Monday, 15 December 2014

A wintery wander

We have had a LOT of snow over the last week. Here's a selection of pictures of the site taken this morning on one of our monthly fence checks.

Approaching the Whitehope plantation. The snow was just over 1/2 foot deep along here
Nothing like a bit of snow to disguise quad tracks!
Looking up towards Whitehope Knowe
The fenceline running across the top of Lochan Burn - the top of the 6ft deer fence was now just over 2ft above the snow drift
The heathery (honestly...) slope of Lochan Burn
Looking into the Lochan Burn plantation with the start of Hartfell up to the right
Certainly a wild day to be up and about in Corehead but very glad to see the deer fence is holding up well to the start of the winter.

Lynn
Site Officer

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Winter lights

Well done to all those who came out on a cold frosty morning to make lanterns out of willow! 

Armed with plenty of hot chocolate, biscuits and a wee fire to warm our toes we set to work.

The obligatory marshmallow toasting!

Willow is a wonderful tree, normally to be found with its roots near water, where many other trees can't grow. It does a great job holding river banks together, reducing flood risk and providing a habitat for a wide range of creatures.

It is also incredibly bendy...and a fantastic resource to make things with.

So we measured out the willow, bent it into shape and after a fair bit of weaving and masking tape we had the willow frames for our lanterns.*


At this point it was getting a bit damp so most of us took tissue paper home to finish later on.

Here is a finished one!

Looking forward to seeing it lit up at night!


The 6th December also happened to be national tree dressing day. We decided to take this literally and rather than ribbons, our wonderful old ash tree got boots, a warm scarf, gloves and a tutu!
Old tree hugs

This was the last event in 2014 but we're putting together an exciting programme of walks, workshops and activities for next year. If there are any events you'd like to see happen at Corehead Farm please email corehead@bordersforesttrust.org

Ali
Community and Education Officer


 * If you'd like to make a lantern yourself the instructions we followed were from the Eden Project and can be found here

Friday, 5 December 2014

Corehead waterworks

I think it's fair to say that normally a shortage of water is not something we have to worry too much about in the Scottish Borders......

But, we have had such issues this year at Corehead in our pond. It's not due to that lovely, balmy summer we had (for those of you reading this outside of Scotland, it is true.... we had an amazing summer!), but more due to the leftovers of previous land use.

Much of the inbye area at Corehead was drained, most likely to improve it for grazing. When we put the pond in a few years ago, we uncovered some of the old clay drains but over the years we've realised that there were more than we thought. So as the area has filled with water, it has slowly been draining away through this old network. 

A few months ago our Site Manager Tim came over to have a bit more of an investigation. Dressed in waders, he managed to have a good old dig around in the mud and found some of the old clay pipes. 

Marking out some of the drains we found but we suspected there may be some more...
It can be beneficial for ponds to go through wet and dry periods but we decided to address the problems we were having as this was due to artificial drainage rather than natural processes. We decided to dig a trench around the edge of the pond with the view to breaking any of the drains and were helped out by local contractor Dominic Murray.

When we found drains we blocked these up and then filled the trench back in. As the area has been disturbed it looks quite drastic, but overtime the vegetation will come back and cover any of the scars.

Digging the trench

Can you spot the broken drain?
In total we found and severed 4 (possibly 5!) drains which will hopefully solve the problem of our disappearing pond!

Whilst we had the digger on site, we decided to create a few more scrapes in our wetland area. A scrape is a shallow depression with a gradual edge that will fill with water and provide important habitat for all sorts of wildlife including all sorts of invertebrates which in turn are a great food source for breeding wader birds. We had some scrapes put in a few years ago and they are brimming with life.


We will continue to monitor our wetland areas and plan to increase our surveying here next year. If anyone would be interested in helping us then do get in touch corehead@bordersforesttrust.org.uk.

P.S. It's worth mentioning as well that whilst this was going on we had our volunteers out at Corehead again. This time we were working in the orchard and got a HUGE amount of work done. We finished off the repairs on all the mulch mats as well as the staking of the trees (see this old blog post for the works we started earlier in the year) . A brilliant effort by a great team.


Lynn
Site Officer