Update From Cae Blaen Dyffryn

Colin Cheesman

Colin Cheesman

Head of Plantlife Cymru

12th December 2018

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Cae Blaen-dyffryn

Thanks to funding from Natural Resources Wales we’ve been able to carry out a few important jobs on our Carmarthenshire reserve Cae Blaen Dyffryn this year.

The first one was removing some of the scrub which has started encroaching on the meadow. The cattle that graze it are great at keeping the grass down but not the young trees or bushes which means that we get a lot of saplings of hawthorn, broom and gorse and in some areas these have become a bit too extensive.

At the bottom of the reserve by the road we have quite a few more mature hawthorns which are starting to shade out the grass and encouraging brambles.

The second issue we wanted to tackle is the ‘hedge’ of fairly mature beech trees that not only shade out the grassland with their canopy but also distribute their acidic leaves across the reserve often creating ‘bare patches’ where they accumulate.

So plans were drawn up to remove the blocks of gorse and broom on the slope, to thin out the hawthorns at the bottom and to give a much harder prune to the beech trees.

A local contractor new to the reserve has now completed the scrub clearance. The results look great and it is good to see the large clumps of broom gone. It will be interesting to see how these blank patches recolonise especially as broom is a nitrogen fixer which means there could be very local enrichment.

The tree surgeon has carried out some work on the beech trees, removing boughs and lifting the canopy.

I’m sure this work will have a beneficial effect on the reserve and it will be interesting to monitor the change over the next few years. A big thank you to both NRW and to Ruth Harding, the Conservation Officer, for funding and organising this work.

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