Twenty of us volunteers and staff made the trek from Gardiner's Car Park over Pinnacle Hill and on to it's upper east side, overlooking the Holywell Road area. This was our groups annual pilgrimage to this Site of Special Scientific Interest which comprises the beautiful open, acidic grassland and it's associated wildlife. It's a large expanse of grassland but has suffered from continual encroachment by scrub and trees over the years, a problem that most of the hills suffer from and is largely brought about by the decline in grazing. Over the last few years we have managed to keep some of the tree line at bay by continually cutting down saplings and coppicing trees. This is working well, and to help the process along we have been lucky enough to have the services of a regular group of volunteers headed by a Conservator's Voluntary Site Warden. We all joined forces for our conservation day and made excellent progress cutting back trees and enjoyed getting some bonfires blazing to truly eyebrow singeing temperatures. Just perfect for Bonfire Night, and to round off the day we toasted marshmallows over the embers.
Dales Hall Bog is a small area within a patch of woodland where Hangman's Hill meets Castlemorton Common. Plenty of hill spring water keeps the site waterlogged, and over the years a very scarce habitat a type of raised bog has formed. However the trees have grown too and make an increasing demand on the water supplies, as well as encroaching on to the bog. The conservation volunteers were out in force and transformed the area by cutting back a huge fallen willow, many ash trees and vanquishing a large amount of bramble. The bog was very deep and wet, but most of us managed not to get stuck. This was all in between several rounds of mince pies, chocolate biscuits and coffee and before we set off to the local brewery for a Christmas drink and some chips. We really do spoil our volunteers, don't we, but it's because they're worth it!