Let there be Light

One of the factors to be considered when managing a river environment, is creating a variation of light and shade patterns to provide different types of habitat for different species of plant and wildlife.

Chainsaw work

All of our chainsaw operatives are fully trained and qualified. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Much of the urban section of the Cale has not been managed in this fashion in recent years, and the trees and shrubs left to themselves have rather overgrown the river and blocked out much of the sunlight. With that in mind, CATCH assembled on a sunny Sunday morning last month to create some lighter areas by cutting back some of the wood.

Coppiced hazel

A coppiced stall of hazel. Despite the scale of apparent damage, it will grow back hale and healthy.

Guided by our friendly environment management advisor Simon Wiltshire – who’s also quite handy with a chainsaw – and thanks to the kind permission of some of the riparian owners, we set about coppicing a stall of hazel, and removing a large beech tree which had partially fallen and was in danger of blocking the river; and also, trimming back some laurel and buddleia bushes which were beginning to run riot along the banks near Hawker’s Bridge. Unfortunately, an encounter with a nest of some less-than-friendly wasps caused part of the work to be abandoned, until we could return a fortnight later to complete the job!

riverbank opened up

This section of the river is now much more open to sunlight.

In the spirit of environmentally-friendly working, the fallen wood was collected into neat piles where it can be left to season and used at a future date, by the land owners if they require it or by ourselves or other community groups for assorted ventures. It is hoped that the improved light/shade ratio in the Skater’s Curves area will encourage the growth of more varied natural plants, such as sedge, which will feed a wider variety of insects and in turn the fish and birds that call the Cale their home.






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