Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wied Għollieqa - A Nature Reserve on Campus!


This is a guest article by Zach Engerer, Nature Trust Malta's Youths and Scientific Officer which has previously been published on the @KSU magazine.

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With an area of about 0.02km2, Wied Għollieqa is a small nature reserve located within the boundaries of the University of Malta, between the University and Kappara. Although not very large, this valley has quite a lot to offer to the visitor, from the myriad of trees, shrubs and flowers growing in the area to the temporary pond that fills with water after rainfall that helps in attracting many birds and insects to the area.


Since the 1990s, Nature Trust (Malta) has been managing the site by restoring rubble walls and paths, planting local trees and cleaning up the area, making Wied Għollieqa as we know it today – a great place to unwind and relax after a stressful time at the University.


Three entrances to the nature reserve exist with the main one being in Car Park 1 opposite the Wied Għollieqa Environment Centre, which also acts as NTM’s headquarters. From there one finds himself in a narrow passageway passing under a carob tree that eventually leads to an opening in the valley and later on to the temporary pond. Crossing the dam, the path gets narrow once again and passes next to a vast patch of bramble, which gives the valley its name (għollieq is the Maltese name for bramble). Turning right close to a cultivated field one may then pass through a number of terraced fields, all of which are dominated by pine trees, giving visitors an idea of a small woodland. This continues up to a small room (the għorfa), and in this area one may also encounter one of about 300 individuals of the sandarac gum tree, the Maltese national tree.

Managing the site is however not always an easy task and for this reason volunteers and members are fundamental in the upkeep and maintenance of such sites and are often the lifeline of numerous campaigns, promotions and events that NTM carry out.

Besides Wied Għollieqa, NTM also manages another site in the south of the island, at Xrobb l-Ghagin where any visitor can admire the biodiversity of three local habitats: woodland, steppe and garigue. The area also has a visitors’ centre that is a prime example of sustainable development with the presence of sun pipes, three types of photovoltaic panels, vertical and horizontal wind turbines and a biological drainage treatment system.

Anyone interested in joining the Nature Trust (Malta) team, or just for more information regarding what we do, please do not hesitate to contact us by email on info@naturetrustmalta.org or visit us at the Wied Għollieqa Environment Centre in Car Park 1.

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful Valley :) I love taking people for walks around this valley when introducing them to University of Malta!

    Even though it is good to always argue against the over use of these protected sites its is critical to make people appreciate the value of these sites.

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  2. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
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