April 15, 2024

Volunteers have weaved together support for a nature reserve’s growing biodiversity.

Denbighshire County Council Countryside staff and volunteers have crafted a traditional solution to protecting trees at an important part of Rhuddlan Nature Reserve.

Countryside staff have managed the site since it opened in 2011 on behalf of the Rhuddlan Reserve Management Advisory Group and this partnership resulted in the reserve winning the Wales in Bloom`Overall It’s Your Neighbourhood 2022 for Wales’.

The group members and Countryside staff were presented with the RHS National Certificate of Distinction.

Rhuddlan Nature Reserve now includes two wildflower meadows, three wildlife ponds, 300 metres of hedgerow, wildflower seeded verges, planting of 6,000 trees, a heritage species orchard, two picnic areas and a pond dipping platform.

A Sensory Garden was also created at the site involving the local Dementia Group. It includes a Dementia friendly space with sensory, trees, wildflowers and historic landscape features such as dry stone walls and laid hedges, traditional welsh oak timber seating has been created on the site.

And now the trees at this garden have an added traditional biodiversity friendly protection thanks to local volunteers and supporters of the reserve group learning a traditional craft.

Willow traditional fencing has been created to go around trees in the open area at the garden. The traditional technique uses thicker branches crafted as stakes, placed around the tree and smaller or thinner branches are weaved in and out of the stakes to build up the fence protection.

Once in place this traditional craft will help protect the tree from damage by animals coming into the area.

Countryside Ranger Brad Shackleton, who helps managed the reserve, explained: “This traditional method is a great way of weaving support such an important piece of the reserve. The efforts of the volunteers today will help these trees grow strong in the garden with the protection they have given them.

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “I visited the reserve recently and it was such a privilege to see how the group’s passion for developing the biodiversity of the land has been taken on and forward by our Countryside staff. It’s great to see the fruits of this partnership bringing old skills to the table to help grow the reserve’s new initiatives such as the Sensory Garden.”