Having dealt with Northchurch common, then Berkhamsted common, the bracken rollers have now arrived at Ivinghoe common. This supports the long term plan of the Trust to remove extensive areas of bracken from the landscape, so that it is only limited to the edges of open areas. In preparation for machine rolling, the team are required to traverse the chosen area pulling a rope to disturb any wildlife. Birds nests on the ground are then marked with coloured poles to avoid further disturbance. Regular rolling over time is an eco-friendly way to kill off this pernicious plant.
Some members of the team literally disappeared into the bracken on occasions, and walking or fighting your way through bracken is more difficult than you can imagine – says Adele Gould.
Two hundred years ago our bracken would have been a prized possession for the local commoners from Ringshall, Aldbury, or Northchurch and Berkhamsted, who had rights to cut it at this time of year. It was collected and dried, and used for bedding for their livestock – most commoners kept a pig, and some held cattle. It was sometimes used for fires.