Posted by: Claire Hannington | June 5, 2015

Gathering, tidying, burning. Farewell to Gordon and welcome to Tim.

Yet again we have had a great month on Gower with help from our dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. The weather has been mostly kind to us, with only a few wet days. Everyone has been remarking at the speed of plant growth this month, with the odd shower really benefiting the new tree leaves, wild flowers and blossoms.

A sea of 'Squill' near the lookout at Rhosilli Orchid at Cwm Ivy

We started the month with a few days work near Rhossili which included a couple of days gathering burnt gorse near the lookout. This was a mucky job, and we all ended up covered in sooty dirt. In fact, I wondered why Alan gave me a funny look when I got back to the office, until I looked in a mirror and realised I seemed to have both sooty eye shadow on, and a 5 o’clock shadow! Well it was the month of Eurovision! Our Tuesday and Thursday volunteers worked really hard in strong winds and miserable rain. They filled two large trailers with burnt gorse, and had fun squashing it down by jumping on it. We were also joined by a small but intrepid team from Kick Start who did a great job of clearing litter from the beach, in what was really foul weather.

Later in May we found ourselves at Cwm Ivy again working on the fence line by the road. I am pleased to announce, that with the hard work put in by the volunteers that week, we were able to complete that planned stretch of fencing. And many thanks to all who have worked on this tricky fence, as the old dry stone wall and steep banks it was built upon were quite challenging.

We also had a lovely day litter picking at Pwll Du, where we enjoyed a sunny tea break with some lovely welsh cakes made by Vyron’s wife. Here we found the beach with less litter than expected, and thankfully we were able to put a lot of it into recycling. Nearby, our volunteers had a day in Bishopston Valley covering coppiced stumps with protective brash, and checking the paths for low branches and undergrowth. We saw many garlic plants and sweet scented bluebells, which is a reassuring sign of spring.

bish vally may

Later in May we took a large group of Thursday volunteers up to Ryers Down. It was the first time many of us had visited this site. We were amazed by the wonderful views over the estuary and salt-marsh, and by the horrifying amount of Rhododendrons. Despite having pretty purple flowers, they are an invasive non-native species which inhibits the growth of native plants. As such, we were set to dispose of cut Rhododendron branches. We very carefully set two small controlled bonfires, and dragged many bundles of branches up very steep slopes to burn on them.

This is where the Saturday group spent their day with Claire cutting the Rhododendron. They couldn’t have a bonfire on that day as it was a bit too blustery.

At the end of the month we had a couple of days working at South Pilton Green Farm. Here the volunteers busied themselves with general tidying, strimming and repairing holes in fences. Along with this, our Thursday volunteers enjoyed a sunny (but windy) day on the beach at Nicholaston. Here they diligently collected rubbish from the strand line and among the dune grasses. This area is great for spotting reptiles, and Gordon saw a slow worm and Keith spotted a lizard. I was hoping we may have had time to look for more snakes, but the tides forced us to leave early that day.

Last but not least, we had the news that our FTV Gordon was moving to Llanerchaeron to volunteer with Claire’s team. We would all like to thank him very much for all his enthusiasm and hard work, and wish him all the best for the future. We also had the news that we were to gain a new volunteer Tim, who has come to us from Claire’s Ceredigion team. We would like to welcome Tim to our team and hope he settles in soon, and enjoys exploring Gower. We had a little send off to say thanks to Gordon, in which we enjoyed tea and many cakes.




  1. Brill, as always. Everyone looks happy in the pic. You look after the volunteers well and they work very hard.

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