1st December 2007
This day was very much the same as November with successfully continuing to open up paths in the Temple Gardens, and again the weather was fantastic! We started at the Five Points Tree and opened up each of the paths. We had sunshine mixed with strong gusts of wind - which you can see from the smoke everywhere!
3rd November 2007
This day continued opening up paths in the Temple Gardens. Luckily we had a beautiful, sunny, warm day even though it was November!
6th October 2007
In September over 100 workers from Timberland did Voluntary Work in Langley Park, led by Friends of Langley Park volunteers. They split into three groups doing each of the following tasks:
On 6th October we continued where the volunteers left off in the Ha Ha, and managed to clear it all the way back. Below are some photos of what we accomplished.
1st September 2007
Another great day where we had a lovely group of 15 volunteers clearing the paths in Temple Gardens to make access much easier. Apparently the paths were originally wide enough to let a horse and carriage pass through, although recently as you have probably seen even the rabbits had been struggling!
We cut the Rhododendrons back to the boundary line, pulled out lots of brambles (yes, many scratches!), and cleared the bracken. We took it all to the bonfire site where by the end of the day the huge pile was reduced to ashes.
2nd June 2007
This project was a great success and involved the construction of a beetle bank, this is a vitally important conservation task as Stag Beetles are becoming increasingly rare in many countries in continental Europe but as more of them survive in the UK we have a good chance of helping them.
The Stag Beetle is the largest land living beetle in Britain – males can be up to 70mm (2.5”) long including their jaws – and is so-called because the male’s huge jaws look just like a stag’s antlers. Stag beetles are quite harmless, but the female may give you a nip if you put your fingers in the wrong place!
You are most likely to see males in flight on warm summer evenings, between May and August, while they are searching for mates. Females are more often seen at ground level, looking for suitable egg-laying sites.
The female lays her eggs underground in decaying wood. These eggs hatch into larvae, large white grubs with stubby legs and orange-brown heads. The larvae have to eat large quantities of decaying wood because it is poor in the nutrients they need. It can take up to four years or even longer for larvae to reach the next stage of their development, the pupa, a resting phase during which they take on their adult form.
At least four years after their eggs were laid, the adults emerge from the soil in May or June. The cycle then starts all over again as the males (picture to the left) fly at dusk in search of mates. Their lives as adults are short, lasting a maximum of four weeks.
The actual day turned out to be very warm but after hacking our way through the rock hard surface layer, ably assisted by very experienced and enthusiastic members of a group from Earthworks, who we would like to pass on our very grateful thanks to, we were able to excavate a 2.5m diameter hole approximately 2ft deep. The reclaimed logs were then arranged in a pyramid design as close together as possible infilled with soil and tamped down securely.
Nature will help to naturalise the construction and in time will hopefully be inhabited by various types of beetles and other insect life. We are planning to put up an information board close to the beetle bank.
Andy Stevens, Conservation Officer
As we had the launch of the Orienteering Trail fast approaching, the task of this day was to dig holes for the six foot tall control posts, cut from a fallen oak tree (photos on Orienteering page). The holes needed to be 3 feet deep so as to last for a very long time.
We were given training by the Head Ranger, Steve Heywood, on the equipment to use and the best way to dig these holes. Although it was tiring work it was very rewarding and you will now see in the park 17 of these posts scattered around.
For anyone wanting to do the Orienteering Trail, just go to Black Park Offices for a map and instructions, or visit our Orienteering page. It is a great few hours out for everyone - families, friends and dog-walkers. You will find a letter on each of the posts and if you do the route correctly you will be able to solve the puzzle.