Orley Common limestone grassland.
Teignbridge currently have 28 different nature reserves covering a large area of south Devon, these reserves feature a huge range of habitat types including, woodland, limestone grassland, heathland, reed bed, scrubland and wet grasslands featuring fens. There are few other placements where you get the opportunity to work on such as wide range of different habitat types!
While with Teignbridge I was able to take part in a hugely diverse range of projects including but not limited to:
Warren Copse woodland.
- Dormouse box surveys at Orley common
- Heathland habitat management removing encroaching scrub and felling invasive conifers at Ideford common
- Woodland thinning and coppicing at a number of sites
- Cutting and maintaing fire breaks on the heathland sites
- Swailing heathland as a management tool
- Using “green wood work” skills to create site furniture such as gates and styles from felled timber to be put back onto the sites
- Installing fencing, gateways and vehicle barriers to protect the reserves
- Creating boardwalk “bridges” to allow visitor access in wet weather conditions
- Digging a tidal water channel at Jetty marsh nature reserve to encourage a range of wildlife species
- Restoring a dry stone wall at Churchills local nature reserve
- Precipitating in planning and running a grazing programme at Churchills local nature reserve to promote Wild flower and Invertebrate biodiversity
- Woodland glade formation at Warren copse wood to increase ground flora diversity
- Further scrub control this time on limestone grassland at the iconic Orley common site
- Working with volunteer groups to further our public relations and to educate about the green spaces serviced by the Green spaces rangers
These are only a few of the many tasks that I took part in while on placement but they are some of the more memorable, as with any job you have your day to day essentials such as path way maintenance, Grass cutting, vehicle maintenance, bird feeder refilling, Chainsaw sharpening, litter picking and site safety checks (especially after big storms!).
Initially I was only scheduled to have a 3 month placement with Teignbridge however when these three months were nearly up I was offered an additional 6 months work and a training budget of £1000. The next 6 months were a lot more intensive with me getting many more responsibilities and tasks, but at the same time this comes with a new level of respect and trust from your co-workers as it becomes evident that you can handle the work given to you. As mentioned earlier I also had access to a training budget which I chose to use for the following:
- NPTC chainsaw (CS30 and CS31)
- Lantra Brush cutter operations
- Emergency first aid at work
|Swailing at Little Haldon heath.|
In conclusion this was an amazing placement, yes there were days when you go home completely knackered, broken and soaked to the bone (in sweat or rain!) but if you love your countryside and really want to be on the front line doing something to protect and safeguard it then this could well be job for you, I know it’s the direction I'm heading in!
|A snowy Ideford Common!|