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Summer NEWSLETTER 2016

Friday July 15th, 2016 | Stephanie

The Magic of Meadows


Charlie and Simon on a day out from Acton Scott Farm Museum tedding the hay.

Despite a soggy start to our Hay Meadow Festival at the Bog, the day (ourselves and visitors) dried out to celebrate wildflower meadows and their wealth of wildlife.  Over 200 people joined us in the field opposite the Bog Visitor Centre. Many tried their hand at scything and joined in the hay bale lobbing and build a hay rick competitions.  The Hay Play Area had children making hay skipping ropes, country crafts and mini hay bales.  The Marches Meadow Group and wildlife gardening expert, Jenny Steel, were on hand with advice and information on creating meadows or a mini version in your own garden.  The Somme Tunnel was also open and members of Shropshire Mines Trust led walks to explain about the mining history of the area.  Feedback from visitors at the event was good and we plan to put on a similar event next year!  Take a look on facebook for photos and film footage from the event  https://www.facebook.com/stiperstonesandcorndon/


edit-2Pied Flycatchers fledge

As the nesting season comes to an end at Resting Hill the results look very promising. The uptake of Pied Flycatcher nests doubled on the previous year and clutch sizes increased by two to three eggs per nest. Good news for this Amber listed species. Meeting once a week through the spring in Snailbeach, a small group of volunteers have surveyed the nests on the Natural England site.  They got some very surprising results as well as learning a lot about these beautiful birds. If you would like to be involved in the project next summer, look out for a box maintenance and training session in the autumn, as well as updates in spring. To get in touch with any questions email restinghillnestbox@gmail.com or phone Project Co-ordinators, Gary Price on 07900 264080 or Amber Bicheno on 07540 730967.



Curlew Country Sculpture & Song
Around 100 people came together in Norbury for an evening of celebration.  This was the culmination of singing, sculpture and creative writing workshops which have been running since May. The workshops were led by writer Karen Lloyd, sculptor Bill Sample, composer Mary Keith and co-ordinated by wildlife photographer Ben Osborne.  The audience in Norbury were treated to song by the Curlew Country Choir who performed specially composed curlew pieces and poems by those who had attended the nature writing workshop.  At dusk, the life sized curlew lanterns were lit and everyone walked in procession to view the beautiful sculpture, 7 curlews in flight.  The Curlew Country Arts Project was inspired by Mary Colwell-Hector’s 500 mile walk to raise awareness of the drastic decline in curlews. Mary was able to join us once again for this celebration and talked about her Curlew Walk experiences.  The evening was captured on film by Geoff Ward. Follow this link to view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2h36iZXL3s&feature=youtu.be. curlews over pond 9 July

As you’ll see from the film it was a wonderful evening.  We plan to harness this momentum with another project ‘The Case for Curlews’ which will be starting soon.  Throughout this project people have been donating to our Curlew Appeal which will help to support future work. For more information about the Curlew Recovery Project and donating to the Curlew Appeal – follow the link http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/ground-nesting-birds-recovery-project/curlew-recovery-project/


Where have all our curlews gone?

chicks in nest1Field ornithologists Tony Cross and David Thompkins closely monitored 20 curlew nests in the Scheme area this season.  Most nests failed mainly due to predation.  Three nests managed to hatch eggs.  With landowner permission, electric fencing was trialed at these sites to allowed the chicks to fledge. However, once beyond the safety of the fencing, the same dangers threaten the chicks and they were lost. This sad story is being replicated across the country. We are looking for funding to develop a 5 year project specifically aimed at protecting curlews. We have launched a Curlew Appeal to help raise money. You can donate online by following this link https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Curlewrecovery?utm_id=2.

Where have all the curlews gone? This is the question posed by writer and Curlew Country artist, Karen Lloyd, in her Guardian Country Diary entry, which you can read by following this link https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/13/where-curlew-gone-shropshire-country-diary.


Small scale hay making made simpler
David Poynton's Aug 15 2At this time of year members of the Marches Meadow Group are reaping the benefits of small scale hay making equipment. This was purchased by the Scheme last year. The equipment enables members to restore and better manage their grassland. Members also enjoyed a recent visit to Pennerley Meadows for a walk and chance to brush up on plant id skills. With a 20 strong membership, and much interest at the Hay Meadow Festival, the Marches Meadow Group are planning more networking events through the summer.  A stock checking course is being organised in August at Rigmoreoak, Pennerley. Please contact JP Brayford for more information and to book on 01938 561741 or email john.brayford@shropshire.gov.uk.

Our self-led walk ‘Hope Valley’s Hidden Heritage’ is one to try at this time of year as it guides you through some beautiful meadows – follow the link to download the route http://www.shropshiresgreatoutdoors.co.uk/route/stiperstones-and-corndon-lps-meadow-mines-coppice-commons/


Adam at the Hay Meadow Festival

Adam helping at the Hay Meadow Festival

Gaining skills, experience and certificates

Trainee, Adam Stallard, is gaining the skills, experience and certificates to stand him in good stead for the future.  He is currently on placement with the National Trust at Carding Mill Valley and JP Brayford at Access Management. He has been working on a wide range of projects including installing steps and post and wire fencing, heathland vegetation management and cross cutting timber with a chainsaw. He has completed 2 units towards his City & Guilds Diploma in Workbased Environmental Conservation and has a full First Aid at Work certificate and NPTC PA1/PA6 pesticides certificate under his belt.  Next month he will be doing an NPTC tractor driving certificate with National Trust and returning to Natural England at Stiperstones National Nature Reserve to carry out more heathland management and fencing repair work.

weavers at the Bog lr


Warped up and ready to go!
With frames, warps and threads kindly donated by Weaver’s Bazar, our novice tapestry weavers met recently to view the landscape with a “tapestry weaver’s eye”. What might make a good weaving? What colours? How much of a view will fit into a single tapestry weaving? Armed with a kitchen fork, warps and thread, our weavers set out from the Bog Visitor Centre in search of inspiration.   The tapestries will form a small pop-up exhibition at the Bog Visitor Centre later in the summer.  Tutor, Irene Evison, is creating a series of Stiperstones & Corndon Hill Country tapestries.  She’s keen to hear about your favourite places or views to weave them into the exhibition.  So, please email us with suggestions, info@stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk.


Marvellous Moths
Back by popular demand, we are running more moth trapping evenings at local wildlife sites. The sessions, led by expert Dave Green, introduce people to the wonderful array of moths. In June, 40 species were recorded at the Bog and 67 species recorded at Roman Gravels.  Weather conditions put a dampner on the numbers recorded at Roundton Nature Reserve, but the recent evening at Earl’s Hill proved much more successful.  154 moth species were identified, which has beaten the site’s previous highest total by quite some margin. There are a lot of new records for the site and many for the 10-km square. Follow the link to view species lists: http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/rescuing-rocks-overgrown-relics/.DSC_1818

We will be at the following sites, from 8.30pm:
Friday 22nd July, Snailbeach Mine
Friday 29th July, Poles Coppice
Friday 5th August, Nills Hill Quarry
Cost £5 for the first session you attend, and subsequent sessions are free. Contact us to book on 01938 561741, or email info@stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk.


Care and Conservation of pre 1919 buildings
12 participants signed up to this 6-day certificated course. Led by historic buildings expert, Colin Richards, the course is a mix of theory and practical experience.  It includes repair and maintenance, legislation and guidance, traditional methods and safe working practices. Within the Scheme area, many buildings are made from traditional materials using traditional methods and skills. Their careful repair and conservation is vital to the rich heritage of the area. The course is accredited by CSkills and endorsed by the National Heritage Training Group.

black smith courseReviving rural skills

Our Skills in the Hills project is all about providing taster days for traditional rural crafts.  From green wood working to black-smithing, the courses are popular and can get booked up.  Spaces are still available with craftsman Neill Mapes on the following:

Spoon Carving, Saturday 20th August
Rustic Stool Making, Saturday 24th September
Shrink Pot Making, Saturday 1st October

Follow this link for more information http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/events/category/courses/


Vanishing Buildings Community Project around Churchstoke

Cubbulch goodRecent activity has included two walks, one starting and finishing at Roundton Nature Reserve and the other focused on the area around Hyssington. Each time about 15 people investigated the remains of various buildings and shared knowledge and information about the locality, whilst benefiting from the added expertise of Archaeologist, Bob Silvester, and Naturalist, Rob Rowe.  We have visited project partner Bishops Castle Heritage Resource Centre to do some informal research and find out more about available archive and online resources. Fascinating nuggets of information emerging!  Future plans include at least one more walk, some family arts activities and more opportunities to explore local history resources, with an exhibition and possibly a publication to follow in 2017. Watch for details!  We’d love to hear from anyone who has interesting stories to tell about old or abandoned buildings in their area. Please contact Mary Napper-White, Project Co-ordinator, on 01588 620151.


Open Hills, Old Ways & Commons – summer fieldwork

surveyingThe community archaeology project continues through the summer with a series of fieldwork visits planned.  These are led by archaeologist Mike Greene and focus on recording features of interest in the landscape. Using LiDAR and old maps, volunteers plot points of interest, then head out into the field to see what’s there and whether it’s significant and warrants further investigation.  All features of interest are sent to the County’s Historic Environmental Records to update the records.  Everyone is welcome to join the fieldwork investigations and no experience is necessary. There is no charge but places are limited, so please book by contacting the office on 01938 561741, or email info@stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk.

  • Wednesday 27th July Stapeley Common
  • Wednesday 10th & 17th August, Mucklewick
  • Wednesday 24th August, Heath Mynd
  • Wednesday 31st August & 7th September, venue tbc

More details can be found on our events web-page http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/events/category/events/

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