Earlier this month, ten members of staff from head office and our branches headed up the coast to Blaxhall Common for a ‘Wild Work Day’ with Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
After a great welcome, health and safety briefing, and being equipped with tools and gloves we were briefed on our mission for the day: helping to restore the Sandlings heath to its former glory.
Blaxhall Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of the Sandlings Special Protection Area. It is one of the largest blocks of heathland left in the Sandlings area of East Suffolk. It is notable for its populations of Woodlark, Nightjar and Dartford Warbler.
Bracken, scrub, and trees have invaded the open heath and are shading out the heathers and grasses that support the key species.
Our task was to remove pine and birch seedlings and we set about this with gusto, pulling them up by hand, using loppers or bow saws. One of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust team described us as going through the common ‘like a plague of locusts’. As you’ll see, some of the ‘seedlings’ had really outgrown their welcome!
It was hard but immensely satisfying work – made easier with glorious, frosty sunshine. We were very well looked after by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust team, with an informative brief, tour of the area and refreshments to keep us energised!
After lunch we were given a fascinating tour of the area and climbed an ancient burial mound to gain a great vantage of the common. As though pre-arranged, a beautiful deer with a huge set of antlers was eyeing us from a nearby path!
This volunteering day formed part of the Society’s ‘Saving Suffolk’ campaign which links up with carefully selected projects which focus on the preservation of nature and the environment. A huge thank you to all at Suffolk Wildlife Trust – we are all looking forward to our next volunteering day in January.