts was done by Green Mantle.  The volunteers then raked the arisings deeper into the woodland to create habitat piles. Work at the battery site consisted of litter picking and selective ‘weeding’.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website at:

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

The Poets’ Walk Map Leaflet is available at local outlets.

Future programme

Work will continue to keep paths, steps and seats tidy, to maintain or improve views, and to keep access points to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill clear. January and February will see follow-up scrub control and some further enhancement of thicket areas and woodland glades.

The next re-building work to be done at the battery site, with the help of Clevedon Civic Society, is the consolidation of a very short section of perimeter wall that adjoins the steps leading up to the Victorian building ruins. We also need to think about an interpretation board for the battery site.

Conclusion

All’s well on Poets’ Walk. Our paths team is very popular with volunteers and now has 10 members when at full strength. They work along the main paths and are really good for PR! The habitats team can currently muster up to 7 and thrives on the challenges of working on rougher terrain.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, January 2020

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 3rd Quarterly Report 2019     July – September

 The Volunteer Workforce

Sixteen individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of July and the end of September. Three Clevedon Civic Society volunteers joined the team for wall building at the battery. Attendance per Thursday session ranged from 5 to 15, the average being 10, shared between the habitats team and the paths team.

Working parties took place on 13 Thursday afternoons. Activities on other days included mowing Hack’s Way, strimming nettles on Wain’s Hill ramparts and mowing a Church Hill slope. The total number of volunteer working hours was 326, which included 32 hours on wall building at the battery site.

Individual ‘off-duty’ volunteers spent at least an hour each week recording species and numbers of butterflies along the Poets’ Walk transect, now for the fourth year.

Working Party Tasks

3rd quarter 2019 report mapAll tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing.

Ragwort was pulled on both hills in late July/early August.

On Church Hill, work centred on grassland management including further grubbing out of wild radish, as well as follow-up scrub control in woodland glades and the old quarry. Scything/strimming of the first steep slope overlooking the churchyard started in late September.

On Wain’s Hill, maintenance and enhancement of the battery site was ongoing, and included the consolidation of the remains of a low Victorian wall. Dense areas of nettles on the lower Iron Age ramparts were cut and raked off to reduce competition with good grassland species.

Butterfly Survey

The national butterfly recording season closed at the end of September and volunteer Bill Thompson reports that butterfly numbers are up this year with a total of 1990 butterflies as compared with 1754 last year and 1323 in 2017. His comprehensive end of season summary can be read via the following link.

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/butterfly-survey/

Co-operation

We are again most grateful to Civic Society member Nick Humphries for leading the latest wall-consolidation work at the battery site, and for the additional practical help in this project of other members of the Civic Society and the Woodcutters for Wildlife.

Our thanks also go to farmer-contractor Dave Smith for mowing the hill tops to include marginal grassland areas recently scrub-cleared by volunteers.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website. https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/monthly-diary-2019-20/

The Friends of Poets’ Walk Map leaflet is available at various outlets in Clevedon and can be down loaded from the website. https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Future programme

Having twice this year cut the nettles on the lower rampart slope we look forward to NSC contractor Green Mantle mowing the Wain’s Hill ramparts in October (to relieve our depleted scything team). It is now eight years since the scrub was cleared by our volunteers.

October will see the completion of the mowing of the two steep slopes on Church Hill.  Other work will involve maintenance of the battery site and on-going scrub control.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, December 2019

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 2nd Quarterly Report 2019    April – June

 The Volunteer Workforce

Seventeen individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of April and the end of June. In May and June, a total of 6 volunteers from Clevedon Civic Society contributed to two re-building projects at the Wain’s Hill battery site. Working parties took place on 12 Thursday afternoons. One Thursday session was rained off, and wet weather reduced numbers on 3 other occasions. Attendance per Thursday session ranged between 5 and 13. The average was nearly 10 per session. Ten hours were spent brush-cutting and scything the lower, nettle-rich areas of Wain’s Hill ramparts. Two hours were spent mowing the 1923 path on Church Hill and 2 hours mowing Hack’s Way. The total number of volunteer working hours was 300 and included 60 hours on the Wain’s Hill battery rebuilding projects.

Individual ‘off-duty’ volunteers spent about an hour each week recording species and numbers of butterflies along the Poets’ Walk transect.

Working Party Tasks

2nd quarter map 2019All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing.

On Church Hill, follow-up nettle and bramble clearing was done in the quarry glade and on a former buddleia patch. More wild radish and marginal brambles on Church Hill were grubbed out. The 1923 path over Church Hill was petrol mown and Hack’s Way, as well as the path behind the cemetery allotments, mechanically trimmed and tidied to enhance access. The green gate bank beside the churchyard wall was scythed and weeded in late May.

On Wain’s Hill, the ruined powder store and adjoining wall at the battery site were partially rebuilt and stabilised, and the vandalised lintel was strengthened in cooperation with volunteers from Clevedon Civic Society. The lower parts of the rampart slope where nettles predominate were brush-cut, scythed and raked off in June.

Co-operation

The Friends are again indebted to members of Clevedon Civic Society for their work in the re-building and stabilising of masonry at the Wain’s Hill battery. We are most grateful to Sam Phillips and NSC’s Building Control Officer for support and advice concerning the battery work.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website.

The Friends of Poets’ Walk Map leaflet is available at various outlets in Clevedon and can be down loaded from the website. A mapped walk, which originally appeared in North Somerset Life (September/October 2017), can also be downloaded.

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Future programme

The consolidation of another wall at the battery site is planned for July.

The annual ragwort pull will take place in July. Wild radish on Church Hill will be grubbed as often as necessary during the summer to prevent seeding.

The end of September will see the scything of the 2 north-west facing slopes on Church Hill. Green Mantle will again take on the late summer (September/October) cut of the Wain’s Hill ramparts, and volunteers will rake the arisings further into the woodland.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, August 2019

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