Now that the nights are drawing in and the clocks fall back at the weekend Walberswick Common once again needs our help to continue its regeneration.
On Wednesday the gentle afternoon sun shone on a small group of volunteers who walked the paths and undertook some general maintenance on the footpaths, assessing who can help where, over the coming months. With Barbara Preistman at the helm as Common Warden and the continued support and advice from Paul Denny, who undertakes tasks needing expert input, the plan is for volunteers to tackle the areas that have become overgrown during the Summer, as well as continuing to clear the invasive silver birch and control gorse.
Working with natural England, Barbara has developed both short and long term plans for the restoration of the 33.3 hectares (or 82.4 acres) which lie to the west of the village and provide so much joy for villagers and visitors alike. The land has degenerated over some years of partial neglect and the aim is to continue with the maintenance as well as clearing specific areas to allow heather to recolonise where the gorse is reduced and to stop the march of birch, which changes the landscape and reduces the diversity of wildlife.
There has been some success in the recent years, and the group is constantly learning what works and what doesn't. This year small groups will be responsible for different tasks and parcels of land, undertaking specific roles. More volunteers are encouraged to join, liaising with Barbara and Paul to find a way of working that suits them. Each Wednesday at 2pm there will be a group meeting at the sports pavilion, where tools are provided, as are cups of tea at the end of the session. Anyone is welcome - even if only to make the tea!
Those who cannot meet during the week due to other commitments can undertake weekend work, with Barbara and Paul's guidance. Anyone interested in joining the volunteers, and the dartford warblers that serenaded the group this week, or finding out more about the wonderful nature reserve on our doorstep should contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org . A written plan is also available to help explain what is being undertaken and why.