Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers



The Otterhead Estate Trust is grateful to Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers for including the estate on their programmes of activities.

Cherry laurel is the most invasive shrub at Otterhead and over the years members of the group have reduced large areas of spreading laurel. Laurel hedges were topped and laurel cleared from old garden paths in March 2019 and December 2018 when during the latter visit brambles were removed from the main garden path adjoining the section where laurel had been cut back as well as from adjoining garden terraces north west of the site of the lost Otterhead House.

Laurel was cleared on both sides of the South Drive including the site of the former South Lodge and its gardens at Royston Water in March 2017.


Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers Marck 2017

Five of the fifteen members cutting and burning cherry laurel in March 2017.  


Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers

Clearing cherry laurel and fallen willow from the main garden path; the site of the lost Otterhead House is just beyond the oak tree on the right.


During the October 2014 visit the volunteers formed three groups, two working on sections of the former main garden path and the third clearing the House Leat path. 


The March 2015 visit continued that work clearing along the paths and the leat as well as the area between the paths where laurel removal revealed a spring. 


Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers task on the estate in summer is usually controlling bracken in meadow land however in May 2015 bracken was reduced on a valley slope above Royston Water so that it would not hide Himalayan Balsam plants as occured in 2014:


Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers near Royston Water.


Meanwhile unwanted stands of Bohemian Hybrid Knotweed were also reduced close to the House Lake and former rock garden:


Taunton Midweek Conservation Volunteers reducing unwanted stands of Bohemian Hybrid Knotweed near the former Rock Garden.  


The March 2016 visit concentrated on clearing cherry laurel from among the now quite rare North American rhododendrons:


TMCVs 0316

Photographed from across the House Leat on the House Leat Path.


Other members tended the fire burning laurel and clearing laurel on the slope between the main Victorian garden path and a parallel path; all within the area of the Otterhead North Western Paths Project.