skip to main content
A day out with Coast Care for the County Planning Team

It is the start of this season’s woodland and habitat management project at Alnmouth ponds, and the Planning team from Northumberland County Council certainly got the ball rolling at their recent day out with Coast Care!

The willow was very overgrown, which was restricting access to the pond for wetland birds. Once the willow is cut back, the pond will undergo further work to remove extensive reed growth to improve the habitat for wildlife. The willow will also be used at a later date to create natural woodland fencing. This helps to create a barrier to prevent visitor disturbance to the pond, but also acts as habitat for invertebrates and woodland creatures.

Thirteen willow were coppiced, and the team did this with great care, ensuring all the harvested willow was cleaned of foliage and graded into different sizes. With thirteen team members working together on the day, this is equivalent to coppicing a large willow tree each in just two hours – truly amazing teamwork! Some of the willow will be used as an outdoor classroom project for the local school, and it’s wonderful to know that what was removed on the day will go on to live another life elsewhere.

In the afternoon, the team attacked the Himalayan Balsam. This is a highly invasive weed, and the removal is an ongoing project. Balsam smothers native wildflowers and shades out the coppiced willow stools (stumps), which limits their regrowth, so removing the weed is an essential task that goes hand in hand with the coppicing work. The NCC Planning team meticulously pulled the Balsam, then cut and bagged the seed heads and roots. Despite only taking parts of the plants, the team filled sixteen large garden refuse bags, as well as a full dumpy bag, which was a lot more than expected.

Donald, the Burgage Holder at Alnmouth, was delighted at how much we had done, and I was delighted at how clear the site was left given this was next to the golf course, as we caused minimal disruption to the members.

Donald asked me to pass on his sincere thanks to the team.

"I met some wonderful people and really felt that my work helped make a difference to my local area."

Why Volunteer →