Saturday, 5 April 2008

Four seasons in one hour. A site visit to Huck Hill

Tree planting is officially over for this season, so this mornings outing was a site visit to Huck Hill above the Tunnel End, Marsden. We were accompanied by Jeff and Patrick from the Kirklees Environment Unit, who were advising us and Ian, the landowner, on how to further develop the site. It was a preliminary discussion, with flora and fauna audits to be carried out a later date, but the discussion with Jeff and Patrick was very useful. The area we were visiting has been fenced off from grazing for around 2 years now, and Jeff was keen to note the natural regeneration of plantlife in that time. Unfortunately, it decided to snow heavily as we were walking up the site, and so all the low lying plantlife was somewhat obscured by that. We did see some natural regeneration of small Grey Willow/Sallow trees and Heather, and examples of Cowberry and Polytricum moss (as pictured above). By the time we were walking back down the sun was shining and it was a lovely day. By the time I had walked the half mile home, all the snow had melted away. I think it fair to say that Jeff and Patrick were keen that we be sensitive in our further development of the site, that following the flora and fauna audits we could plant small areas of appropriate low lying trees such as Blackthorn and Hawthorn, and that this could be a positive contribution to the transition between wooded valley areas and upland heath.

Philip, Patrick and Jeff from the Kirklees environment unit, and Ian, whose land this is.

I sloped off home after this visit, but Philip and Dave went off to plant a last few Hazel trees at Marsden Golf Course.