Ranger News April 2011

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

Lime-Mortar Walling Sunday April 10th
A fascinating insight into a traditional skill was enjoyed by a group of us in temperatures of 22-23 degrees C!
The perimeter walls of the Rodney Stoke village pound needed restoration. Thanks to Zackery and Shane’s expert tuition we all experienced scraping out, brushing down and filling in with prepared lime mortar. Also laying in the cocks and hens (topping stones). We hope to return to see the ‘dressing down’ when the excess mortar is removed to reveal the finished wall.
Burrington Monday April 11th
What a drop in temperature, as one dog walker  said  winter is back!
Only in England can we be in two different seasons on consecutive days!
Thick, low cloud covered The Ham as we climbed the path to the top where we passed two people walking dogs. Despite the cold we enjoyed the signs of spring accelerated by the last two weeks of beautiful, dry weather.
A very busy day for us as there was a great deal of litter especially behind the toilet block in the car park where we cleared as much as we could reach. Also bottles, cartons and even glasses on the grass verge adjoining the car park.
Blackdown Wednesday April 13th
Another day of lower temperatures and plenty to pick up in the car park at the top of Burrington Coombe. A great deal of scattered litter and a heap of pea-gravel tipped onto the ground and is now spreading.
We then decided to park at the top of Rains Batch by the twin towers and approach Blackdown from a different direction. A good idea as it happened – there was a great deal of discarded litter – bottles and bar wrappings especially on this stretch up to the gateway.
The gate leading onto Blackdown has been damaged. The very top of the small gate has broken away and the chain was lying on the ground. Both gates opened together with nothing to hold them in place.
At the Trig Point there was broken glass, a tent peg and the remains of a picnic – also the site of a camp fire.
It was good to see the new way-markers in place. We hope the public will stop and look at them.
Deer Leap Wednesday April 13th
The promised rain for today was coming down steadily by the time we parked at Deer Leap. There was a motor-home in the car park and one other car. The occupants of both didn’t leave their vehicles, but chose to stay dry.
We think there is a regular gathering of cigarette smokers using this site as we collected several empty packets as well as numerous cigarrette ends – also cans and bottles.
It was much easier to work alongside the wall after the effort put in by the Young Rangers in clearing brambles between the stile and gateway.
Blackmoor Wednesday April 27th
Two walkers were approaching the site in front of us as we drove down the lane and two horse riders were exiting the permissive footpath to come onto the Reserve. They rode up the path and continued towards Nordrack.
The site was dry and virtually litter free except for dog waste. We did pick up some bottles that had been thrown into the gorse and odds and ends from the area where people picnic adjacent to the car park.
A group of children were fully absorbed in their task of wood-gathering and shelter-building in Nether Wood where green growth is at last more evident.
A vehicle parked beside the ruined building alongside the flues appeared to belong to two couples picnicing beside the pond and using fishing rods.
As we scanned the car park a walker with three dogs left her car. She appeared to have forgotten her dog-waste bags so we left one under her wind-screen wipers in the hope that it will jog her memory to be prepared next time!
We hope that visitors will come to the Reserve to enjoy the emerging spring flowers. The wood is full of bluebells, campion and garlic. In the hollows beside the car park and on the slopes beside the ruined building are cowslips, squill and violets.