Happy New Year! It's been a great start to 2018 for Moments with Trees! We have launched the entry collection for the photography exhibition, received super support from Volunteers, started a 100 metre willow tunnel in Bluebell Wood, relaunched the Tree Detectives Trail with new and improved tree markers and met with some wonderful groups and individuals who wish to support various elements project. Thank you to everyone involved - you've helped make a super start!
Clearing unhealthy elm trees for hedgerow creation.
Unfortunately, the elm trees along Ham Lane were suffering from Dutch elm disease and were unlikely to ever reach full maturity. Our Volunteers worked hard removing and clearing these trees. They were carefully replaced with a mixture of native species to create a hedgerow. In spring we should see field maple, holly, hawthorn, whitebeam, oak and cheery burst through their protective guards in their race for the sun light.
It keeps growing....
The group returned to continue the hedgerow - you may have noticed them working hard as you drove into the Park. Do continue to watch this space... we will soon be introducing four non-native walnut trees set behind the hedgerow. Walnut trees can live for 200 years and it is believed they were brought here by the Romans for their good tasting nuts. They were selected for this area with projected climate change in mind - a warming planet is likely to benefit walnut growth in the UK.
Bluebell Wood's willow tunnel
Greenwoods and others
We were lucky enough to have a great team from Greenwoods help us and the Moments with Trees Volunteers with the harvesting of material for our tunnel. They worked so enthusiastically coppicing the willow from the osier beds - they gathered the bones of our tunnel. Not only that, they bundled them up and took them to the site ready to start the tunnel the following week. This was long and tricky job on a cold day and they did marvellously! Thank you so much for this wonderful start - you enabled us to hit the ground running!
Moments with Trees Volunteers and Renny
After a few discussions on the design and structure of the 100 meter tunnel, the creativity began! Our Volunteers worked with the existing willow to create a beautifully looped willow fence that marks the entrance of the tunnel, while others worked on planting large willow stakes to form the 'ribs' of the tunnel. Planting the 'ribs' is a tricky job and poor (but strong) Project Officer, Gary, was the only one present who could make the holes for the willow deep enough using a rather heavy metal bar! He was quite exhausted after this first session! We hope that the stakes will take root (the magic of willow) and start branching out this spring. Our Volunteers had no prior experience of working with willow - they learnt on the job and picked it up very quickly!
BGL and others
Another hard working team from BGL came to continue the willow tunnel with the Moments with Trees Volunteers. It was such a productive and enjoyable day - thank you to all who were part of it! The 'ribs' were twisted and tied with willow to create the arches and then more willow was woven in along the top to join the arches and strengthen the structure, creating the 'spine' of the tunnel. Luckily for Gary, there were members of the team who could make deep holes with the heavy bar! They worked so hard and managed well over 50 ribs - I hope you didn't ache as much as Gary did the previous week! Because they worked so hard and got so much done, Renny had time to teach the group how to make items out of willow. The BGL team have a lovely willow dragonfly for their office mascot! I hope it is a lovely reminder of the good day we had - using our hands and working with nature to create a beautiful spot for our visitors to enjoy!
It's been a pleasure working with Renny Antonelli, from Eco Works and The Green Backyard. Renny has been sharing his extensive knowledge of willow and its uses. Renny was taught how to work with willow by expert weaver, Len Wilcox. Len Wilcox, and his family before him, managed the osier beds in Bluebell Wood to supply the willow baskets in Peterborough.
We are excited to see entries coming in! Our trees have been captured beautifully and we are looking forward to receiving more, so please do send them in! We are accepting pictures of individual trees, woodland scenes and images of tree parts - a close up of a tree's buds, blossom, bark and leaves. Any image that highlights the beauty of trees! We are lucky to have a team from the Peterborough Regional College Media and Journalism Centre help support this work (thank you so much for your help), so look out for future events around photography and trees.
The Tree Detectives Trail was launched last summer. We asked for Visitors' feedback and some stated they struggled to find the disks hidden in the trees. To improve this trail, we have made larger disks, used bright coloured numbers and placed them at eye-level. The trail takes you through Bluebell Wood highlighting the notable and some of the oldest trees in the area. Once you find a marked tree, use your detective skills and study the tree and the poems and images on the leaflet to determine which tree is which. If you write your answers down and return to the Information Centre and Gift Shop, you can collect a prize!