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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wed 26th Jan 2011 - Afton March, Freshwater.

Eddie's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

This week's GG meeting was held out at Afton March - a site that we have visted a few times in the past. We were working with the Rangers on the "middle area" of the footpath that runs through from the garden centre to the car park by the lifeboat station. The task was to continue with the cutting back of the willow that grows so prolific in this area, burning as much as possible and stacking the remainder (for future burning). The area around an old fire site was opened out to ensure that the fire could be lit safely then it was all hands on the loppers and saws to clear as much as possible in the given time. Lighting a fire in the middle of a marsh is an "interesting" task but eventually the heat was such that the new cut material could be added - considerably reducing the pile that had been pre-cut. One of the problems of working in this area is the nature of the ground - what starts off as being reasonably firm soon becomes a boot stealing bog after being transited just a few times...! The stumps are left proud of the ground level so that further treatment can be applied that will kill off the roots. Excellent progress was made at cutting into this thicket - it is always amazing to see just how much can be achieved in just a few hours - well done to all...!!!

Mark and the rangers spent some time demonstrating hedge laying techniques to those who may be interested in entering the IoW Hedge Laying Competition. This year it will be held at Calbourne Mill on the last Saturday in February. See the website below for details further :-

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

A very colourful fungi was this week’s find - Velvet Shank (Flammulina Velutipes) one of the few fungi which grows in winter, and seeing them sprinkled with snow on a crisp winter’s morning makes a walk in the cold air really worthwhile. The cap is approximately 2cm to 6cm in diameter and is found through the UK from September to March. On standing dead trees the clusters are usually tiered, which makes the caps more regular. It is particularly common on dead elm trees, but also occurs on oak, beech and other kinds of hardwood. The cap is an orange-brown colour and the gills underneath are creamy orange, the stem is dark brown to black, and distinctly velvety to the touch (hence the name) with no ring on the stem.

The fungi is edible, although it could easily be confused with similar looking species, so an expert opinion before eating is a good idea. They are now grown commercially in Japan, where they are known as ‘Enoko-take’.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and Nature Lesson and to Eddie for his photos.

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