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Friday, January 22, 2010

Wed 20th Jan 2010 - Mill Copse Yarmouth

Even our hardy group of Green Gymmers were unable to cope with the very bad weather for the first two weeks of 2010, so we finally got to make it to Mill Copse this week to help the Rangers Nick and Richard. Our tasks were to coppice two areas of hazel to allow light into the areas, one of which will be a lovely carpet of bluebells in the Spring. Hazel responds well to coppicing, and this system encourages hardy re-growth to provide regular wood products. The ubiquitous bonfire was in evidence, and we also cut some appropriate bits into stakes and heathers for the annual traditional Hedgelaying Competition, which this year is being held at Kings Manor Farm, Freshwater from 10.00 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday 27 February.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

A great time of the year for fungi, and this week we found some Stereum Hirsutem (see picture). The variability of this fungus makes identification rather difficult at first; hirsute means hairy, and the upper surfaces of these irregularly-shaped tiered brackets is distinctly hairy (if you look closely you can see them in the picture). Individual brackets are 2-8 cms across, have irregular wavy edges, and colours which are zoned and generally paler towards the margin. These darken with age and vary considerably depending on their location, but yellow, orange and brown are most common, and there is no stem. The lower spore-bearing surface is smooth without pores, rather paler than the upper surface and the tough, tasteless and inedible flesh is 0.5 to 1 mm thick. It can be found throughout the year on dead hardwood trees and fallen branches, shedding its spores in the autumn.

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