Spring is finally here and with it a complete change of work programme for us. With our winter work completed in March before the bird breeding season starts, April can be a bit of a slow month while we’re waiting for the footpaths to become overgrown and need our attention. However we managed to find a few things to distract ourselves with and have been replacing steps, building fences and making charcoal.
The steps were at Melincwrt up the Neath Valley, probably one of our most visited sites in the Swansea Neath Port Talbot area. Melincwrt is popular as it has a spectacular waterfall. Unfortunately some of the steps had become to deteriorate and needed a bit of attention.
The job was made easier with the help of volunteers, Huw Lloyd the AONB Ranger and a power barrow, kindly lent by the National Trust staff based at Aberdulais Falls. An interpretation panel has also since been erected, to hopefully help visitors to better appreciate the site’s wildlife and special features.
We have also built a fence at Gelli Hir, using Douglas Fir that we milled from timber felled during our woodland thinning work at The Elizabeth and Rowe Harding Estate. Previously the pathway to the bird hide was exposed to the lake. This alerted all wildlife in the vicinity of the hide of any wannabe nature spotters that maybe lurking. The new fence now hides entry to the bird hide. This will hopefully allow visitors to enjoy more priceless wildlife moments.
Still at Gelli Hir are our two charcoal kilns. This past month has seen charcoal produced by the Gower Charcoal Makers to go on sale at various campsites and shops on Gower. This is a sustainable product that we are producing from our woodland management work.
This has been a really interesting project and our volunteers have been eager to get involved and learn the art of charcoal making. For most of us this has been a steep learning curve and we’re still learning best practices and discovering new techniques, however we now have several successful burns under our belt and a good stock pile of charcoal. Fingers crossed for a BBQ summer.