Ashplats Conservation Group performs many conservation activities around the site. MSDC and their contractors manage larger jobs such as felling larger trees and bridge construction.
ACG organises an annual litter pick around the hedges and path verges. We also litter pick in the woodlands.
Rhododendron ponticum is an invasive species that thrives in UK woodlands, smothering the woodland floor and eventually crowding out the trees. In common with many woodlands in the UK, Large areas of Ashplats had been overtaken by these trees. Today, almost all of the large plants are gone. Regrowth is controlled by spraying and removal.
The Ghyll Slope was deteriorating as walkers sought sound footing as they negotiated the slope in the winter months. ACG ran a project to install steps up the slope.
Path Maintenance (Owl Way)
Paths in the woodland require maintenance to cut back trees and bramble to allow sunlight to reach the woodland floor, and to keep the path passable to woodland users.
The ponds in the woodlands slowly deteriorate as the tree canopy stops sunlight reaching the pond, and as the pond fills up with leaf litter and vegetation. Past tasks have focused on returning Alfreds pond to good health, and this work now continues at Cranston Pond, starting with pushing back the tree canopy.
Pond Restoration (Lancaster Pond)
This pond had completely in-filled with sediment and fallen trees. It also attracted fly tipping and garden waste. Starting in 2015 by removing the waste and fallen trees, we aim to restore this pond to good condition.
Meadow Habitat Maintenance
A yearly task is to mow and remove the grass from the meadows to maintain the low nutrient soils that attract meadow wildflowers. The mowing is done by contractors, with the grass removed by raking. Exposing the soil and sowing seeds also helps wildflowers recolonize a habitat previously dominated by grasses.
Surveys and Monitoring
ACG organizes events where species are surveyed. This allows us to know which habitats are in good condition, and which ones need attention. Previous events have observed, identified and monitored: Newts, Fungi, Bats, Ancient trees, and Dormice.
The early 2000s saw some large works undertaken in the woods to restore habitats and improve access.