Cardiff Conservation Volunteers

What We Do

There are many reasons why people join the group. Everyone gets something different from the effort they put in. For some, the social side of working together with like minded people is their reward. Others have said that they love the feeling that they have made a positive difference by improving aspects of the local countryside for all to enjoy. Many members enjoy keeping fit whilst enjoying the countryside around them. The practical skills learnt by all have actually lead some members to full time employment within a conservation role. What would you get out of it by joining us on a task? The only way to find out is to come along and discover for yourselves!

Our primary aim is to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment anywhere, whilst having an enjoyable time doing so

Footpaths

The wood slats being nailed to the runnersThe board walks being set up on a jig ready for nailing.

Footpaths trace their way across 120,000 miles of Britain’s countryside and the number of people using them is rapidly increasing; some paths are being quietly ‘absorbed’ into farmland, many are poorly signposted and are being eroded at an alarming rate. The work we do is essential to arrest devastating erosive processes and in some cases to fight back against rampant plant life. The work includes clearance of overgrown vegetation, application of many drainage techniques, resurfacing work, construction of boardwalks and step building to retain slopes and topsoil.

Fencing

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DSC_0485Fencing involves both modern and traditional methods and materials. The work can be lengthy but the result is a rigid structure which should remain for several years. Fencing is required for protection of newly planted trees or established woods, preventing access to particular habitats, stock control and land management. The form of fencing range from completely wooded structures (including stiles), to ‘pig wire’ with end strainers and intermediate posts. Typically end strainers have to be sunk 3 feet into the ground and packed with rock; as a result the finished post should be strong enough for the average person to swing on without any visible movement.

Dry Stone Walling

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Dry stone walls are a common feature of the uplands, where conditions are too severe for the planting of hedges and some means of livestock control and protection is needed. A well made dry stone wall will far outlive its mortared counterpart and supports a much wider diversity of wildlife. This provides reason enough for the continuation of a highly skilled craft now some 4,000 years old.

Hedgelaying

DSC_0034DSC_0077Hedgelaying is a more recent skill, known only since Roman times! This is a means of providing livestock control and shelter in the form of an interwoven barrier. These valuable lines of hedges across Britain allow rich local ecosystems and form ‘wildlife corridors’ from one area to another. The idea of hedgelaying is to slice far enough through the stem bases of an existing bush or line of saplings for them to be lent over close to the ground, woven and staked into position. They will survive this rather brutal treatment and grow into a thick stock-proof boundary.

Scrub removal

DSC_0092DSC_0103Scrub is typically vegetation dominated by small trees and important habitat for wildlife and also provides a valuable stage in plant succession. However, to be effective it must be controlled. Management is necessary to protect rarer species from more dominant types. Rhododendron being a classic ‘encroacher’ on both footpaths and habitats of conservation value. Many of the winter tasks involve ‘bashing’ of scrub and are usually accompanied by a most welcome bonfire.

Ponds & Canals

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12191000_1051254404940568_3663694941860719374_nPond and canal tasks are always a popular feature of our programme. The work we do helps combat the effects of increasing pollution and years of neglect of our aquatic habitats. Traditional methods of clay puddling are still used, however many new ponds are constructed with modern impermeable liners. Existing ponds need to be cleared of debris, banks and inlets may require reinforcement and very importantly, surrounding trees may require thinning to allow more light in and reduce the chance of vegetation falling in.

Tree Planting

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Planting of native deciduous trees is necessary to continue a system of age succession within scrub and woodlands. This activity is mainly carried out during the winter months.

Tree Felling

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Tree felling is an essential part of woodland conservation and management, which at first may seem to go against the grain! The major reasons for the thinning out of the existing tree canopy are to remove invasive species and introduce light pockets that increase the diversity of species and ages in the woodland, and at the same time assist the growth of remaining trees.

Coppicing

DSC_0923DSC_0264Coppicing of trees is also carried out, the aim being not to kill the tree but to prune it back to the ground so that it produces many new shoots. This is an ancient practice that provided a reliable supply of straight poles for the woodsman. Again the conservation benefits of this technique are increased light and space to the woodland.

Recent Posts

  • Tue 12th Dec 2017
    New Years Walk
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  • Mon 04th Dec 2017
    Christmas Task
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  • Mon 04th Dec 2017
    Coychurch
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This website was funded by grant support from Environment Wales Cardiff Conservation Volunteers is a Company Limited by Guarantee, Reg.No. 3197781;
and also a Charitable company, Charity No. 1056148.
Registered Office is 6 St Nicholas Close Dinas Powys CF64 4TX