January has been an incredible start to 2022 for the reserve team with lots of work happening all over the reserve. Excitingly the final piece of decking has now been installed on the Willow Trail Boardwalk after months of gruelling work by the reserve team volunteers. Although this is a major milestone and moment of celebration for the team, there is still a lot of work to be done before we can re-open the area to the public. We will obviously keep everyone up to date with progress on this!

Willow trail boardwalk

The new Willow trail boardwalk

The team have been out clearing willow from the reedbed at Dengemarsh and Hookers, this is to reduce the amount of encroaching willow which makes the reedbed unsuitable for some of our star species, the bittern and bearded tit both of which are not huge fans of the tree. This willow has been spreading out in the reedbed in recent years and it’s been great to start to knock it back. More work is to continue this in the coming weeks.

Dengemarsh Reedbed Clearance

Willow clearance on Dengemarsh

We have also been coppicing gorse along the discovery trail and should be breaking through to the pathway in the next couple of weeks. Coppicing the gorse promotes fresh, thick, bushy growth which forms a better shelter for many invertebrates and birds such as the Dartford warbler.

We have also been widening some of the trails/tracks around the reserve to reduce the amount of ongoing maintenance we have to do in the summer and subsequent disturbance.

Gorse management

Gorse Management

The major work happening is around New Excavations with the removal of the thick bramble and willow scrub in the south western corner, this has been spreading and getting thicker over recent years and with it becoming increasingly dominant, we decided to knock this back hard and open out the landscape once more. This will ensure there is plenty of habitat available for the damp sand beetle which is found in the vicinity as well as marshmallow plants. This work is due to finish this week, but there will be quite a lot to tidy up over the early spring months.

Excavator clearing willow from new excavations

New Excavations Willow clearance

The team are going to continue to be busy over the next 2 months as we try and complete our habitat management programme before the breeding season. We will keep you updated on our progress. For more regular updates you can follow our Facebook and Twitter pages here: 

https://www.facebook.com/RSPBDungeness 

https://twitter.com/RSPBDungeness 

And if you have any questions regarding the work on going on the reserve, please don't hesitate to get in touch or chat to a member of the team during your visit  we thank you for your continued support and can't wait to see you on the reserve next!

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