Visitors to Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Langford Heathfield Nature Reserve this autumn will benefit from 150 metres of new boardwalk, which was laid during the summer of 2014 to improve access. Two 20-year-old sections of boardwalk in poor repair were demolished and cleared thanks to the Taunton Mid-Week Conservation Volunteers, with the final boards of the new, single boardwalk being put in place in September.
Woodland management work has also been undertaken, with approximately 6 hectares of mature oak and ash woodland being thinned over the last 3 years. Thinning of mature woodland is necessary as trees continue to grow throughout their lives, meaning that competition for space increases and weaker trees can die. Managing woodland in this way promotes conservation and brings long-term benefits in supporting a variety of wildlife, including silver washed fritillary butterflies and dormice. In the short-term, thinning results in ruts and areas of mud, however, so restoration work was carried out at Langford Heathfield to level the ground.
Enjoy the autumn colour
Reserve manager, David Northcote Wright, said: “With a variety of native trees, such as oak, ash and spindle, Langford Heathfield is a lovely reserve to visit and enjoy the autumn colour, and the new boardwalk has improved access.”
Langford Heathfield, near Langford Budville, Wellington, is the Trust’s second largest reserve at 226 acres, and is a haven for wildlife with its varied landscape of ancient woodland, heathland and ponds. As most of the reserve is common land and very damp, it has never been used for intensive agriculture, which has allowed many wildlife species to flourish as well as the Shetland ponies who keep the scrub and coarse grasses under control.
The reserve is open to the public all year round, but is sure to be a riot of colour this autumn with its abundance of trees. Visitors can park in the lay-bys on Wiveliscombe Road or Poleshill Lane, near the information boards.