Wednesday 9 February 2011


A few years ago, I spent a weekend in Sherwood Forest with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, clearing fast-growing sycamore trees so that the slower oaks would be able to compete in their traditional setting.  There were about ten of us and we learned how to fell trees using saws and axes, using ropes to control the taller trees as they fell, and we learned all about the natural habitat in which we were working.  It was a really great couple of days.

So, as soon as I saw the notice on the
Transition Norwich News website about a day of tree and hedge planting at the Norwich Community Supported Agriculture site, I knew I wanted to be there.

And so on the last Sunday in January, I headed out to Postwick with a shovel and a flask of tea to lend a hand.  It was a beautiful day; it had rained overnight so the ground was soft, and free from the chill and frost of the previous days.  The sky was blue and there was the promise of spring in the air.

We were there to plant 60 metres of hedging along the border of the site, a mixture of native species such as field maple, crab apple and blackthorn.  I learned how to tell the plants apart, how to skim the soil before planting, and how to plant clusters of bushes so that they wouldn’t compete with each other.  So although I gave up a few hours of my Sunday morning, I learned a totally new skill that I could use again and again.  And it was such good fun, we had a great laugh, and the time simply flew.

We’d originally planned to stop when it got dark, but as it happened we finished around lunchtime.  It’s amazing how quickly you can get a job done when there is a group of you working together for a common goal.  There’s got to tell you something.

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