Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Dexter cattle at Dancersend by Mick Jones

Charlotte Karmali brings the latest news from the volunteers at Finemere Wood.

The Finemere Wood volunteers have been basking in glorious sunny September days. Bathed in the beautiful, warming, golden light of autumn, this engaging group of people can be found out on the adjoining meadows, once again facing the conundrum of fallen fences.

It is important that these barricades are kept in good repair as they serve to keep livestock contained and safe. The meadows at Finemere are grazed periodically throughout the year with sheep and cattle belonging to a local farmer. Grazing animals provide huge benefits to wildlife, encouraging and maintaining biodiverse habitats.

Sheep are natural lawnmowers and will crop the grass close to the ground. Cattle, on the other hand, are messier. A diverse structure of vegetation is established which opens up spaces for invertebrates and flowers to flourish. Hooves create bare patches of ground and give seeds dormant in the soil a chance to germinate. Cow dung provides the ideal environment for many insects and fungi to thrive.

The grazers control scrub and keep these areas open; often they choose to eat dominant plant species which allows the more delicate flowers to bloom. And so it is a win-win situation: a nutritious and varied diet for our animal associates and ever-improving species-rich meadows for our wildlife.


There are fences to be fixed, and fences to be demolished. Those with the know-how of wire and straining tools, and the aptitude for problem-solving the most complicated of damaged fences, are delegated the former task.

The rest of us dismantle fences beyond all hope of repair. Staples are removed, barbed wire and stock fencing carefully rolled up; these can be used again. Rotten fencing posts find their way into the backs of volunteers’ cars for all manner of imaginative uses. Over the next few months, this section of fence line will be replaced.

It has been another productive, rewarding and fun day in this bewitching expanse of wilderness. The workers will be back at the end of the month, perhaps for a bit more fencing before the tantalising winter work of clearing scrub and trees begins again.

Come and join the Finemere Wood volunteers. Everyone's welcome and no experience is necessary!

Email Charlotte for further information

Next work party dates: Thursday 26 September; Thursday 10 October; Thursday 24 October; Thursday 14 November; Thursday 28 November; Thursday 12 December; all 9.30am-3pm.


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