Winter is the best time of year to get stuck in!

We’re looking for new volunteers! Sarah Brooks, Conservation Management Officer, explains why:

It’s that time of year again, when so much of our wildlife starts to go into dormancy for the winter months. Autumn shows a wealth of beautiful colours when the trees drop their leaves and the late flowers show their final few blooms. Once autumn has finished, we generally think of winter as a time that is desolate to nature, but this is the time when our local wildlife can receive great benefits!

Volunteers hedge laying © Chris Redstall (WWT) 2014
Volunteers hedge laying © Chris Redstall (WWT) 2014

Winter is the best time of year to carry out practical conservation work in our woodlands, hedgerows and scrub habitats. Traditional management techniques such as coppicing and hedge laying are best done when the plants are dormant and animals are safe in hibernation. Coppicing is a process of cutting woody vegetation to ground level and allowing it to regenerate. When this is done on a rotation cycle, it creates a dynamic and diverse woodland structure which is hugely beneficial to all sorts of species of birds, mammals and invertebrates. Hedge laying is the process of manipulating hedgerows so that the upright stems are reduced and wood is cut away on one side. The remaining stems are laid down towards the horizontal along the full length of the hedge. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, providing livestock and weather protection, hedge laying encourages new growth in the spring and summer to improve overall strength and structure for biodiversity.

Coppicing at Wappenbury Wood © Chris Redstall (WWT) 2014
Coppicing at Wappenbury Wood © Chris Redstall (WWT) 2014

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are very much dependent on the help of volunteer work parties in order to carry out this vital habitat management on our nature reserves. We have volunteer work parties in the following locations that really need your help:

  • Warwick
  • Leamington Spa
  • Bishop’s Tachbrook
  • Barford
  • Kenilworth
  • Earlswood
  • Ufton
  • Snitterfield
  • Rugby
  • Alcester
  • Temple Balsall

If you would like to join one of our work parties, or start up your own, please contact Amanda Evans, our Volunteer Manager, for more details.

So if you want to learn habitat management techniques such as coppicing, hedge laying, planting, scrub clearance, pollarding, dead-hedging and pond management then please get in touch, your help is vital to the survival of our local habitats.

Sarah

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