‘Calling all volunteers!’

Winter is in full swing and we’ve finally sat down together and planned our list of volunteer days for the remainder of the season.

Between the end of January and the end of April, there are plenty of exciting tasks to get involved with, along with the ‘mundane but necessary’. All are incredibly beneficial for the habitats we’re seeking to renature, and each very rewarding in its own right!

So, what are the tasks and what are their benefits?

Removing tree guards

After 5-10 years, tree guards begin to split. Removing them before they start to disintegrate or begin to hamper growth is essential – both to safeguard the health of the tree, and to ensure the guards can be properly disposed of and recycled.

Replacing damaged tree guards and stakes

Self-explanatory this one. If the damaged guards haven’t done their job yet, they need to be replaced with something fit-for-purpose.

Removing redundant fencing

Our intention is to graze the entire site with a handful of native breed cattle, allowing them the liberty to move around freely. This, we hope, will maximise the potential for natural regeneration, as well as stimulate the creation of a diverse range of ecosystems. Certain sections of internal fencing are now redundant and removing them would allow easier movement across the cluster.

Repositioning grazing exclosures & erecting new ones

Tees-Swale have kindly funded the materials to create several 2mx2m mesh grazing exclosures across the site. By protecting certain areas from constant grazing by our unnaturally large rabbit population, we hope to allow a greater variety of species to emerge. In effect, these exclosures will showcase what different areas of the site ‘could’ look like with a more balanced ecological food web. A few exclosures were erected last spring. These need to be moved to new areas, and several new exclosures need to be built and sited.

Litter picking/general tidy up along the Arkle Beck

Just when you think you’ve collected the last piece of black agricultural plastic… Due to the constant ebb and flow of the Arkle, the bits and pieces that wash up, get tangled in tree roots, and emerge from beneath the silt is never-ending. Filling bags with rubbish is a quick and easy feel-good boost!

Sounds good. What are the dates and how do I sign-up?

Our winter volunteer dates are: 27th Jan, 5th Feb, 17th Feb, 28th Feb, 31st March, 25th April.

You can sign up for any of these by completing our contact form or emailing us at heggs.castle.cluster@gmail.com.

Tasks for each date will be confirmed by email nearer the time, along with arrival info and anything else you need to know. Days will run from approx 10am-2pm, with tea, coffee and cake provided!

Hope to see you on the cluster soon!


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