Sorting out neglected woodlands is no small task. It requires lots of forestry toys and chainsaws or teams of people armed with bow saws. loppers and plenty of enthusiasm!

The Ordnance Survey’s Eastern regional team approached us to see if we had outdoor work for 50 pairs of hands, to which we responded “you bet we do!”

We are never short of site management work in autumn and winter. This also gave us the opportunity to work with Canoe Trail, a local business that runs kayaking and canoeing experiences on the River Great Ouse, as well as wild campaign and outdoor experiences at the Trust`s Grange Estate in Willington.

The OS team spent an October day at the Grange (as it is affectionately known) and was split into four groups to carry out different tasks – scrub clearance along the river, processing felled trees and a river bank litter pick via canoes. They worked really hard, cutting, burning and clearing much more than was expected. The teams were led by members of Forest staff and volunteers as well as the guys and gals from Canoe Trail. Richard Harpham from canoe Trail noted. “They just didn’t stop working all day and made a huge difference to the river environment by moving six bin bags full of rubbish”.

The huge success of the day was greatly helped by the very tasty stew prepared and cooked on an open fire by Canoe and cooked on an open fire by Canoe Trail. This went down very well with the OS team! Ingredients were sourced from a local farm shop, helping, the rural economy, something that’s important to both the Trust and Canoe Trail.

Partnership working is key to the Forest of Marston Vale Trust. We are looking forward to working with Canoe Trail on more projects in the future, to deliver similar social goals and open the VAle to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Big thanks to all who took part and helped out on the day.

By Harphan, R. (2015)

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