Posted by: Claire Hannington | May 14, 2015

A very sunny April

Hi. My April on Gower started with the Saturday group litterpicking Rhossili Beach. It was a great day and we cleared over a mile long section of beach. We have been helped a lot lately as well by Jo and Peter Scott who have been busy clearing the plastic as and when they can. Its all helping to keep the beach looking good for summer.

But its Emma who has been the busy bee with our regular volunteers so i shall hand over to her…

This has been a very busy month, with a great variety of work and locations. We started April with a great day out on Worms Head. Here we dragged bundles of cut gorse down a steep slope to burn at the back of the beach. Unfortunately we ran out of time to burn all the gorse, as we had to return to the mainland due to the tides. We met several families who were on their first visit to the worm, and we saw some of the first Swallows of the season. Other work in the Rhossili area has included three more trips to help dismantle the old drystone walls ready for their repair.

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Up on north Gower we have had work parties helping with the on-going fence repairs at Cwm Ivy, putting the finishing touches to the new bird hide.

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We also have been fitting survey marker posts in the marsh, and doing a litter pick of Whiteford sands. We saw a well camouflaged little Lapwing nest near the dunes, lots of Sky Larks and a flock of sheep and lambs grazing the rough dune grasses.

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We filled half a trailer with the rubbish from Whiteford, which was mostly rope and fishing nets. Its a great start, but with such a big beach we will definitely need to go back a few more times to collect more litter.

We have also worked on a very sunny Three cliffs bay doing a litter pick this month. Thankfully it was not too bad on this first visit. A couple of weeks later our Wednesday group enjoyed another sunny day working in the Tor Bay area. Here we cleared weeds and vegetation from the lime Kiln, and got a bit scratched attacking the gorse bushes in front of the new bench. We successfully created a really nice clear view of the bay, and also repaired the stone pitching under the old bench a short distance away.

Back closer to home we have been busy working on the farm at South Pilton Green. Here our Tuesday group got to grips with stripping out a tangle of old fencing and rubbish from a hedgeline. We found lots of random objects including tires, plastic sheeting and lots of vintage beer bottles! Our Thursday group also took part in our annual spring pond survey. Here we donned waders and wellies to carefully net samples of insects and animals from two ponds. One pond is next to the car park, and the other is a newer pond across the road on the Green. We were delighted to find several Palmate Newts, Whirligig Beetles, Damselfly and Dragonfly larvae, frog spawn, Diving Beetles and Pond Skaters. All of these species indicate healthy pond habitats.

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We also had an away day working with Claire and her team in Ceredigion. We enjoyed a lovely day helping to clear and tidy lots of cut timber and brash in Henllan Woods. This is an idyllic spot, a steep sheltered wooded valley, with a cascading stream running through it. We worked hard, and by the end of the day the entrance to the woods looks a lot tidier, and we had a really full trailer of brash to take away. It is a special wood which will benefit from more TLC. It has lots of varied wildlife, we saw many different butterflies, a group of Gold Crests and leaping trout in the stream.

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Our  month also ended working in the woods, this time it was closer to home in Bishopston Valley. Our small but dedicated team worked on steep slopes, to cover coppice stumps with bundles of brash. We are hoping this will protect the young tender shoots from grazing as regrowth starts. The woods were looking great, with carpets of wild garlic flowers and blue bells just starting.

Many thanks again to all the volunteers for all their hard work this month, lets just hope May will be as sunny and warm. Fingers crossed.

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