Tuesday 1st November saw the DPA volunteers enjoying one of the most blissful days of conservation effort in a long time – it was a gorgeous day, remarked upon in the evening weather forecasts!  We gathered at Norsworthy Bridge where Derek took the tools and rucksacks up to the top of Raddick Lane for us in the “APY Wagon” to collect and walk across more or less along a contour to the site, this being the Bronze Age settlement centred at at SX 5768 7078.

Typical area for clearing, Western gorse

Typical area for clearing, Western gorse

 

The task was to clear the low-growing Western gorse from a remaining section of boundary wall and some small isolated areas within the enclosure.

Hut circle or round house

Hut circle or round house

 

General scene

General scene

 

Busy with the brush cutter

Busy with the brush cutter

 

The trouble with all these machines producing cuttings …..

Filling a "drag" bag with cut gorse

Filling a “drag” bag with cut gorse

,,,,, is that they need to be cleared away.

More clearing away

More clearing away

 

"Drag" bag half full

“Drag” bag half full

I don’t know why I took a photograph of a “drag” bag – it must have caught my eye in passing.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the dump we go!

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the dump we go!

The filled bags are dragged into nearby gorse outside the settlement and their contents are then “lost” in the landscape.

Coffee Coffee time at the round house, still in use after perhaps 3,000 years

Coffee at the round house, still in use after perhaps 3,000 years

It is interesting when having coffee in a hut circle to reflect on who might have lived there and what their lives were like so long ago.

 

Fruit and Coffee & Walnut cakes

Fruit and Coffee & Walnut cakes

Readers of this erstwhile blog should not think that a volunteer’s thoughts revolve solely around one piece of cake, oh no, there might be “seconds”! Today we were treated to Fruit and Coffee & Walnut cakes – two varieties!  Thank, you, Val, it is always welcome after some hard labour.

 

Conflab

Conflab

 

Pixie's matchsticks

Pixie’s matchsticks

 

The first inclination on seeing red-tipped fruiting bodies on a Cladoniahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladonia lichen is to call it Devil’s matchsticks/British soldier (Cladonia floerkeana),   This lichen has quite rough, irregular stalks (see following enlarged view) …..

Enlarged lichen fruiting bodies

Enlarged lichen fruiting bodies

There is a possibility that this might be Cladonia diversa / also called C. coccifera. The thallus (i.e. body) of C. floerkeana is shades of grey when dry but may be greenish when wet. The thallus of C. diversa is green to brown. This specimen was probably dry, so what colour is it?!

If you want further mental excerise regarding these lichens, try these links: Cladonia floerkeana and Cladonia diversa.  I think I might now choose the first one!  There is a very complicated world of lichens.  The reference book Lichens – An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species, by Frank Dobson, describes eight Cladonia lichens with red-tipped fruiting bodies.

 

Another general scene

Another general scene

The volunteers today were Bib Bruce, Bill Radcliffe, Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, Hilary Luce, John Lucas, John Viant, John Watson, Keith Ryan, Peter Butcher, Rachel Watson, Sylvia Hamilton and Val Barns, a gallant band of 13.

Witnessing the cutting the last of the gorse

Witnessing the cutting the last of the gorse

After a few hours, the final clump of gorse in the settlement was cut, with a fair measure of satisfaction felt by all those watching. The tools were returned to the “APY Wagon” and the group walked back down to Norsworthy Bridge car park. From there, we went to the Burrator Inn for a small, well-earned celebration.