A cliff edge next to a green pasture with farm building in background

Restoring the barrow

Today was the third time I’ve worked at this site with the Gloucestershire Vale Conservation Volunteers. It’s an ancient barrow monument on private land in the North Cotswolds. It’s unique because the field boundary is perfectly circular and the barrow is a gentle, convex shape.

You can see the difference that the previous two sessions had made, even though I hadn’t been there for over a year. The first time I saw the site, the vegetation was head height and there was no discernible shape between the barrow and the perimeter.

There were only four of us, but we quickly decided that we needed to remove a dead hedge which we had created a couple of years ago on the southern end of the barrow.

It was painstaking to remove piece by piece (after checking for nesting wrens) but worth it as we eventually cleared the whole spot.

An overgrown barrow with long grass, scrub and a big dead hedge
The barrow before the work began
A cleared barrow with short grass and a mud patch where the dead hedge used to be
After the work party finished

Meanwhile, Mike removed the larger scrub by the entrance and Candy cut the whole site with the strimmer.

So by lunch time, we had the whole site clear of scrub and material raked off.

The wildflowers were already numerous – ribwort plantain, rock rose, germander speedwell, mouse ear chickweed, oxeye daisy and others were growing well. This was satisfying because two years ago, these would have been completely shaded out and unable to compete fully with the dominant grasses.

So, I think GVCV can happily take credit for helping to restore an ancient monument for the future and also create some additional biodiversity in the area.

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