Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Here, there and everywhere!

By Paul Waterhouse, Assistant Field Officer Breckland

As some of you will be aware, the NWT reserve staff are split into a number of different teams spread across the county each with their own patch. Although from time to time we do help each other out, especially when extra hands are needed for livestock management, by and large we tend to stick to our own sites. 

Here in the Brecks we cover a large area and are responsible for the management of eight nature reserves including Weeting Heath, Thompson Common, New Buckenham Common and East Wretham Heath. The Brecks team is based at East Wretham Heath where we have a small office and work yard to store tools and machinery. It is not unusual for us to visit a number of different sites on the same day, whether it is to check livestock, fix fences or to clear fallen trees. This is the reason you may see our red vehicles passing you on the roads, dotting from place to place.

Over the past few months we have been very busy carrying out work on a number of different sites. We are currently in the middle of replacing around 1.5 Kilometres of stock fencing at Weeting Heath and Thetford Heath as well as repairing considerably more than that across most of our sites. 

We have installed a number of new boardwalks at Swangey Fen, which have been recycled from sections replaced at Cley Marshes. This will allow our voluntary warden to move machinery around the site more easily in some of the wettest parts of the reserve. 

At East Wretham Heath we have been carrying on with the heathland restoration and have felled a number of birch trees to further open up the area near Ringmere. 

There has also been time to carry out scrub management at Cranberry Rough a site which I always enjoy working on. I don’t often get to spend much time there as most of the management of the site is carried out by the resident Highland cattle, which you may catch a glimpse of as you walk the Great Eastern Pingo Trail.

As well as all this we obviously have to fit in our day to day tasks such as livestock checking and management, maintenance of tools and machinery and yes, the dreaded paper work.

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