Christmas is coming and the Volunteers are getting busy.
A large group of Volunteers turned out on a damp, cold Sunday to do a range of odd jobs around the Oast to prepare for winter.
The Hop Garden had become very overgrown and needed clearing of nettles and brambles. In the spring we will plant a comfrey bed and other insect friendly herbs which recall the kitchen garden of the original Winkhurst farmhouse. The hop poles are left clear of vines ready for next years hop plants.
The hops are a living link with the farm and the adjacent Oast house. When the reservoir was built the Tudor Winkhurst Farmhouse was dismantled and taken to the Weald and Downland Museum near Chichester where it was the first exhibit.
Encroaching nettles and brambles were cleared from the path by the barn and willow was cutback from around the gate to the Farmyard field. The drainage gully around the Oast was cleared to help the site drain. The carpark area and the ground around the Oast is low lying and prone to flooding. Although the Water company installed pumps when there is heavy rain the water rises quickly, keeping these drains and gullies clear helps the water to flow away.
As always, some areas are cleared of brambles and nettles to allow fresh new growth, and other clumps are left to provide winter shelter and seeds for wildlife
The bird feeders are being kept topped up with seeds and peanuts to help small birds survive through the winter, and passing walkers will spend some time observing the many fluttering visitors to the feeders.
After the work there were mince pies, tea and coffee and a chance to chat with old friends and new volunteers.
Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year to all our readers.
Some new volunteers have joined the group this year and the interest shown in the work by walkers and bird watchers is very encouraging. There are regular tasks on Fridays and on the second Sunday of each month. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Becky at email@example.com