Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Great spotted woodpecker by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

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

The volunteers were out in force to welcome in the New Year at the first work party of 2019, and to confront the reality of HS2.

The railway will run alongside Finemere Wood and so its construction will have implications for the woodland volunteers as well as for those creatures who live in this haven.

National Grid is required to modify some overhead electricity lines, pylons and gas pipelines along the HS2 route to enable the building and operation of the new railway.

Their work along the track into Finemere begins now, continuing through to November of this year. The wood will not be accessible via this route at some point during the year, but alternative footpaths into the reserve can be seen on the reserve page

Expecting to be escorted through the 'danger zone', it was a relief to discover that, for the time being at least, we still have free passage.


New Year it may be, but the tasks are not new. Long Close Meadow, in the heart of the wood, remains littered with trees and shrubs chopped down to the ground over the autumn months by ardent volunteers.

All this to keep the ancient grazing ground an open grassy meadow full of floral delights. And so the dragging and burning of branches begins again.

The fire volunteers of the day working beautifully together as they endeavour to compromise over their fire management styles: one obsessively neat and tidy, requiring sticks and flames to be in place;  the other with a wilder, more natural approach.

The volunteers worked like Trojans, the meadow is clear of clutter, and next time we shall, finally, move on to another part of the wood.

A number of my team have been toiling away by my side at Finemere for years. Others are more recent additions to the team. New they may be, but they have proved themselves be enthusiastic, energetic and fun, each bringing something to this remarkable group of labourers.

So now, my newcomers, no longer will you wear an anonymous, shared hard hat, but you will wear your very own named one. You have shown commitment and there is now no way out!

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 24 January; Thursday 14 February; Thursday 28 February; 9.30am-3pm.