Our great big gates project
Regular visitors might've spotted we've gradually been replacing stiles with far more user-friendly kissing gates. We've now completed the mammoth task of replacing all 22 stiles on the Golden Cap stretch of the South West Coast Path with new oak gates. The project, which was mostly funded by Natural England, will improve access for the thousands of walkers who enjoy this six-mile stretch of the coast path. We're grateful to the volunteers who helped our rangers to build and install the new kissing gates.
The steep steps to St Gabriel's Beach are an important access point to the coast between Golden Cap and Charmouth. They were damaged beyond repair in the winter storms of 2011 and had to be closed.
In 2014 we were finally able to replace them. Nick, one of the rangers involved in the big task this time round, explains how the team did it.
A group of rangers and volunteers have restored the old cider press at Shedbush. The current orchard had a bumper crop of old cider apples in 2013 and the team were keen to put them to good use. We think it's the first time the Shedbush press has been used in 50 years. It was thirsty work but their efforts have proved fruitful with an estimated 600 pints of cider.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Golden Cap Association (West Dorset), we've recently given the small shop at Stonebarrow a much needed facelift. There are new purpose-built shelves and cupboards for displaying stock and a magnificent counter top handcrafted by our very talented volunteer Richard from a piece of oak from the Golden Cap Estate.
We use hedgelaying as a wildlife-friendly form of hedgerow management on the estate. Not so long ago this traditional method of maintaining field boundaries was a dying art, but it's enjoying a comeback. It's a rewarding task and three times a year we receive help from working holiday groups who come to learn a rural skill in spectacular surroundings.
Our volunteer ecologist John Newbould has been surveying many of the hedgerows and trees on the estate. Surveys have indicated that our hedges harbour some large and potentially ancient trees that need mapping.
John and teams of volunteers aim to map as many veteran trees as possible. They'll also be using a special GPS unit to measure hedges identified as important.
We're proud to work with a number of organisations to enhance, promote and care for our coast and countryside: Dorset AONB, South West Coast Path, Natural England and Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Working together to achieve shared objectives allows us to be more efficient with our resources and achieve far more. A great example of this is the current Litter Free Coast and Sea project.