For CROW's third visit to Sheepdrove we found ourselves in an area of recently established woodlands clearing tree guards. While the guards had probably initially been of great benefit to the trees protecting them from rabbits and deer, their removal was long overdue for rather than splitting open allowing the trunks to expand some had remained in tact were now restricting growth. Another problem was the build up of moss, dead leaves and other detritus inside the guard which in some instances was affecting the bark and trunk to the tree's detriment. The cherries in particular seemed badly impacted, many being in a poor state and some having died.
While the group attempted to create as large a pile as possible of discarded guards, Judith took pity on Jez, Sheepdrove's Conservation Coordinator who had the job of clearing the discarded guards the following day, by stowing guards inside each other to reduce the effort of removal.
In the dense woodland amply stocked with hawthorn removing the guards proved to be a more daunting task than might have been anticipated. However the excellent lunch kindly provided by the farm, to whom we send our thanks, more than compensated.
We were joined for the day by volunteers from The Conservation Volunteers whose minibus we also had use. The team: Mandy, Rodney, Jan, Phil, Barry F, Alan, Marcus, Dave, Andy, John, Barry K, Mike, Judith O and Judith Q. Also with us were Amanda and Tony both of whom had to leave early.