We’ve been making the most of the winter to restore part of the margin of our Cors Goch NNR nature reserve, just west of Carmarthen.
This nationally important lowland raised bog is one of a handful of good examples of this habitat type remaining in Wales. Along its margins, scrub was starting to invade, particularly birch, which contributes to the drying out and degradation of the habitat. These trees therefore need clearing and treating to prevent regrowth.
We always try to undertake works of this nature during the winter season, to be certain that in removing these trees- even in the case of quite small shrubs- that we are not causing any disturbance to breeding birds. However as you might imagine, working on a bog in the middle of winter- especially one as mild as we’ve had this year- presents its own set of challenges! With tussocks of purple moor grass and ankle-sinking wet pockets between them, even walking across a winter bog takes a lot of energy.
The work at Cors Goch has been made possible by two funding streams. Work at the western end of the reserve has been funded by the Environment Agency, and in the central bog a large area is being cleared and the trees removed under a contract funded by the Welsh Government’s Ecosystem Resilience, Diversity & Compliance (ERDC) Fund.
It has been brilliant to be able to access this funding and therefore to be able to bring in specialist contractors, who have the equipment to remove the felled trees and chip the brash. Much of the scrub control previously done on the western part of the bog has relied on the ever-energetic Carmarthenshire volunteer team, but pulling trees along the bog to take them off the protected habitat is an exhausting way to spend the day. The volunteer team has instead been able to turn its attention to management of the (slightly drier) rhos pastures!
Now the bog margins are looking really good, and we will continue to work towards restoring improved habitat quality on the reserve, and protecting the many special features for which it is managed.