GWT making great in-roads for rare wildlife at nature reserve

Wednesday 25th July 2018

Croes Robert Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Lowri WatkinsCroes Robert Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Lowri Watkins

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) has created around 600m of access tracks at the Croes Robert Nature Reserve near Trellech, thanks to a generous grant of £18,206 from Viridor Credits Environmental Company through the Landfill Communities Fund.

At the nature reserve, GWT carries out traditional management including rotational felling of areas of trees, known as coppicing. Without this important woodland management, species such as Dormice would simply move out as the food and the shelter they need would disappear.
Coppicing stimulates young tree, shrub and plant regrowth, which in turn attracts a large number of insects which become food for a variety of small mammals and birds further up the food chain. This type of important reserve management creates a kind of woodland food court for all types of passing wildlife. 

Doug Lloyd, GWT’s Woodlands Officer said: “Creating these in-roads may not seem like an obvious benefit to a tranquil, woodland nature reserve but without these tracks we cannot get machinery and equipment into the dark, cool woodland to manage it for its wild inhabitants.
“Many European protected species such as Dormice, bats, rare moths, colourful orchids and an abundance of woodland birds make their home at our Croes Robert Nature Reserve.
GWT’s Doug added: “After coppicing, the trees grow very quickly, creating dense shrubby growth ideal for small mammals and birds to live in. As time passes, other areas are cut so continuing the cycle needed for our rarest woodland wildlife to thrive.”

The Viridor Credits funding has also helped GWT to put up new fencing which will keep out sheep from neighbouring fields to our reserve. Sheep often find the new growth of trees very tasty, which isn’t any good for the rare Dormouse.

Viridor Credits’ grant also paid for two signboards at the GWT nature reserve. The signs inform visitors about the wildlife that can be found at Croes Robert and the types of management GWT is carrying out, including coppicing, charcoal and firewood production work, which also allows the production of sustainable products to the local community and generate an income to fund this positive management for wildlife.

Gareth Williams, Operations Manager at Viridor Credits, said: “Sensitive woodland management can be a huge boost to wildlife, as well as creating a valuable facility for the community to enjoy. GWT’s work at Croes Robert Nature Reserve blends biodiversity and people benefits perfectly.”

Gwent Wildlife Trust is grateful to Viridor Credits Environmental Company for supporting this conservation work.

Everyone is invited to come and visit Croes Robert Nature Reserve to see for themselves this wonderful woodland.