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Gobions Annual Report 2001

by Michael Jonas

Work, work, work! No matter what time of the year, there's always work to be done, but the summer months are always busy. The drier weather allows access with the dumper truck without cutting up the ground and the longer days bring a flush of new growth. So, hedges have to be trimmed, paths to be cleared and ragwort in leach Fields to be pulled. However, this is not a complaint, as, for some reason, our trusty band of volunteers enjoy our Sunday morning work parties and certainly take pride in a job well done.

This spring we tackled a major fencing job round the field by the Mymms Drive entrance, as part of our letting agreement. It took four Sunday mornings and some hard work setting in fence posts, etc, so if you use that entrance, you will see it looks pretty shipshape.

Keeping on top of our work programme requires careful planning of our limited man hours and making the most of them by having the right tools for the job. To this end we have recently invested in a second-hand Bobcat to load our dumper truck with pathing material. Loading a ton of material with shovels took three men about twenty minutes: One man can now do the job in five, while the rest of the team can be laying the path. We have therefore been able to resurface a large stretch of the path along the north side of the wood and will finish the job later in the year. The Bobcat cost 3,000, which is a large sum for us and meant we had to dip into our reserves, but it is certainly earning its keep.

We have maintained our annual programme of tree and hedge planting. This year we were particularly pleased to have some help from the local Brownies, as we like to encourage the youngsters to value the wood. We hope also to have some other young volunteers to help with the ragwort pulling this summer.

Our project to increase the diversity of wild flowers in the upper Leach Field got underway last autumn. The weather was not helpful. Heavy rain made the field too wet for repeated journeys with the dumper truck, so we did not finish laying the concrete dust and the seeding was delayed. However, now the main task of stripping the turf is done, we can continue our work this autumn, as weather permits. It may take some time to bring this project to full fruition, as nature will not be rushed!

Bluebells and more

The spring flowers in the wood lived up to their reputation. Masses of celandines, wood anemones and dogs mercury preceded a great display of bluebells. The only sour note was a malcontented elderly local resident who insisted on walking new paths through the bluebells. There's always one, but now he is known to us and the police.

Although bluebells are what parts of the wood are famous for locally, the spring of 2002 gave us an abundance of other wild flowers. During a short walk from the Council car park into the wood and back on 16 April, Brenda Harold's WEA class found the following 49 species of plants in flower.

(Editor's note: For full details of the species of herbs identified click here and for details of the shrubs identified, click here.)

Support from the community

Ever since 326 individuals or families raised 38,543 in 1986 towards the cost of buying the land now owned by the Gobions Woodland Trust, support from the local community (and a few people from outside the locality) has remained exceptionally strong. There are still 305 of you, (households of families or individuals who are Friends of Gobions Woodland Trust), whose subscriptions are paid up to date, entitling you to receive this Report. Over the last ten years, these donations have totalled over 32,700. This generosity on your part enables us to provide for the basic costs of maintaining the land.

Individual donations have often been made for specific items: a seat or trees in memory of loved ones, a bridge funded through marathon sponsorship, etc.

Specific projects - from professional path laying to the provision of equipment - have been funded by grants from organisations, such as TRANSCO, HELP and English Nature, who also recognise the value of Gobions. Local and national companies have provided paper and duplicating facilities.

It is impossible to put a value on the support we get from volunteers. As well as the trustees, over the years many other people have helped with the Sunday morning work parties. Peter Bennett has helped with most work parties since 1986 and Mike Brazier has even been known to miss an England World Cup football match for the sake of a work party. Glen Dalling, again for many years, has organised a number of you to deliver these Reports and newsletters.

The general goodwill and individual kind words from those of you we meet on Sunday mornings are greatly appreciated and the continuing interest and support of the community will be vital as we plan for the future of the wood.

Michael Jonas

August, 2002

All elements of the Gobions Woodland Trust Friends' Report 2001
Introduction and general matters - Michael Jonas
Herbs of Gobions Woodland in flower - illustrations
Shrubs of Gobions Woodland in flower - illustrations
Second Heritage Lottery Fund application - Michael Jonas
The Spirit of the Place - description
The Spirit of the Place - illustration
Lottery Fund application - illustration

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