In West Glamorgan we had a busy summer with staff and volunteers busy with the usual vegetation management on our paths, fencing, Himalayan balsam pulling bracken bashing, grassland management etc.
Alongside this routine work we delivered a small project funded by CEMEX at Craig Cilhendre Nature Reserve near Alltwen. Improvements were made at the roadside access installing new gates, resurfacing the track and improving the car parking facility.
As part of this project volunteers had the opportunity to learn new (old) skills as we used trees, felled as part of our woodland management in our Gower woodlands, to make riven oak fencing and a notice board using traditional timber framing techniques for installation at the reserve entrance. Work was also carried out on the ditches to hopefully prevent the track degrading again.
Mid-summer saw the departure of team member Assistant WTO Ed Tucker for pastures new. He has taken his aquired skills to a Project Officer job managing grazing and habitats on the common above Pontardulais.
Early in September new recruit Rebecca Killa took the Assistant WTO role and comes with many skills gained from working in conservation for several years which complement the existing team well. She has been in the job for a couple of months now, working as part of the team, running the volunteer work days and has settled in well.
Now summer seems long gone and we roll out the winter work programme. It is a busy winter, as part of the Forestry Commission part-funded Better Woodlands for Wales management we are thinning in Gelli hir, Elizabeth & Rowe Harding Reserve, Cwm Ivy and Priors Wood, coppicing and thinning in Kilvrough Woods and coppicing and thinning in Hambury Wood and Berry Wood. It is a lot of work all for the benefit of the biodiversity of our woodlands with a target of completion of this seasons work before the end of February 2012.
Coppicing and thinning woodland improves the structure of a woodland, increasing the variety of ages in the trees and opening up glades to allow other species to flourish.