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Scrub bash at The Mens, West Sussex
15-17 September 2006

At the request of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, we were heading to The Mens. Measuring 160 hectares, this is "a large wild area of ancient woodland in the Low Weald". The name originates from Anglo-Saxon times and means "common land", and under favourable management from the Trust the area is "reverting to a natural state; highlights are fungi and meadow flowers".

During Friday afternoon small groups of BCVers arrived at the Bat and Ball camping ground. We set up our tents which ranged from a bivy bag to three man domes. After a small aperitif at the pub, conveniently located right next to the camping field, the barbeques were lit, and once everone had arrived, the cooking commenced. We returned to the pub for the evening for more drinks.

Intentions of good night's sleep were foiled as revellers at the campsite partied until the early hours, so it was a rather bleary-eyed group that met Mark Monk-Terry at The Mens the following morning. The work-site was a series of small unimproved fields which required grazing, in the middle of the woodland. The task was to clear shrubbery from along a fence line, so that machinery could come in to drive new fence posts.

By the afternoon of the first day we were moving onto the second field. Mark took us for a tour of the site, highlights of which included tooth fungi, a shepherd's hut alone in the woods, used by a photographer, and some very quaint cottages. That evening we ate at the pub, and seemed to drink more than the first night! At least the campsite seemed quieter and everyone slept well.

On Sunday the clearing work got heavier, but we hadn't much left to do, and with a big effort we were finished by lunchtime. In the afternoon it was time to head home, although a few of us visited Ebernoe Common NNR on the way.

Here are some pictures of the week-end.

Breakfast time on Saturday morning. Tea break later in the day.
Cleared fence line on Sunday We've been here too!