Part of the management plan commissioned by Inverclyde Council in 2011 suggests cutting back gorse encroaching on grassland at Coves. Gorse is an excellent habitat for nesting birds with its flowers as often the only source of nectar in early spring and autumn and it does grow rampantly throughout the site. However in the absence of grazing at Coves, the grassland will, if left revert to scrub and then woodland. This wouldn’t be a detrimental route except that the grassland here does add to the richness of plant species which includes the rare Greater Butterfly Orchid and not very common Spignel, an aromatic plant of the parsley family. The grassland in turn provides very good habitat for invertebrates such as ants, grasshoppers, butterflies, and pollinators. Since Coves is very much enjoyed by walkers, runners and nature-lovers, it seems right to help retain this beautiful species-rich area of grassland. Thick gloves were needed to handle the incredibly sharp gorse prickles – not our most favourite job this year!