This year has been particularly exciting in Carmarthenshire. We have had some wonderful conservation finds this year.
Early this year Carmarthenshire volunteer Richard Pond found a very rare musk beetle on Frwd Farm Mire. The musk beetle is mainly associated with wetlands and wet woodlands, particularly fens and willow carr, both of which are present at Ffrwd.
Host trees include a number of willow species such as Common Sallow Salix cinerea which is present at this site, and it also depends on nectar sources (such as umbellifers), which Ffrwd also provides in abundance.
Although it was once widespread, the species seems to have declined significantly and is now nationally scarce.
It is a spectacular member of the longhorn beetles, with enormous antennae and metallic green elytra, and easy to identify, with a good view.
Another exciting find on Frwd Farm Mire is evidence of harvest mice. This again is a first record for the county, though it is possible that the species is present without people being aware. They weave grass nests in dense vegetation such as grasses, rushes, cereals, grassy hedgerows, ditches and brambles. These nests are usually found quite high above the ground.
As well as all this exciting conservation work we have been busy working with the Tir Coed project to put in some fantastic new furniture at Castle Woods and at Poor Man's Wood. This wonderful project has meant that we have been working with young people learning green woodworking skills. The resulting pieces are really outstanding in quality.
Wherever possible we have used wood managed out of our own reserves, for example the oak bench which is currently in Castle Woods near Llandeilo was made from oak which came out of our Pengelli Woods in Pembrokeshire.
Other pieces include a magnificent throne, interpretation boards and bird hides. All of these things add to the visitors experience when visiting our reserves.