Posted by: Claire Hannington | December 3, 2013

November Notes

Three days late this month! Well I was on annual leave last week and the month did finish in the middle of the weekend – thats my excuse anyway! I’ve just completed the list of everything we did in Novemebr and I don’t know if I have room to fit it all in here but I shall try and summarise as best I can.

The Saturday group kicked off the month with a new location for them – Llanmadoc Hill, clearing gorse from the Bulwark, an Ancient Scheduled Monument. It was a rough old windy day and we nearly took off with our tonne dumpy bags as parachutes. But they perservered and cleared lots of gorse from the slopes to prevent it damaging the earthworks.

The next day saw the last of our Working Holiday groups of the year arrive at the Lodge. They spent the first two days at our farm fencing, whilst the second half of the week was in Bishopston Valley where they learnt the tradition of Coppicing and also cleared the very steep slopes of the Hillfort of this years scrub growth. They were a fantastic group and (I hope) all had a great time. We certainly enjoyed having them here.

Fencing at SPG with the Working Holiday

Fencing at SPG with the Working Holiday

More Working Holiday fencing

More Working Holiday fencing

We have been clearing more of the burnt gorse above Mewslade and were joined by students from Trinity St Davids, Carmarthen who are undertaking a conservation section for their Outdoor Education Degree. They also helped us a week later and well what can I say – 4 lads, 4 axes equals one very full log store that should see our holiday cottages through the festive season.

Scarlet waxcap

A beautiful waxcap found amongst the burnt gorse

We had a heck of a job taking down a wall at Rhossili at the entrance to the path down to the beach. It had a money box in it which even with the key and a lot of hammering I hadn’t been able to open this year. So the decision was taken to remove the wall – easier said than done. But with a lot of effort from our weekday volunteers (we all took it in turns) it finally succumbed. We have replaced it with a fence and it has brightened up the path next to the hotel down to the beach. We will be rebuilding a money box cairn next it.

Fence Rhossili

The view through our new fence

I met up with a new Voluntary Warden who will kindly be undertaking some work for us at Notthill and Three Cliffs Bay, and we have had a couple of new volunteers joining us on occasional weekdays.Dave one of our FTV’s went on a brushcutter course which he successfully completed so we can send him out and about now to clear away those winter scrubs! I also had a really positive meeting with a tutor from ColegSirGar
and some of their second year Outdoor Adventure students will be coming out in the new year to undertake practical conservation work as part of a sustainability unit of the BTEC course.

Kathryn had another group out from Virgin Media who spent the day clearing scrub at Bovehill. We are really getting to grips with the scrub there this year in the hope to graze it in the future. I had a weeks leave and am off next week as well (part timer me!) but whilst I was away Kathryn, Dave, Emma and all our volunteers kept up the good work clearing gorse, more scrub at Bovehill, clearing out the ditches at Welshmoor and finishing off the scrub clearance at Bishopston Valley Hillfort.

sink hole

The river just disappeared!

They have also started, along with staff from NRW (Natural Resources Wales), an epic stretch of fencing at Whiteford to control grazing on the more sensitive areas of the dunes. This hopefully will allow some of the more fragile and scarce plants such as the Fen Orchid to re-establish themselves, safe from the nibbling teeth of the sheep.

We have just received the results of this years volunteer survey and are very pleased to announce we got an amazing 89% volunteer recommendation rate. So from all the staff on Gower and me personally I want to send a big thank you to all our volunteers and  my colleagues as you have all made it another great year.

As they say – keep volunteering!!!

green man

But careful – someone may be watching you!



  1. Fascinating. I always enjoy these newsletters.

    Where was the sink hole?

    Love Barbara

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Barbara
      Thank you and the sink hole is at the Kittle end of Bishopston Valley.

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