This blog post from the Coast Care team is really important for project evaluation – it celebrates the impact/outcomes of the project as well as the outputs. I have written about this – see my blog post here from 2015. For Coast Care, we must look not just at the number of volunteers that have been engaged, or even the work they have completed, but the impact that they have had.
Since 2018, volunteers have been working together to clear ivy from the castle ramparts at Bamburgh. Although ivy is a native and important habitat in its own right, it is extremely invasive and, on this site, it was suppressing the whin grassland habitat which is extremely rare. The before and after photos show a dramatic difference – it is obvious to see that the ivy monoculture has been removed – but this alone is not enough to demonstrate the impact of the project. The real question is whether removing the ivy has allowed the whin grassland to recover.
I am really pleased that volunteers have been able to go back to Bamburgh to record a total of 45 plant species on this site along with observations of more diverse insect pollinator populations, soil invertebrates and birdlife. This provides strong evidence that all those days pulling ivy really have made a difference. As Rob Turner, staff member at Bamburgh Castle, says, “they should feel proud to have made such a vast difference in such a short period”.