Monday, 30 January 2012

Tasting Broadway

Sorry!  This is staff hi-jacking the blog again ... but this time it's about volunteers and volunteering!
Last Wednesday, 25th Jan, a group of 16 volunteers headed to Broadway Gravel Pit, a small 1.6 hectare wetland reserve just north west of Broadway village. The reserve is a seasonally flooded gravel pit featuring open woodland, scrub and carr woodland which has been colonised by plenty of birds, plants and animals since being used for gravel extraction. It's owned by Wychavon District Council but managed by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.   
Mark Turner, the volunteer reserve manager for the site, has been involved in the reserve for over 23 years.  With his passion for the site and the need for more management, it was decided that we would run a volunteer taster day to raise awareness of the reserve and also to maybe start a regular work party.  The taster day gave participants the chance to get involved with some hands-on practical conservation. 
There are five species of willow on the reserve: white, grey, crack, goat and osier.  These help support a wide range of wildlife - over 150 species of moth are known to feed on the foliage, for example.  However, some of the large willows take up large amounts of water.  Those of you who know the site will have noticed how dry the gravel pits have been recently.  This is due to a combination of factors, such as the general lowering of the water table and the lack of rain, but it is hoped that reducing the amount of large willows will retain water on site. So we felled some of the large willows but stacked the large pieces of timber to form a valuable dead wood habitat.

We also constructed a woven willow screen adjacent to the hide to stop disturbance to the birds by passing visitors.  The willow weaving team did a beautiful job, as you can see from this picture.

We also planted some hawthorn and blackthorn saplings in the new hedgerow by the car park so there will be plenty of berries for birds to feed on throughout the winter for many years to come.       

 The weather held up for us, and we all have a rewarding and fun day.  A big thank you to all the attended and hopefully we will see you all soon.

Without our 450 Worcestershire Wildlife Trust volunteers across the county we couldn’t do the range of work we do.  From practical conservation to education volunteering, volunteers are involved with all aspects of our work.  It’s not just us that benefit, there can be enormous benefits for the volunteers too. It’s a chance to meet new people and learn new skills as well providing the opportunity to keep fit in the great outdoors.  If you’re interested in volunteering, whether at Broadway Gravel Pit or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Conservation Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator

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