Ivy is a useful plant for wildlife, the flowers in October/November are a great bonus for late flying insects, but when it carpets the woodland floor it smothers most other plant-life. We already knew from some clearing that had been done in by Blair and Joy 2014 that if the ground cover is removed a range of woodland flowers will germinate from seeds that have lain dormant in the soil.
Ivy covered bank before clearing
The reward of flowers from dormant seed
The Sunday Work Part cleared the area of brambles and other snags so that the children could get a good start on the clearing work
Monday was fine, the work area was sheltered from the cold wind, and all was ready for the Donibristle P 7 pupils to arrive.
Two classes came down so each was able to contribute to clearing the ivy in one of the areas we had prepared. We were sheltered from the wind and everyone soon warmed up after a cold walk down from the school. With a bit of explanation of the contribution they would be making to returning wildflowers to an area that had been carpeted by a smothering growth of ivy, in other words, “they were taking on the task that wild boar would have done in prehistory”, they worked with a will and made a good job of clearing part of the path-side bank. After a bit of further work, the area will be ready for the germination of seeds of various wildflowers that have lain dormant in the soil. It is hoped that both the children and walkers on the Coastal Path will be able to enjoy a bit more colour in this area in the coming years, and see too the benefit of the work for pollinating insects.