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Volunteer teams have been hard at work across Mudchute, cutting back overgrown areas of brambles and nettles. Removing these aggressive, fast-growing species will make light and space for less-competitive wildflowers. And to prevent regrowth, the teams have also been helping to remove the roots of brambles (not an easy task!). The clearing may look harsh at the moment, but the vegetation will grow back and with more diversity in both plant and animal life and will make it safer and easier for our visitors to navigate the farm’s paths. Over the next few days, you may spot wildlife checking the newly cleared areas for a snack. Even as the clearing took place, we were visited by magpies, blackbirds, robins and more!

We choose this time of year to cut back as there are no nesting birds that we might disturb. You’ll also notice patches of cover nearby which we have left for any creatures seeking shelter over the winter. We look forward to seeing what spring will bring to these areas!

A big thank you to all of the corporate volunteer teams who lent a hand over recent weeks. To find out more about volunteering with your team, please see our corporate volunteering pages. We also welcome individual volunteers. So if you might be able to lend a hand, please visit our volunteering pages and do get in touch!


A daunting task, but not intimidating to our volunteers!

A daunting task, but not intimidating to our volunteers!

Autumn is the prefect season to tidy up. With a wet spring and hot summer, brambles and bindweed have been growing vigorously across the farm and scrub has taken over in certain areas. Clearing these areas during Spring and Summer can be tricky as we don’t want to disturb nesting bids. But youngsters will have left by the nest now, so we can now safely cut back. Cutting at this time of year also means we can remove any overgrowth before invertebrates begin to hibernate. After doing an incredible job clearing up our ponds. Team RBS tackled our entrance near Mudchute DLR station and it’s already made a huge difference.

Would you be interested in lending a hand? Find out more about volunteering with your team or join us as an individual.


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Across Mudchute, we try to encourage and support our local wildlife and in order to do so, we must manage our habitats for local flora and fauna populations. Last year we began restoration projects on our banks, returning these areas to more open grassland. This year we are continuing to do so in several areas across the site where brambles have recently taken over.

Thorny and frost hardy!

Thorny and frost hardy!

Brambles are fast-growing and can make excellent habitat for nesting birds, but they also crowd out many of the flora and fauna that inhabit the open grassland habitats that Mudchute offers. We have taken professional advice as to where and when works can be carried out and our works are targeting key habitats. To minimise disruption to wildlife, we will be carrying out the works now so not to interfere with nesting birds.

To remove the brambles, we must not only cut back the visible growth, but also remove their roots to prevent rapid recolonisation. New canes begin growing as new shoots from just below the surface in the form of bright pink new buds. Brambles have a few other tricks up their sleeves as well. If a cane meets the soil, the area in contact with the soil can put out roots of its own, tapping into even more resources and fuelling even more growth! And of course, one cannot forget those unforgiving thorns, which are found across the plant, even including its leaves!

All in all, cutting the brambles back is a tough job, but we look forward to seeing the benefits soon. The area may look a bit messy at the moment, but Spring should bring some rather more interesting wildflowers to the area. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

In the meantime, we have produced lots of delicious forage for our goats and pigs and the local wildlife have even pulled together an impromptu cleanup crew, following us as they forage for invertebrates in the disturbed soil. There are plenty of robins in tow and we have even spotted a fox having a go at some earthworms!

Interesting in lending a hand? Could you lend your expertise or equipment? We are always grateful for contributions! Please get in touch with us at voluntering@mudchute.org or to find out more about other ways you can help support our work.