Every second Monday of the month over the winter period, Ladywalk has a maintenance day to keep the place in good nick. Jobs vary from tidying up the hides to some serious chainsaw work!
The first thing on the agenda was to further increase the security of the reserve by removing the last of the footbridges at the north end which gave access to the general public. The only way in now is through the coded gate. The drainage ditches have slowly been improved over the winter and having no bridges in the way will only make ongoing drainage maintenance easier.
Task 2 was to tackle the trees around New Bay to the right of Riverwalk Hide. Trees with lesser value have been felled such as the small poplars, whilst the rest have been layered. Layering involves part felling the tree so that it lies down whilst still being attached to the stump. In the spring the layered trees then send up dense, vertical growth. So what we are trying to achieve is a living fence surrounding New Bay because it’s far too open at the moment, anything feeding in the bay is flushed by passing birders. Any remaining gaps in the trees will be filled with willow fencing.
Another ongoing project is to remove large trees from the marsh areas. You’ll have noticed it particularly at the north end of the reserve. All big willows have been layered to keep them low and the willows around North Pool (to the left of B Hide) have all been felled to open it up. There’s still plenty of clearance to do but hopefully by creating a more open corridor of marshland, it will encourage water birds that migrate along the route of the Tame to actually stop and feed at Ladywalk rather than just fly over. We’ve already noticed that more birds are using North Pool than before, so that’s good news!
So there’s plenty to be done. The next work party will be on Monday 13th March and all are welcome. If you feel you would like to come and have a go and join the team at any point, just fill in the contact form on the blog and we’ll give you extra details. Some time soon as well, there will be a dedicated Volunteer page with all the relevant information.