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Working together to enhance our green spaces and protect wildlife

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100th Loddiswell Show Saturday 3rd August 2024

The judging has now taken place for the Best Garden or Allotment for Wildlife competition in the Loddiswell Show.  Katie of the Devon Wildlife Trust Wilder Communities Team very much enjoyed visiting your plots and meeting you - despite the bucketing rain! The winner will receive this fabulous trophy - a sculpture made and kindly donated by Andy Harris, to be awarded annually to the winner of this class in the Loddiswell Show.  To find out who has won, please come along to the Loddiswell Show on Saturday 3rd August 2024

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      Sturtlebury Woods & Pond Project

                       14th June 2024

On 14th June, we had a lovely guided walk around the Sturtlebury Woods and Pond Project, led by Adrian Masters We were incredibly lucky to find a window in what had been atrocious weather and the rain held off until the very end of the walk! Adrian explained to us his motivations behind the project, some of the history of the site and its association with the railway line and tunnel and showed us the impressive work he has been doing to increase the biodiversity of the site, maintain and manage the ponds and water courses etc.. A lot has been achieved in 3 years! He is also keen to share the peace and tranquility of this hidden little valley with others and it is open Friday to Monday 10am to 4pm, unless the gate is closed.

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                            Ham Farm 21st May 2024​

We had a lovely walk around Ham Farm on Tuesday and were blessed with good weather! Guided by Peet and Lewis, we were impressed to see the enormous amount of work they have put in over the years to increase the biodiversity whilst still farming the land with grazing livestock. In the time they have been there they have planted more than 8,000 trees and transformed it from farmland that was largely devoid of trees and hedges to an area of large tracts of woodlands with meadows bordered by prolific hedges, teeming with birds and other wildlife. Steps they have taken to mitigate flooding (installing leaky dams and a silt trap along with other measures to slow the flow of water) are creating new wetland habitats which are wonderful for wildlife, we learned that wetlands have been rapidly disappearing from our landscape as a result of land drainage to create more farmland for crop growing, a practice that is now being reversed in many places, the Somerset levels for instance.

It was lovely to see a great proliferation of wild flowers too.

We were entertained in the farmhouse afterwards with tea, coffee and delicious cakes. We were also shown photos of the farm when Carl and Peet first bought it - the difference now is amazing and it was inspiring to see what can be achieved in just under under 30 years.

Thank you very much Peet, Carl and Lewis for your hospitality and for a very enjoyable and informative evening.

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Best Garden/Allotment for Wildlife Category

Loddiswell Show

Judging will take place on 15th July 2024

.We are pleased to be supporting the Best Garden / Allotment for Wildlife category at this year's Loddiswell Show.
There is a cup for the winning entry and prizes for the top three entries.
We look forward to seeing all the entries no matter how big or small!

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More Seeding at Ham Butts

             November 2023

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Just like last year, we were blessed with glorious weather for our work at the triangle at Ham Butts on Saturday.

We scarified patches and sowed more yellow rattle and wildflower seed, including extra oxeye daisies and knapweed. Hopefully these will flower next year with the promise of better things to come. It always takes a while for wildflowers to establish themselves and put on a show. We're hoping this second seeding will speed things along a bit. We planted some more bluebell bulbs too.

It gave us the opportunity to try out our newly acquired tools and gloves, purchased with grant money from the Trust for Conservation Volunteers. The seed was funded by Wild About Devon and mixed with some that we had collected locally.

Thanks all for your help!

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Hedgehog Day 9th September

Thank you very much everyone who came along and supported us. It proved very successful, collaborating with the Pop-Up Cafe – thank you very much to Sally and team for providing the yummy refreshments.

We're looking forward to working with those of you who registered an interest in setting up Hedgehog Highways through your gardens. We have more hedgehog door template/surrounds to give away too. Having plotted your hedgehog sightings on the village map it has given us a good picture of how they are distributed around the village.

Judy Thomson from Prickles in a Pickle Hedgehog Hospital attended the event, selling her hedgehog and wildlife themed merchandise and gifts as well as giving lots of advice and information about hedgehogs.

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Our Canoe Trip With Singing Paddles
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September 3rd 2023 Bio-Luminescence and Bat Canoe Trip

We couldn't have wished for better weather for our canoe trip with Singing Paddles. It was a fabulous warm summer's evening. Starting near Bowcombe Bridge Dave guided us first to see something rather intriguing that he has christened the "phenomenon" where patches of water mysteriously bubble - in places very audibly , like boiling water. He explained that it is in fact air, not oxygen or methane. The air is trapped due to the geology, it finds its way to the surface through cracks in the bedrock. He also showed us the lime kilns and told us about their history.

After returning to shore and enjoying hot drinks and cake we set off again in the fast fading light, squeezing under Bowcombe Bridge (the tide was high so we had to lie flat in our canoes to get through!) We continued in the darkness and were thrilled to see flashes of bio-luminescence as our paddles hit the water. With each stroke it was as if sparks were flying off our paddles, it was quite magical. At the small bridge we stopped and laid in our canoes looking up at the night sky, spotting constellations and hoping for shooting stars. We weren't disappointed - as the satellites steadily traversed overhead, every so often there would be a brief flash and a star would drop from the sky.

 

There weren't many bats about, possibly because it was too light as the moon was so bright, being only a couple of days after the blue moon, but no one minded, we were too busy enjoying ourselves and I think everyone went home feeling they had had a wonderful evening.

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Our Bat Walk at Ham Farm, 11th August 2023

Thank you very much to Craig Dunton for a very interesting bat walk and to Karl and Peet Hahn for hosting and the lovely cakes! It was a bit of a damp and breezy evening so the bats were a little shy, but we did record some species - I left my detector outside afterwards while we were having a cuppa and recorded quite a few more! Here is the list recorded on my detector, probably not 100% accurate, but a still a good indicator: Brandt's myotis, Whiskered myotis, Leisler's noctule, Noctule, Nathusius' pipistrelle, Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle, Brown long-eared, Greater horseshoe, Barbastelle.

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Our Visit to Three Corners, Inner Weeke, July 2023

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Our Visit to Brimridge June 2023
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Sowing Wildflower Seed at Ham Butts
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Sturtlebury Wood

and Ponds Project

We are fortunate to have another evolving nature reserve on our doorstep.  It is open to the public on certain days.

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 Our Visit to Brimridge  

A Nature Reserve in the Making

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What a lovely walk we had around Brimridge last Friday! A beautiful, warm summer's evening with fabulous views over the Avon Valley, extending across to Dartmoor in the distance. Expertly led by Lynne Kenderdine of DWT, we learned about the history of the site and its evolution from a mixed arable and grassland farm, with many of its hedgerows removed, to what has fast now become a haven for wildlife. The hedges have been re-instated and the fields have been re-seeded (yellow rattle was introduced first to weaken the vigorous grasses and to allow the wildflowers to establish). It has already become a valuable source of seed to distribute to other members of the Avon Valley Project and Lynne has kindly offered some to WAL too.

With careful management and sensitive grazing, along with the planting of 1000 trees, the land has been transformed. Several ponds have also been created - this was part of a flood prevention scheme to protect the house below, but has had the added bonus of being extremely beneficial to wildlife - an otter has even been recorded there! A pair of barn owls have taken up residence in a recently built barn and have begun to breed. Other exciting discoveries have been breeding harvest mice, brown hares, glow worms, greater and lesser horseshoe bats, snipe, stonechats and a flock of meadow pipits. A marsh harrier's feather has even been found on the site!

It was all looking rather parched, so not as resplendent as it would normally have been and was not teeming with butterflies which have been such a pleasure on previous visits. The pond levels were also worryingly low - we desperately need more rain! It was still magical though, in the golden light of the setting sun with the beautiful red moon looming large on the horizon as we left.

We will definitely visit again, in the early summer next year when the flowers and butterflies will be at their best.

It was such a privilege to visit Brimridge and we are very grateful to Mary and Cyrus Clark for giving us permission and to Lynne for guiding us.

Loddiswell Birdwatch Results 2024

During January 2024 we took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. Here are our results and how they compared with our results from 2022. and 2023.

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BioBlitz 2022
 

Sponsored by the Aune Conservation Association
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BioBlitz Results 2022.
Please click to view






 

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BioBlitz 2022 

Thank you to everyone who took part in our walks and activities and helped us to survey the wildlife. It was lovely to meet people and to put some faces to names!  The results are being collated, which will take a while as there are many Latin names to look up! They will be posted on here once we have them and will be sent to the DBRC and other interested parties. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday afternoon we added up the total species counted during the various activities which came to 566!  Once the results have been properly collated and duplications taken out, this number will reduce, but it is still a pretty good result!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to the experts who led and helped with the various activities:

Lynne Kenderdine (Devon Wildlife Trust, Avon Valley Project)

Hetty Upton (Devon Wildlife Trust Wilder Communities)

Fiona Van Es (Chartered Ecologist)

Craig Dunton (Grey long eared bat project officer)

Nigel Mortimer (South Devon AONB Estuaries Officer)

Special thanks to the Aune Conservation Association for sponsoring the event.

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Raffle Prize Donations - Many thanks to the following businesses for their generosity:

Weaver Green

Avon Mill Garden Centre

Aune Valley Meat

MGM Landscapes

Our Little Piece of Devon

Projects

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Tree Planting at Ham Butts

Five trees have been planted at Ham Butts with the children from the primary school's forest school. Already a wild area, it will be sensitively managed for wildlife. Nearby verges will be enhanced with native wildflowers

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Restoring our Roadside Verges

We plan to restore and enhance, where necessary, the roadside verges around the village with native wildflowers, thereby improving the biodiversity.  Seed will be sourced locally. Care will be taken to cut them at the correct time of year.

Please click on the links below for more information

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Other Projects

The Old School Field - please see the section below for the current situation.

We planted wild daffodils, snowdrops and English bluebells around the trees on the Courtledge and hope, with permission from the Parish Council, to create some beds with herbs and bee and butterfly friendly flowers. Already a lovely wild area, we are assisting with the management the Parish Churchyard for wildflowers and wildlife in conjunction with SHDC and the Church PCC. 

The Old School Field

The old school field has been left untouched for several years and is rewilding itself beautifully. It already has a rich diversity of wildflowers and its tussocky grass is an ideal hunting ground for barn owls, which are frequently seen there. An ecological survey has recorded, amongst others, resident dormice, slow worms and hedgehogs. It is also a foraging area for very rare bats: greater and lesser horseshoe and barbastelle have been recorded there.

It is the last, real, green space in the centre of the village and it seems a great shame for DCC to shoehorn more houses into it, which is their intention.  It would be lovely if this could be kept as a sanctuary for wildlife and for the enjoyment of the village, accessible to all. Our thoughts for the field are:

  1. To manage the spinney for both people and wildlife

  2. To create a community orchard

  3. Create a wildflower meadow

  4. Create a pond

  5. Maintain the hedges for wildlife

  6. Create an area for well-being, where people can sit quietly and connect with nature.         

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Tree Planting

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Restoring Roadside Verges

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Conserving our green spaces and Protecting Our Wildlife

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