Good riddance to bad gorse at the Giant’s Causeway

High winds last weekend didn’t stop Giant’s Causeway National Trust volunteers from pitching in and clearing an area of thick gorse at the Aird. Led by Conservation Officer Cliff Henry, the team of six cleared 100 square metres of gorse from the headland.

“Gorse is a problem species because it smothers species-rich grassland and heathland here at the Giant’s Causeway,” says Cliff Henry. “Both provide valuable habitats in this area so getting rid of gorse helps us preserve the rare species we have here.”

At risk are species like Irish ladies tresses orchid and whorled caraway at the Aird and Mountain Everlasting at Weir’s Snout. We have a huge amount of gorse so that’s why we need volunteers to help.

The volunteers were equipped with bowsaws and loppers to cut through the thick branches of gorse. Afterwards, the team enjoyed hot Irish stew with wheaten followed by mince pies.

“It was a really exhilarating day,” says Ciara Scullion. “I enjoyed working outdoors and the homemade stew afterwards was great. I can’t wait to volunteer again!”

Ciara volunteered for the first time last week and Cliff says the conservation team is always looking for more team members.

“We rely heavily on volunteers,” says Cliff. “Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to tackle this gorse, which grows very rigorously. The headlands around the Giant’s Causeway are covered in 25 acres of gorse (over 100,000 square metres). It is spreading at by about 5,000 square metres per year so we need to cut back at least that amount just to keep on top of it.”

If you are interested in joining the conservation team contact Cliff Henry on 028 2073 3407 or email cliff.henry@nationaltrust.org.uk