Monday, 28 February 2011

Yesterdays scrub clearance

We were delighted to have another visit from Wolverhampton National Trust Conservation Volunteers yesterday. They were working in Lea Quarry clearing invading Hawthorn, Ash and Bramble, this will allow wildflowers and grasses to re-establish. Hopefully our Hebridean sheep will keep on top of any re-growth and we will not have to re-visit this part of the slope again, as it really is steep here.

Getting started up the hill, its clear to see the area cleared last time.
The lower slopes were cleared by the group last time they visited so all that was left was the trickier patch at the top, this mean't all the scrub either had to be hauled up the hill to a fire or, using gravity helped down to the bottom. It was decided to have a fire at the bottom and this worked really well, with a group of well practiced volunteers there was soon a steady stream of brash being tossed onto an increasingly hot fire.


Told you it was steep!
After lunch another smaller fire was started at the top of the hill to deal with some trees on the crest whilst the final large patch of bramble was dealt with on the slope by most of the group.
As ever i'd like to thank all those that came to help and look forward to seeing you in a fortnight.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Today's ringing

Chelmarsh bird ringers managed to carry out a successful bird ringing session this morning, there were occasional showers but in between these they were able to put out their nets and catch a few birds.
45 birds were caught, ringed, weighed and released, a few of which had been caught here previously. It was interesting to see the difference in the birds weight, most had lost some as this is a particularly difficult time for birds as most natural food has run out or at best is in short supply. It is important to keep feeders topped up at this time of year to help get the birds through this difficult period.
A couple of the birds caught had been ringed as 8 day old chicks in bird boxes on the Edge last Spring, its great to see that they have survived so far and decided to stay relatively close, hopefully these birds will breed here themselves in the coming months.
Long Tailed Tit

Species caught included, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Robin,
Coal Tit.

There were also plenty of Greenfinch about around the hide as well as Goldfinch and a few Siskin, unfortunately they evaded the nets this time!

Also seen/heard today, Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker.


A better view of the long tail

One of our own Great Tits from last years nest boxes

James demonstrating how the birds are ringed


Bird Ringing is on!

The weather is great this morning, clear skies and a lovely sunrise, perfect weather for todays Bird Ringing event to go ahead. The Ringers will be at the bird hide from 9 until about 1 pm please do come and have a look.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Bird Ringing

All looks good for tomorrow's bird ringing event, the forecast is for occasional showers but there will be enough dry spells in between that we will be able to catch a few birds. I will update again at 07.30 just to confirm for those unsure about setting out.
Species i am hopeful of  seeing ringed include Marsh, Blue, Great and Coal Tit's, Nuthatch, and Robin, if we are lucky there may also be Siskin as there have been a few about near the hide over the last couple of days.
To find the hide park at Presthope car park and follow the 'Lime Kiln' walk, after about 20 mins you will pass the Kilns and the hide is then on your right.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Over the Edge event

I have just been starting the process of organising a 17 mile walking and running event along the length of Wenlock Edge, starting in Craven Arms and finishing in Much Wenlock. The date has been set for Sunday October 23rd.
Its a beautiful route with only a few steep climbs, the Southern part of the route stays high up on the crest firstly amongst the trees before following field edges with lovely views. After passing Wilderhope Manor the route descends to the foot of the Edge to follow the dis-used railway line before rising up through the woods of Blakeway Hollow, leaving only 3/4 mile descent to the finish at the National Trust car park on the outskirts of the town.
It is anticipated that participants will be bussed from Much Wenlock to Craven Arms so that they can make their way back without having to leave a car at both ends. There will be water stations en-route and hopefully some warm food at the end for all participants. Obviously there will have to be a charge for the event but hopefully we can keep it as low as possible.

Booking details will follow shortly, there are a few things to sort out first!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Bird Ringing

This coming Sunday morning we are going to have another attempt at ringing some birds, this is weather dependant and i will keep updating the blog later in the week and let you know how likely it is to be going ahead. Its a great chance to get a close up view of some of our woodland birds.
All being well we will be starting at 9am and continuing until lunchtime, its a great event for kids to see so why not bring the family down. The bird hide is located near the lime kilns at Presthope, park at the Presthope car park and follow the 'Lime Kiln' walk, just after the kilns the hide is on your right.

Monday, 14 February 2011

On a brighter note

Another Nordic Walking session has been organised for Saturday 14th May. The sessions will start from the National Trust car park on the outskirts of Much Wenlock on the B4371 at 10am and 1pm. Tuition from qualified instructors and pole hire is included for the bargain price of £6. A 4 mile walk on Wenlock Edge will give you a great chance to experience the benefits of this fast growing leisure activity. So if you just want to try something different or are looking for a new hobby/fitness activity why not give it a try.
Booking is essential as numbers are limited.
Either e-mail chris.dunkerley@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 07948072075
Book early to avoid disappointment as previous sessions have been oversubscribed.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Bird Ringing cancelled!

Unfortunately the weather this morning is a little too damp to allow any bird ringing to take place. We can't risk the birds getting cold so the safest thing to do is re-arrange it in the next few weeks. Details will be on the blog when i have them.
It is not however too wet for a walk/run/bike ride so theres no need to miss out on a visit to the Edge!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Bird ringing update

Well, the weather doesn't look too good for tomorrow morning http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/22?area=Much%20Wenlock, but you never know it may not turn out to be too bad. I don't want to cancel the event and then find out that the weather system has missed the Edge as it can do sometimes. What i suggest if you are thinking of coming is that you either check here again after 8am tomorrow or why not come anyway, you can still have a good walk and watch the birds from the bird hide even if theres no ringing going on.
Sorry i can't be more certain about things.

Todays Nordic Walking

What a lovely day to be out walking on the Edge today was, even better to be out with good company and a pair of Nordic Walking poles in hand.
Two fully booked sessions saw 20 people having a go at this low impact, full body workout. Enjoying the sunshine and a new experience all seemed to be having a good time and agreed that it is easier than walking with more benefits.
After some basic tuition we headed off on a 4 mile walk which included a couple of hills, under the watchful eyes of instructors Martin and Sue. The hills came and went easily as people got the hang of using the poles to propel themselves forwards, leaving a pleasant stretch along the top of Lea Quarry before descending back down to the car park.
There is one space available on the 1pm session on 5th March, e-mail chris.dunkerley@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 07948072075 to book it.
We are hoping to run another Nordic Walking event in May, details will be finalised in the next few days and will be posted here as soon as possible.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Bird Ringing

The weather forecast keeps improving for Sunday, earlier in the week we were expecting heavy rain for most of the day, now it has changed to light showers. We may just get away with it be able to do some ringing after all. I'll post again tomorrow evening, hopefully with a better idea, so either check again here or just come anyway and have a walk, there will still be birds to see from the hide even if we aren't ringing them.
Hopefully we'll have the chance for more photo's like this.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Rhodi bashing

Today Alistair, two volunteers Tom and Rob and myself cleared some trees from a footpath in Longville Coppice, doing this work will allow easier access for a contractor with his hedge cutter so that the footpath can be kept more open with regular cutting.
In the same location we also cleared a small patch of Rhododendron, a non native species that was planted back in the days when a shoot took place here. It is normally a guick growing species that spreads rapidly providing cover for game birds, however it has not spread too much here as it does not favour alkaline soils, as found on Wenlock Edge. Being a non-native species it does not support any of our native fauna, it also blocks out all light from reaching the woodland floor and alters the soils ph level, preventing native plants from growing.
Rhododendron is also a host plant of Phytopthera Ramorum otherwise known as Sudden Oak Death, this disease can kill mature Oak trees very quickly and is also now affecting Larch trees. There are currently no known cases of Phytopthera on Wenlock Edge but this will hopefully help to keep it that way. Due to the plants being relatively small it was possible to pull them out with the roots attached, this will ensure that they dont simply grow back.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Bird Ringing

On Sunday 13th February Stuart and Linda will be carrying out a bird ringing session at the bird hide on Wenlock Edge. This is a great chance to get up close to some of our woodland birds, hopefully including Marsh Tits, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Please feel free to come along for a look from 9am. The ringing will enable us to track their future movements, the birds are also weighed so that we can get an idea as to their condition. It is suitable for all ages and kids will really enjoy it.

The event is weather dependant, high winds or rain will mean that the ringing will not take place as the birds may suffer from cold. If you intend to come please check here on the blog the night before if you are in any doubt as to whether it will be on or not.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Seeing stars!

This week Wenlock Edge has been named as one of the top ten places for star gazing due to the low levels of light pollution. The story is here and i can definately confirm it to be a great place to enjoy the night sky. The best place i can suggest to witness it is from the viewpoint next to the road on the B4371, 3.5 miles outside Much Wenlock. Pick a cloud free night and it is possible to get a 360 degree panorama, seeing all the constellations, you may even be lucky and spot the International Space Station go over.

A rubbish day

Unfortunately some of the time that we could be spending carrying out conservation work or improving access is wasted, picking up other peoples rubbish. For some reason a minority of drivers believe that the woodland that runs adjacent to the road is a good place to empty out their car of crisp packets, tin cans and baths! 2 members of staff and 5 volunteers spent 3 hours filling the boot of the Land Rover and the back of a pick up truck with litter and fly tipped waste along part of the B4371. A further hour was spent sorting out the recyclables. In this time we could have cleared 30 metres of overgrown footpath.









Just 2 days later and already fresh litter is appearing! Grrr...