Winterskloof Forest Walk

On Sunday 3 November, members of The Winterskloof Conservancy, along with neighbours and friends walked through an area of indigenous forest, which is systematically being cleared of alien invasive plants, most notably Ginger.

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The intention was to show the changes occuring within the area that has been cleared, compared to that which is still invaded by Ginger. Picture below illustrates this – cleared on the left, infestation on the right.

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Ginger clearing around the base of a tree.

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The stream (which was barely noticeable before the ginger was removed) is flowing strongly.

IMG_6144The re-emergence of indigenous plants is very encouraging – Plectranthus sp, Clivia miniata, Streptocarpus and Sellaginella kraussii amongst others.

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Andrew James, of The Indigenous Nursery at the Botanical Gardens, kindly shared his time and extensive knowledge of indigenous plants with us and led us through the forest, sharing information throughout the walk.

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Clive Bromilow, expert on Alien plant species, was also with us, so we got the lowdown on the “baddies” too.

The old railway line runs through the property, with two reservoirs for the refilling of water for the steam trains still in existence. IMG_6140

Dressed stone walls, beautified by tiny ferns and verdant moss abound – a fascinating blend of history and natural beauty.

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What a sharing of information – we had an incredible morning!

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We were entranced by the appearance of the elusive Narina Trogan, resident in the forest. Scarlet Crested Loeries made themselves conspicuous in a magnificent, giant Forest Cabbage Tree, as did the delicate, beautifully coloured Paradise Flycatcher, flitting through the understory. The bird life is prolific, but fairly difficult to spot as the growth is rampant. Time and patience are required, but definitely rewarded.

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The walk was followed by a demonstration by James on propagation , a simple, cost effective way of replanting a cleared area. Clive had his great book available and signed copies for us! A bring and share lunch was enjoyed by a happy group who stayed on for the afternoon, laughter and strengthening friendships the order of the day!

The walk was well attended and very inspiring, we will certainly host more such walks and encourage continued clearing of the aliens in Winterskloof.  Read about the efforts of the Green Bobbies, a Winterskloof Conservancy initiative.

https://midlandsconservanciesforum.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/green-warriors/

https://midlandsconservanciesforum.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/green-bobbies-get-going/

http://www.hiltonvillage.co.za/attractions/winterskloof-conservancy/view-details

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