A belated thank you to all the volunteers who came out in some very cold weather to help complete the clearance of the site. Just as important was the clearance of brambles and scrub to provide easier access for visitors and volunteers to the site from the main body of the nature reserve.
Malcolm Emery, is now not only Natural England’s Senior Reserves Manager for East Sussex, he is also responsible (please correct me if I have this wrong) for Surrey and Oxfordshire as well – a very busy man.
Louise (Lou) Parkinson, hiding under all her protective gear, is now the Natural England’s Reserves Warden for East Sussex. It is planned to have bullocks in this part of Castle Hill NNR for the end of the winter. Opening up a wider area beyond the farm site may make this remote corner of the reserve more attractive for them and thus they would be more likely to help keep down some of the new growth which will inevitably spring back. Because small birds may start nesting in any tall regrowth, I understand (again, I hope I am corrected if I am wrong) that site clearance may continue through the summer.
It all looks so different after the brambles were cut and removed. The east part of the farmyard can now be seen to have been terraced, with a slope leading up to the farmbuildings on the western side of the farmyard, which extended to the right from the stable which was between the fence corner and the prominent hawthorn bush.
These may possibly be from a water trough shown in a plan of the farmyard.
The rubble mound is quite steep on the east side, with some large pieces of masonry in it. I am interested in partially excavating it to identify, if possible, parts of chimneys, window frames, doorways and other architectural features which may be buried inside it. Since lifting gear is beyond this project, any masonry heavier than 20Kg would be left in situ. The mound would be excavated around it, such that the local slope is not more than 45°.