From student placement to Eycott Hill Reserve & Training Officer by Oscar Adams

Belted Galloway at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve © Oscar Adams

I first stepped foot on Eycott in autumn last year when I attended a fungi course during my 11 month student placement with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, I had heard a lot about the site but being based in the south I hadn’t had a chance to visit.

I don’t think I would have believed anyone if they told me a few months down the line I would be the Eycott Hill Reserve and Training Officer!

Now, about a month into the position, I have got to know Eycott Hill Nature Reserve a lot better. I was thrilled to see the vast areas of young trees that are on the site, they are hidden away over the hill and I had not seen them before. As a student of woodland ecology it’s very exciting to see woodland in its early stages and to visualise Eycott’s upcoming forest. In the coming months I’ll be counting each and every one of these small trees to update the records on which species is doing well.

The birds have been another highlight, due to the restrictions I’ve hardly been on site but my visits have given me a chance to get familiar with the winged residents. Curlew are always a welcome sight and Eycott Hill's soundtrack has been mostly provided by the prolonged calls of the sky lark. I’ve seen my first snipe, meadow pipit and wheatear, my bird ID has never been brilliant but it’s going to have to be in shape in time for the breeding bird surveys (providing lockdown is lifted in time).

My most recent excuse for getting out was to put up signs cautioning walkers of the soon to be calving Belted Galloway's that graze Eycott, currently 28 of these magnificent beasts roam the land and I'm looking forward to hearing about additions to the herd. Whilst there I used the opportunity to download the data from the monitoring station in Naddles Beck which measures everything from the flow speed of the water to the turbidity. 

Despite spending almost all my time working from home I am very lucky to be part of the Eycott Project, it has come a very long way thanks to the hard work of Cumbria Wildlife Trusts staff and its fantastic community of volunteers, some of whom are choosing to use their daily exercise to keep records of the cattle. I’m just hoping I will get a chance to see the upcoming bloom of wild flowers and invertebrates!

That's all for now, check back in a months time for my next blog! 

Thank you for reading, 

Oscar 

heritage lottery 332px wide

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.