Murlough is cared for as Ireland's first nature reserve since 1967, the fragile 6000 year old sand dune system offers some lovely walks. Due to the reserves wild nature you can discover birds, flowers, butterflies and more, all overlooked by the rounded peaks of the Mourne Mountains to the south.
European Gorse, also called Ulex europaeus, is a fast growing plant and can grow to a height of 3m. In spring and summer you will see its yellow flowers. The leaves are like thorns and form their defense mechanism.
Ulexeuropaeus (European Gorse)
The pointed leaves of the Gorse The yellow flowers of the Gorse
Because the plant is so resistant and grows so fast, it is very invasive. Everywhere you go, you’ll see Gorse. The result: European Gorse has invaded areas where lowland heath could expand into. But there are also good points about Gorse. It is a good nectar source and area for bird nesting. So National trust decided to remove some of the Gorse. They want to reduce the gorse cover down to 10-15%. This work is a challenge and will never be completed. As once they get to the acceptable level of cover, after that they have to prevent the spread.
Here is how we work. We cut the bushes with a brushcutter, bowsaws, loppers and chainsaws. After that we collect the Gorse and place it in a pile.
Putting the Gorse on a pile
When we have reached a big pile of Gorse, we burn it. We must be careful with this, because we want to keep a controlled fire.
Putting Gorse on the fire
If your cutting the Gorse it’s important to treat the stumps with chemically to prevent re-growth.
We still have to work several weeks to finish the burning. It’s also important to stop this work in the period between 1 March and 31 august to avoid disturbance to nesting birds.