The Prees Heath volunteers have been busy during this period. A litter pick throughout the reserve has now become a traditional pre-Christmas fixture. Although it is open to the public to come and join in, with all tools and gloves provided, it was disappointing that nobody apart from our regular volunteers came to help. This is despite the huge numbers of people who visit the reserve on an almost daily basis. I appeal to everyone who comes to the reserve to help Butterfly Conservation, a charity,keep the reserve in good condition by picking up litter safely and disposing of it responsibly.
Another way visitors to the reserve can help is by helping us deal with the killing of rabbits, which recently appears to have become more prevalent on the reserve. As well as reports of people taking rabbits using dogs, ferrets and hawks, mainly at weekends, I have also received reports of a snare being found on the reserve and a tame ferret. I have met with the Police to discuss how we can deal with this problem, as killing rabbits of the reserve, which provides a haven for all wildlife, is not permitted. The Police have been very helpful in coming on to the reserve when alerted and dealing with the matter appropriately. I would encourage any member of the public who witnesses people taking rabbits to contact the Police immediately, in accordance with the notice placed at the reserve entrance, and I would like to thank everyone who has done this to date.
The experimental turf stripped plots have now been seeded as appropriate, some with Common Heather seed, some with Bell Heather seed and some with no seed. Some have chicken wire to prevent disturbance by rabbits, and some have no such protection. Students from Harper Adams University will be helping us to monitor what germinates. All seed was harvested on the reserve. I would be grateful if visitors could keep their dogs off these plots.
The volunteers have also spread Common Heather brash containing seed which was mown on the Hangars field in November on an area towards the pond.
Finally I have been delighted by the response to myshort novel entitled ‘Postcard from the Common’, which is loosely based on what happened to Prees Heath Common in the postwar period. You can still buy a copy, with all royalties going towards Butterfly Conservation’s work at Prees Heath, either at BookShrop in Whitchurch or online at Amazon.
Prees Heath Volunteer Warden