Volunteers from CROW where joined by members of the West Berkshire Countryside Society for Econet's last task of the year at Paices Wood; many of those present are in fact members of both groups. As with Newbury & Thatcham Green Gym's task of the previous week, it was felt that the most appropriate way to see out the year was with a bonfire, burning brash created during previous scrub clearance work at the site.
The morning was spent at the "Butterfly Meadow" with Marcus (pictured above) and Jan in charge of the fire while other members of group dragged material to the fire site.
Get in step lads!
With lunchtime approaching there was a good blaze and a bed of hot ash - just right for baking potatoes.
With a large group of volunteers present it was possible to do some further clearance particularly along the pathways leading to the Meadow.
Primrose growing in the Meadow .....
..... together with Wood Spurge, an ancient woodland indicator.
Marcus enjoys a joke - regrettably the joke is unavailable.
A backlog of material to be burnt starts building up when loading of the fire is suspended to allow the potatoes to be rescued.
Jan's dedication to maintaining the fire was such that he was reluctant to even stop for lunch.
After lunch the group split and while some remained to look after the original fire, the rest moved to the heathland area where a second fire was started to burn the accumulation of scrub that had been cleared from that part of the site.
After some initial hesitance .....
..... it was not long before we again had a good blaze .....
.... and our efforts were once more concentrated on gathering the material to be burnt.
Despite the sunshine the puddles which abound on this part of the site remained frozen.
As the day comes to an end the whole group gather.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us for what we hope was an enjoyable day.
A fitting close to 2014?
Created: Friday, 2nd January 2015
Photographs: Alan Stevens