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Mickleham Scrub Bash 2016

The Mickleham Scrub Bash, organised by the National Trust, took place on Wednesday the 17th of February. Overall, around 80 people gave up their valuable time to pitch in and volunteer. Local members of the community, National Trust workers and volunteers, and local organisations (including Juniper Hall) turned out in force to support the brilliant work being done by the National Trust. From Juniper Hall, myself, Denham (Placement student), Jack (trainee tutor), Sarah (head of Grounds) and regular volunteer Sam headed up to the Mickleham Gallops for a day of hard work.

Predictably, the weather was overcast, and nothing more than about 8 degrees – a classic British Winter day. To give you a flavour of the sort of work that we were doing, volunteers cut down trees, loaded up the bonfire, transported tree trunks, and did some brush cutting.

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Tools: gardening gloves, a saw and loppers. Yes, I was ‘that guy’ in shorts (and proud).

So, conservation projects such as these are necessary on the Mickleham Gallops for a number of reasons. Firstly, on the top of the hill lies a former runway which is unnaturally straight, so one objective was to break up the carefully crafted lines of scrub that live either side of the old runway. Secondly, dogwood is an invasive species, and in order to improve biodiversity on the Mickleham Downs, the removal of this species is important to improve grassland habitats. All of the cuttings were then burned as it would have required more energy and resources in order to dispose of them in a different way. All hard but worthwhile and rewarding work!

Here are some images from the day:

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Every man for himself at cake break.
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Working hard or hardly working: Denham, Rory (me) and Jack
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It wouldn’t be a National Trust day without cake!
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A pretty impressive fire. The team working hard and trying to stay warm!
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Multi talented: Gina, National Trust volunteer co-ordinator by day, Juniper Hall catering assistant by night. 

All in all, and I think I can speak for the rest of the JH team, we had a brilliant day (despite the odd scratch from rose thorns)! The atmosphere was friendly and the cake turned up in abundance; the highlight for me were the home made rocky roads. It was great to meet people from the community who are really passionate about their local environment, whilst also meeting National Trust volunteers who part take in this conservation work day to day!

Thank you to all that organised, it was a pleasure.

Rory

 

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