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Cleaning up the reserve

A vested interest in restoration from multiple parties has the future of Solway Reserve looking better than it has in years.

The reserve’s state of disrepair has local residents and council working together to improve the space, by removing invasive plant species, pest control and replacing the dilapidated boardwalk.

Self-described native bush lover and local resident Howard Evans has taken it upon himself to rid the area of possums, setting traps and regularly checking them over the past few months.

Over that time, he said he had caught 32 possums.

“I love the bush; I always have. It’s lovely in there, and I want it to be looked after,”

“It’s lovely in there; I want it to be looked after. But it’s just been neglected. I know people don’t have the money, but it’s a shame.”

A user of the track had commented to Evans recently about the drop in possum sightings recently.

Evans said he hoped his efforts would contribute to restoring the reserve and lessen the impact caused to native flora and fauna by the likes of possums, rats and stoats.

“I haven’t found stoats or anything else yet. But they’ve been chewing a fair bit of bait,” Evans said.

“The best time in the bush to me, is on a warm day with rain. All the smells come alive.”

Also chipping in to help restore the space is the community group Friends of Solway Bush, who are removing weeds and invasive species one working bee at a time.

Group member Joan Desmond said there were quite a few people keen to help.

“People are very enthusiastic and willing; it’s wonderful,” Desmond said.

“We have to focus on the slow, gradual clearing out of the place because it is overgrown.”

Focusing on the Arum lilies and ivy going rampant in the reserve, Desmond said she had seen the space become more overgrown in the past few years.

“The path got overgrown, a lot of people had used it, but we didn’t know what to do about it,” Desmond said.

“Things are changing now. It’s really good we can focus on that and enjoy restoring it.”

Masterton District Council said they were working with the group on how to replace the walking path, which began when concerns were raised over the “aged boardwalk”.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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