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Bale Pit at Solstice

Just before Christmas, on the 21st, six volunteers presented themselves at Bale (and Gunthorpe) Surveyor’s allotment – a real pit, situated just on the edge of the tiny village of Bale. Previous work had been confined to putting in a locked gate at the entrance so this was really virgin territory.

The forecast had been for very strong winds with a small chance of rain but, while the rain was a constant companion, the wind was far calmer than expected. And then, joy of joys, as we were finishing, the sun appeared – a rare presence in these grey, damp days.



Our work was simple: to create a path around the pit. As it is quite steep sided, this proved tricky in places and we had to cut across the middle at one point. But, on the positive side, the undergrowth and scrub were not too thick, so the six of us, with loppers and saws, created a circular path in 90 minutes. One of the pleasures of having such a small group was that we could all work (and talk) together.

Sean put up a Woodcock in a secluded corner of the site and Trevor saw a Buzzard. In the middle, there are two or three gnarled old Hawthorns and – slightly more recent - four Butler sinks adorn the undergrowth, along with a few other remnants of (possibly) pheasant-keeping furniture.

This is a fantastic site and we very much look forward to doing more work and identifying more species there.

Once we’d finished, we all drove to Brinton, where Séan and Andrew had invited us to use the church as a sheltered site for coffee – and for excellent pastries provided by Jane. Thanks to Séan and Andrew for the hospitality; to Bev and Nigel for transport; and to Jane for the refreshments.

Our first work party in the New Year is on Thursday January 4th, at WBOA. Hope to see you there!

Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and an excellent New Year of further Felbeck Trust good work!

Peter Maingay

 December 22nd 2023.

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