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Clearing Willow Glen by Meerabai Kings

Updated: May 31, 2022

A bright Saturday morning brought many MWHG volunteers out of bed as they headed to Willow Glen with loppers and sheers.

The MWHG has been looking after this site for a few years now - and it shows! The pond itself is now a healthy habitat for water voles, littered with tiny latrines and nibbled vegetation.

Jane found quite a few neatly arranged water vole droppings (above), a sign that the voles are getting territorial as the breeding season approaches. Jane also spotted lots of nibbled vegetation, like floating remnants of reedmace (below), all nibbled at a 45-degree angle, a tell-tale water vole sign!

Behind the pond are newly planted tree saplings. Today, the MWHG volunteers were clearing the brambles from around the trees to give the trees a head start in establishing themselves.

Of course, we know we will never clear every bramble from the area- nor do we want to, as brambles are a fantastic habitat for birds and insects, not to mention their bounty of blackberries in the autumn.

But, with less brambles to compete with the young trees are far more likely to thrive which increases the pond’s biodiversity. The cut brambles were added to the dead hedge behind the young trees, still providing a happy home to insects and, we hope, birds and small mammals.

The water vole wasn’t the only rodent making the most of Willow Glen, clear from the harvest mouse nest that Di found (below), left over from last spring! Signs of the coming spring have crept into Willow Glen, as we all took care to step around snowdrops and even primroses on the bank!



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