Nature Reserve Habitat Management around Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Gower
The winter season as usual has been busy with habitat management. Some of the work has been supported by the Welsh Government’s Glastir Woodland Management scheme and the WREN funded West Glamorgan Wild Woodlands project has enabled us to expand our delivery of work across a greater number of our 31 nature reserves.
Areas of Priors Wood, The Dranges, Peel Wood & Gelli Hir have been coppiced and thinned. A small number of young hazel have been coppiced at Coed Barcud which was planted in 2007; this is a bit of trial to see how these young trees respond to being cut and brought into a coppice rotation early in the woodland’s life.
Alongside this work there has been a big push to clear the very invasive Rhododendron at Coed Gawdir and continue its eradication at Craig Cil Hendre. The pond is now visible again at Coed Gawdir and restoration of this reserve will continue next winter.
Users of the A4118, (South Gower road) may have noticed we have had contractors removing roadside trees at our Kilvrough Woods reserve. This felling was in part required to enable us to manage the risk from tree to the road and road users, but it has also helped us benefit biodiversity by both letting in light to previously dark areas of woodland, which will benefit the wild flowers, and also increasing the diversity of the age structure of the woodland. This reserve is designated SAC and SSSI and has been failing to meet one of its SSSI targets to preserve deadwood habitat; for this reason nearly all of the felled trees have been left on site to decay. Given a season, the areas which may look a little stark at the moment will soon have regenerated.
Information and data for our South Gower coast reserves has been gathered together and we are in the process of rewriting our management plans for these reserves to inform future management work. The focus of our practical management here has been the cutting back of vegetation beside the Wales Coast path. This will benefit path users but will have the added benefit of increasing the areas of shorter vegetation on the slopes which will provide basking areas for reptiles and a diversity of habitats. We have also done a couple of beach cleans at Overton Mere and removed a lot of plastics from the marine environment.
We would like to thank our volunteer team for all their help through the habitat management season. If you would like to get involved then get in touch with Tara Daniels on 01656 724100 or email.
Senior Wildlife Trust Officer (Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot)