2022 is now well under way and it is good to report that our Group has made a very good start for which the foundations were well and truly laid in the last weeks of the previous year. The work then included re-lining the leaking pond in the Middle Bourne Lane Garden and carrying out a major overhaul of the raised bed at Lower Bourne Crossroads. The pond site is looking good as it is full to the brim and surrounded by the fresh turf while, at the Crossroads, the crocuses are flowering and the newly planted alliums and tulips in the raised bed are already visible.
The first session in the New Year was on 9 th January and took place in Burnt Hill Wood. There was a splendid turnout, and a big impression was made on the public footpaths that were cleared. An excellent article in the Farnham Herald recorded this event, reproduced in the separate item. We were very pleased to welcome a full complement of our Duke of Edinburgh Award candidates at this session who all responded well to the woodland management experience.
Since then further sessions have been held in Middle Bourne Lane and the Old Churchyard. One task common to both was taking down and cleaning all the bird nesting boxes – an essential job well before the start of the new nesting season. It is good to be able to record that all boxes had been used in 2021. Moreover, the large owl box in MBL had an egg in it – the first time we have had full proof of its usage. At this point in time in February we still have to go round our few isolated nest boxes on other sites (such as Underdown and Sturt Walk) to clean those. This underlines the importance of our programme of regular seasonal maintenance on all our sites.
One further regular task under way at present is the Toad Watch along Boundary Road at Rowledge. In the few weeks from mid-February toads, frogs and newts endeavour to make their ways from their land-based habitats to their home ponds in the area adjacent to the road, thus running the risk of being run over. Our job is to reduce the number of casualties to these wonderful amphibians. This involves organising small teams of volunteers to patrol the road from nightfall provided the weather conditions are right: the animals like it warm and damp. So far this year most nights have been too cold so there has been little activity, but we have to be ready to assist.
The weather has been punctuated recently by the series of storms named Dudley, Eunice and Franklin of which Eunice was the most dramatic with gusts of wind up to 90 mph in some areas, causing widespread damage to trees and property across the country and some deaths. Our immediate damage was one tree down in the Middle Bourne Lane Garden together with many branches down in the Garden and blocking the road outside. The silver birch tree leaning on the power line was taken down by Farnham Town Council and we cleared up all the branches.
It has not been an entirely easy start to the year, but we are heartened by the signs of spring with the snowdrops and crocuses providing good displays in in the Old Churchyard and elsewhere.
- Silver birch tree across Middle Bourne Lane
- The renewed pond in Middle Bourne Lane Garden
- Storm-blown branches on Middle Bourne Lane