Much has happened on the GreenSpace since the last newsletter in April. The GreenSpace had been chosen to be on the route of judging for Milford’s entry into the East Midlands in Bloom (EMiB) competition on the 12th July and so a massive effort involving 5 separate work parties by the GreenSpace volunteers was undertaken in the 3 weeks prior to get the GreenSpace in shape. By the time the judge came round on the 12th July the area had been completely cleared of weeds and was in an excellent state, with the raised vegetable plots and courgette and pumpkin patch looking very healthy, and the judge was very impressed. In addition to giving the whole village a Gold award (the highest possible), she gave an additional discretionary award specifically to the GreenSpace.
Pictures from the GreenSpace work parties before her judging are shown below.
On 15th July, whilst still in pristine state following the EMiB judging, the GreenSpace had an open day for the village residents, serving tea and cake. £85 was made for GreenSpace funds and a stream of visitors came, despite the scorching 30C heat.
In August our attention turned to the chickens. Following the demise of Miss Magpie in July, we acquired two new chickens, Bluebell and Penguin, to join existing chicken Miss Ginger, and we decided a larger and more secure hen coop and run was required. First the remaining brush left from the big original clearance of the plot July – September 2020 was finally burnt to make space for the new structure. Then Matt Cousins built the excellent new coop and run shown below. Belinda Shorney has donated a new lock for the coop.
On 2nd September a fund raising day of supervised children’s play on The GreenSpace was organised and was highly successful – it also raised £50.
In September we also refocused our efforts onto completing the Fire Pit, earlier work having been halted following the discovery of solitary bee burrows, but by September the bees had moved on. Four intense work parties followed and the digging out of the fire pit was finally completed. The pit is dug level into the bank, and is about 30 x 30ft square, with a back 4 feet tall, with sides tapering from this height to nothing. This was a great deal of soil to dig out – dozens and dozens of barrows worth.
The pictures above show the pit digging nearly complete. The final levelling of the bottom is now nearly finished and the sides will be bolstered with railway sleepers. 28 oak sleepers have already been purchased and carried up to the site from Hopping Hill (no mean feat – they are very heavy!) A stone edged hearth will be set up in the centre and log seating for 30 children set up around the sides, and the area between the hearth and seats dressed with chipped bark.
Some of the soil has been used for the sides of a wildlife pond, which is in the process of being created by the wigwam (see below).
Finally over the whole of the period fruit and vegetables have been harvested from the site and left in baskets on Church Steps for passers by to take (though donations into the Honesty Box are welcome!) We have had excellent crops of potatoes, strawberries, courgettes and beetroot. Also maturing nicely are some huge pumpkins, picture below. These will be used by the children for the Halloween festivities at the end of October.
Looking forward, we have recently had two pieces of good news. The first is we have been offered 105 saplings, to arrive in November, by The Woodland Trust to plant along the edge of the site to create a wildlife hedge. The second is we have taken over the tenancy of the allotment that lies to the left of the path from the entrance ladder which has recently become very overgrown. The whole site will now become GreenSpace and ideas of what we can use this new area for are welcome. We already are thinking of a maze for the children and an area to grow cut flowers.
As ever, volunteers to help us with the upkeep and continued improvements of the site are very welcome. Here is the current list of tasks.
- Fire pit bolstering with railway sleepers and creation of hearth and seating areas
- Continue weeding plot
- Excavate hole to put lower water storage tank into
- Prepare ground along fence for hedge/trees
- Carry compost onto site and dress raised beds.
As ever, anyone interested in helping out please contact Kate on 07794268059, or just turn up with gardening gloves and rough clothes – we have plenty of tools on site. Work parties take place every Sunday and Monday 10am – 12am, all year round, and additional ones may be organised for specific tasks.