We were back at the National Trust nature reserve of Pepperbox Hill for the last time this season. Again we were cutting back encroaching hawthorn, blackberry and privet from grassland and from around juniper. Some medium sized ash trees were also felled to reduce shading of the grass.
Thankfully it was a much warmer day than last time with dog violets in bloom in sheltered spots and a sense of approaching Spring in the air.
We have just finished our last task of the season at Blackmoor Copse: coppicing a coupe within a deer proof enclosure and cutting back hazel and ash from the side of a ride. This opens out the area for ground flora and butterflies. We left a “pinch point” so that dormouse can cross the ride by way of overhanging branches as they are reluctant to cross on the ground.
On this task the aim was to stop the scrub from encroaching on the grassland right at the top of the reserve. We cut back about a metre of mainly hawthorn and privet from the edges of the scrub. It was a painfully cold day and we were working on the most exposed side of the reserve.
We coppiced a coupe within a deer proof enclosure. Part of an extended management plan drawn up by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Martin Hill is managed by the Government agency Natural England. It is quite a large reserve straddling the Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset borders. We coppiced an area next to a round barrow burial site (by coincidence) to open it out and maintain the maximum diversity of flora and fauna.