So far…

The sheer scale and beauty of Renscault Brooghs is beginning to sink in. The site has certainly awoken from its winter sleep into a ridiculous vitality and vigour fuelled party. Hawthorns and rowans show off their dense white flowers which impress me more and more each year. The wildflowers are changing shifts and the pollinators and birds are hard at it.

From a human perspective, nothing is going to happen quickly at Renscualt Brooghs (RB). As we discuss on the About page, we aim to take a minimal intervention approach to managing the site and only getting involved where we really must or where doing is likely to have net ecological gains. One way in which we will have to get involved soon is the management of the roadside ash trees infected with ash dieback disease. Ash dieback disease is caused by a fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) which attacks the tree’s vascular system causing sudden and severe dieback of the crown and probable death within 1-5 years. The trees within the site will, for the most part, be allowed to dieback and decay naturally, thereby providing valuable habitat, yet the roadside trees will eventually present an unacceptable risk to road users and the utility wires and will need to be managed. First we will cut the ivy on the larger trees after nesting season to reduce the sail effect on the tree, and then monitor the health of the roadside ash through their probable decline. Ash dieback disease has been on the island for around 3-4 years and we expect to loose 80+% of all the island’s ash! Please see below for an example of the crown dieback symptoms already present in the roadside trees, evident by the loss of leaves from the twigs throughout the crown.

We were visited last weekend for the first time by some of my family. We managed to get my 82 year old Dad to the top of the ramp through the larch. It was really special. See some photos below. I particularly like Finley’s (my son’s) selfie. The old boy is my Dad. The couple are my sister (Deb) and her husband (Snip:).

We were visited this week by Kate and Gavin Carter. Kate is passionate about ecology and, in particular, finding and recording native spider species. Gavin is an accomplished woodsman, arborist, artist and downright gentleman. I was electrified by their enthusiasm for the site and so grateful to have them on-side. Kate will conduct a spider focused survey next year. Please see some of photos of these lovely people below.

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