Rhody bashing on and on and onwards at Kinclaven Bluebell Wood!
Nothing can curb the enthusiasm of the Kinclaven Bluebell Wood Woodland Working Group!
Led by “The two Ians”, Ian Riches and Ian Stokes, this group has been growing from strength to strength in the few years since it started. With over 60 members, the group has carried out a mammoth amount of work, from clearing skipload after skipload of pheasant rearing material and old fencing at the start, to pulling Himalayan Balsam and Rhododendron ponticum removal over the last few years.
Kinclaven is such a magical place, with its stunning carpet of bluebells in spring to its amazing autumn hues. All woodlands are lovely, but there’s something about the embrace of this place that always makes the world feel OK again in these difficult times. I am so proud of the Kinclaven gang for looking after it so well.
The group are utterly efficient and reliable, and work closely with Jill Aitken, Site Manager, to adhere to Management Plan. They have made a massive difference at our events, working with corporate volunteers, schools and the public to oil the wheels perfectly at tree planting events.
They are such a sociable group, and we have had some cracking woodland BBQs (including one winter when it was minus 10 degrees, sunny and frosty!), and last year we had a wonderful posh Xmas lunch together in a pub.
The Ians were desperate to dust off their loppers and get cracking again once Covid rules allowed, and they have done us proud, running three Rhody bashing, path repair and spruce regeneration removal sessions, as well as a stunning sunny day planting the last of 30,000 trees in the fields that we acquired adjacent to the ancient oak wood.
Here are some of the trusty team at the Rhody bashing on Saturday 12th December.
…and some from the tree planting day – 30 volunteers and staff in glorious winter sunshine!
The group very carefully took in all the extra burden of guidelines in terms of keeping Covid-safe, and have been adhering strictly and carefully to the new rules. Top work “the Ians”!
Ian Riches is a spectacularly wonderful communicator, and, unprompted, he wrote newsletters to the group during the height of lockdown, to keep the other volunteers engaged and in touch. He has had great feedback for these newsletters and we really appreciate how he has, as always, gone that extra mile!
Here is an excerpt from Ian’s newsletter that he sent recently, where he has summed up the year perfectly:
“Good evening fellow Volunteers,
Well what a year 2020 has been! I remember sitting here a year ago blithely typing out a programme for our WWG for 2020. Well we haven’t achieved half of it! However, we have still played a part in planting about 14000 trees (March and November), continued with our rhododendron removal (January, February, March and December). Thanks to some individuals/couples we’ve also had another hard go at the Himalayan Balsam, removed some fencing, had a go at more Rhody, fitted badger gates in the Court Hill fence line and kept the woods in the public eye with posts/pictures on Facebook and Whittle. And official hours accrued will be over 600 by the end of the year despite no activities for over half of the year (we recorded over a 1000 hours in 2019)!
All in all we deserve a huge chuck up for many jobs extremely well done, thank you!”
Well done team Kinclaven!
Scotland Volunteering Development Officer