Posted by: Claire Hannington | June 3, 2014

Hello from Emma (FTV)

Firstly I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers at the National Trust on Gower. I have had a brilliant and most enjoyable winter as a long term volunteer. Learning many new skills, meeting inspiring people, discovering places I had never seen on Gower, spotting abundant wildlife, and above all helping to maintain and improve National Trust land on beautiful Gower. I feel refreshed and inspired by the work they offered, and ready to face some new challenges ahead.
 
Time passed way too quickly as we worked together on various projects this winter, and despite the bad weather we only had a handful of really wet and windy workdays. Plentiful laughs and well deserved tea-breaks (with cake) helped to keep our spirits up. I learnt new skills everyday as we carried out coppicing, drystone walling, scrub bashing, fencing, structural maintenance, pond clearance, and hedgelaying (to name just a few tasks). The whole team including all the volunteers were so supportive, welcoming and friendly. I am really missing the work, people and locations already.
 
High lights included learning fencing & hedgelaying techniques, wading through the river in Bishopston valley clearing log jams, the exciting muddy drive through the woods to Whitford Point, taking the chainsaw course, working with inspiring and dedicated people, sunny tea-breaks and pic-nics beside the sea, a tidy beach following a litter pick, building the money-cairn at Rhossili, exploring the huge cave at Bacon Hole, the Newt survey at South Pilton Green, and being serenaded by birds and surrounded by wild flowers all spring. The only low points were the brambles, steep slopes, mud, and seeing the very sad sea-bird casualties from the winter storms.
 
I have been settling into my new job as a Grounds Warden at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Llanelli. The 25 mile cycle commute is getting easier, and takes in some lovely scenery everyday. The exercise also gives me an excuse to eat lots of food (including cake and biscuits of course). The wetlands site is beautiful and really blooming with spring flowers. It is lovey being surrounded by birds all day, with their distinctive and unusual calls. The work is varied and the people are friendly. You must come to visit and see the ducklings. I am enjoying contact with the wildlife, feeding the captive bird collection and helping with the ducklings. So far I have spotted a grass snake, slow worm, damsel flies and a Poplar Hawk Moth. However, I am still on the lookout for a Kingfisher, Otter, Bittern, Water vole or the very shy Woodsnapper with her brood of Twiglets!
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