A week in the trenches

This past week I have been working alongside Colin, the other Countryside Worker/tractor driver at Ashdown Forest, clearing Silver Birch regrowth by the side of New Road.

This is one occasion where the camera does lie because I seemed to have not taken a photo of the rainy and windy conditions we have been working in so it appears that we have only been working in idyllic sunshine.


When the idyllic sun was shining on one particular evening, the low light highlighted the zig-zag pattern of a WW1 practice trench. In that atmosphere and I suppose because a bit of the 100th anniversary coming up it felt quite evocative.

There are a number of WW1 and WW2 sites over the Forest and many different types of feature that has been left behind.  More information on features like this are can be found on our website.

Apart from admiring the archaeology, the week for the most part looked like this. TomGorse

Heather, with gorse, bracken and a tiny Stonechat in the middle on top. The reason why is in the background of the photo, to prevent the eventual domination of Silver Birch and maintain the biodiversity of the heathland habitat.

One bird we manage the habitat for has just returned and now Woodlark are displaying over the Forest.

Our work does mean that some areas get a bit muddy but this is not long lasting.

I even put up with muddy tea for a week!


This week we are clearing rhododendron, where we refer to as ‘the bottom of the airstrip’ or Black Bog and I saw another one of Ashdown’s specialist birds, a Crossbill, sit proudly on top of a Scot’s Pine tree but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera but there’s always tomorrow!

Tom Simon