Barnhill Meadows – Tree cage clearing

There are some hidden gems within our countryside sites. At Barnhill, within Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park, there are some old hay-meadows hidden in the woodland. Over the last several years these meadows have been left unmaintained – almost forgotten and now overgrown. Together with the Kinnoull Hill Woodland Group we have plans to clear the meadows and plant some wildflowers, adding a more plant diversity to the area – turning near-forgotten grasslands into species-rich meadows.

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One of the Barnhill meadows

Within these meadows we found several fruit trees, which had been planted to celebrate the millennium. These trees are each surrounded by a cage from when they were planted, to protect the young trees from grazing animals like deer and rabbits. Whilst these cages were initially useful for keeping out the grazers, the trees have grown too large for rabbits to damage, and tall enough that deer can reach regardless of a cage.

On Saturday 6th October we started the process of bringing life back to the meadows. The first step was to open up the cages surrounding the trees. Once these cages were opened up we could access the vegetation that had been swamping the trees. As the volunteers cleared the overgrown vegetation and pruned back some of the branches from the fruit trees, the Community Greenspace Horticultural Modern Apprentice Adam was also able to prune back some of the surrounding Hawthorn trees to improve access to the meadow.

There are upcoming volunteer days planned within the Barnhill meadows on Kinnoull Hill. Would you be interested in joining? To find out more contact Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell at cbachell@pkc.gov.uk or 01738 476792

Woodland Sessions for People with Early-Stage Dementia

Week two of the Dementia Woodland Activity Sessions at Kinnoull Hill saw another great turn out including two new members. The sun came out, as did two red squirrels and a buzzard amid all of the sights and sounds of Spring and smell of wild garlic.

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We still have plenty of room and would love to see some more new faces. If you know of anyone who could benefit from a lovely woodland walk, or you are a carer needing a bit of respite please join us. We meet on Thursdays at 10am  until 1pm at the Shed, Kinnoull Hill. Tea and biscuits are provided.

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Ranger Joanna with John and signs of red squirrel feeding


Want to know more? Please contact Ranger Susan Whyte 01738 475 395. 

“Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness”

The words of poet John Keats were on message for this Wednesday, 28th, as four volunteers helped out (despite the mist and gentle rain) on Kinnoull Hill.

One volunteer was a PKCV regular, the other three were council staff who were able to take part because of the PKC’s corporate volunteering policy, leaving the comfort and warmth of their offices to guddle in undergrowth in the gentle rain.  They had been encouraged by the promotion of the task by Patrick, in honour of Make a Difference Month.

The tasks were to clear out weeds from fruit tree cages, clear whin / gorse from a viewpoint and remove a few invading beech seedlings.  Grass and tall plants like raspberries suppress the growth of the trees and are best removed. The gorse was cut back to re-open the view from a seat installed in the 1980s.   For an explanation of beech clearance, please see previous blogs.  As Heledd’s comment illustrates, sometimes it is the simple things that make it: “It was quite nice to do some sawing.”

It was rather beautiful among the autumn colours and everyone enjoyed themselves and we all had a good laugh.

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Ode To Autumn  

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats