Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Catching Up

Sorry I haven't posted a blog for a while, but I was away on leave for about 10 days and then I have been catching up with the resultant backlog since I got back. So what have I been up to?

We will gloss over the mundane but never the less time consuming task of dealing with the literally hundreds of e-mails in my inbox, and concentrate on the more interesting stuff. First thing I did was to get straight back in to thistle thwacking (a seemingly never ending task at this time of year, but luckily very satifying!) and ragwort pulling with our volunteers Dave and John. We do not have too much ragwort on the property, but as it is injurous to livestock both in its green and dried form, and we use sheep to help manage our wild-flower rich grasslands, we must make sure that we keep what ragwort we have got under control. We use the age old technique of pulling it out by the root which is very effective and also more environmentally friendly than using chemicals.

Then we had a visit from the Trust's Mountains for People Project Officer, Bob Brown, who is our in house expert on upland footpath maintenance. Now, I know we are not in the uplands, but believe it or not, montane and maritime enviroments have a lot of things in common. Both are exposed to extreme weather conditions which has an effect how vulnerable the vegetation is to damage and so how easliy the paths get eroded. With nealry 50, 000 visitors a year, our paths are beginning to become quite eroded in places and need some attention. So the idea is, Bob and his team of upland footpath workers will come down from the mountains this autumn/ winter and spend a while in the relatively balmy conditions at St Abbs using their expertise to make our footpaths more pleasing to the eye, more confortable to walk on and also protecting our grasslands from damage.

What else? Well today I need to make comments on a consultation concerning the siting of offshore windfarms off the Berwickshire and Lothian coasts, and then maybe out for a bit more strimming of footpaths.

So I suppose I'd better get on with it then, bye for now, Liza (have you worked out colour coding yet?).


  1. Can you compost the ragwort, or burn it?

  2. Good question, and not an easy one to answer as it depends on the quantities you are talking about. The problems are that the plants can still release large quantities of viable seed even when dead and you have to stop these from spreading. Plus, the plants remain poisonous even when they are wilted or dried. SO composting can only be done in a truely sealed container and buring can be carried out on small quantities with care.