Friday, 28 October 2011

Dont be afraid of the dark?

On Thursday 3rd of November at 7pm i will be standing in the Wenlock Edge Inn car park with a headtorch on. I will then go for a walk in the woods for an hour and a half  to see what wildlife is about, i would expect to hear Tawny owls, and may be lucky and hear rutting deer. There is also a chance that badgers will be encountered, of course i may see and hear nothing but i will have a great walk. Going out in the woods at night is such an amazing experience and even paths that you know really well are completely different after dark and clear nights offer wonderful views of the solar system.
If you think that this sounds fun, why not join me?
Cost is £5 per person and there is no need to book but you will need a torch

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Over the Edge

Well done to everyone who took part in our 'Over the Edge' event yesterday. It was a brilliant day and everyone, participants and marshalls seemed to enjoy it.

A simple idea of creating an event that enabled people to travel by foot, along the length of Wenlock Edge in one go led to months of planning by National Trust staff, volunteers, local runners and walkers. There were a busy few days leading up to the event including checking equipment, briefing marshalls, making soup and waymarking the route but by 6am we were ready, the weather was ideal with cloudy skies, light winds but no rain, now all we needed were the 200+ participants.
After parking on the edge of Much Wenlock entrants were transported to Craven Arms by coach where they were given a quick briefing before setting off on their journey back to Much Wenlock.
There was a fun feel to the event with marshalls reporting on how friendly everyone was and participants saying how great the marshalls were. There were 35 volunteer marshalls out on the route, giving out water, checking numbers, helping at road crossings, parking cars etc, the event couldn't have happened without them so thankyou all.
Wilderhope Manor checkpoint which is about 10 miles into the route provided tea, coffee and flapjack, giving people a well earned energy boost for the final 7 miles to the finish
At the finish there was soup and a roll for all, and the great weather allowed people to sit around and socialise, making for a really friendly atmosphere
If you have any comments you can e-mail me at chris.dunkerley@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Thankyou to Bulldog Security and Reynolds Transport for helping out with parking and Wenlock Spring for donating water for all finishers.
Photo's are on Alastair Tye's website, Thanks Al.

http://www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk/overtheedge2011.html


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Over the Edge

Only a few days to go now until our 17.5 mile challenge event along the length of Wenlock Edge. The event is fully booked with 230 people taking on the challenge. The paths are in a wonderful condition, with months of dry weather they are all pretty dry and should provide enjoyable walking or running. The weather forecast looks good at the moment, we are currently looking at 17 degrees with 20mph winds from the south, there will be cloud but no rain. Obviously this can all change and i will update this message every time the forecast changes between now and then.
Where possible please consider car sharing to reduce the carbon footprint of the event and ease traffic in the area.
Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!
Chris

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Autumn wildlife

With cooler nights back upon us and the very hot daytime temperatures replaced by more average October figures the woods feel Autumnul again. The Winter Jackdaw roost that circles over Presthope for an hour before finally settling on a place to spend the night is growing and has over 100 noisy birds in it. Redwing are arriving from Scandinavia, they migrate at night time and can sometimes be heard going overhead in the dark making 'tsee' noises, 80 were seen along Blakeway Hollow the other day. I heard a male Fallow deer roaring in Northway wood a couple of days ago signalling that the rut is well under way. He was a splendid sight with a wonderful set of antlers, 5 females were close by, constantly under his gaze as he waited for his chance to mate.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Volunteer Weekend

We have just enjoyed a 3 day visit from the Shropshire and Staffordshire National Trust Volunteers (ssntv).  They have spent their time clearing invasive scrub from an area of species rich limestone grassland, Hawthorn and Blackthorn have been shading out the wildflowers and needed to be cleared to allow the flowers and grasses to re-colonise. By lunchtime on Friday a fire was blazing and a large area was already cleared, fueled by a huge variety of cakes at lunchtime progress continued well in the afternoon, the results of day 1 can be seen below.
Before SSNTV
After SSNTV

On Saturday a couple of extra volunteers joined those who were present on Friday so even more scrub succumbed to the fire that was ressurected from the day before. I think it was homemade flapjack and chocolate cake that provided vital energy for the afternoon session which saw a second fire lit and another section of scrub attacked.


Today i thought we would have a little change first thing, so a few laps of the field trying to round our Hebridean sheep up were had. We needed to reduce the number of sheep in the field to ensure that there is enough grass to sustain some sheep over the Winter. We managed to round up 10 of the 17 sheep in the field and so it was decided that the number to be left in the field for the Winter would be 7.
Then it was back to the fires and one particularly dense corner of the field which provided entertainment for the final afternoon session. With the job finished the group of weary looking volunteers departed having spent 3 days improving the habitat, making a real difference to the local flora. I'm so grateful for all the hard work that they have put in and its great that they get so much enjoyment from it. I'm really looking forward to their next visit in December.