The Make A Difference Weekend 14, 15 October 2017

This year the focus was on the access to and improvement of One Acre Meadow.

On the Saturday and Sunday, a total of 44 local enthusiasts and Friends of Barnet Environment Centre volunteers, including three children, cut back large clumps of oak saplings and brambles that had strayed onto the meadow, and dug out blackthorn roots to ensure that all traces had been effectively removed. What a difference that has made.

We needed to cut a new pathway through to the meadow from the Environment Centre on the other side of our magnificent Monterey Pine. This is because the new hospice building would have been too close to the old path. However, the new pathway provides a contrasting and inspiring way of approaching the open expanse of the meadow from the enclosed woodland. Our volunteers created a dead hedge along one side too which is a useful way to deal with arisings from the tree work and also provide habitat for mini-beasts and small mammals.

The new pathway has also necessitated our moving the existing compost bins. This was very heavy work and one particular volunteer worked doggedly all day and most of Sunday to empty just the one bin. The leaf mould was transferred to a nearby hedge where it will be used as a mulch. The creation of a new compost area required bramble removal – long prickly stems to be cut into manageable pieces and barrowed away and then the roots to be dug out.

Work elsewhere was also undertaken – our younger volunteers worked hard to clear the autumn leaves – “The best thing I have ever done!” – and muddy work was carried out in Skater Pond to remove vegetation and clay with the clay then being redistributed.

We welcomed 9 new volunteers over the weekend who, along with our regular volunteers, gave a total of 220 hours of their time which, together with the corporate volunteers, has enabled us to Make a SIGNIFICANT Difference to the nature reserve.

Our deep thanks to everybody.