It’s hard for us to believe but we’ve now been with DWT for six months. It’s been a busy time that has seen us losing our wellies in mires, lost on foggy moors, and waist deep in muddy ditches which pong. We have, however, enjoyed working on the reserves and experiencing the wide variety of habitats that DWT looks after. To help preserve these habitats we’ve carried out lots of scrub clearance and selective felling with chainsaws, mostly birch, willow and gorse. As well as felling trees we’ve also planted trees, sounds like a contradiction but it’s what and where that counts! The work has also involved mending fencing for stock control, boardwalk repairs so our visitors can continue to enjoy the reserves with relative ease, coppicing, swaling (very exciting, and can turn a freezing wintry day into a blaze of heat) and hedge laying. Some of our more entertaining moments have been trying to master the bowline knot for use when winching trees (turns out this is far more complicated than just a rabbit, a hole, and a tree) and we’re experts at getting our ‘off road’ landrovers bogged down!
As well as learning from practical tasks we’ve also ‘bandaged each other up’ in first aid training, completed two chainsaw courses and next month we’ll attend a brushcutter course.
The winter work is coming to an end now and we’ll soon start carrying out more wildlife surveys. We’ve already seen the first butterflies (comma, tortoiseshell and brimstone) and reptiles like common lizards, and an adder which was happy to pose for a picture.