Wonderful Water Voles and more Carmarthenshire news

Good news for our Water Voles at Ffrwd Farm Mire! Ffrwd is our wetland reserve near Kidwelly, which received over 200 captive bred water voles last summer as part of a project to increase the range of the Llanelli population.

Water Vole by Amy Lewis, this mammal is seen on Goodwick Moor

Water Vole by Amy Lewis

After a quiet winter, when the water vole is fairly inactive, there have been lots of signs of renewed activity along the ditch edges. There are many visible signs of feeding, runs and latrines.

Hilary Foster, NRW Biodiversity officer and manager of the project, says ‘It seems our water voles have done well over the winter and are well and truly setting up for the breeding season now that we’ve had a few warmer days’.

Soft rush can be an ongoing problem for land managers. It is a native species but problematic, due to its invasive nature and ability to outcompete other grassland species. At Carmel as part of our ongoing management of the meadows we have had the rush cut in several fields to try and reduce its dominance.

Raking off soft rush at Carmel

Raking off soft rush at Carmel

Our volunteers then spent 3 days raking and piling the arisings at the field edge. This is important as many of the fields at Carmel were at one time improved, so nutrient depletion is an ongoing objective in their restoration.

The piles of rotting vegetation will provide valuable habitat for invertebrates and small mammals, and potential egg laying sites for the small number of grass snakes that use the reserve.

We have collected rubbish from Carmel. The busy A476 that runs straight through the reserve is a point of entry for wind blown rubbish thrown from car windows. In total close to 30 bags of rubbish were collected, some tyres, a toaster and a life buoy.

We are grateful to Brian Mogford from Tidy Towns who removed all the rubbish collected, and disposing of it for us.

New steps at Castle Woods

New steps at Castle Woods

The volunteer group has also spent a day in South Lodge Woods, part of Castle Woods NNR, improving access. Previously a steep part of the woodland path, at the Penlan Park entrance, was becoming increasingly precarious especially when wet. Three new steps dressed with stone should make a safer and more user friendly access route into the woodland.