Tiptree Heath has a long term ongoing link with Thurstable School through its Duke of Edinburgh volunteer groups attending work parties. The link was set up by Science teacher Peter Wilson over 30 years ago.
This year was no exception and a hard working group of nine Year 10 students, and their parents, joined us at four 3-hour work parties over the last two months. We were not lucky with the weather on two of those occasions, but decided it all helped to add to the character building!
Projects worked on included reducing the invasion of gorse across the heath by cutting and burning large stands; clearing the stream by removing the undergrowth which was growing into it and would pollute it when the leaves drop. One of the nastiest jobs was to break into a dense thicket of blackthorn on the triangle across the Maldon Road and cut out the worst ready for burning. Blackthorn can be very painful if you don’t handle it with respect, and I’m pleased to say there were no injuries.
All in all an excellent job was done by the youngsters, and they were a friendly, thoughtful group. Each work party was attended by 4 or 5 of our heath volunteers to advise on techniques and to keep everyone safe. The Mums and Dads were also a major asset to the groups and I’d like to thank everyone for taking part in what was a very worthwhile effort to help us maintain our heathland restoration progress towards ‘favourable condition’.
Below are a few pictures of the action. The first one is taken at the end of the first week, and the second shows the blackthorn before cutting. The last picture sums it all up - exhausting!