VALE COMMONS COUNCIL
Vale commons Car Parks
The commons car parks are presently being assessed with a view to upgrading some and carrying our remedial repairs to others.
The first car park to be upgraded was the Catlain car park near Fort Le Marchant.
The area has been graded so that the water will run off the edge to the North West and the firm surface put back. It will take a while for this surface to bond and hopefully, until it does, traffic will not cause any lasting damage.
The next car park was at Ladies Bay, near the children’s playground, where again the area was graded so that the water will run off the edge to reduce and minimise the problem of potholes.
ANIMALS GRAZE THE COMMON
The Council invited La Societe Guernesiaise’s conservation herd to graze the common and in April eight Guernsey steers were introduced to a large area of common near the Doyle hill under the supervision of Julia Henney, manager of the conservation herd.
The conservation herd were not the only animals to graze the common this year; sheep were put to graze at Lucksall.
Both the sheep and steers were enclosed with an electric fence allowing them the freedom to roam at will and were checked daily.
The Council would like to see more animals on the common as it’s so important for the biodiversity of the area. Animals do a far better job than a tractor cutting grass and bracken; the animals earn their keep at no expense to the Council.
Anyone wishing to put their animals to graze on the common must contact the Vale Commons Council either by letter:-
c/o The Vale Douzaine, Room, Maraitaine Rd., Vale GY3 5QE
Or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
VALE COMMONS RANGERS
As part of its plans for making the Vale Commons a better place for all users, the Vale Commons Council has introduced a scheme of voluntary Rangers for the Commons.
Their role is to offer assistance and guidance in a helpful and friendly manner, but also to deal with incidents of dog fouling, over-zealous cycling on the footpaths – where the speed limit is 10mph – and other infringements by a minority of users of the Commons.
Rangers are Special Constables with the full range of police powers while acting on the Commons. They are easily identified by their green reflective vests. Rangers will use a light touch, and aim to be approachable, but will take firm action on those rare occasions where it is necessary.
We are starting with six Rangers, but expect that number to increase. If there are people out there who see this type of voluntary service as being something for them, then they are welcome to contact Peter Blake on 07781106715 or Rosemary Henry on 246330. They need not be Habitants, but they do need to know and love the Commons.
New Approach by Vale Commons Council to clearing bracken from the Commons.
The Vale Commons Council has purchased a tractor mounted Bracken Bruiser which was delivered from England earlier this week. The machine is a custom built version of the Landmark TM2.4 machine with a reduced width of 2.25 metres to comply with the Island’s width restrictions for vehicles.
Peter Blake, President of the Commons Council explained “We learnt about this technique from a meeting which we had with the National Trust of Jersey. The machine will be brought into use from early next year and will be used to cope with the larger areas of bracken on relatively even ground.”
Jamie Hooper of Environment Guernsey Ltd. said that this technique should help clear bracken and allow underlying dormant plant life to flourish. “When you cut bracken the root system ceases to release fluid to the plant which remains alive. By bruising the stem, the root system continues to supply sap which is then lost through the bruising and the rhizome is quickly weakened. By bruising twice a year we should see some very clear results within three years.
Barry Wells, of the Environmental Advisory Group which voluntarily assists the Council, explained that the Council’s approach is now a balance between controlling unwanted growth on the Commons and being environmentally aware. Clearing very old ‘legacy’ furze and a programme of grazing and cutting are all a part of a sympathetic regime which could now be undertaken as a result of there being some extra funding for the Commons – which was never available in the past.
The Bracken Bruiser will be used by Kings Mills Agricultural Services to start work on the Commons in the Spring. The Council has agreed to its machine being made available for use on other public or private land around the Island. Anyone interested should contact Jamie Hooper at Environment Guernsey Ltd. or Steve Powis of Kings Mills Agricultural Services.