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Newsletter, September 2017

Wednesday September 6th, 2017 | Stephanie

Sharing the Scheme’s Successes

Corndon at dusk by Phil King

You are warmly invited to our Celebration Event on Tuesday 17th October at Norbury Village Hall.  So much wonderful work and activity has been achieved since the start of the Scheme in 2013.  We will be sharing our successes, and some of the stories and stumbles we’ve had along the way.  The day will include presentations, exhibitions and case study sessions, followed by site visits in the afternoon.  This is also an opportunity to thank the many people who have supported the Scheme in many different ways.  For detailed information and how to book please follow this link http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/event/celebration/


Revealing the story of barytes mining
Barytes mining has generally received less recognition than the better-known lead mining. Indeed, many people may wonder what Barytes is, and why people went to such great lengths to extract it.

At Cothercott, the aim has been to promote understanding of the barytes mining industry by increasing public access to this key site and by interpreting some of the visible archaeology.  With much help from the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club, we have been able to reveal the origin and function of various relic features including the curious, and rather large concrete block that stands alongside the Pulverbatch-Bridges road.

Recent work has involved formalising a Permissive Path and creating a circular, self-guided walk.  A number of millstones have also been excavated too.  Originally, the millstones were used to grind the barytes ore into a fine powder and some have been recovered and used to mount interpretive panels.  Many of the other, nearby barytes mines are visible from Cothercott so it is well worth a visit.  The viewpoint on the upper reaches of the site provide extensive and spectacular views across much of the eastern side of the Scheme area.

Click here to download a copy of the walking leaflet Medieval mottes, barytes mining and ancient lanes, a 5-mile circular from Pulverbatch to Cothercott.



Celebrating traditional meadows
Around 500 people attend the Hay Meadow Festival held in June.  The event was organised in partnership with Natural England.  From scything to skipping, spells and storytelling, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained.  Competitions in scything, hay bale lobbing and hayrick building were closely fought.  Scything workshops, greenwood working demonstrations and the arts & craft tents were particularly popular.  As was Charlie, one of the big Shire Horses from Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, who was tedding (turning) the hay.  Thank you to everyone involved in helping to make the day the success it was. Follow the link to our Hay Meadow Festival gallery http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/2017/06/hay-meadow-festival-gallery/


Our Young Rangers Go Swiss!
Ably accompanied by our Education Officer Jon Bielstein, two of our Young Rangers, Maisie and Rowan, have had the fantastic opportunity of joining the Europarc Federation’s 16th International Junior Ranger’s Camp this year in Habkern Switzerland.  In July, 45 Junior Rangers representing 14 protected areas from 10 countries came together to celebrate Europe’s protected landscapes, and to share their differing experiences of nature conservation.  The camp enables EUROPARC to invest in important conservation messages about how nature knows no boundaries across Europe and through cultural exchange to highlight the value of good citizenship. During the 5-day camp Maisie and Rowan were involved in field trips, conservation tasks, sharing events and helped out with cooking and cleaning up! For more info about what they got up to and pics of all the fun see http://www.europarc.org/international-junior-ranger-camp-2017/


Curlew Country 2017
The 2017 season has come to a close with some success.  This year we concentrated on protecting as many nests as possible with electric fencing and trialling fox control.  22 nests were monitored with more territories under observation.

From 22 nests, 28 chicks hatched out.  Most were fitted with radio tags as, once hatched, the chicks only stay in the fenced off nest area for a few days at most.  They soon venture out into the wider area in search of food. The chicks are never fed by the adults and have to find their own food on the surface until they grow their own long beaks for probing the ground.

Three of the broods were observed to near fledging or fledging stage, and we estimate that between 3 and 8 chicks successfully fledged. These numbers are based on the most recent sightings and the numbers before the tags dropped off the birds as well as the behaviour and sightings of adults.

The improved numbers of chicks allowed us to gain more knowledge and insights into their behaviour, which we hope will enable us to work out what can be done to give them the best chance of survival.

If you have not seen it, Curlew Country now has its own website: http://curlewcountry.org/ and if you missed it take a look at our CurlewCam highlights.


Buzz in the Borders “ Fun, exciting and fascinating”
Comments from the children at Churchstoke Primary School summing up the Buzz in the Borders project.  In the summer term, 25 children aged 9-11, and two of their teachers found out lots about pollinator insects and achieved their John Muir Award.  Buzz sessions were held in school and out at a local privately owned wildlife garden and a meadow at nearby Roundton National Nature Reserve. At the end of term, the children held a sharing event and invited their friends and family to come and find out what they had been up to.  Take a look at their activities captured on film https://vimeo.com/224651884

At Norbury Primary School we ran four Buzz sessions as part of an after-school club.  These helped them to achieve their John Muir Award and were linked to the local Myndtown Parish verges project. We also ran Buzz sessions for children and parents from Shropshire Home Education Network. 13 children, aged 5-14, and 9 parents achieved their JMA through six pollinator activities which included a visit to and condition survey of meadows in Hope Valley, art activities and a final sharing event in early July.

This year Buzz in the Borders was supported by Cath Landles from the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership, Gill Oldacre (entomologist), Jenny Ogden (Beetles and Bees), Sophie Peach (Words Aloud) and Tom Middleton (SMN Film).


Marvellous Moths by Amber Bicheno

I have attended these guided moth trapping events from their initial set up in 2015 and followed them through the seasons. I’ve gone from knowing very little about these night flying (for the most part) creatures to owning multiple identification guides and my own simple moth trap. I did not realise from the outset that my passion would grow in such a way, but I feel glad that it has and have enjoyed every session with our ‘moth guru’ Dave Green.

This year’s sessions have been no exception, with even the weather smiling kindly on our little group, huddled around the bright glow of the moth lamp, in this most unpredictable of British summers.  Although I still struggle to identify some of the browner species that grace us with their presence, there are many that I can now successfully put a name to, and occasionally even recall from memory.

Black Arches

Often people fail to realise just how varied and colourful this group can be. Their wings are covered in tiny scales in the same way as butterflies, which allows for intricate patterns to emerge, many of which are a marvel to behold. One of my favourite species has to be the Black Arches, better known as a Southern species it has gradually been making its way north.  Although this is likely a sign of a changing climate, it is a beautiful moth to see, and on the most recent session at least 3 specimens turned up to be admired by the group.

I would recommend anyone with even a small interest in moths to come along to the final session in October (date tbc).  And remember that they don’t just eat clothes!

Follow the link to view 2017 species lists http://www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk/rescuing-rocks-overgrown-relics/#MMevents


The Three Trainee’teers
This year we have three trainees working towards their City & Guilds Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Environmental Conservation.  Amber Bicheno, based at the Chirbury office, is assisting with Curlew Country activity, Buzz in the Borders and Community Wildlife surveys.

Sarah Fortune has joined Shropshire Council Outdoor Partnership team at Severn Valley Country Park and is gaining experience in running volunteer work parties, leading school visits and organising events.

Abbi Knight is dividing her time between the National Trust, Natural England and Access & Habitat Management to gain a breadth of experience in practical conservation, visitor management and events.  Amber, Abbi and Sarah all recently gained their chainsaw maintenance, cross cutting and felling certificate, which they will no doubt be putting to good use this autumn.  The placements end in March 2018.


Slugs, spoons and shrink pots…
… Courses coming up soon!  Please contact the office to book your place, 01938 561741.

  • Saturday 16th September, Spoon Carving – one day workshop with craftman, Neill Mapes. £45.
  • Saturday 30th September, Horse Logging Taster Day – one day course with Nick Burton, Powys Forest Horses. £65.
  • Saturday 21st October, Shrink-pot one-day course with craftman, Neill Mapes. learning how to hand carve rustic wooden pots. £45.
  • 17th & 18th November, Hedge laying course, venue and cost tbc
  • one-day course in the use of quad bike based slug pellet application to promote best practice (you must have quad bike experience and your PA1 (pesticides handling) certificate.  Subsidised at £110. Date tbc.


Events coming up… click on each for more information.


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