Basking in the winter sunshine the team met Elliot Kean from the Attenborough Nature and reserve centre. Elliot outlined the history of the site beginning as a gravel quarry from 1929 to 1967. Nottinghamshire Wildlife trust conducted restorative works to barren areas of wetlands and other wildlife rich habitats. Its namesake Sir David Attenborough established the centre as a nature reserve in 1966 and has a personal connection sharing his surname with the Attenborough village located within the site. After 60 years of support and a one million pound appeal in 2020, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust took ownership of the site ensuring its protection for the future.
After a scenic walk through the reserve, we arrived at the Delta Sanctuary (D marsh), the site of the day’s operations. As quoted by the rangers “more people have been on the moon than the Delta”. The site surrounded by a riverbank and a ditch on both sides, feeds into the river Trent. These conditions enabled a wetland to come to life. Willow settling on the moist basin formed trees combined with a loss of natural willow-consuming herbivores i.e., Elk enabled the willow trees to grow rapidly. This restricted the wetland reed beds growth, which support a wide diversity of wildlife including young fish sheltering in the plant roots, dragonflies, beetles and many more. The day’s task was to remove the overgrown willow trees providing growing space for the diverse wetlands to emerge. Notice the tree stubs in the picture below.
Vp volunteers spent the morning ferociously tackling the trees resulting in many nettle stings and swift branches. The chopped wood is used by the park to create sustainable charcoal. Following a short lunch break and a sugar boost from a selection of homemade brownies, the chopped trees were segregated and excess branches burnt. The team departed after a rewarding days work with a few extra brownies in tow.
Attendees: Peter Roberts (Safety trainer – Groundforce Training), Charley Brailsford (Assistant Branch manager – Brandon Hire Station), Ross Gibbins (Managed Service Technician) and Harvey Foster (Graduate).