Last week saw me with a group of regular volunteers returning to work in Cat Ghyll. The ghyll, which runs alongside Great Wood and up Walla Crag, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). SSSI is a conservation label applied to protect sites of biological or geological interest. What makes Cat Ghyll special is that it is home to some rare lichens. (Lichens tend to be rather modest in appearance but for scientists they are highly-valued for their sensitivity to a wide range of environmental stressors like air quality and climate change.)
|The long haul up the ghyll.|
|A well-earned rest stop!|
|Time to enjoy the view.|
The protection of the site has been the Trust’s responsibility for some years now and we have been working on a long-term (200 years!) project to establish a corridor of hardwoods, mainly oaks, from the lake shore to the top of Walla Crag. As part of that, it is essential to exclude grazing sheep from the site so that natural regeneration can take place. Last week we needed to replace a rotting gate post. In itself, that’s a relatively simple job but we had to carry all our materials up there before we could start so it actually took most of a day to complete. But our volunteers don’t let us down and they did another great job.
|Out with the old!|
The sheep aren’t the only threats of course. Some time ago we put in place a stone pitched path to narrow the footprint made by walkers. It’s human nature to find a stable route to walk and by providing that, we find that people don’t stray onto surrounding vegetation. It’s all aimed at trying to find the best balance between the uses of the landscape and its protection.
|Good job done.|