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Three pupils from the City of London Freemen's School are undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and have asked us on Rye Meadows for 12 hours of volunteering as part of their challenges. The three girls are Alex Steere, Bethan Hadingham and Freya Bate.

Hedge Laying 11 20 6Their first two hour task was to assist the The Surrey Hedgelaying Group who visited Rye Meadows on a damp 14th November 2020 to lay the hedge alongside Ashtead Woods Road. Volunteers had already cleared the bank of the overgrowth but even then a great deal of debris was produced as the Group set about clearing the hedge to lay. Most of the debris was placed back in IMG 0763athe field but a large amount was also deposited on the verge and here the girls (plus Mums, Ashley Bate and Pippa Steere) helped to gather the debris cleared by the hedgelayers and place it into the wagon for disposal at a fire site in another field. They all worked hard for their two hours and the verge was completely cleared leaving the field debris for disposal another day.

The second task on Saturday 21st November was to coppice a small wood off Footpath 596. This wood had been coppiced a few years ago but had regrown. The girls cut the growth back to the ground using clippers and saws and placed the cuttings onto the dead hedge. They also cut back the nettles and brambles growing by the footpath making it safer for walkers, children and dogs.

Meanwhile, Mums, Ashley Bate and Pippa Steere, collected cuttings previously cut by the Rye Meadows Volunteers and took them to build up the dead hedge in Centenary Field. All in all, a very useful two hours work by everyone.