The regular Carmarthenshire work party has spent most of the volunteer days since Christmas burning brash that has been left from the hedgelaying contractor at Carmel National Nature Reserve. This has been a slow task, exacerbated by a need to protect the species rich grassland at Carmel.
We have been burning the brash on metal sheets, keeping the fire small and having as few a burn sites as possible. This sensitive approach complements our on going strategy of managing the semi improved meadows. With each year the annual hay cut depletes soil nutrient levels, making the grasslands more herb rich. It has therefore been important to catch as much ash as possible from the burnt brash, and remove it from the hay meadows.
Before Christmas we had a tree surgeon take back the edge of the woodland that abutted the west side of the A476 at Carmel. A hazardous tree inspection had shown that a significant proportion of the trees were showing disease and decay, so a decision was made to create a buffer zone next to the road.
Whilst this looks stark and ugly at the moment, it should benefit from more light and a burst of rejuvenation come spring; ultimately creating a safer road and a nice graded edge to the woodland. This work was paid for by Grantscape.
The volunteers have also spent a couple of days scrub clearing at Rhos Cefn Bryn. This work is necessary to maintain the extent and condition of the marshy grassland. Marshy grassland is an important habitat in its own right; and at Rhos Cefn Bryn it has added value, being the home to the threatened marsh fritillary butterfly.
As part of our ongoing plan to encourage the wild service tree at Poor Man’s Wood/Gallt y Tlodion to sucker, we have been doing some halo pruning around the 2 remaining trees. Some larger trees slightly downslope and to the south of the wild service trees have been coppiced, as has the understory in the immediate vicinity of the trees. We hope the new light and space this has provided will promote young wild service trees to grow and establish.
Oh and the snowdrops are out in Castle Woods' Llandyfeisant Churchyard