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Renewed appreciation for National Park Wardens
With his team busy cutting vegetation along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, North Area Warden Manager, Geraint Harries, took it upon himself to help out with what he thought would be simple fence repair job. Needless to say the recent hot weather didn’t make his task any easier!
This is my first ever blog but felt that I’d like to share a part of a morning of work that I had last week near Pwll y Wrach – the Witches Cauldron.
I’d been informed that a fence on one of our coastal grazing sites needed repairing – a couple of fencing stakes were broken and needed replacing. This needed to be done quickly as there were ponies grazing the coastal slope. As the Wardens were so busy cutting the vegetation along the Coast Path and inland paths, I naively thought that I would easily carry out the repair instead.
The site near Pwll y Wrach (Witches Cauldron).
I loaded the van with half a dozen hardwood fencing stakes and hand tools required and having called in with the landowner, had permission to cross two fields to get as close as possible to the coastal slope, I was ready. We rely on obtaining the permission from the landowners to enable us to access the otherwise inaccessible sites especially along our coastline.
I then started the work of carrying the stakes and tools down a steep slope to repair the fence. The weather wasn’t one of those very hot days like we’ve enjoyed recently, but it was certainly warm. Well, I soon warmed up, firstly by removing the existing rotten posts and then knocking in the new ones. I was quite glad to stop when a couple of Coast Path walkers passed by and had a chat about the stunning scenery and about the fantastic seabirds that they’d already seen that morning. They were really enthusing about the area.
After completing my bit of hard work I was satisfied that the fence was secure to prevent the grazing ponies from venturing out along the Coast Path. I also felt privileged to be able to contribute towards the maintenance of such a special place and help enhance the visit of countless other people who also walk the Path.
Orchids growing on the site, wich is grazed by ponies.
It was also heartening to see about half a dozen orchids on the steep slope which shows that the biodiversity of the grazed site is good and that the grazing ponies are helping to improve this special habitat, especially for the chough, which I heard a few times whilst on-site.
It also renewed my appreciation of the hard graft that goes into maintaining the National Park landscape too. I had only been working for about two hours and on a relatively cool day. This was nothing compared to the Wardens who are cutting the Path all day and in much warmer conditions.
North Area Warden Manager, Geraint Harries.
Fair play to them, they have a mammoth task to complete and do a great job. Some sections of the Coast Path require three cuts every summer due to the vegetation growth, which is quite an undertaking.
All in all, although I was glad to finish the task (as I was tired), I felt happy in the knowledge that I’d helped, in a very direct way, to look after our stunning National Park.
To find out more about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and other walking opportunities in the National Park, visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/walking.
For more information on conservation in the Park, visit the Conservation Land Management section of our website.
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