January - new beginnings

Scrub clearance at Penmaen Burrows, Gower

This month has seen us fighting mud, wind and rain in between the sunny days and making great progress with our hedge planting mission.

Tales of new beginnings with Claire Hannington, Area Ranger

We started the month at South Pilton Green Farm finishing off the fencing at the far end of the farm. This was in preparation for the Saturday group who spent a very wet and muddy day planting up the bank with over 1000 blackthorn trees. I’d already postponed the Saturday group the week before due to a severe weather forecast but in the end we had to go for it whatever the weather. 

Most of the rest of the month has been spent working on the Vile, Rhossili, where we are restoring the historic boundaries and creating new habitats with hay meadows and arable crops which are great for all kinds of flora and fauna. 

So to begin we had a delivery of over 7,000 trees – a mix of blackthorn, hawthorn, grey willow and crab apple. The volunteers have been diligently planting these alongside the newly created banks and filling in the gaps of existing hedgerows.

To protect the new trees we have been fencing them off from wandering sheep and putting in new gates to allow access between the fields. In some of the potential hay meadows we have been clearing stones that would damage our machinery when it comes to cutting and baling the hay. We have utilised the stones to provide habitats for reptiles and insects, by piling them up along the edges of the banks. 

This really is an exciting project to be involved with and the volunteers can begin to see the efforts of all their hard work. We will be continuing with this for the foreseeable future so more next month. 

Alongside all the work in the Vile, we have delivered logs to holiday cottages, replaced two posts on the cleft oak fence outside the shop at Rhossili, and done some dry stone wall repairs. 

Volunteers from WCADA have been out this month, firstly helping with the tree planting in the Vile and also clearing scrub at Penmaen. 

It’s been a busy start to the year but with our ever growing force of volunteers we look forward to another successful year on Gower.