Posted by: Claire Hannington | September 5, 2016

Hay time August

Make hay while the sun shines….and luckily we did…. with a bit of help from our volunteers and neighbours – more about that in a moment.

It’s positively autumnal today and we are shrouded in fog. The whole of August was a bit patchy weather wise with some amazing days followed by some miserable ones. Our volunteers worked doubly hard doing all the usual conservation work plus facilitating the programme of summer activities at Rhossili.

We started the month on the cliffs clearing bracken and gorse from Old Castle Camp as well as repairing sections of the dry stone wall along the track. As I was leading a guided Walk to the Worm we took the opportunity to undertake a litterpick out there as well.

We spent a day at Three Cliffs litterpicking and removing the last section of boardwalk that was no longer required.

The Saturday group continued the bracken clearing with a day on the Bulwark – an iron age hillfort above Llanmadoc. Hand tools and scythes were used to clear the bracken with a few breaks to admire the view.

Sat group bracken

We had a group out from Barclays bank who helped litterpick Rhossili beach and some people from the Dept of Transport came out on a team building day and helped clear the bracken on Cwm Ivy Tor.

DOT Volunteering - Cwm Ivy Tor 160811

We spent a few days in the Vile clearing ragwort and finished clearing bracken on the Warren. We also spent a day on Rhossili Down where unfortunately we found a patch of Himalayan Balsam – an alien invasive species that spreads quickly by seed and is usually found along water courses. It was a bit of a damage limitation exercise as some of it had already gone to seed but now we know it is there we can get to it earlier next year and prevent it from spreading further.

I had two more groups come out to help – one a family reunion who along with the kids spent a few hours clearing bracken from Cwm Ivy Tor and another group who have been litterpicking Whiteford and various other beaches in association with the Marine Conservation Society.

And whilst all that was going on we also had the hay!

This year with the assistance of funding from the Gower Landscape Partnership we purchased a mower, haybob and baler, so we could cut and bale our own sites. We started with Pilton Green outside our offices. It was a steep learning curve never having done anything like it before, but eventually and weather permitting we managed to cut and bale the hay.

I got a bit more practice in at Rhossili where we cut and baled one of the fields in the Vile, just getting it finished before the rain came. Fair play to all the volunteers who helped out raking and stacking – hopefully next year it will be easier.

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