When the ‘friends’ group started working on the reserve in 2005 no maintenance or improvements had been carried out for around 20 years and large areas had become covered with self set seedlings, especially Alder, White Poplar and Hawthorne. Therefore, one of the first tasks was to remove some of these saplings in order to give some of the larger trees space to mature and to take out some of the non-native species that had been planted when the landfill site had been caped.

Over the years open areas or glades have been created and although the site is still largely wooded there are some good open areas which provide wildlife with the right conditions to thrive. The glade maintenance and sapline removal programme are both on-going projects.

One of the tasks which fills a great many of the Friends group sessions is cutting and raking the wildflower glades. We are unable to get large machinery onto the reserve, all grass cutting is done by hand, this is hard work but nothing compared to the effort required in raking.

In order to improve habitat for wildflowers all grass cutting needs to be removed,if not it would enrich the soil. Wildflower species require poor quality soil.

All this hard work keeps you warm in the winter and provides a great workout, no gym needed and it ensures that the wildflowers already on the reserve are spreading and populating more areas.