Anyone for Willow?

Now that the bird nesting season is over, it is time for habitat management works to take on a more prominent role in weekly reserve tasks. The practices that occur range from general scrub control and burning to coppicing and clear felling coups in woodland environments. These may seem rather destructive in nature yet in outcome, there are only positives.

Recent works at Goodwick Moor have concentrated on removing encroaching willow and alder from the reedbed. If left, the reedbed would soon dry out, revert to scrub and then eventually woodland. Willow and alder carr are important habitats in their own right yet it is a balancing act when trying to manage a nature reserve to accommodate a mosaic of habitats and variety of wildlife.
A couple of years ago the willow was coppiced and removed by contractors with the stumps treated to prevent growth.

Unfortunately, the treatment hasn’t worked and so now the new growth is far denser and more abundant than before. I have been in touch with local willow weavers to see if there is scope for utilising the young willow poles for their craft but alas it is of the wrong type. We are now concentrating efforts in clearing targeted areas on an annual basis in the hope to eventually control any further spread.

Volunteers have been busy lopping and bowsaw-ing away and it is amazing at how quickly an area of willow soon disappears! Stumps which can be treated are being done yet on coppiced stools this is a little more cumbersome due to the numerous stems rising from the stumps. Never-the-less, areas are being cleared and the reedbed is spreading, allowing areas of open water to form and enhance the biodiversity found on site.

Guy Lewis, the voluntary warden for the reserve has also been spending time outside planned work events, clearing willow and monitoring the reserve for any issues that arise. My thanks go out to him for his support and eagerness in helping to manage the site.

Goodwick Moor has also benefitted from just over £1300 in grant monies from PLANED. This has enabled the purchase on new anti-slip mesh that has been fixed to the boardwalk in places where the old mesh had worn through or been ripped off, along with the installation of a new interpretation panel to replace one which was vandalised. There is also money set aside to produce a leaflet for the reserve which will hopefully be completed by the end of this year.