Dowrog Common nature reserve, a 242-acre extensive tract of wet and dry heath with pools and fen in west Pembrokeshire, has been the focus of much volunteer effort in recent months.
An old leat that once fed a mill on the edge of the reserve is in the process of being cleared and reopened. Although the mill no longer operates, the leat itself is still valuable to the reserve for moving water through the site and feeding some of the many areas of open water that are present.
These areas of open water are important for a variety of species, most notably amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, yet also rare aquatic plants. The 600m waterway will be reinstated by 75m sections each year so as not have too big an impact on the species that currently reside in the boggy channel.
There are areas that require much scrub clearance to expose the channel and this is where volunteers are playing an active role. Dense thickets of blackthorn, gorse and willow are being cleared and roots removed from the channel. Once the scrub has been removed further funding has been found to employ a contractor to remove the build up of silt with a digger.
This is just the start of a project that will take some years to complete yet the benefits to species dependent on open water will be seen after each section is cleared.
Other work on the reserve has involved clearing gorse and other scrub from areas of open heathland to prevent encroachment on this valuable habitat.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales are very grateful to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery who have made all this work possible.
Find out more about becoming a volunteer in your area and contribute to vital conservation work.
Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust Officer for Pembrokeshire