14 volunteers came out together on this lovely Saturday morning to help construct an otter holt on Henllys Local Nature Reserve. The event was hugely bolstered by Cardiff Trail Scrubs coming over to Torfaen to help out on their last ever Community Group event.
The materials for the project were previously cut down and stacked from an adjacent thinning out of trees as part of the management plan performed by Torfaen County Borough Council's (TCBC) only Woodlands and Education Ranger Jon Howells, Henllys LNR volunteer Chris Partridge and TCBC volunteer John Adkins.
The group had to sort out the materials, find a suitable spot for the holt and then transport and build the holt. The site which was chosen was across a stream which was safely passable in one place. All the volunteers organised themselves into teams and received training in the various hand tools and only backed up with my chainsaw where necessary.
The event was also a chance to use the new loppers and secateurs purchased from a Keep Wales Tidy voucher scheme for the first time. They were purchased for exactly this kind of occasion where there were quite a few volunteers and nobody this time was left waiting around for tools.
As the larger logs were brought over and put into place, 2 teams were furiously making stakes using saws and spiking them with an axe or billhook.
These were knocked into the ground with a hedging maul to help us to build up the walls. A similar technique was used to build up the inner maze.
Once all the walls were finished, all hands were employed to build up the roofing with brash layered at 90 degree angles to make it as weather proof as possible.
David 8 said " I liked pretending to be an otter and helping to make the stake using Richard's little axe"
Chris from Friends of Henllys LNR said "We are a small group and extremely grateful to Cardiff Trails Scrubs and Richard Weaver for coming all the way over here from Cardiff to do this on their very last event too. We are also grateful to TCBC for continuing to give us support, encouragement and permissions to carrying on performing conservation activities which are not normally possible under their limited resources. It really helps in partnership to improve management of local green spaces."