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NEWSLETTER, October 2016

Wednesday October 19th, 2016 | Stephanie

wp_20161015_027-low-resSaturday WILD Skills
This autumn sees the start of a programme of exciting activities for young people in the Scheme area.  Young Ranger’s kicked off on 15th October with an autumn ramble in the Hope Valley.  It was a chance to get to know each other and find out what the Young Ranger programme has in store over the coming months.  The programme is aimed at aged 11 or over and is running outdoor activities on the second Saturday of each month.  This first session had everyone foraging for fungi, collecting acorns for planting and playing wide games in the woods.  Hot chocolate and marshmallows were on the lunch menu, which was enjoyed at the top of Oakage, along with stunning sunny views across to the Stiperstones.  Completing the 10 session leads to participants achieving their John Muir Award. Coppicing is planned for next month.



Anonymous at SO329295 00295890
A series of walks and creative workshops have got people thinking about old buildings which are slowly vanishing from our communities.  Vanishing Buildings is the community project around Old Churchstoke, Priest Weston and Hyssington.  Guided walks this summer have explored some of the lost and forgotten buildings in the area, while two workshops have inspired creativity.  Anonymous at SO329295 00295890 is a poem composed by Chris Kinsey, and the family arts workshop created a whole lot of messy fun with maps!  Click here to read the poem.  The messy maps can be seen on our facebook page.


Curlew Recovery Project receiving national attention

Curlew by Tony Cross

Curlew by Tony Cross

In September an All Party Parliamentary Group debated predator control in relation to conservation.  Curlew ambassador, Mary Colwell Hector, Martin Harper RSPB and Andrew Hoodless from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust spoke.  They gave their views on the problems of predation in relation to ground nesting birds and the findings of our Curlew Recovery Project was mentioned.

This month, we hosted a visit from Sarah Sanders and Phillippa Gullett of the RSPB National Curlew Recovery Programme.  They wanted to look at the work that our project has been doing and the links with RSPB work in more upland areas.  We are sharing data on nest monitoring and lessons learnt with the RSPB programme.

electric-fencingThis year the nest monitoring work included a first for the UK with the trial of electric fencing to protect curlew nests.  From over 20 nests closely monitored, the only three that hatched chicks were those that had the protective fencing around them.  Fencing of nests has been used with other wader species in the UK, but not curlew. Fencing has been successful for a curlew project in Schleswig Holstein.   Whilst we are pleased the nests protected by fencing survived to hatching stage, all chicks were subsequently lost with evidence or assumption of predation. More work is needed to establish what will help chicks make it to fledging stage.


Grants still up for grabs!
Farmers, smallholders and community groups can access up to £1,500 (75% grant rate) for small projects which help to conserve, enhance and/or celebrate places in the Scheme area.  Applications are invited throughout the year.  Please contact JP Brayford or Amanda Perkins for more information.


Dear Diary…

heathland-1-low-resTrainee Adam’s diary might not be as exciting as Bridget’s, but he has to write one to record his activities as part of his 12-month placement. Here’s a snippet about scything bracken…

“The reason for carrying out this task was to maintain soil conditions needed for the conservation of the habitat. I picked an Alpine scythe for the task as they are the best tool for cutting bracken on Heathland with rocks and stones.  I calibrated/ adjusted the scythe to my arm length and height. I also checked the condition of the blade and sharpened it with the canoe stone. I used the scythe in a swinging motion keeping the blade level a few centimetres above the ground and in a 180-degree arc.  This cuts the bracken with minimum effort and avoids muscular strain on the user.  At the end of the day, I cleaned and oiled the scythe and put it away safely in the tool store.  The cut Bracken was left on site to compost, as per the site specification.”

We’re finalising details for two more 12-month traineeships, which will start February 2017.  The application pack will be on our website early November, with deadline 2nd January 2017.


Red green Carpet by David GreenMarvellous Moths
Once again, the results of the Moth ID workshops have exceeded expectation.  282 species were recorded this year across our six Rescuing Rocks sites.  The diversity and number of scarce and specialist moth species remains outstanding.  A detailed report and site species lists can be viewed on our website.  Not only have the workshops given us many ‘firsts’ for the old mining and quarry sites, but regular participants have gained knowledge and confidence to start trapping and recording moths themselves.  All the data is verified and sent to County recorders.


Shrink Pots & Spoons

Our recent series of Skills in the Hills couses have included Shrink Pot making and Spoon Carving.  To see how participants got on go to our facebook page.  Coming up is a Blacksmithing course (fully booked) held at the Black Smith Shop, Snailbeach Lead Mine, and next month a 2-day Hedge Laying course aimed at beginners.  We’re finalising more traditional skills courses to start in January 2017.  They make great practical presents as the festive season approaches!  Contact Jon Bielstein for details or visit the course page on our website.  2017 courses will be added shortly.  http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/events/category/courses/



THANK YOU to all our Task Team volunteers who, last autumn/winter, clocked up 400 volunteering hours. Across all of the projects we have generated over £115,000 worth of volunteer time since the Scheme started in April 2013.

Join the Tuesday Task Team for more hands-on conservation work this autumn/winter.  As always everyone is welcome and no experience is necessary. Below is what we have planned for the remainder of the year.  Please book onto the task days as the venue may change at short notice.  More details can be found on the events page of our website http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/events/category/events/

  • 25 Oct at Snailbeach.  Habitat management in heritage area.
  • 1 Nov at Earl’s Hill.  Scrub management.
  • 8 Nov at Pontesford Hill Lower Camp Hillfort.  Scrub clearance.
  • 15 Nov at Poles Coppice.  Clearing holly and planting hazel.
  • THURS 17 Nov at Churchstoke. Tree planting on the River Camlad.
  • 22 Nov at Poles Coppice.  Clearing holly and planting hazel.
  • 29 Nov at Marehay Marsh nr. Squilver, Stiperstones.  Scrub clearing for the Wet Flush Project.
  • 6 Dec at Poles Coppice.  Scrub clearance in the quarry.
  • 13 Dec at Snailbeach.  Understory management for dormice.


Investigating the archaeology on our doorstep

More dates for your diary!  Our Open Hills Project continues with a series of archaeological field surveys planned each Wednesday next month.  Archaeologist, Mike Green, leads these surveys. Everyone is welcome and you don’t need to have any survey experience.  Details of each visit can be found on the events page.

  •  2nd Nov, Lan Fawrwp_20160514_14_19_46_pro
  •  9th Nov, Bromlow Callow
  •  16th Nov, Heath Mynd,
  •  23rd Nov, Mucklewick
  • 30th Nov, Stapeley Hill

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