Seasonal Assistant Ranger, John Cartwright
On approaching Llanerchaeron for my interview back in November, I was struck by the rural charm of the house and outlying estate. The enchanting landscape of rolling hills, snaking rivers and jagged coastline it nestles within is so characteristic of mid-Wales and, on being appointed as Seasonal Assistant Ranger, I was extremely excited about the learning experience and challenges ahead of me.
The first week flew by being thrown in at the deep end with the volunteers Christmas party and then working on a really interesting project in partnership with Natural Resources Wales. The Section 15 work aimed to encourage and conserve the Pearl Bordered Fritillary populations at Cwm Tydu near Newquay and involved cutting a series of interlinking pathways through bracken-dominated areas, a kind of ‘butterfly pathway’ as some of the weekly volunteers like to refer to it as. In doing this we opened up the canopy and would allow plants, such as violets the food plants of the Pearl Bordered caterpillars, to succeed. The week was extremely satisfying and I hope to return over the summer to see the fruits of our continued labours.
Over the course of the placement so far, I have been involved in so many different projects, being able to work with the ponies, fell and treat invasive cherry laurel and be part of the Save the Meadows project. One of the most exciting and valuable days was through a visit to Gower helping monitor and survey a newly reclaimed salt marsh. The site at Cwm Ivy is of special scientific interest and very few sites in the world have been seen through transition from fresh water to salt water marsh. The project was fascinating and the coming weeks will be extremely interesting for the development of this special site.
The team at Llanerchaeron have been so welcoming over my short placement and the sense of enthusiasm and teamwork among all the staff and volunteers makes this place great to be a part of. I look forward to the coming weeks here and the many opportunities ahead.
If you or anyone you know may be interested in volunteering as a ranger with the Llanerchaeron team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.