Current Conservation projects
Each year the Ranger Service will try to tackle some of the larger areas of conservation concern on the nature reserves. What these projects are will frequently depend on us being able to attract help from partners and/or through the acquisition of grant funding, hence the below list represents our aspirations for the coming season.
Habberley Valley (November 2020)
Thinning of the woodland to increase light and encourage ground flora. Timber is mostly being left to add habitat for beetles and other invertebrates. This work has to be done without the use of large machinery to prevent compaction of the soil which would cause long term damage to the valleys sub-terranian wildlife.
Rifle Range (December 2020)
Removal of the tree species from within the hedgelines across the reserve. This maintains the gorse scrub and Thorn as good nesting habitat for the bird species such as Yellow Hammer and Stonechat. There will be some mowing of woody species that are encroaching onto the meadows.
Burlish Top (December 2020)
Once the cattle have completed their graze, there will be some mowing of woody species such as broom, Birch and Bramble that are encroaching onto the meadow areas. We also hope to create some bee banks this winter to support our populations of solitary bees and wasps while providing areas for wildflowers to set seed.
Burlish Meadows (December 2020 to February 2021)
Work will continue on the newest addition to Burlish Meadows this winter. This area was recently used as a compound for the works being carried out by Severn Trent and used as a landfill site until a few years ago. The site was cleaned up and made safe last winter, we are now about to implement works to improve the biodiversity and public access. December will see us plant 18000 trees, lay out the site to enable an annual meadow mow, improvement to the on-site pond to include additional bankside vegetation, scrapes to encourage solitary bees and wasps. In the new year we will be putting in surfaced trackways and hope to be constructing a car park.
Plans for the future
The first of the year's habitat mowing projects begin around late August early September with mowing of the more ‘flower rich’ meadows or areas that cannot be grazed. This year will see part of Burlish Meadows mown for the first time since coming into our management. Other sites targeted will be Blakemarsh local nature reserve, Britannia Gardens conservation area, Redstone Marsh meadow, and Vicarage Farm Heath local nature reserve.
For September, a new way-marked trail that links the new car park created on Kingsway to Burlish Meadows, Burlish Top nature reserve and further afield to the Rifle Range site of special scientific interest, which we are in the process of designing already.
The autumn months will see a variety of changes, upgrades and work across many of our nature reserves. Hurcott pool and woods site of specisl scientific interest will see some improvements to it’s infrastructure this September. The current car park was created around 20 years ago and is long overdue a facelift. We will see the car park resurfaced and re-fenced with new signage and an extension to the existing hardened pathway, allowing disabled users access down to the viewing area over the reedbed, with an improved seating area.
Late September, early October will see a large meadow creation project at Burlish Meadows. The area closest to Burlish Top shows great potential to become a high quality meadow. Due to many years of management as a golf course, some of the grasses are particularly dense and prevent the spread of wild flowers. We will target these areas in the autumn, removing the turf and topsoil, using this to create bee banks on site, and then seeding with a carefully chosen seed mix. Throughout October we will opening up the viewing platform by cutting back a group of Silver Birch trees on the bank below, as the view over the last few years of the Severn Valley Railway has been lost.
Over the last few years the view of the Severn Valley railway has been lost due to a group of Silver Birch trees on the bank below. These will be cut back this winter to re-open the view.
If you are interested in helping or finding out more please see our volunteering page.