Rhododendron was introduced to Millcombe gardens in the 19th century by the Heaven family. However, it soon spread and by the mid 20th century it covered large expanses across the east sidelands out-competing the native Lundy Cabbage. For many decades the fight against the Rhododendron has continued and we are now moving into the second phase of the eradication programme. This phase involves systematically removing new rhododendron seedlings and plants from our coastal sidelands and island plateau. Extensive seedling work will take place in spring along the east sidelands due to low bracken coverage whereas plateau work takes place during autumn and late winter.
Lundy has 4.5km of historical stone walls used to control rotation of stock around the island and although stoutly built, factors such as age, ground movements and animal intervention cause sections to collapse throughout the year, therefore year-round attention is required rebuilding them. This restoration work teaches the basic techniques of wall building and can be strenuous when large sections are involved.
Restoration of the earthen stone walls in Millcombe garden uses dry stone or lime mortar building techniques.
Stock fencing is used to keep our farm stock managed and wild animals from entering conservational sensitive areas around the island. The main areas protected by fencing are on the south east coastal sidelands where the Lundy Cabbage is found. Stock fencing includes preparation and setting in of posts, fencing, struts and stiles.
Dead hedging is used to create tree copses on the east coast wherein cut rhododendron is used in a post and weave technique to create a protective barrier to feral stock.
We have to keep a control on specific species, particularly gorse, bracken, ragwort and brambles, to prevent them dominating or encroaching on special habitats.
Ragwort, although a useful habitat for invertebrates, needs to be kept off the stock fields as when large plants wilt they become harmful to the farm animals. This work begins in the spring and continues through the summer. Bracken control occurs in the summer whereas the gorse and brambles work occurs later in the year when access is easier.
Gardening/ Estate Maintenance
Around the village and especially in Millcombe valley we have weeding, pruning and ground work to keep bushes manageable and productive.
Millcombe gardens are currently a work in progress and work is carried out throughout the year in working the allotments, planting, picking, weeding.
There are also several commemorative benches that require annual treatment.
It is our aim to establish native upland woods across the east coast to provide habitats for migratory birds and natural woodland species therefore tree copses are being established. Installation, checking and maintenance of tree guards and shelters is needed to prevent damage to young trees. This includes securing stakes correctly without damaging roots, placing appropriate guards. Keeping mulch mats clear of weeds and replacing if required. Ascertaining the state and health of the trees and tending to as needed. Equipment is carried to the copses.
Planting occurs during the winter and we are currently planting Sessile Oak and Hazel within the sideland copses and blackthorn in Millcombe valley.
We are constantly replacing wire and mesh tree cages in Millcombe valley with our unique rhododendron guards. Material needs to be sourced from the sidelands before work can commence.
Around 20,000 visitors come to Lundy per year therefore we need to ensure that our paths and walking tracks are kept safe for access. Work includes cutting back encroaching bushes and growth fixing drainage problems and subsidence.
On steep inclines where the ground soil has fallen away, granite steps are to be set in. Transporting and lifting the granite steps can be very strenuous.
Surveys of invasive species are carried out across the island to track and monitor their spread and ensure effective control. Species of current interest include Alexanders and the Spanish bluebells.
The landing bay can become clogged with rubbish during the right conditions and we clear and record all types of rubbish through in line with the MCS Adopt-a-beach project. (Weather dependant, a steady easterly wind required)
If you are interested in volunteering on Lundy please read through the General Information section and send us a completed Volunteer Application Form.