Conservation work party update - Spring 2016

Volunteer coordinator Sandy Maxwell reports on what’s been achieved by our fantastic work parties so far this year

Harris work party may 2016 v2 detail

As early summer is almost upon us we are over a quarter of our way into our annual programme of conservation work parties. So far 61 volunteers have donated 208 days of work on the nine work parties held on seven properties....

What’s happened so far this year

Two work parties at Glenlude along with several ad hoc days have seen many hundred trees planted as well as maintenance on trees from previous years. The polytunnel and nursery is continuing to expand with new benches and seed trays being built, large numbers of crab apple, oak and other seedlings have now been potted out. The mega brash hedges are looking well with the first one having more trees planted within it to increase the range of seedlings.

We have also had two work parties so far at Li & Coire Dhorrcail with hundreds of alder and birch planted above Poll a’ Mhuineil. A tree nursery has been established at Inbhir Dhorrcail with volunteers erecting the fencing and spending days digging out bracken roots. The existing tree nursery further up the Coire has also been weeded.

The first and longest standing of our partners (Knoydart Foundation) has been visited twice with work parties there based at Inverie. Working with the Knoydart Forest Trust a large number of rhoddie seedlings and regrowth has been removed by hand and for the Knoydart Foundation over 600metres of paths up at Follach have been worked on with ditches re-dug, culverts cleared and one section in danger of falling into the river rebuilt.  One group even found time to carry out a beach clean at Inverie.

On Skye the Blaven footpath was maintained under the instruction of the Trust’s footpath officer Chris Goodman. The car park there was also extensively renovated with larger parking bays cleared out and lined with logs to cope with the demand and sections of surfacing relaid.

At East Schiehallion a very wet work party didn’t deter volunteers from building a new bridge, not for walkers but sheep! This is part of the management to reduce incursions of sheep from neighbouring estates which are interfering with the natural regeneration of woodland. A second work party in May maintained the whole of the built path and surveyed sections of the path which will need to be rebuilt during the next work party in July.

The first of the work parties of the year in the Western Isles coincided with a May heatwave. Under blue skies a large group worked with both the North and West Harris Trusts. There was path work on the Huishnis-Cravadale, Leosaid and Laxdale Lochs paths, beach cleaning and some pirri-pirri removal as well as the installation of a solar panel and the switch on of the electric deer fence in Glen Trollamaraig. For the West Harris Trust two days were spent rebuilding around 18 metres of drystone dyking at Borve.

Changes to work party dates 2016

•         The August Ben Nevis date has now been cancelled but the June one is going ahead.
•         Corrour Estate Saturday 18 to Monday 20 June – this extra work party is booking well but there are still places left. Free accommodation is supplied by the estate in the Chapel bunkhouse. The work planned for this work party is mostly part of the reintroduction of native woodland and follows on immediately after the Quinag/CALL work party.

For more information about our conservation work parties visit our conservation volunteering page here.

Get a picture of what a work party is like on our Flickr pages

•         Western Isles
•         East Schiehallion
•         Glen Nevis & Ben Nevis
•         Glenlude
•         Sandwood, Quinag and our partners in the Coigach Assynt Living Landscape partnership (CALL)
•         Skye and Knoydart (including the Knoydart Foundation and Li & Coire Dhorrcail)
•         Local member group volunteers