Whilst it has been a strange and challenging year for us all, nature, and in our case the Kippford Community Nature Reserve, has come through relatively unscathed.
 

Drought in the spring (if you can recall) and a nasty late frost in the middle of May resulted in the loss of a dozen or so trees in the arboretum. These have been replaced, and, thanks to the efforts of Sam Sample in particular, the arboretum trees are developing nicely and should put on a fine display in the coming spring.
During last summer we put considerable time into weeding the native trees in the woodlands. Generally, they are doing very well, having put on a lot of new growth. We expect to spend about £150 of the annual woodland maintenance grant (£780), with the balance going into the village fund.
Those of you who visit regularly will have noticed the damage to the paths that occurred in December. The relentless rain had saturated the ground and, with nowhere else to go, the run-off came down the paths, in several places washing away the top dressing. We will carry out repairs in early spring and, by creating a number of drainage channels, reduce the extent of damage in the future.

Over the coming months we also hope to improve the farm track running up from the top gate, making it easier for tractors to access the top fields. This will allow the meadows to be cut and harvested by machine, putting the hay to use rather than simply being left on the reserve.
We also hope to improve the top access to the arboretum, creating more parking  space for volunteers and service vehicles.
Finally, we plan to continue with the restoration of the dyke down the roadside, extending the dyke to the lower entrance.

In normal years the Kippford Association meetings act as a conduit for comments and suggestions, giving the community the opportunity to steer the work on the nature reserve. For obvious reasons this has not happened in 2020, but please remember we can always be contacted by email.

Spring is just round the corner. The nature reserve will be buzzing with life.