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Conservation Commandos

In the last decade the Society has become pro-active in the conservation of the natural environment and historical buildings. Where we have lacked the expertise among us to tackle the work we have raised funds to pay for skills such as stone masonry. Repairs to the iconic granite ‘mantlet’ (half-round tower at the artillery Butts on L’Eperquerie, damaged by lightning) were followed by ambitious restoration of the cider barn at the Manoir as an Archaeology Room. A new 120-metre footpath was created along the foot of the Great Wall on l’Eperquerie, allowing this ancient promontory fort to be examined at close range and to be seen from the ferry. An area of dense blackthorn scrub over 2 metres high, which had been allowed to block a magnificent view over l’Eperquerie and beyond Herm to Casquettes, was cleared and is now managed for wildflowers. Unsightly caterpillar tents of the Brown-tailed moth are cut from the thorns in winter to prevent devastation of the spring foliage. Regular work parties protect Sark’s precious patches of heather where they are being smothered by invasive gorse, so that our rare colonies of Silver-studded Blue butterflies can breed on L’Eperquerie and below the Pilcher monument. On Harbour Hill, winter cutting of thorn scrub and brambles sustains a spectacular area of bluebells beside the footpath. Year-round maintenance of a 400-metre path through the Creux Belet Wet Valley protects the orchid patch, one of only two on Sark, from being smothered by invasive species. Litter drives and beach clean-ups are occasions to join forces with our junior branch, Sark Watch. Plans for the future include emulating Jersey’s National Trust by introducing sheep and goats to clear scrub from côtil land in the interests of biodiversity.  

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