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Stow Heath Wasp Factory

This was our first work party at Stow Heath and ten of us were there, including first-timer, Catherine, and Nina from NENCV, who had cycled down the road from her house to join us. The plan was to cut back as much of the entrance lane to the Surveyor’s Allotment so as to make access and parking easier. However, we were clearly not meant to do this today: 15 minutes into the work party, Brian disturbed a wasp’s nest and got stung. As he is allergic to wasp stings, he headed for his car to get his anti-histamine tablets; meanwhile, the wasps picked Catherine out as the object of their anger and stung her six times – not a good start to her first work party, but she soldiered on.

Once Brian had headed off home – without his glasses, which he had lost in the heat of the attack – we went onto the allotment itself, leaving the wasps to calm down, and began work on marking out a path that more or less circles the whole site. This was quite a task, because of the areas of wet or boggy ground and we only made a start. But, lead by Trevor, on his first active work party since his accident, we made pretty good progress.

It was a real pleasure, despite the wasps, to get onto and into this wonderful site. There is a lot of work ahead, above all clearing the ponds and providing more light – as well as clearing away the supermarket trolley and other waste that has been dumped here over the years - but it is a site that will provide ample rewards in terms of increasing its biodiversity and making it more accessible to more people.

Thanks to all who came, braved the wasps and left – in one piece!

Peter Maingay

October 23rd 2023

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