Four members of ACG have successfully completed a course on the safe use of pedestrian mowers.
On a course run by Rob Fletcher Training Ltd, four members of ACG have successfully obtained certification for safely operating a reciprocating mower. Held in John Pears Field in Ashurst Wood, the meadow area was mown under Rob’s supervision. The grass will be raked up by Gatwick Greenspace volunteers in a couple of weeks, after it has dried and drooped its seeds.
We will now be able to mow the Ashplats Wood meadow using a mower appropriate to meadow management.
During to mowing, frogs, toads and voles were spotted running for cover. We also found some large Araneus quadratus spiders, females full of eggs to be laid on cocoons which will hatch next spring.
Septembers task was raking the grass from the recently mown meadows: Rutland Meadow and The Glade.
This year the grass has been cut using a conventional ride on mower, instead of the usual reciprocating mower. Ride on mowers process the grass into shorter lengths, making it harder to rake and roll into bales for convenient pitchforking. The task took longer than previous years, and time was too short to rake The Glade.
We used wheelbarrows and builders sacks to transport the cuttings to the piles. In previous years we have been able to pitchfork bales directly from the ground and carry them into the woodland.
The final result was a bit ragged where the mower had missed some long stems. The mower had cut some patches very short where the ground undulates.
More information on managing wild flower meadows can be found on the RHS website.
As well as the Gill Steps boardwalk installation, Mid Sussex District Council have also made improvements in the southern part of the woods, with bridges over the stream, and boardwalk/path branching off of the Sussex Border Path.
Bridges have been revamped and the banks reinforced where the two streams converge in the south of the woods.
Beech Path and other paths have been improved where they cross the stream running parallel to the Sussex Border Path.