A windy willow weaving session for Wild Skills

A windy willow weaving session for Wild Skills

Our February session was a little wet and windy, but in true Wild Skills form we braved the elements and headed outside to construct a willow fence to go around the car park area just outside the Volunteer Training Centre. We split into two work groups; one group was constructing the fence, and the other was preparing the ground for the stakes to go in, weeding and loosening the soil and also giving our wildflower garden a tidy up. The fence building team was split into two again, with half of us making the stakes and measuring the lengths of willow to be used for uprights, and finding branches long enough to bend over to form an elongated ‘n’ shape which would make up the main section of the fence. Tidying up the wildflower garden Starting the willow fence This session was very practical, and many of the members of the group used tools, such as billhooks, which they had never used before. Sessions like these demonstrate how capable young people are of achieving something using teamwork- and a bit of dwarf bread. Some of the group stayed inside for this session, and continued work on the video we filmed in the January session. They managed to complete it for Becky to use at the Wildlife Watch Conference as a part of her presentation- I hear it went down well!   It was good to see everyone mixing in with each other and chatting whilst they worked, and it was great to introduce Megan to our group. She was particularly handy with a bow saw, which will come in...
Tales from the Trainees

Tales from the Trainees

For this blog we have gone with the saying ‘pictures speak louder than words’ and decided to present our work through photos! This month we have been testing our carpentry skills. Rutland Water must be famous for the amount of bird hides there are on the reserve – 35 in total (has to be a record?!). Each year it is planned to replace around two hides. This year it was the turn of Deepwater and Swan Hides, both located at Lyndon. Swan Hide was selected as our project. We were lead in this task by long-term volunteers Dave Cole and Ron Follows (expert hide constructors!). Through the selection of photos below we aim to show you the hide building process. Firstly, the floor… Now time to build the frames for the walls… Cladding the walls; it’s hammer time… That’s one side done… Now on to the window flaps… Bolting the sides together… It’s getting there… “Can you just hold this for a second?” Ready to transport to Lyndon… Nice legs… for the benches… Fitting the window flaps… Fixing the roof… The next step… was the step… and the door… The finished item!! I spy some TROs enjoying the new hide! Always important to clean up at the end of the day! That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for more carpentry capers! Amy, Barnaby, David &...
Hedgerow havens for wildlife

Hedgerow havens for wildlife

If  you have walked around the nature reserve recently, you may have noticed a few changes, in particular, in some of our hedgerows.  The most noticeable difference is probably the ‘blackthorn arch’ on the way to Redshank hide.  This patch of unmanaged blackthorn hedge had been allowed to spread right up to the path edge forming a thick, thorny thicket which had become less valuable to breeding birds over the years.  It wasn’t many years ago that  a Lesser White throat would return to this patch singing for his territory each summer, but he has now moved on to more favourable habitat.  So, after a few days hard, thorn battling work from a thoroughly determined group of outdoor volunteers….what a transformation!!  From a dark, impenetrable mass of thorn with the odd Dunnock hopping about to an open sun trap with stacked timber that will be allowed to rot down.  Butterflies and other insects will bask in the sun in the Spring and Summer months.  Chiff chaffs and Willow Warblers will find huge amounts of food in the form of insect life and in a few years’ time, once the thorn has regenerated to create a more useable thicket with plentiful insect life, the Lesser Whitethroat may well return. From this… …to this Another hedgerow that has seen a little bit of TLC this winter is one that runs between lagoon 8 and a grassy ride before a neighboring piece of woodland.  The hedge is a hawthorn one and has become very tall and leggy.  As a result, very few bird species were using the hedgerow to feed through the winter...
Gardener

Gardener

We have a fantastic opportunity for new volunteers to join us, as part of our wildlife gardening team! We are looking for volunteers with knowledge of gardening and/or native flora, an enthusiasm to work outdoors and a love of wildlife and wild places to join our regular Wednesday morning gardening team. As a garden volunteer you will have the opportunity to work on a project which might not be attainable in your own back garden. You’ll need to enjoy practical, outdoor work. Creativity and an eye for detail will help you to join our vision to grow gardens that offer enjoyment and interest all year round. It is the nature of the role that tasks and responsibilities can be unpredictable and varied. You could be involved in planting, pruning, weeding or moving plants. As with many of our volunteer roles, you may also be approached by visitors who want to ask questions about the garden or are looking for general gardening tips – so it’s also a great way to share your love for horticulture (and pick up some ideas of your own). Click on the link below to view or download the role description: volunteer-gardener-job-description If you would like to get involved, email Holly on volunteering@rutlandwater.org.uk or telephone her at the Volunteer Training Centre on 01572 720049  ...

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