Volunteers from the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership were back this month, carrying out two useful tasks. One was to cut scrub on the embankment – no mean feat on such a steep slope! The aim is to maintain a mosaic of scrub and herbaceous vegetation on the bank to keep it attractive to invertebrates, reptiles, birds and plants. Left untouched, the hawthorn casts a deep shade that reduces wildlife interest. In the absence of aurochs, wild horses, elks and wild boar, it falls to us to retain a partially open habitat. 

KSCP’s other useful input was to cut back scrub alongside both sets of steps leading onto the embankment. Hawthorn, dogwood and other species have been encroaching on the long flight of steps, to the point where our regular trimming back of overhanging branches was no longer sufficient to prevent the bushes from taking over. What was turning into a dark tunnel is once more an airy path with views over the river.