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.
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.
Pepperbox Hill is managed by the National Trust and our first task of the season was clearing scrub around Juniper. There was some concern at the reserve because the Juniper (an important and increasingly rare species) was being swamped by hawthorn and privet etc. Even more worrying was the fact that there were no seedlings and small plants – almost all the plants on the reserve being in their middle age.