The weather in the last few days is certainly confirming that summer is at an end and we can return to the tasks needed to keep on maintaining and improving our area for people and wildlife. We had the first of our regular autumn work parties on 22nd September when we had a session removing the now dead Welted Thistles from The Triangle and Heritage Viewpoint areas. It did start to rain just as we gathered, but it didn’t interfere with the work and we soon got it done. It was a pleasure also to have Councillor David Barratt join our usual small group of volunteers, and we got a good view of the new aircraft carrier as it sailed under the Forth Bridge.
The following day saw a walk through the woods with Mrs Lisa Ritchie of Donibristle Primary to look at areas for the P7 children to work at each Friday, clearing ground coating ivy and nettles. The work of previous classes has certainly shown how beneficial it can be.
It was in December 2017 that two of the P7 classes cleared an ivy covered bank alongside the path in Hopeward Wood. The following spring there was a great display of Native Bluebells, and by spring 2019 Red Campion and other plants attracting pollinating insects were in flower.
One of the photos below shows one of the early emerging solitary bees visiting the white flowers of Garlic Mustard which is an important food-plant for the caterpillars of Orange-tip butterflies .
As well as looking attractive for walkers on the Coastal Path, the work has also been of benefit to the local wildlife.
Finally, a new group of young volunteers came to help out on Thursday 3rd October. They were children in their last year at a range of local schools who will soon be transferring to Fife College. They came with Hazel McDonald and two other adults, helping with the transitioning to college based education. They set to, to help remove an extensive patch of “garden escape” Honeysuckle that had blanketed an area of the rocky cliff bordering Bathing House Wood, below the WW1 gun emplacements. This was one of the areas of encroaching vegetation that Revd. Dr Jean Cook, a botanical expert of Dalgety Bay, had requested we try to remove, in order to help restore the special plants and flowers that grow in the thin soils on the outcrop of extruded lava that forms Downing Point.
Thanks to all our volunteers for spending time helping to look after our woodlands and their wildflowers.