Woodwork in Donkey Woods

This week Thames21 ran it’s second volunteer activity at a new site along the River Crane in Donkey Woods, Hounslow. Judith and myself were joined by two esteemed members of our Event Support Team and nine volunteers to improve the area for people and wildlife. We worked to cut back some of the overgrown vegetation to allow new plants to establish themselves and to encourage a greater variety of wildlife.

Despite my very bad start to the morning (I knocked over and managed to spill about half of the hot water supply for tea), we cracked on with the task at hand.  Last month, we cleared some of the lower vegetation and built a dead hedge (a handy hide for small creatures, pictured right) this week we carried on clearing the lower vegetation.

I was amazed to see what nature had done on it’s own since we were last at the site. When we left last month, there were piles of brambles that we had cleared and also a couple of piles of logs and sticks the lower vegetation that we had taken down. The piles were still there but they were much smaller and the area felt so much more open, almost like it had renewed itself in our absence.

We continued with our chopping, hacking and clearing until one of the wonderful volunteers suggested that we take a break and have tea. However, there was a problem (no, not that we didn’t have much water!) we had nothing to sit on. With that, Judith scurried of to the van in search of some tools and nails; I do often think that Thames21’s van  resembles a Mary Poppins bag, you never know what or how much is in it!

Upon her return and  with the help of some of the volunteers she set about making a bench using all natural materials sourced from that very wood that day.

Activities at Donkey Woods  are part of the Waterways and Wellbeing project which seeks to connect people with their local waterways, with a special focus on engaging volunteers from groups who would not normally consider volunteering, or do not consider themselves able to be volunteers.

I find taking part in Thames21 activities, and being able to see an almost instant difference, incredibly rewarding, but it is always a bonus knowing that in some way we have also helped other people. The volunteers learned new skills and now people have a somewhere they can sit and admire the wood.

Vicki P, Thames21 Monitoring and Marketing Assistant