Dead Hedging

March and April are often quieter months on the county nature reserves- at least, in terms of the habitat work undertaken by the Carmarthenshire roving volunteer team. With the breeding season well underway, it’s too late to do much in the way of scrub or tree work- at least, only small bits where we can be sure we are not disturbing any nesting birds. Yet it is still early enough in the year that the summer labours of keeping paths clear of luxuriant vegetation still feels an age away; it feels that way even more in 2013, with the late cold spell we’ve just experienced.

Dead hedging in Poor Mans Wood by LWilberforce

Dead hedging in Poor Mans Wood by LWilberforce

As a result, this spring has been much like the others before it, concentrating mainly on construction and maintenance tasks that don’t make it to the top of the list for the rest of the year- but are essential nonetheless.

In Gallt y Tlodion (Poor Mans Wood) near Llandovery, we have made repairs to the boundary fence that was weakened by the coppicing of the hazel stools adjacent to it- it seems the hazel was holding the fence up! We also took the opportunity to do some dead hedging with the hazel brash and to make repairs to a damaged kissing gate. The highlight of this day had to be the dry conditions- after such a soaking wet winter, the path on this (and all!) sites had been really     quite muddy. Sitting down to eat lunch on dry vegetation was a real treat for us all.

In Rhos Cefn Bryn, there was some more tidying up work to do, completing the removal of old fencing materials which we had not yet been able to dispose of since the livestock fencing was replaced. All the timber has now been neatly stacked and the wire coiled and removed for appropriate disposal, leaving the site waste-free and newly fenced, ready for grazing this summer.

At Ffrwd Farm Mire near Pembrey, we have replaced a short section of the boundary fence, and cleared out a ditch line that was blocked and overgrown, affecting water flow. Litter has also been collected from the roadside boundary- a constant battle. In this we were encouraged by a cacophony of bird song, including chaffinches, wrens, cetti’s warblers, chiffchaffs and willow warblers. Perhaps, just perhaps, summer really is on its way.

We’ve been lucky to be supported in recent months by students from Victoria House in Llangadog as well as the usual dedicated band of volunteers who give so much of their time and energy to the county’s nature reserves. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and anyone interested in joining us should contact Lizzie Wilberforce on