Beyond Wilden Marsh and Hoo Wood – Broad Haven – Vermont – Part 1.
I spent the last week of June at the beautiful and unhurried Pembrokeshire coastal resort of Broad Haven. In the centre of the village, perhaps 50 metres back from the sea wall, is the edge of a small, but vibrant, marsh and nature reserve called the ‘Slashpond‘. I stay in a seafront cottage, a former coach house, with large swathes of six feet high common reeds of the marsh bordering the backyard. It’s a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’ for me; this is the third year in succession I have visited. The flora and insect life is similar to that of Wilden Marsh, so I am very much at home there.
Last year, a rotting wooden walkway forced the closure of the marshy section of the Broad Haven reserve. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of a recently formed group of local volunteers dedicated to the repair and future upkeep of this valuable seaside resource, the whole Slashpond reserve is fully open again.
Today is August 17th, and I am writing this post from a log house perched on a forested hill in Vermont. This is my third visit in ten years. Lying at my feet is an overweight Australian sheepdog called Cai. Outside is a scene thick with luxurious green vegetation stretching to the horizon in every direction – mostly maple, silver birch, pine trees, and a species of buddleia. There is a small pasture, a paddock, a barn, and a horse called Cody close to the house. A white water brook tumbles over many boulders on its way swiftly down the steep wooded hill to Waits River.
Beyond the paddock is a sandy plateau peppered with plants such as evening primrose, golden rod, and Arron’s rod, reminding me of ‘the beach’ on Wilden Marsh. Unlike Wilden Marsh though, moose, bear, groundhog and wild turkey are seen from time to time.
This blog is about Wilden Marsh and Hoo Wood, so why am I bothering to write about areas far removed from my home ground? I suppose I am bothering for a few reasons:
I. to compare fauna and flora of other geographical areas with those of Wilden Marsh.
2. to learn from similar environments, particularly about the range of species that coexist, how they differ, and how well they thrive.
3. writing about these experiences will remind me that Wilden Marsh is one of many areas that can benefit from sympathetic intervention, providing someone has the will and the resources to make it happen.
4. as a reminder that it is not always right or desirable to interfere with nature.
5. to reinforce my belief that it is sometimes worthwhile fighting to save small pockets of nature from industrial, leisure and residential pressures that might threaten to overwhelm or destroy them.