It's been a busy start to the year for our Pembrokeshire team!
It has certainly been a very busy start to 2021 for our Pembrokeshire team, what with ensuring all grant funded projects are completed before the end of the financial year and having to ensure habitat management is undertaken without the use of volunteers due to COVID restrictions.
We have been fortunate to receive funding to employ contractors to undertake some of the larger projects yet Wildlife Trust staff have been busier with the habitat management side of things without that extra support from volunteers. Nonetheless, I am pleased to say that in Pembrokeshire, we are on top of things and major projects completed.
At Teifi Marshes, over 650m of new boardwalks have now been installed, replacing old, dilapidated structures with a recycled plastic framework for longevity. This has enabled the reopening of the popular Wetland Trail and allowed better, more secure access to the Mallard and Creek bird hides. A further 90m of boardwalk work will be undertaken in the summer, replacing old structures leading to the Otter hide and along the road leading to the Welsh Wildlife Centre.
A large area of open water has been extended and reshaped on the marsh near the carpark, with an island created for the protection of waders along with providing better nesting opportunities. The pond in front of the Wildlife Centre has also been re-landscaped and a new dipping platform will be installed this summer. Over 1,200m of fencing has also been erected allowing for better control of grazing animals on the reserve.
Further summer work at Teifi Marshes will include the rebuilding of the burnt down Kingfisher bird hide.
At Llangloffan Fen, the carpark has been resurfaced and the small dilapidated section of boardwalk that led from it has been replaced with stone chippings, allowing for better, longer lasting access. The main pool on the reserve has also been enhanced with the use of a Truxor (an amphibious digger), removing built up silt from clogging up areas and extending the pool outwards.
At Pengelli Forest, a new visitor shelter will soon be erected at the main entrance, replacing the old one which is rotting out at the foundations. The shelter at the far end of the reserve will be dismantled due to health and safety issues yet the bench will remain. When funding allows, this will also be replaced. A number of bridges have been fixed with rotting timber planks replaced with new.
Whilst mentioning Pengelli, I can confirm that we have been successful in the purchase of Pencnwc Mawr woodland that borders this reserve. This 13.5ha woodland now extends Pengelli by 20% and goes someway in protecting and linking other woodlands within the north of the county.
New interpretation panels have been installed at Llangloffan Fen and West Williamston, with further way marker maps to be erected in Pengelli Forest in the near future.
In other news, I have been covering Ceredigion reserves since Emily Foot left the Wildlife Trust in December. I am pleased to say that we will soon have a new Wildlife Trust Officer starting on the 1st of April. He is Douglas Lloyd and will be moving to us from Gwent Wildlife Trust. We are pleased and excited to have him on our team as he comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge of managing nature reserves in Wales.
Having had a chance to breathe a little more this month, I am pleased to feel that spring is in the air and the days are once again getting longer. With COVID restrictions slowly easing, it is hoped that we can get our volunteers back working with us once again and hopefully have a summer that we can all enjoy…!
EASTER FAMILY FUN!
Outdoor family fun returns to the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve this Easter! Come and do the self-led Easter Quiz Trail whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Available each day from Good Friday to Easter Monday between 10am and 3.30pm. Includes quiz sheet, pencil and small prize for just £3
Our Welsh Wildlife Centre Cafe also open for delicious take-away food and drinks.
Nathan Walton, WTSWW's Senior Wildlife Trust Officer.