Tuesday 19 May 2015

Haggis in the Beef Tub

On Monday we were delighted to welcome a team from Edinburgh based company Haggis Tours. We were approached by the organisation who were looking for somewhere to have a day out working on a conservation project. As firm supporters of other organisations including Trees for Life and the John Muir Trust, we were thrilled to have them to a Borders Forest Trust site.
As the team were coming from Edinburgh, we decided that Corehead and the Devils Beef Tub would be the best site for them to help us out with some conservation tasks. The first job was a continuation of the great work started by our Thursday volunteers last week.
During a cold snap over the winter when we had a lot of snow lying on the ground, some of our orchard trees were attacked by a hungry hare. We decided to make some changes to our tree protection and using rolls of plastic mesh netting, stakes and ties we have been making bespoke tree cages.


Most of the trees already had vole guards which we left in place. We also put some small guards around the hazel which have been planted to give them some added protection.
The team were done by lunchtime so after a short break we headed over to Tweedhope for some fence removal. 2hrs later and 100m of fence removed we were done for the day!

The team finished the whole riverside stretch
A big thank you to the Haggis Tours team for all your hard work and good humour.
Site Officer

Friday 15 May 2015

New walking route to the Devil's Beef Tub

Thanks to support and a grant from the Brown Forbes Memorial Trust we are very pleased to have opened the Devil's Beef Tub Walking Loop. 

The Beef Tub loop is shown in red
 This is a low level circular route into the Beef Tub, perfect if you don't fancy a steep climb up into the hills but want to enjoy the beauty of this iconic landmark.

We will be running a family friendly walk into the Beef Tub on Friday 7th August from 10am to 1pm, with activities for kids as we go. For further info and to book please email corehead@bordersforesttrust.org 

Once the exact route of the loop was decided we worked with contractor Derek Murry to install 4 additional gates and two bridges. This walk previously would have been very tricky to do, the new gates and bridges make it much more accessible and we hope will encourage many more to come to Corehead to enjoy the views and wildlife.

  The gates were wooden and we used a kissing gate style to prevent livestock entering the newly planted woodland areas.

The whole route is now waymarked with finger posts and way marker discs making the route clear and user friendly. We worked with volunteers to put in the waymarker disks.

The loop goes through a variety of habitats including a new area of native woodland which has been planted and allows stunning views of the valley.

Leaflets are available about Corehead from dispensers at the entrance, detailing other walking routes to enjoy. 

At the moment there is a wonderful display of marsh marigolds in the wetland area, so please do visit and have a look yourself.  

Ali Murfitt
Community and Education Officer 

Monday 11 May 2015

Junior Rangers learn green woodwork

This was the fifth month that Junior Rangers have been helping with conservation work at Corehead Farm and Grey Mares Tail and we thought it was time for a bit of a treat. So Mark Vrionides a green woodwork teacher came along to lead a workshop for us.

The mission: create a monster for the orchard (every orchard needs one!) using a variety of green woodwork techniques.
First design the creature

Then after a tool talk, its time to select the tools and get cracking!

Making holes for the creatures legs 

Sometimes a three person job! 

Draw knives to remove bark on legs

hmmm..which axe looks best!

shaping the legs

A good few hours work and hot chocolates later and its time to head to the orchard to assemble our creation. Olive the dog decides really our monster should only have three legs!

The chase begins
and finally ends! 

Finishing touches! 

Many thanks to Mark for leading such a fantastic workshop, Vanessa and Lynda for all the extra help and Andrew for the great photos!

Next months Junior Rangers will be at Grey Mares Tail. 

Community and Education Officer.

Friday 8 May 2015

Scots pine at Carrifran

We’ve written a few blog posts this winter on the planting we’ve been doing at Wildwood. We’ve been out in all conditions working in some pretty challenging terrain and weather conditions and last Tuesday was no different.

Priest Gill in spate

Raven Craig and Firthhope Linn in spate

While most of the volunteers were working through our last load of aspen (kindly donated to us by The Woodland Trust – full story to come soon), we had a small team planting one species of which we have relatively few of at Carrifran – the Scots pine Pinus sylvestris.

Whilst the clue is in the name, the planting of Scots pine has always been something of a debate. Analysis of fossil pollen has shown that it was abundant in these hills for several millennia after the last Ice Age, but that it subsequently disappeared . At Carrifran we try to put back all the  species that we believe would have grown in the valley before intensive grazing and deforestation. The question is should Scots pine be one of those species? We feel that it should, but in small numbers.

Since 2008 members of the Wildwood Steering Group have been collecting seed from what may be the only remnant of native Scots pine in England, on the fringe of Kielder Forest. This is the closest stand of ‘natural’ Scots Pine to Carrifran, and is therefore the best available provenance. Some seeds have been propagated by Michael Matthews and some were sent to Alba Trees;, and this year we had around 50 saplings to plant.

A small Scots pine sapling
We planted around half of the trees in the northern end of Rispie Lairs. 

Philip with some of the saplings planted on the slope
Philip also selected the crags in Priest Craig as a suitable location. 

Putting the guards on recently planted saplings
We had planted some in previous years and they seemed to be doing well in both these areas, apart from a few that had been flattened – though not killed – by an avalanche in the past winter. We protected all of the saplings with guards and stakes which will hopefully keep them safe from browsing deer.

We have some more follow up work to do in the summer and we’ll keep a close eye on how things are  doing.

Site Officer