Gorse Covert Conservation

Rhododendron - Pretty but not so nice.

Rhododendron - Pretty but not so nice.

The last two days have been hard work. I've been working alongside TCV volunteers carrying out conservation work at our Forest School site at Gorse Covert Mounds.

Day 1 involved lots of hacking back a large invasion of Rhododendron within a birch wood and stacking it in habitat piles. Rhododendron is a big problem for our native woodlands.

Day 2 involved felling and cutting up birch trees and stacking the brash into a ditch. Sounds a bit bizarre to be cutting trees down in the name of conservation so let me explain. These trees are growing on a rare mossland that is slowly turning to birch wood. Birchwood (as you can imagine) has lots of birch trees but not so much moss land which is great for biodiversity and absorbing carbon. In fact a lot of the mosses to the west of Manchester have been drained and converted to farmland. A notable exception is the wonderful Risley Moss adjacent to Gorse Covert. The idea is to prevent succession to woodland, reverting the area back to mossland. Slowing drainage will help accomplish this - hence the ditch filled with brash.

Also I've managed to accumulate a bin bag full of litter -mainly bottles and beer cans, from an isolated hidden microclimate which has a layer of moss on everything. Gorse Covert is well looked after by volunteers but they can't be everywhere and in fairness I do tend to go off the beaten track. This magical spot is where we'll be hosting fairy walks for our parent and preschoolers on the 11th Feb.

I also had the privilege of meeting the Friends of Gorse Covert  for their get together at the Poachers Pub. If you fancy becoming a friend of the mounds then take a look here

So I can say that I've had a conversation about conservation and helped the planet by cutting down trees.