Welcome Christmas break

Community ferreting

Community ferreting

With way too much holiday to use up I spent most of the time after Christmas ferreting but it was a time for a change, I needed a break from Wimpole. So it was off to the local village of Orwell’s clunch pit where my Norfolk Horn sheep help with the conservation of the chalkland SSSI; they eat all the rough grass and scrub which helps the smaller wild flowers to flourish as they get to see the light. If the grass is left to grow tall and rank this would start to eliminate the chalkland’s wild flowers which don’t compete very well.

The clunch pit

The clunch pit

Slippy afternoon

Slippery afternoon

The reason for the visit was to trim the rabbit population as they are digging bigger warrens every year- time to curtail their activities! It was a very frosty morning that Sunday and relatively firm underfoot; a slow start but, as the day wore on, we managed to break into double figures. However, the sun warmed the frozen ground and the slope became greasy; it wasn’t long after when, as the rabbits bolted into the nets and one of the three of us traversed the slope, we would end up on our backsides at the bottom. At the end of the day we had accounted for… hmmmmmm, let me see if I can remember… maybe twenty rabbits in all.

Views from a bike ride along the Mares way

Views from a bike ride along the Mare Way

Over looking Rectory farm

Overlooking Rectory Farm

Continued frosty weather meant I could use my Norco mountain bike to ascertain the quality of Wimpole Estate’s new bike route. With harder ground it was much easier than I thought it might be and the views were excellent. Oh, did I mention the pub? Funny how the bike seems to know the way there!!!!!!

Off piste

Off piste

And past the 'Uncarved block'

And past the ‘Uncarved block’

On the way back I went a totally different way with the two dogs running alongside like a pack. Went past the Gloucesters woodland and down through the woods to inspect the ‘Uncarved block’- lovely views from one of the oak thrones here.

Oh dear I thought mountain bikes were meant to be tough!!!!!!

Oh dear I thought mountain bikes were meant to be tough!!!!!!

Some days later I went the same way to go to the shop. Alas the ground had become unfrozen and the way was difficult to say the least- mud up to your eyeballs and worse was to happen at the top of the hill as the mud stuck to the Knobbly tyres and then piled up behind the front forks and the gears. SNAP! What was that? Oh dear, the gear hanger broke under the huge strain of  the additional mud. ( In fact I think the gear hanger might be designed to snap, just like a shear bolt is, so that the gears are saved.) It curtailed the shop visit and I had to walk back!!!!! How much is this part? £20… expensive bike ride! It’s all fixed now and ready for a shop visit 🙂

Frosty weather and a winter coat

Frosty weather and a winter coat

Don’t think the horse would break down (and John is totally reliable in all conditions) perhaps I should use him when it’s muddy to visit the shop!

During the holidays the Green Woodworking Group visited Jim’s allotment which is also part ‘managed’ by Shane and Jayne. Jim has been heavily involved with plant breeding and he has one of the best allotments I have had the pleasure to come across -food is available all year round and he has also planted quite a lot of willow for weaving. This is what we had come over to help harvest and I have yet to see Jayne’s willow fat balls that she has made for the wild birds from this willow. Ah well, back to work on Monday…

A bit of willow cutting for Jim

A bit of willow cutting for Jim

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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