Dyrham staff had yet another hectic week that saw blood sweat and tears. (Not all at the same time thankfully.) Leap day on Wednesday 29th Had us visit the rolling hills of the beautiful Prior Park in Bath for what was described as ‘Scrub bashing’ As I was none the wiser as to what this would entail, I was happy to muck in for some outside conservation work. And it was an excuse to get outside for a day. Having arrived at the tranquil surroundings we strolled up the hill and had a quick safety demo from Ranger Rob.
The main aim of the day was to clear the bramble from the path and Hawthorn trees. As anyone who has had a bash at bashing this not as simple as it sounded. I was part of the path clearing team along with newbies Ali, Natalie and the lovely Emma Hoffman. After a quick ‘what to do and where’ we set to work. Using an array of ‘saws, croppers, slashers and hay forks, we slowly but surely cleared away the bramble from eye level and created a fairly natural looking contour parallel to the edge of the path so there’s less chance of a scratching occurrence. Next was a nearby Hawthorn tree similar to the one the other team were working on. Having been ravaged by bramble recently, the tree was suffering so it was bramble bye-bye time.
To say bramble clearing is ‘a little problematic’ is an understatement. Having already been warned by Rob about the slim possibility of Deer ticks, (nice…) we tackled the upper levels of the bramble trying to drag it down from the lower sections of the Hawthorn with a ‘slasher’. This vicious looking tool is pretty much a big scythe with a slightly shorter blade, and we became slightly worried about how much fun one particular member of the team was having with this task, hence her new nickname, Emma ‘Slasher’ Hoffman. As anyone who has participated in bramble removal will know, it has the prickly ability to attach itself to any part of you it likes, giving a nice little scratch in the process. Various shallow war wounds were received by most of us and although I personally didn’t have to worry about my hair getting tangled, my nose got in the way of one branch which gave me a nice souvenir of the day!