Work to rewild a wildlife reserve in Irvine has taken a big step forward.
Volunteers and members of the public planted more than 2,000 native trees including willow, alder and aspen at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Shewalton Wood reserve in Irvine.
A new fence has also been installed to allow cattle to graze and break up an area of overgrown grass, helping existing native woodland to expand naturally. This work has been funded by North Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund as administered by LandTrust.
Reserves manager Gill Smart said: “This work is part of a long-term project to transform long-abandoned farmland and poor quality plantation into great habitats for wildlife.
“By planting a range of native trees, we have increased the number of species that will live here in the future.
“Cattle are perfect for grazing down long tussocks of grass and breaking up the turf with their hooves. This lets tree seeds reach the ground and germinate, allowing the woodland to expand naturally, without the use of chemicals or machinery.”
Shewalton Wood covers more than 100 hectares and is the largest of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Irvine Greenspace reserves.
Its mix of woodland, wetland and grassland hosts a range of wildlife, and a network of water-filled channels and two large ponds are an ideal habitat for dragonflies and damselflies.
The level path through the reserve is popular with walkers and cyclists.