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Peaks and City Takeover

The University of Sheffield’s “Nature Network” is a partnership between Sheffield’s nature-related societies, an attempt at getting us to work together to achieve greater things than we could on our own. Maybe someday we’ll form a similar network on a nationwide scale. March 2015 saw the creation of Nature Network officially celebrated with a “Peaks and City Takeover” of Sheffield: a weekend of awesome environment-themed activities held as a collaboration not only between Sheffield’s environmental societies but between us and other universities. This year, we did it again, and SUCV’s contribution to the weekend was a big task to Longshaw Estate.

On a sunny Sunday 13th of March, a total of 28 volunteers arrived for the task, including students from Sheffield Uni, Nottingham Uni and even a couple of former SUCV committee members! After taking our pre-booked coach to Longshaw we met with members of National Trust Longshaw Estate and the Peak District Rangers before walking down to today’s woodland work site.

Last September, Longshaw Estate began working on a big restoration plan for their woodland pasture, which involved taking out 80% of the pine trees in the area. This left an incredible amount of debris that needed to be cleared away in order to allow the growth of wild flowers and other plants necessary for creating a diverse habitat able to support wildlife, grazing livestock and human visitors.

On previous visits to Longshaw we had been piling up and burning brash, but this was only suitable in open areas; today we were working in a more enclosed area of woodland and so there was only one fire pit (by which some of us gathered around for lunch). We split into groups, with one working on the fire and the rest gathering up debris and building habitat piles.

With 28 of us plus the numerous rangers of the National Trust and Peak District Rangers we managed to get a sizeable amount of work done in the 5 hours we were there. By the time we finished, there were dozens of new habitat piles (some of them enormous) dotting the woods, as if a giant mole had come burrowing across the landscape. And yet, I felt like the National Trust still had a lot of work left to do.

Big thanks to National Trust Longshaw Estate and the Peak District Rangers for hosting this special event for us and thanks as well to all the volunteers who came for the day, especially those who had to travel to Sheffield. I’d also like to thank Amruta, who I couldn’t have run this task without, and all those in Nature Network involved with organisation, publicity etc.

Jamie (SUCV Task Leader)

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