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‘Five months have flown by…’ Skills for the Future update

Estate Intern Dom gives us an update on what he’s been up to as part of his Skills for the Future traineeship.

Well believe it or not I have been on my estate internship for five months already and it’s been busy, busy, busy!

Having settled into the livestock care routine I commenced on a number of the estates conservation projects.

The river trail has had a bit of a makeover with it being cleared and widened with a mind for safety and access for machinery. We are forever fighting a battle trying to keep the vegetation down as it grows as soon as we cut it. We are continuing to work on a maintenance programme with a view to complete wildlife interpretations and a tour guide, install way markers, add more picnic benches, refurbish the bird hides, create a den building area and build an otter holt.

Unfortunately the river seems a bit choked up at present; however, due to restrictions in place by governing bodies including sluice gate control we can’t do much about it. Fortunately it will clear naturally when the rains come in future months.

Wetland and ditch management

We are in the process of a ditch management programme under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme with Natural England.

The management of ditches is an important part of our ongoing wetland conservation programme. Ditches support certain target species of plants, birds, mammals and insects.

Over the years without proper management our ditches have rapidly become dominated by vegetation, scrub and large trees. Sensitive management is paramount to maintain and establish habitat for our target species.

Over the past few months myself, staff and much valued volunteers have started to clear the scrub and vegetation along the ditch-line running beside Hop Ground Meadow from road to river. This has been a labour intensive and time consuming but productive task. The work will continue with the felling and clearance of the larger trees which we hope to sell as firewood. Then contractors will bring in some large machinery to dig out the ditch. The pictures speak for themselves…





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