Posted by: KimBoland | August 6, 2015

July update from Ranger Emma

What a lovely July

Well this month has truly flown past at epic speed. We have been busy on Gower with the very successful Big Beach Picnic, and lots of other jobs including more otter surveys, litter picks, ragwort pulling and cutting back pathways.

Recording Otter spraite. Picture by Vyron.

Recording otter spraite. Photo by Vyron Evans

Our Thursday group started the month visiting the ruggedly beautiful and peaceful Lucas Bay. Here we gained access to the beach in the landrover, down a very rocky path to the field systems below. It was the first trip to this beach for our volunteers Keith and Chris, and together with myself and Dave Jeff, we all covered several miles that day collecting litter.

We had a surprise when we found a message in a bottle washed up on the shore. When we opened it up to read the note inside, we found that it was not from a far away exotic land. It was sent by a 4yr old called Sebbie, who cast it out to sea at Port Eynon only a few weeks before!

Message in a bottle, found at Slade

Message in a bottle, found at Slade

We were blessed with a beautifully sunny end to the day, and we are set to return and gather the remaining items from the beach the first week of August.

The following week we worked with brushcutters and hand tools to widen paths and improve access to Foxhole Bay. On Thursday we had a large team which was split into two. The first team worked together clearing the paths and steps up to Notthill (which were almost impassable due to bracken and brambles). This is a great place to visit if you are in the area. I can recommend the short walk up onto the hill, which reveals breath-taking views of my favourite Three Cliffs bay, with a bench and a lovely picnicking spot as well.

Our second team worked hard tackling the gorse and bramble which was growing over the track leading to the bay. This has revealed a wider and safer path to drive the landrover and trailer down, when litter picking the bay below.

I had a couple of days of in the middle of July so Tim our full time volunteer lead the teams. On Tuesday they worked to complete the path clearance down to Foxhole Bay, and start the dreaded ragwort pulling on Pennard Cliffs. On Wednesday, the team worked at Rhossili near the fairway. Here they stone chipped the track leading to the Coast Watch lookout, and moved the spare stone piles from the repaired dry stone wall nearby. On Thursday Kathryn lead our volunteers at Cwm Ivy, they cut back the overgrown paths in the woods and tidied up round Burrows Cottage and the nearby picnic benches.

The following week we enjoyed a lovely sunny day litter picking at Pwll Du, where thankfully we found very little litter. The local residents do a great job here to collect litter themselves, and leave it in the storage crate for us to collect. The following day was slightly more challenging, as we planned to work at Rhossili on the Warrens cutting bracken and pulling ragwort. We worked in the fields at the far end of the Warren near Llangenith.

A large dragonfly we saw on the Warrens

A large dragonfly we saw on the Warrens

It was a great relief to see that there was hardly any ragwort growing for us to pull up, this is a result of all the hard work put in over the last few years by the rangers and volunteers. Most of the team worked very hard to strim the bracken round the edges of the fields, to stop it taking over the meadows. We plan to take a bracken bruiser in to finish off the job on the level field centres. The rest of the team waded through the long grass in search of ragwort and thistle plants to pull up. We made a great start with the bracken, ragwort and thistle, but will definitely need a few more work days to complete it. Hopefully next time, we will not be fighting off the swarms of horseflies we battled with this time.

The last week of July started at Llangenith, by meeting up with Bob Smith (a long-term volunteer at Glan Faenol) on his Trident Trek round the whole of the coast path of Wales. Here our volunteers accompanied him on his walk down the beach, by conducting a litter pick. We found half a trailer full of assorted waste, thankfully about a third of it could go into plastic/glass/can recycling.

Litter picking with Bob our Trident Trecker

Litter picking with Bob our Trident Treker

We wished Bob the best of luck on the rest of his trek, as he nears the end of his 2 month long walk!

Bob leaving Gower to continue his trek

Bob leaving Gower to continue his treck

Want to know more about Bob’s Trident Trek? Click here

The following day I was off, doing a quad bike training course at Llanerchaeron. It was great fun learning how to safely ride a quad, and I look forward to using ours to help with work round Gower. We ended the week with a return visit to Pennard on Thursday to gather more ragwort from the East Cliff and carpark area. The volunteers worked really hard to gather a full trailer load, but there is still more out there to keep us going.

The huge pile of ragwort we collected from Pennard Cliffs

The huge pile of ragwort we collected from Pennard Cliffs

I would like to pass on my thanks to all the volunteers who have worked so hard this month to help battle with prickly gorse, pesky horse flies, stubborn ragwort and thistle, and all the beach litter. Here’s looking forward to a fabulous August of settled sunny days.

So, that’s what Emma and her team of volunteers have been up to in July. If you’d like to read Claire’s July update, click here



  1. Why are you so obsessed with pulling ragwort?

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