We are now coming to the end of our second winter at Beacon Hill, a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) on the Durham Coast.
Our winter schedule involves regular work here, removing stands of European Gorse from the site by hand.
The gorse in this case is encroaching on a habitat of higher conservation value (Beacon Hill is made up of magnesian limestone grassland – a nationally scarce habitat which supports a rich variety of wildlife), and because the gorse is over represented and inappropriate for its location, it is necessary to reduce its coverage.
Yesterday, we completed our last day of work here until next winter. And what a glorious day we had for it too. Some sunshine on the face at last, with clear blue skies and the intermittent sound of bird song ringing through the air. It almost felt like the Hill was thanking us for our hard work, and of things to come.
We were joined on our last day with a group from Northumbrian Water, who volunteered their time to help us with our thorny battle. And of course, not forgetting our regular National Trust voluntary gorse bashers – Alan G and John P.
Everyone worked extremely hard, but no one more so than Mable – Gorse chewer extraordinaire.
So as we come slowly into spring, we can look back at another successful winter season – through wind, rain, snow and sunshine – we have cracked on. A big thank you goes out to everyone who has helped us this winter (and last winter too). Despite being a long-term project, we can already see the benefits from our hard work and dedication.