Starting my post as Wildlife Trust Officer for Carmarthenshire at the beginning of December I was first struck by how great the Carmarthenshire reserves are. I felt very proud that such special places were going to be in my care. This was closely followed by trepidation; that such special places were going to be in my care. Lizzie, Conservation Manager and former WTO, then gave me a fantastic handover and I started to gain some knowledge about the sites. I learnt about the reserves and the features that made them distinct; I learnt about past and ongoing management; and we discussed ideas for possible future projects. I started to feel excited about my new role and eager to get started.
I love the quiet charm of Carmarthenshire, and the reserves now within my care include places it is a joy to work in. Our newest reserve in Carmel is a distinctive mix of calcarious woodland and grassland that harks back to how I imagine much of Carmarthenshire to look before more intensive farming took over. It has some unusual species of plants and I can’t wait to see it in the spring/summer.
Gallt y Tlodion and Castle Woods are both fine examples of woodlands, exhibiting rich ground flora, with some very old veteran trees in Castle Woods. Ffrwd Farm Mire is teaming with interesting and rare wildlife and Cors Goch is a reserve I know I could work on for years and still be learning from.
I’m still very much getting to know the reserves; however I know it won’t happen over night. To get to fully understand what’s happening within the different habitats will take careful observation over years and through the seasons. This is one of the fantastic qualities of being a land manager that really attracts me, you will never stop learning.
A month in the job so far has given me a taste for how varied my work will be. I have already cut and piled Beech regeneration up at Gallt y Tlodion/Poor Man’s Wood; met and worked with a great new volunteer group; discussed getting badger vaccinations for bovine TB implemented at Castle Woods; read lots of management plans; made bird feeders with children and adults at Dynefwr; met with Natural Resources Wales to plan ditch clearance at Ffrwd Farm Mire; fixed a broken water trough at Carmel; and dealt with more than one fallen tree. I think it’s going to be a fun and rewarding journey and I’m impatient to get going.