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Island Adventure

Thursday, March 5th 2020

One of the remaining items on the list of habitat management jobs for this winter was to coppice some of the Willow on an island in the Scrapes area. As can be seen in the 'before' photo, the Willow was all one height. Cutting it down to ground level encourages the root system to develop and causes the root stock to thicken, creating new growth from the base. It was decided to cut some of the stems this year and some next year in order to vary the height and not only to look better but to benefit the most wildlife species too.  Another advantage of removing some stools is that more sunlight can reach the ground allowing the wildflowers to flourish.

The first challenge of the day was to get onto the island! An improvised bridge was soon made!

The 'after' picture shows what a positive difference the team have made. The old Sand Martin colony is now once again visible from the main red route. This is no longer used by the birds as there are too many trees in front of it however, plans to build a new one by Spigot Mere where there is much more open water are currently being debated.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the temperature rose during the afternoon. Young people from Northdale helped out by filling bird feeders and looking out for signs of frogs stirring from hibernation.

Volunteers have been working hard all week; continuing to clear up after the storm damage, maintaining net rides, carrying out vital repairs to buildings and fences, organising displays, filling in paperwork and feeding the Exmoor ponies. All of this effort and support is what makes Foxglove the fantastic place that it is for both visitors and wildlife and it is greatly appreciated.

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