At this time of year, the thoughts of the Thursday work party volunteers turn to gorse; more particularly to the coppicing and cutting back of this prickly shrub. With about four kilometres of gorse along the shoreline area of Campfield Marsh reserve, once the nesting season is well over there’s always some section that needs cutting back to produce the dense bushes that birds such as linnets like to nest in.

This week though, there was a different reason for were cutting back some of the gorse. At the layby just west of the reserve entrance, the bushes were blocking the view of the saltmarsh pool and the shore. With some big high tides coming at the end of October and November and winter waders returning, we needed to provide visitors with a better view of the birds on the pool and the flocks roosting on the shore.

So, led by Mhairi and Dave, the volunteers set to work armed with bow saws and loppers whose handles were cunningly painted red one wet day some time ago. It’s easier to find them amongst the debris.


Not much of a view over the shore to start with

A bonfire to dispose of some of the results of our labours. We do love a good fire.


Time for the welcome 11.00 am tea break and a chance to catch up with the news. The barnacle geese are back from Svalbard for the winter. The first ones have been seen near Anthorn; it’s always great to have them back again. Whooper swans should be back soon as well. The fields on the reserve are wetting up nicely now and ducks and waders are returning for the winter; it’s well worth taking a look through the screens along the lonning and from the hide.  

 Getting on with the job, a better view already.

Job done for today, just a bit left to do next week before we move on to a different section of gorse.


Checking the view before we tidy up, shake out the gorse prickles from our clothes, and return to the Visitor Centre for lunch.