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Adar Nature Optics

Nature Reserve Update



Welcome to the Adar Nature optics reserve page; this is where I hope to put all the information that we will gradually accumulate about or small nature reserve.


PROJECT OUTLINE

One of the strongest cards a business that hopes to sell optics (binoculars and spotting scopes) can have is a space to test its products. In fact the market is split into two kinds of shop. Stores that are often older and maybe located in a town, photographic shops (many of these were chemists before they were camera shops, when chemicals were needed to process film); these often don’t have anywhere dedicated to test the binoculars that they sell. Secondly there are shops that are based out of town maybe at a ‘reserve location’; these often have very good spaces to test their products but they have to encourage people to the site. We obviously belong to the second category; however I would say that we are different from the standard reserve based shop in a number of ways. The main difference is that most of these shops are franchises that have been invited on site by the reserve; we on the other hand have built our reserve to help our shop. The second difference is that we have begun to see the reserve as an entity in its own right.

When I first thought of building a reserve it was to just have a space to test products from the shop in. However over time this has changed. I have seen the immense benefit a reserve has to offer both to the local ecology and as a local educational resource, and it is with these in mind that I am planning the development of the reserve.

I have already written about the reserve and some of the work we have done to change the land in my Wildlife Blog; however I will for everyone’s benefit go over it again here.

It is not a large reserve, about half to three quarters of an acre in size; it constitutes a piece of scrubland on the far side (south bank) of the small river (Nant Cledlyn) that runs through our land. It includes the river and two small streams that run into the river in this area. The boarder of this land is marked by trees that also screen it from the fields beyond (Silver Birch, Ash, Beech, Oak, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Holly, Wild Cherry, Blackthorn and Elder make up the wooded area, mixed in with Brambles, Rosehips, Foxgloves and Ferns). The scrubland is quite varied with at least two distinctive (made up of different species) grassed areas, a ‘wet’ area with a small pond and there is a ‘dry’ area made up of gorse. We have fenced the north bank to keep livestock off this land and in so doing gained a strip of land along the north bank, the reserve also has a wooded corner in one field on the north bank. It is true that for such a small area there is a lot of variety.

Reserve during the autumn of 2012.

WORK TO BE DONE

Our main aim when we first came up with this idea was to section this land off from the two joining fields. This we have done with a fence that runs the whole length of the north bank. We have cleared a patch of land on the north bank that will mark the location of a hide; for observing this land whilst un-seen by the wildlife in it. I have made a rough path that runs the length of the land on the south bank. We have also planted some trees in gaps in the hedge line and made a ‘bug hotel’ for invertebrates to live in. However we still do have a number of jobs to do. The main one is to provide more cover for mammals and birds.

At the moment there is no escaping the fact that this was until recently the bottom half of a field (used for grazing) and whilst it runs the length of the river it isn’t very wide maybe 40 / 50 meters at its widest point. It is a long narrow strip of land, three quarters of which is open ground. The end result is that much of the larger wildlife passes straight through this land without stopping. The most obvious examples are birds, apart from a few crows that have their nests in the surrounding trees and a few black birds that live in the hedge very little is staying here.

Reserve during the summer of 2012.

There is however quite a lot of good potential. The river seems very healthy, I carried out a number of ‘kick samples’ in the summer and came up with a good variety of ‘bugs’ living in the river showing that the water quality was at least promising. There are a number of different water sources; river, streams, pond. There is plenty of potential for increasing cover. Increasing the cover would include planting along the new fence line along the north bank. It is my intention to plant willow trees here, there are plenty of willows growing in the surrounding fields, they grow quickly, self propagate and don’t mind the wet conditions. I will probably plant willows along both banks as the river is eroding the open field quite badly in a couple of spots. I am also planning on increasing the woodland in one corner of the field to give us a fully wooded area. Other forms of cover might include things such as log piles, a couple of which I have already placed in the field, but I hope to build them up a little more especially near the pond.  Other ways of encouraging wildlife into the area would include putting in nest boxes and feeding areas for birds and to try and feed the wildlife here throughout the worst parts of the winter.

Our other jobs are mainly to be based around building a hide and increasing access to the reserve. At the moment just to get to the potential hide location, you have to walk along a road and then over a muddy and uneven field. The plan is to put in a new field gate for pedestrians, with a new path on the other-side that will avoid the road and the mud. This path will also be screened so that people can approach the hide without disturbing the wildlife.

MORE THAN JUST A TESTING GROUND

The idea of setting up a reserve that is more than just a site for testing binoculars is very important to me. To this end we have started monitoring the wildlife coming into this site. We are going to carry out a Phase One survey (land use / species distribution) here, we plan to monitor the life and water quality in the river and to carry out habitat surveys on the woodland and grassland. To this end we have a separate page of wildlife lists that will contain information on everything that lives in and visits our reserve. There will be a comprehensive bird list, insect lists, plant lists and lists of what is living in the river; we’ll also note anything that passes through this piece of land, larger mammals such as foxes, and species of bird. Obviously you may have to be patient as it will take a bit of time to build up these lists but we will keep on adding information.

The other part of this idea is based around education. I hope that by making the information public we can provide an educational resource, but more than this we hope to eventually have teaching happening on site. Again this will take time, we have to keep on improving public access, the first part of which will be a path down to the hide, and the second part will be access across the river. Once we have this we should be able to have school and university groups down to visit. We also hope to have a teaching space within our new shop once that has also been constructed.

Well that’s about it for now, we will keep on updating this page so be on the lookout for new information as we continue to develop the reserve.

Meadow Grasses at Ty Newydd.

PUBLIC ACCESS

I also probably need to make the point, that this is not a public reserve, it is private land. We will welcome visitors but we have not finished work on the reserve as yet and so it is not open, anyone wanting to see the reserve once it has been finished must make an appointment first.

REMEMBER THIS IS PRIVATE LAND, THERE IS NO PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY, ANYONE FOUND ON THE RESERVE WITHOUT FIRST MAKING AN APPOINTMENT WILL BE SEEN AS TRESPASSING.