Welcome to the National Trust on Wenlock Edge

A wooded limestone ridge of high bio-diversity, interspersed with species rich grassland

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Wild Food Foraging Event

Last Sunday, we were wild food foraging around Wilderhope Manor. The day started by talking over the main rules of foraging; we then set out with our baskets and pots and began foraging a variety of fresh leaves and flowers, pointing out those which are edible and those that are inedible, what they can be used in, what time of year they are available and how to process them.

The food we collected throughout the course of the morning was to be processed later ready for the lunch time meal. Most of the foraged plants had been collected the day before and the food made in advance of the event to save time, except for the side salad which we made using plants picked that day.

There was an array of tasters to partake in, such as wild foraged salad (including violets, cleavers, pink purslane, beech leaves, ribwort plantain, primroses, garlic mustard and hawthorn leaves), wild garlic and nettle soup, dandelion fritters using the dandelion heads we had picked, wood sorrel cheesecake, bilberry and gooseberry jam on bread, damson vodka, sloe gin, sweet woodruff tea and sloe gin chocolates, all of which seemed to go down a treat!

Everyone also took a recipe sheet home with some of the dishes served on the day as well as some others to experiment with!

We are also pleased to say we have another wild food foraging event on the 5th June because of the success of this one.

A few pictures below of the happy foragers!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Volunteer work day

We have cleared a small patch of Christmas trees from beneath power lines in Easthope wood to stop the trees from damaging the lines. I used the chainsaw to cut the trees down and volunteers: Julian and Dick dragged them away, cut them into smaller pieces and put them on the fire (well away from the power lines of course!). It was quite an exposed site with the wind blowing up the slope which added an extra little challenge to felling but it all went well and we will be finishing off the site in the next few weeks. 



Wild garlic and spring flowers

This month the wild garlic shot out of the ground and covered vast areas as far as the eye can see in Blakeway coppice. While the leaves were still small we were out filling our bags and delivering it to the tearoom at Carding Mill Valley where it was made into delicious garlic pesto.

You can use it to make all sorts of delicious treats; soup, garlic bread, garlic butter and much more! Now we are looking forward to the fantastic spectacle when it all flowers in a month or so. 

Wenlock Edge is a beautiful place to be in Spring; everything is coming to life, buds are bursting and flowers of all colours are popping up fast. Wood anemone and primrose flowers can be found throughout Blakeway coppice and a swathe of bluebells are just below Presthope car park. The best place to see cowslips at the moment is in Ippikin’s meadow and in a meadow just behind Wilderhope Manor. 


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Wenlock Edge Woodland, Past, Present and Future

On Sunday, we had a lovely day with the Church Stretton Tree Group; we gave them a tour of Wenlock Edge and talked about the history of our trees and past management of the woodland. We also discussed our current management of the area, including our forestry operations and how we conserve the woodland for wildlife and visitors using measures such as providing dead wood habitats, coppicing, and creating rides and viewpoints. We also considered what the future holds for Wenlock Edge, including our 50 year vision and how we will react to concerns over diseases and other future threats.
Overall, a very positive day and we hope that everyone on the walk learnt something new about the Wenlock Edge woodland.

The Church Stretton Tree Group in front of the Granham's Mount viewpoint

Monday, 11 April 2016

Shelter Building Event

Last Friday was our shelter building event at Wenlock Edge; considering the forecast suggested it was going to be a miserable day, we were delighted that we had a downpour-free day. There were three activities for children to get involved in during the day - shelter building, making a flag and making a hat!

The aim of the day was for the children to get hands-on with nature and get involved in making some spectacular dens - indeed, some of them looked like the children wanted to move in for good!
The flag and hat making went down a treat; the children explored the woods for twigs, leaves and flowers and then decorated their flags and hats with what they found, including plenty wild garlic!
There was an array of different sizes and styles of dens. Some in a teepee/wigwam style, others like a more traditional tent. Some found brash and leaves to cover their shelter as a roof; the rangers were on hand for assistance with lopping sticks and cutting with a bow saw. Many of the families made use of their den by eating their lunch in it, which was lovely to see!
Overall it was a great day and we’re looking forward to the next shelter building event, which will be run on the 28th July.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Wild Woods Adventure Trail

Yesterday was our Wild Woods Adventure Trail and we had a fabulous turn-out with some pretty good weather to go with it. Children of all ages were taking part and getting involved in looking for our clues on the map and answering questions about Wenlock Edge. Everyone did very well as there were some tricky ones in there! Even the adults got stuck in and there was definitely some healthy family competition! I hope that everyone had a great time and learned something new about Wenlock Edge and about why it is so special. The rangers and volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the day too and we witnessed the making of some brilliant stick men!

We plan to run the event again in the summer months, so once a date has been chosen we will let you all know!

Here are some pictures from the day.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Plotting viewpoints, archaeology monitoring and clearing Pudding Bag meadow

Recently, with help from volunteer Charlotte Huntley, we have been plotting the viewpoints along the Edge. We plotted the viewpoints on the map and using the GPS and took pictures with a camera. This was a pleasant task as both days were lovely weather, where we walked and got to enjoy the views. We will hopefully be out again to plot further viewpoints soon.
We have been carrying out further archaeology monitoring along the Edge, this time around Presthope and Wilderhope. This involves finding archaeological features on the map such as lime kilns and charcoal heaths, ensuring that they have been marked in the correct place, rating their condition, and then assessing the priority of any action necessary for them. Both days were extremely successful and more will be carried out next Winter.

Map reading
In search of a charcoal hearth

We have also been working at Wilderhope in the Pudding Bag meadow. We were clearing back the rough vegetation before the wild flowers start to spring up. Half of the meadow had been cleared with the mower last year but this section had to be done using the brushcutter, loppers and rakes, as within this section there are a large amount of Yellow Meadow ant hills which would have been destroyed by the mower. The Yellow Meadow ant is a species which prefers undisturbed ground and lives primarily underground in meadows and is good for the grass in many ways. Alistair was also felling some trees surrounding the meadow to let more light into the meadow and to stop shading out.

Using the brushcutter and rakes to clear the vegetation
Alistair's impressive tree felling