They say that a change is as good as a rest, and so on Saturday the 11th October the Cardiff Rivers Group undertook pond clearance and maintenance in support of the Cardiff Parks Ranger Services at Forest Farm, the 146 acre countryside and wildlife site along the Taff in Whitchurch. This large area situated in the Taff Gorge is full of interest. It was designated a country park in 1992 due to its role for tourism and recreation. Additionally, the area is very important for nature – it contains a site of special scientific interest and a local nature reserve. The country park extends across the River Taff valley in the Whitchurch area of Cardiff. The Taff Trail passes through as does part of the old Glamorgan Canal
19 volunteers and two wardens tackled one of the two ponds popular with birdwatchers, and long grass and scrub was cleared to provide clear flight ways for the birds of the area, and a large quantity of weeds and reeds were removed from the pond. These had encroached into the open water area of the pond making it difficult for the water birds to make full benefit of the pond, especially the kingfisher which had a greatly reduced area to fish in. The removed vegetation was stockpiled to allow it to rot down over the winter – the heat generated by the decomposition allowing the resident grass snakes somewhere warm to shelter and lay their eggs over the cold winter months.
The works were completed by early afternoon and by evening green woodpeckers were soon picking over the cut grass, thrushes were feeding in the reeds and a moorhen had re-occupied the now open water of the pond. A change was good for the CRG, maybe not so much of a rest, but only two hard hours worth of the 19 volunteers time should make a difference for the next few years, until the reeds need clearing again.