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South East Essex
Conservation
Volunteers

(SEECV)

Task Dates

All tasks start at 10.00am at the designated meeting place. If you intend to arrive later, please arrange to meet on site. You are not required to stay all day, or even work all day! Don't forget to bring some food and drink, to dress in old clothes and to wear stout footwear (preferably safety toe-caps). Please also bring work/gardening gloves. If you think you may have difficulties with directions, please phone Julian (see contact details below)
N.B. Children under 16 years MUST be accompanied by a responsible parent/guardian.

Volunteering
Conservation Work Calendar - more information................Click Here

New volunteers are often surprised when we say that winter is as busy as summer in terms of conservation work, if not busier. Why is this? Also, why do we carry out some activities at only certain times of the year? Below is a basic calendar guide (based partially on last year’s task programme) that will, hopefully, answer some of these questions. So remember, whatever the weather or season, there’s always plenty to keep the SEECV entertained!

January, February, March:
Coppicing, hedgelaying, tree planting, scrub clearance. This is when trees are dormant and it is outside of the breeding season for most animals. Tree planting in frosty conditions and when the ground is saturated should be avoided.

April, May, June:
Ragwort, Bracken and Alexanders pulling/removal. Normally these are undertaken in the latter part of this season; they are at their most visible (size, flowering), but haven’t as yet produced seed, the source of future years’ new plants! (Ed: OK, we know that Bracken doesn’t actually produce seed!). Also, because the plant has expended effort producing new spring growth, any roots left in the ground may also be less likely to produce further healthy growth (well, in the case of Alexanders at least, a fervent hope!).

July, August, September:
More Ragwort pulling (early July) – see above. Last year we also carried out some pond clearance, but this was mainly rubbish and detritus removal, rather than specific pond management, which should be carried out during the colder months when the pond is less active. However, new ponds can be constructed at any time of the year! During the latter part of this period we often also undertake meadow management (cutting and raking/tidying). This generally follows the wildflowers having seeded (next season’s and future plants) but also at a time when most of the insects have generally completed their breeding cycles.

October, November, December:
Back to the jobs more associated with the colder months: Pond management, coppicing, hedgelaying, tree planting and scrub clearance. Autumn tree planting can be preferable as it can help roots establish.

General:
Fencing, walling and footpath work can be carried out at any time of the year, but they can be cold work in the winter months. Also, in hot periods, the hard, dry ground and hot sun can make working conditions difficult.

The above illustrate and provide guidance as to when and why we generally undertake different tasks; there is always (hopefully) the underlying theme! We carry out the various tasks at certain times not to prevent ‘damage’, but to reduce (as far as is practically possible) any of the negative impacts and hope that the benefits we create outweigh any damage we cause! For example, we undertake scrub clearance during the colder months when the trees are dormant, flowering plants have died back, birds have completed their breeding and have fledged their young, etc, etc. But what we do end up doing is trample any remaining vegetation, churn up the wet ground, remove overwintering cover, etc. And why? So that during the following spring new growth will be stronger (sometimes different) and will provide a much improved and diverse habitat. Well, that’s the theory!

One question that has been asked is when is the best time for sowing wildflower seed? Well, one recommendation, at least in the south east, is between September and November! However, a more guaranteed method for success may be to sow seeds at home, encourage their germination, bring them on and then transplant them as plugs in the desired location.

Meadow strimming? Well, another seasonal task. When is the most opportune time? In theory this depends on the type of meadow that you are trying to develop: A general grassland meadow should be cut early autumn after the wildflowers have dropped their seed; a spring flowering meadow left until late June or July and then frequently afterwards; while a summer meadow should be cut during spring and then left from June onwards!

Let’s hope this helps!?

 

The Task dates


Sunday May 1st 2016
Hadleigh Country Park (Essex County Council)
Project unconfirmed.
Meet: by the rangers' office at the far end of Chapel Lane, Hadleigh. .(Please note the rangers' office is near the bike shop and their door says "Welcome, please pull door")

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Sunday May 15th 2016
Canewdon sites (Finches Nature Reserve / Lion Creek (EWT) / Lower Raypits (EWT))
Possible work includes path/pond maintenance and removal of invasive species.
Meet: by the Anchor PH car park, High Street, Canewdon.

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Sunday May 29th 2016
Dodd's Grove (adjoining Belfairs Nature Reserve)
Bracken pulling to encourage biodiversity. Project in conjunction with the South Essex Natural History Society.
Meet: at the end of Poors Lane South, Hadleigh.

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Sunday June 12th 2016
Doggetts Wildlife Area, Rochford (Rochford Parish Council)
Potential work includes path/pond/litter clearance..
Meet: at the far end of The Boulevard (follow up road adjacent to Waterman Primary School).

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Sunday June 26th 2016
Hadleigh Country Park (Essex County Council)
Project unconfirmed.
Meet: by the rangers' office at the far end of Chapel Lane, Hadleigh. .(Please note the rangers' office is near the bike shop and their door says "Welcome, please pull door")

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Sunday July 10th 2016
Rayleigh Mount (National Trust)
We will be working in the orchard area – this is a hidden and very peaceful part of the site.
Meet: by the main entrance to the Mount in Bellingham Lane, near the Mill Hall.

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Sunday July 24th 2016
Canewdon sites (Finches Nature Reserve / Lion Creek (EWT) / Lower Raypits (EWT))
Possible work includes path/pond maintenance and removal of invasive species.
Meet: by the Anchor PH car park, High Street, Canewdon.

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Projects will resume in September. Enjoy the summer break!

Please note extra projects at additional sites may be arranged at short notice. Watch this space for updates etc.


More Information
SEECV website: http://www.seecv.org.uk
Tel: 01702 258492 (Julian)
Email: seecv@abpayne.plus.com
SEECV, c/o Charnwood, Anchor Lane, Canewdon, Rochford, Essex, SS4 3PB
Membership: Download the membership form

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