Hello and welcome to our December blog.
November was a voyage of discovery with this new project. We needed to take a good look at the Quarry and the surrounding 9 acres and get a feel for the place before making any rash decisons that we might later regret.
Its been an interesting month where we first discovered that the Quarry has its own micro climate which opens up all kinds of planting possibilities. The temperature inside the ravine is 2c warmer than the surface but only half way down the slope in an area known as the thermal belt. Below this to the level of the water in the lake it is actually 1c cooler due to something that occurs in winter causing a radiational freeze. All news to me but very helpful with our planned ‘planting for wildlife scheme’.
The area is home to a great number of bird species including the Spotted Flycatcher a bird that has decreased in numbers by 90% since the 70’s so priority number one is to help support them. Fortunately they like nest boxes so these will be provided before the spring. Wildlife cameras have been set up now to record what’s going on a t night. we know we have a resident Tawny Owl.
With regards to the Palm Tree Farm progress was made with our planning application to site two substantial Poly tunnels and an office building in a flat area to the south of the plot so work will start this week. To do this we regrettably need to fell a number of immature Blackthorn trees but these won’t be wasted as we plan to use the branches to help build a dead hedge around part of the quarry to encourage birds like finches and Dunnocks to nest and the trunks will be cut and used as bug hotels at ground level. The siting of the tunnels will enable us to grow many of the plants needed for the re-wilding project
Longer term we have discovered that the quarry was last mined in 1890 for slate and there is an abundance of large slate stones lying around that could be used to build a wildlife observation centre subject to planning etc. The water has now been tested and cleared of any noxious contamination so the next step is to introduce more vegetation into the lake. (Currently doing my homework on this subject). We have also planted around 150 hedging plants as a windbreak but watching our resident Roe Deer very carefully in case they fancy a nibble.
All in all this has been a positive month with no major setbacks and very little expense. This week we will start on the new dead hedge created by positioning two parallel lines of fence stakes a meter apart and filling the channel with all the cuttings we make around the site particularly from the 120 Oaks we have on site and numerous mature Hawthorns. Also we will start planning the pathways using loose slate as a from of hardcore and composted bark chip and clearing two areas of brambles and bracken for wildflower meadows. All exciting stuff.
That’s it for now and have a wonderful Xmas and I will update in the new year.