The first volunteer task day of the summer was at Balnaguard Glen, where we spent the day bracken bashing. Bracken can be very invasive, so controlling it is important to improve plant species diversity and to encourage the regeneration of juniper on the reserve. We used hand scythes to cut the bracken stems and although it was hard work it was very satisfying. I was amazed at the size of the area that we managed to clear (although there is still plenty more bracken for next time!).
After lunch- and biscuits provided by the Ranger- we were refreshed and ready to enjoy a walk around the reserve. Following a steep climb, we were rewarded by spectacular views from the top of the hill. As well as a buzzard soaring above us, the meadow was full of ringlet butterflies.
It was interesting to see the difference in the diversity of vegetation inside a fenced exclosure. Where deer grazing has been prevented, heathland plants including heather, bilberry, and juniper are thriving.
Task days are a great opportunity to spend time outdoors and enjoy wildlife on the reserves while contributing to their management. It’s also a great way to keep active and meet like-minded people.
Our next work party is on Wednesday 26th July at Keltneyburn Meadow where we will be controlling bracken and thistles which are encroaching the meadow. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rachael on 07920589069 to book a place.
– Kate Blomfield, Assistant Ranger