Bracken bashing on Roseberry Common

A wet return to volunteering for the National Trust after the Coronavirus lockdown. A nice simple task to ease the rusty joints: bracken bashing, which also has the benefit of enforcing social distancing.

The common was sprayed last year with a bracken specific herbicide so today was just keeping on top on any persistent fronds. Hacking them off has the effect of weakening the rhizomes. This will need to be done annually a few more times to fully kill them off. The grand plan was to have a hardy breed of cattle graze the common. Their hooves would break the bracken fronds and have the same effect. However, COVID is putting these sort of projects on the back burner.

The lockdown has had a very big financial impact on the National Trust. It is estimated their bottom line will have a £200 million shortfall. Yet the numbers of visitors climbing Roseberry has increased dramatically. During May there were 25,000 visitors, this is an increase of 67% over the same month in 2019. June was a similar number. Many of these extra visitors must be new to the countryside and unaware of the basic etiquette, for they have left a phenomenal amount of litter presumably in the belief that someone else will tidy up behind them. This has fallen on the one un-furloughed National Trust ranger abetted by a small army of local ‘unofficial’ volunteers during their permitted daily exercise.
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