Much to do in March

Beach cleaning at Rhossili on a cold winter’s day, Gower

March was spent wrapped up warm as the ‘beast from the east’ took hold, however, it didn’t hold back our volunteers they’ve been beach cleaning, clearing scrub, putting gates in and fencing.

Much to do in March with Claire Hannington, Area Ranger

March began with our Great British Spring Clean as part of Keep Wales Tidy’s campaign. This coincided with our regular Saturday group but also the ‘beast from the east’. There were a dozen volunteers, wrapped up warm, braving the freezing temperatures to help clear 25 bags of litter from a strangely snow and sand covered Rhossili beach. 

With the cold weather we spent a day at Cwm Ivy splitting logs and reloading the holiday cottage log stores. Whilst some of the volunteers also spent time undertaking more scrub clearance in the new ride that we’re creating in the plantations. 

Then, it was back to the Vile in Rhossili to carry on with the mammoth task of putting gates in and fencing. We set ourselves a bit of a target of opening some new footpaths through the Vile to allow people to undertake circular routes from the car park and see our restoration in action. So it was a ‘quick March’ to get them opened up in time. We spent the next three weeks putting in gates, fencing, dry stone walling, putting in waymarkers and putting name plaques on some of the gates using the original field names. 

Keeping traditional field names alive
Keeping traditional field names alive on the Vile, Rhossili, Gower
Keeping traditional field names alive

On the 22 March we held our grand opening with a guided walk around the new footpaths, which was very well attended by volunteers, visitors and locals alike. 

Whilst undertaking all this work on the Vile we had a couple of students from Sparsholt College, Erin and Annie who helped us out for a fortnight undertaking all sorts of practical tasks. On one particular day, keen birder Annie spotted a Black Redstart which Erin managed to photograph. Sometimes you just have to down tools and have a look.

WCADA joined us again this month and spent one session clearing the ride at Cwm Ivy, and another clearing gorse from Old Castle Camp. They’ve become a really established group and are really cracking on with lots of different jobs, accumulating nearly 200 hours volunteering with us. 

In between all the gates and fencing we held our annual Start of Season meeting for staff and volunteers. It’s a chance for everyone to get together and look over the highlights of last year, and our plans for this year. We had updates on Cwm Ivy, the Vile, the ‘Year of the Sea’, survey work, volunteering and COASToadians, and also a rather nice lunch!

Our second monthly litter pick, as part of the Big Beach Clean Challenge, we worked our way around the coast to Llangennith where we had a wonderful turnout, 24 volunteers picking up 42 bags of rubbish. 

After all the work on the Vile we took a week out at the end of the month and the Tuesday group finished off the ride at Cwm Ivy. On the Wednesday we picked up some rubbish bags left by our COASTodian in Nicholaston Beach, and also dragged three very large and heavy fishing nets from Three Cliffs Bay. Finishing off with the Thursday group continuing gorse clearance at Fall Bay, something that had been put on hold whilst other work took precedence. 

Another busy month, undertaking all sorts of tasks, we’ll see if April brings us sunshine or showers!