Devils Dyke work party – 27th Oct 2019

Many thanks to the volunteers who turned out on this lovely sunny day to maintain another 50m section of the Devils Dyke for Chalkhill Blues and all the rest! It was great to welcome three new volunteers to the cause. Vince Lea, Louise Bacon, James Fowler, Mary Taylor , Mike Gittos, Martin Ayliffe, Richard Fowling, David Seilly, Carl Kirkwood and Rob Smith.

As well as clearing scrub and small trees from the main south-facing bank of the dyke, we had enough people to extend to the north-facing sides where some trees were starting to get to a size that they would start to cast shade on the butterfly flight area, and also producing seeds that would cause future problems for the management of the grassland habitat.

With two brushcutters operating all day, we managed to mow the entire south-facing bank of the dyke over a 50m stretch, and got it all raked off and piled in the base of the dyke. We were testing our new electric brushcutter and found it an absolute revelation! Firstly, it starts without any effort or cursing, first time every time. Secondly, it runs so quietly that everyone working nearby can still have a conversation. Thirdly, it has no fumes or fueling breaks apart from one change of battery half way through the day. And finally, it was much lighter than the old petrol machine and much easier to carry on the steep slope, with far less vibration and strain on the user’s body.

The sunshine brought out a couple of butterflies, a Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone, and we found a lovely Knot Grass moth caterpillar during the lunch break!