The last volunteer day before christmas was a charcoal making training day with staff and volunteers from The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales, The Gower Ranger Huw Lloyd, Matt Carroll and Andrew Price Dryad Bushcraft.
This was the 1st time we lit the big kiln. Initally we had to dig it in and make sure it was all sitting level, before we could fill the kiln with wood.
It was important to lay the wood in a way so that it burnt as evenly as possible and no wood got hung up as it burnt. All in all it was a semi success. Producing some charcoal of saleable value.
Unfortunately we timed it slightly wrong and were late closing the kiln down, losing some. We put it down to learning experience amd hope to be better with our timings next time.
Since Christmas we have chiefly been coppicing at a new site. We are bringing an area of neglected coppice back into rotation for the National Trust at Bishopston Valley. The area is 1.3 acres and opening up the understorey has already made a big difference.
We have also started a contract job for Plantlife on a site where the rare plant Bastard Balm is known to grow. The survival of this plant relies on woodlands being managed, the ground needs light and disturbance and to be kept free from brash, scrub and bramble.We are working on privately owned land in West Wales. This job has been carried out with Wildlife trust staff, contractors and Wildlife Trust volunteers from Pembrokeshire.