taken: the latest Lazy Dog Ragwort tool was used for
200 man-hours. Ragwort due to flower in July 2004, and anything
visible of rosettes due to flower in 2005, was removed and
put into 6.ton trailers. One and a half trailers were filled
to capacity with small rosettes.
This was a successful first visit, despite the intense
heat of early June. The workforce was made up of Country
Management Students, under the guidance of an experienced
member of the L-Dog team, who worked alongside them. £60
per day was the wage, and 7 hours pulling was expected each
day. The site was worked over methodically, using canes
and white bags as markers. The workforce camped on site.
job was not quite completed, and follow up in early July
was deemed necessary.
Tools: The new Lazy Dog Ragwort lifter proved ideal
for the job. No bending was required, even when extracting
ground level rosettes. The lightness of the tool made it
easy to carry all day. The open frame-work of the handle
was ideal for carrying folded collection bags, which saved
a lot of time.
total cost to the Corp of London for the contract
with Lazy Dog Tools Ltd. was £4820 + Vat. Included in this,
is the week of ‘follow-up work’ referred to as R.043.
This price also included ‘away from home living expenses’,
travel, public liability insurance, organizational time.
Wages were £60 per day to each member of the workforce,
and camping on site was free.
short article about this contract was written, and included
Sussex work-force pulls ragwort for Londoners.
Down, June 2004)
Down is within 5 minutes walk of a famous junction at Purley,
where the Brighton & Eastbourne roads meet. It is difficult
to believe that rare flowers and grasses, butterflies and
skylarks are able to flourish close to that permanent traffic
jam, but there is no doubt that they do. Farthing Down is
overseen by English Nature and managed to a high standard
by the London Corporation. It is a 120 acre site that rises
to 500 ft, and seems better protected than other, more famous
areas of down land. It is much appreciated and walked upon
by people who live near it, and it is lightly grazed by
a herd of Sussex cattle.
this year, the Lazy Dog Tool Co were asked to demonstrate
ragwort removal on a 60 acre section of this beautiful site.
The work was carried out in early June, by a group of countryside
management students, contacted with the help of Plumpton
College and the Netherfield Centre. They were lead by an
experienced member of the Lazy Dog team, and started the
job 6 weeks before the plants came into flower. This was
made feasible by the use of a new tool, and turned the contract
into a demonstration. The team camped in a field alongside
the site, worked 8 hr. days, and pulled both Common and
Hoary varieties of ragwort, at all stages of their growth.
experienced operator of the Lazy-Dog ragwort tool, is able
to remove ground level plants without bending, which means
that 2nd year plants (about to flower), and anything
visible of next years crop, can be lifted during one pass
over the land. In order for the system to work (remember
there are no flowers to be seen), the land has to be walked
methodically, with distances between operators controlled
to about 1.5 metres only. Once the plants have been identified
(as seedlings & rosettes of both varieties), the workforce
moves steadily forward in a line, scanning the ground carefully.
Since the eye is only capable of focussing on about 6sq.
inches at any one moment, this scanning has to be done conscientiously.
A reliable system has to be devised for marking the area
that has been walked (we used white canes or weighted bags),
and somebody has to be responsible for keeping a keen eye
members of a ragwort pulling workforce must wear gloves,
to protect against themselves against the poisons. In hot
weather, copious amounts of water & sun protection are
London Corporation keep a close eye on this site, and it
is a credit to all who worked on the job, that the officers
have written congratulating us on a job well done. They
are hoping to make a similar arrangement next year, and
there is every reason for this to be encouraged. Experience
of graft never did a countryside management student any
harm, and on this occasion, may have helped the formation
of mobile workforce in Sussex. Farming & conservation
are desperately in need of handwork, especially when it
is methodical, disciplined and responsible. The Lazy Dog
Tool Co will continue to encourage the formation of work-forces
that look after the land, because there is no method more
selective or sensitive than the ‘removal of individual plants’
(‘RIP’). It can also be the cheapest method, especially
in countryside stewardship schemes, where ragwort docks
& thistle can be removed in just one pass over the land.
work on Farthing down re-enforced the belief that handwork
can be disciplined, caring, and efficient. The demonstration
clearance was completed by five people in ten days, and
filled three six ton trailers with rosette stage plants.
Individual wages were £60 per day plus some expenses, and
after we left, the volunteering ragwort pullers who live
in the vicinity of Farthing Down, received a whole bundle
of our specialist tools, purchased by the London Corporation.
addresses & numbers for the gang, the Netherfield Centre
& Lazy Dog Tools.
note was written by Philip Trevelyan, Director of the Lazy
Dog Tools Co, Hill Top Farm, Spaunton, Kirbymoorside, N.
Yorks. YO62 6TR. Tel: 01751 417351 & e-mail: email@example.com.)