Always more to be done

We manage a lot of our woodlands with assistance from grant schemes. As a charity this helps fund work that wouldn’t pay for itself and helps us manage our woodlands for the best of flora, fauna and sustainability.
You have probably seen a lot on these pages and our facebook page about our work at Pont-ar-Daf – helped by the Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW) scheme. We are about halfway through this management plan now and have the bulk of the major work done.

New plan up on the office wall to remind us what we have to do.

New plan up on the office wall to remind us what we have to do.

So to make sure we get no rest, we have just started work at Coed-y-Bwnydd with help from the Glastir Woodland scheme.
Coed-y-Bwnydd sits on a hill top above Clytha Estate, to the south-east. Possibly best known for its display of bluebells in Spring under a high canopy of trees, it is also an ancient hill fort with its large earth ramparts still visible and with a steep bank of trees below it with evidence of charcoal burning in more recent times.

Are we felling all the trees? Will we lose the bluebells? Are we stoning big tracks through the middle? NO. The aims are to preserve the sites features and character. On the top we will be working to push back the gradual creep of bramble and bracken on the ramparts and over the hill fort. This will help reveal the ramparts to show the sites previous life as a hill fort, as well as allowing more light to the woodland floor for a greater variety of plants to come through and support a wider selection of life, not to mention that it will make it a lot easier for you to get around.

Don't worry, it's only harmful if you are bracken.  Crushing it makes spraying easier and improves the chances of reducing it.

Don’t worry, it’s only harmful if you are bracken. Crushing it makes spraying easier and improves the chances of reducing it.

Already we have started by crushing and spraying bracken to hinder its re-growth on the ramparts near the north entrance.

To my right, waiting to be done...

To my right, waiting to be done…

As well as cutting the growth on the top, we have also been using a smaller tractor and strimmers to cut back where we can on the ramparts. Where it gets steeper, we will probably have to do this with volunteer groups as the many hands will make light work.

To my left, just been done.

To my left, just been done.

Down on the wooded bank we will be thinning the woodland edge to allow more light into the woodland and create a varied age structure that will benefit the wildlife on this steep undisturbed bank. At the same time we will be replacing the fence with the neighbouring farm to help keep the livestock where it should be after a few incidences of cows wandering the woods and hill-fort – apparently its not the easiest place to chase them out of.

So there we are, Coed-y-Bwnydd will be getting a little bit of care over the next few years to reveal its features. All this work will improve access around the site, so come visit and explore. We’re hoping for more flowers, insects and butterflies and better views across the site.

Tim – Woodland Ranger

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