The task at Little Durnford in 2009 was dedicated to removing tree seedlings from the important hillside grassland. This ranks along with ragwort pulling as a severely boring job – although the views across the Avon valley made up for this. The seedlings were mainly ash and there were thousands of them! The reserve is owned by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and is actually grazed by Jacob’s sheep and also (I think) cattle but obviously they needed a hand!
These photos and the ones done a year earlier at the same reserve are my only record of the hundreds of conservation tasks I did from 1990. I wouldn’t have taken these except I was by then a proud owner of a mobile phone with a camera – now replaced with a smart phone which is even more flexible. I do wish smart phones and blogs were around earlier!
Little Durnford In The Avon Valley was the first nature reserve I worked at in the Autumn of 1990. It was a lovely day with glorious views and I have been a practical wildlife conservationist ever since!
Although it has some nice stands of trees including beech the reserve is managed for the very rich downland above the trees – sheep and cattle are used as part of the management scheme but our group often worked at the site during the Autumn/Winter cutting down tree seedlings (especially ash) and cutting back scrub as it encroached on the grassland.
At the illustrated task the group was clearing up and burning branches from felled trees. The trees were taken down by contractors some time earlier. The slope got steeper as the day went on!