Andrew Tuddenham, Manager North Pembrokeshire
Aside from a few dislodged branches and small trees our woodlands, farm buildings and coastline in north Pembrokeshire have thankfully endured far less winter storm damage than last year. With firm, dry ground conditions staying with us following the hot summer and autumn of 2014 we’ve been able to take a tractor flail onto the heaths and commons around Pen Caer and cut out firebreaks and patches through the most overgrown areas. This helps to regenerate the heathland plants, provides a good range of micro-habitats for birds and insects and yields a harvest of heather and gorse cuttings that we use as bedding for wintering cattle at Southwood Farm, Newgale – the home farm for our conservation grazing programme. There’s an article on this blog about this work.
Access to the Blue Lagoon
We’re grateful for the work that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority are due to start on 20th April to re-surface the accessible footpath at Abereiddi, from the inland end of the quarry worker cottages to the hand gate above the beach. We’ll be working with the NP on the next stages later in the year, repairing and improving the path that leads from this gate into the Blue Lagoon.
We’re still investigating suitable materials and design for the replacement footbridge at the Blue Lagoon. The most durable and rot-resistant material is recycled plastic, and the engineering assessment of the required design using this material is encouraging. Looks are important too, and the new bridge will require planning permission, so our evaluation work continues. For now, the temporary bridge is sound and secure, if a little ‘temporary’ looking.
A new, single access agreement has been introduced for commercial coasteering activity providers using National Trust venues on the Pembrokeshire coast.
The agreement – a Coasteering Concordat – aims to provide support to high quality, sustainable and long term commercial adventurous activities. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum were commissioned by the National Trust to produce the Concordat this winter and implement the agreement from March 2015 onwards. The work was funded by Visit Wales.
The Coasteering Concordat will replace the current system of site-specific licenses that we operated at some of the most popular coasteering venues in our care in Pembrokeshire (Ceibwr, Abercastle and the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi). It also provides informative guides to the sustainable use of other National Trust coasteering venues where access conflicts have not arisen to date, including Porth Clais and Stackpole Quay.
Area Ranger North Pembrokeshire Coast
Some of you may know by now that Nicky Middleton-Jones, Area Ranger North Pembrokeshire has moved to Cornwall to take up the post of National Trust Lead Ranger from St Agnes to Godrevy.
Nicky had been part of the north Pembrokeshire team since 2005, and had worked in various roles with NT Gower and Stackpole before that, starting as a volunteer on Gower in 1997.
Recruitment for her replacement is underway and I hope to welcome her successor towards the end of May.