Somerset Wildlife Trust

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November: Scrub Clearing, Osprey Volunteers and Brownsea Island

 12th Dec 2018

Hello everyone and thanks again for coming back to check up on my November antics with Somerset Wildlife Trust! Once again it was another amazing month at work, it’s super tricky to write down everything we do in a month, so here are some highlights…


Work Highlights

The month started off with some hawthorn scrub clearing at Draycott Sleights with the West Mendip volunteer group. Draycott is a beautiful mosaic of limestone grassland, left to its own devises the hawthorn would takeover so periodically we push it back. We do this for multiple reasons, the main one being that it allows sunlight to reach the ground which will encourage the grasses to advance and increases ground flora diversity. Widening the areas of open space will also hopefully let the cattle through so they can graze more of the grassland spaces.

draycott before draycott after

Left: Picture of Draycott Sleights before we started to clear the scrub that had encroached onto the grassed areas.

Right: This is a picture of the same area after we cleared and burnt the scrub. What a difference! (It helped that the sun came out at the end of the day…) 

The rest of month was much the same, there was plenty of scrub clearing happening, mostly hawthorn, which of course means multiple scratches all over my arms! However, I think it is safe to say that I have definitely mastered the art of starting fires in the rain…


A cracking fire burning away…


I also had the privilege of leading the Osprey Outdoors volunteer work party. They are a bunch of very interesting and lovely people who did an amazing job clearing the cobbles in front of the farm building at Chancellors Farm. The cobbles had become buried by mud and grass over the years as Chancellors is a working farm so naturally it can get messy! It was a real joy to see the cobbles as they are a lovely addition to the buildings and add to the character of the place.

chancellors before chancellors after

Left: The farm buildings and cobbles covered in grass…

Right: A large portion of the cobbles uncovered. They are looking very muddy here, but a few good rain showers cleaned
them up. The Osprey volunteers have since come back and cleared the cobbles that run down the drive pictured in the before shot.


Wildlife Highlights

There is not a whole lot of wildlife to see on the Mendips at this time of year so rather than write about that I thought I’d write about something much more interesting… the amazing wildlife at Brownsea Island. The absolutely wonderful Claire Caterpillar over at Dorset Wildlife Trust was kind enough to invite the trainees to a little weekend trip to Brownsea Island where she works. Where to start about Brownsea, what an amazing place! We did a little bit of rhododendron pulling on Saturday morning followed by a nice long walk around the island. I am very happy to say that we say plenty of red squirrels, they are just adorable… ☺


Red squirrel (Image credit: Millie Millipede)

As well as squirrels we spent some time in the bird hide looking over the lagoon. Too many beautiful birds to mention, I did see my first ever avocet though, which was just lovely!



Avocet on the lagoon. (Image credit: Millie Millipede)


That’s all for now Folks! Thanks again for reading and I look forward to penning Decembers highlights for you next month. Please do check back then.

It probably won’t be up until the new year, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a very wild Christmas and an even wilder new year.

Lots of love, Steve. X