This week, the local ‘Green Gym’ session was moved to Thursday morning which meant I had a chance to participate (normally it is on Wednesdays when, normally, I am busy). That did mean the volunteer team was small (two of us and one had to leave early) but it was still worthwhile.
Today’s task was pulling sycamore saplings. Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) may have been introduced to the UK in Roman times but its advent is often dated to about five hundred years ago and it is regarded as an invasive non-native in woodland areas. It isn’t directly harmful and it does support wildlife but it spreads fast and threatens to outcompete other species. As a result, the management plan for areas such as Loughborough’s Outwoods, where the session took place, involves removing it.
Sycamore is still fairly easy to spot at this time of year, with distinctive leaves which are turned a long way to yellow and will soon be dropping. Armed with a mattock, I set about rooting up saplings and, by the end of the morning, had a fairly substantial pile. There is more to do but it keeps the edge off and ensures that the woodland will be more characteristically native in future.