Posted by: Claire Hannington | September 30, 2013

September Snippets

Strictly speaking our Family ’50 things to do’ Woodland Fun Day was on the last day of August, but seeing as I wrote that months blog on the eve of it I thought I would quickly mention it. We had 13 volunteers help us out on the day which saw lots of families enjoy bug hunts, bird box making, wild art, campfire cooking and our own unique bug hotel being built. These days have been a great success this year and we will be holding more next summer.

As for September I have just jotted down a list of what we’ve been up to and boy have we been busy! The Ringwork at Penmaen received its annual hair cut and is now clear of vegetation for another year, standing watch over Three Cliffs Bay. We have done quite a bit of tidying up at our farm removing ivy from the large barn as it was starting to have an impact on the structure of the building. We waitied until the bird nesting season was over before removing it – for the birds next year there are an array of nest boxes around the farm at their disposal.

A lot of our regular volunteers spent a day on Welshmoor with Kathryn and the eyes of experts from Butterfly Conservation looking at Marsh Fritillary larval webs. The best time to find the larval webs is in September so they spent the day learning about the species before surveying the area for webs. A great day was had and a record number of webs was found. Hopefully this bodes well for Marsh Fritillary numbers next year.

We have also spent another couple of days down in Bishopston Valley clearing the river of debris and trees. We are trying to get as much of it done before it gets too cold to be splashing about in a river! We made a quick stop at the Pwll Du end of the valley to clear some litter and saw a pair of Kingfishers flashing past us. A real treat.

The Saturday group also spent a day getting wet and dirty but this time clearing out the pond at Crofty. We open it up every three years to stop it vegetating over and silting up. It is a source of drinking water for the stock that graze the Marsh. I think the ponies approved of our days work as the whole herd came over at the end of the day to have a drink – unfortunately my camera was in the truck and I was stuck the other side of the pond but i had managed to capture one pony drinking from it in the morning.

A new memorial bench was installed at Rhossili, replacing one that was beyond repair, and we also now have a section of dry stone wall to rebuild as a rather large bulge that I noticed a couple of weeks ago finally decided to give way. We also spent a day at Rhossili repairing Old Castle Camp, an Iron Age Promontory Fort. There were a couple of sections of the bank that had become badly eroded through sheep and human feet, so we have reinstated the banks with a few tonnes of topsoil and a lot of shovelling.

We welcomed back students from the American School in London (ASL) who have visited the last couple of years. This years students took part in some gorse clearance above Mewslade, an area that was severly burn’t last winter. One of our regular volunteers has been doing an amazing job of clearing the burnt gorse above Fall Bay – having now started at the Mewslade end we hope to meet up in the middle one day!  They also took part in our National Beachwatch event at Rhossili the next day and with a grand total of 41 volunteers helped cleared a staggering 218 kgs from the survey area alone.

I was in the Visitor Centre at the Shop that day helping launch Channel Weather Symmetry – an unique music experience for walkers at Rhossili. It was a bit of a misty dark day but in some ways that added to the atmospheric effects. Watch this space for future info on this as we will soon be having MP3 players in the Shop for people to borrow to take them on the unique journey.

Phew – I’m running out of steam recalling all the tasks we have done! But as I was relaxing somewhat last week on a First Aid Course the volunteers and Kathryn kept going. They visited Llanrhidian Marsh to start clearing out an old ditch around the back of the pond that has become blocked and also spent a day in Bishopston Valley.

This week we have groups in undertaking various litterpicks around Gower – come back next month to find out how they got on plus everything else we do in October.

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