Many Hands Make for Light Winter Work

Posted on 25 April 2024

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Client: SWT Mendip Reserves Team

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Site: Across SWT's Mendip Nature Reserves

An enormous amount of work needs to happen just to maintain the current condition of our nature reserves. Activities like scrub bashing and coppicing are not glamorous — but they are fundamental in terms of ensuring that we maintain the special ecosystems that exist within some really quite special habitats in this landscape. They are time and labour intensive and have to be delivered within a certain timeframe, so the additional pressure on the teams with regards to urgent and extensive works due to Ash dieback created a real problem. Having SWTC’s support and expertise was absolutely vital for us to complete work in time.

Aims and Objectives

The presence of Ash dieback across the county has added enormous pressure on land and reserve managers across the county and beyond. The Mendip landscape sadly has suffered extensively in terms of affected trees, and for Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve managers, the extra workload meant that the normal programme of vital winter work on its Mendip reserves was at risk of being completed. SWTC was a natural choice to support the team to ensure that all winter workloads across their Mendip sites were delivered successfully.

Approach and Outcomes

Through the project two members of the First Ecology team were able to undertake training in the use of chainsaws and subsequently assist with felling trees. In addition, First Ecology were able to help with other important tasks such as bramble and scrub clearance from species rich grasslands and ancient rakes, hedge laying and coppicing.

Through the project, First Ecology were able to help the Reserves Team with their workload and have in turn received an incredible amount of on-the-ground experience and upskilling in land management practices.

Overall, the project has been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate efforts between both First Ecology and SWT to manage our wonderful reserves.

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