In addition to supplying all the wood fuel needs at Carding Mill Valley, Wenlock Edge has just supplied its first lorry load of wood for the new Attingham Park heating system, which is being installed for this winter. This lorry load is part of an annual commitment from Wenlock Edge which will supplement supplies from the Attingham estate. It is conifer which has been felled as part of a programme to restore ancient woodland sites to broadleaved woodland. Once at Attingham the wood will be stored for up to 2 years to dry out before being chipped and burnt instead of the current system which uses oil. This new system will help us reach targets to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Monday, 25 July 2016
Over the last month volunteer Charlotte Huntley has been helping to plot transects in four grassland areas for future grassland monitoring. This involved creating a route for the volunteers to follow that was representative of the grassland and deciding where they should stop to record information. Volunteers will look for any negative indicators (such as nettles and docks), do a species count and measure the average sward height. These are rare habitats so it is important to monitor whether our management of the grasslands is successful, and to indicate where action might need to be taken.
Our placement student Katy has finished her placement with us and is returning to Harper Adams University to finish her degree. Katy has assisted with events, surveys and conservation work as well as leading on a variety of projects. She has been a valuable member of our team, is always smiling and we will be sad to see her go. Katy - Thank you for your time, effort and enthusiasm, we wish you all the best for the future.
Katy said: ‘I’d just like to thank everyone that I have encountered during my time at Wenlock Edge, for making it such an enjoyable year and a fantastic experience for me; especially to Kate and Al for their support and making it all the more special; I’m going to miss you all a lot!’
Thursday, 7 July 2016
National Meadows Day was on 2nd July and to celebrate this we decided to provide a wild flower training day for our Wenlock Edge volunteers in our very own meadows!
|Rob our wild flower expert for the day teaching us everything we need to know!|
Rob Webster came along to lead the day for us and teach us everything we need to know about wild flowers.
We began on the verge outside the Much Wenlock car park where even in that small space there was an astonishing array of beautiful flowering pyramidal orchids and southern marsh orchids in amongst all the bright pink clovers.
|Examining the wild flowers|
We then moved into the meadow in the Much Wenlock car park to see what flowering plants we could try and identify and then finally finished up in Ballstone Quarry (both meadows with our lovely flock of Hebridean sheep in); and it was there we spotted a stunning viper's bugloss (which was a spectacle to see) and wild thyme!
|Scattered across the meadows and reading our wild flower books|
We learnt to identify many of the flowering plants that thrive in the limestone grasslands on the Edge including; pyramidal orchids, common spotted orchids, eyebright, devil's bit scabious, agrimony, birds foot trefoil and many more.
|Engrossed in identifying the wild flowers|
|After a lovely day exploring the meadows in the sun!|
The weather was glorious so we even had the pleasure of spotting about 14 ringlet butterflies, a small blue, 4 meadow browns, a common blue and a gorgeous large skipper.
|The large skipper sunning itself on a devil's bit scabious|
Wednesday, 29 June 2016
On Sunday it was our Wild Woods Adventure Trail event. Despite the not so great weather forecast, a number of families came out to search for clues and answer questions along the trail! Some of the activities along the way involved making a mobile with sticks, leaves and string, and stick men, as well as bird spotting in the bird hide with one of our volunteers!
|Going through the answers!|
On finishing the trail we had a touch display on our stand with various objects related to Wenlock, as well as activity sheets for children to take home and an array of posters/pictures to have a look at.
|Looking at the touch display and trying to identify objects!|
|Showing off their beautiful mobiles|
A great day was seemed to be enjoyed by those who got turned out, with participants receiving a prize at the end!
|All getting involved in making the mobiles|
|Looking at the nibbled nuts!|
Last Tuesday, at Wilderhope, with the Tuesday volunteer group, we were replacing a metal kissing gate with a wooden kissing gate to try to keep within the ‘spirit of place’ of the surrounding area. We have one more left to replace and hopefully you will agree that they are much more in keeping with the countryside than the metal gate posts!
|Half-way there with our happy, smiling volunteers|
|Phil doing what he does best!|
|Filling in the hole|
|Dick hammering the nails in|
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Over the past couple of weeks I have been out with volunteer Charlotte Huntley plotting routes in four grassland areas for grassland monitoring training days.
This involved creating a route for the volunteers to follow that was representative of the grassland, deciding where they should stop to record information, and taking photographs to help orientate the volunteers.
|Doing a species count to measure diversity|
|Carrying out the monitoring within the quadrat square|
The training days involved giving some background information on the grasslands as well as explaining the methodology and doing a practice run on an actual area of grassland. Criteria we were monitoring included whether there were any negative indicators (such as nettles and docks), quantifying diversity by doing a species count, measuring the average sward height, and calculating the proportion of any bare ground.
he methodology has been devised so that interested volunteers can simply go out themselves and follow the instructions to survey the grassland.
|Having a go at identifying some of the plant species|
|Common Spotted Orchid|