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Thursday, June 09, 2016

Curry Rivel's Natural Health Service

Here is a post I have just put on our Curry Rivel Facebook page which describes our continuing efforts to find out about wildlife in our parish and protect it.

Curry Rivel's Natural Health Service
How healthy is Curry Rivel’s natural environment? What makes the village a good place to live? Our parish is blessed with amazing natural surroundings, with sites of county, national and even international significance, which make the village an interesting, stimulating and  relaxing place to live. We would like to find out more about what's around us, and we are inviting you to join in our search.
We are a group of villagers who are interested in the natural environment. We don’t have a group name yet, but here are some of the things that we would like to do:
·        Map what is around us
·        Provide information to help with responses to planning applications
·        Share our  local knowledge
And here are some of the ways that we will do that:
·        Put a map on the Curry Rivel website, showing where the interesting plants and animals are
·        Ask people in the village to use their eyes and ears to help
·        Explore links with the Somerset Wildlife Trust

We are starting by focussing on hedgehogs. Do they occur in our parish? Are they increasing/decreasing in number? Please help us start by sending details of any sightings, alive or dead, in Curry Rivel parish in June or  July, with the place and time, to David German, at:

Friday, April 08, 2016

Butterfly Conservation April news letter and Somerset Moth Group.

Continuing my quick review of my favourite conservation groups here is the into to the April  news letter from Butterfly Conservation:

Dear David, hello and welcome to April's ‘all aflutter’.
The official start of British Summer Time (BST) has blessed us with more daylight hours to enjoy the great outdoors but, if you're heading out, remember the start of BST doesn't necessarily mean the start of the sunny weather. This month we look at how last year’s cool summer made life difficult for our butterflies. The Secret Gardener reveals why the humble rockery can prove a wildlife haven. We introduce the April Fritillary and we find out why one of our conservationists is pounding the pavement of the capital to save butterflies and moths.

Links to the group are :,44HAV,4B4HIB,EZ4UA,1

Here in Somerset we have several specialist study groups which includes Somerset Moth Group. Link here to their web site:


Plantlife International

A follow up to my last post.

Here is a link to the latest newsletter from Plantlife for the month of April:

Visit their web site on this link. -

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wildlife. What to See in Somerset. PCNR, Local Wildlife Sites,

Only recently I found that a member of our Heart of the Levels Group committee, Chris Chappell, is the author of a regular feature in the Somerset Wildlife Trust web site. Follow this link to see the March write up.

It motivates me to report on the awakening of our local Private Nature Reserve called Batty Piece which is the name shown for the area on the old Tythe maps from about 1840. I must post soon with photographs. This show were a couple of years ago and a bit later in May or June. We should see another great display in time for the open gardens.

It is, together with an adjoining 4 acre field, the nearest thing to untouched meadow around Curry Rivel. Increasingly rare in Somerset too. Well over 100 plant species have been identified growing there including Bee and Pyramidal Orchids. The field will be included in the Curry Rivel Open Gardens scheme set for 12th June. The last Open Gardens day was two years ago and over 300 visitors visited 16 gardens and two meadows.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Britain in Bloom competition.

You may have seen my earlier posts about our new Parish Plan. One idea that came up during the consultations was entering our village in the Britain in Bloom competition. Well its underway and I've just posted on our Community Web site Facebook page this note.

"Britain in Bloom"- the seed was sown at a small gathering last week in the village hall , now it needs a bit of tender care and next Tuesday 26th you can join a discussion forum to help the seed to grow and start the flowering of Curry Rivel. Interested? Contact me  for time and place.

A big part of the competition is aimed at the greening of the village  and wild areas can play a big part in the overall success of our entry.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Talk by Ed Drwett, Urban Peregrines.

Did you notice my deliberate mistake? Yes I left off the date of the meeting which is onTuesday 26th Jan 2016

Ed Drewitt is a professional naturalist, wildlife detective, learning consultant/trainer and broadcaster. He has been studying urban Peregrines for 17 years, specialising in colour ringing their chicks and identifying what they have been eating.

Ed spends a lot of his time showing people wildlife, specialising in teaching birdsong, and helping others to identify, appreciate and get hands on with nature. He also takes people around the world on holiday tours to see a variety of animals including whales, dolphins and a variety of birds.
(Quote from flier of his book Urban Peregrines)
As a local man coming from Bristol, much of his studies centre around Bristol and Bath and he is a member of Chew Valley Ringing Group where he regularly instructs on ringing courses.

 During his talk he will be revealing much more about why they are in our towns, what they are eating, and where young birds go once they leave the nest, with some fascinating surprises. The Parish Rooms, Market Square, Somerton, Somerset TA11 7NB Refreshments available prior to the talk. Suitable for wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Members £2.50  Non Members £3.00.

There is a lot of information on the internet at RSPB and Wiki.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Forensic use of Pollen. Talk by Dr Michael Keith- Lucas

This evening we listened to one of the most interesting and refreshing illustrated 
talks on a specialised subject.  The speaker brought a potentially boring academic subject to life in  a way of interest to gardeners and bee keepers alike
I hope to get copies of some of his articles and papers written for publications such as the Kew Gardens Journal and the Bee Keepers Association.
Here is a summary of his professional work on the subject taken from  the  Zoominfo web site.

The talk was given to the Sedgemoor Gardening Club in Langport.

"Professor Michael Keith-Lucas has recently retired as Senior Tutor in Plant Sciences at the University of Reading, but has been appointed an Honorary Fellow and Consultant.He has research interests in pollen in vegetation history, archaeology, allergy, and forensic science, and plant ecology, including tropical rainforest ecology. In addition he is Chairman of the local region of the Institute of Biology, the Wildlife Trust and Reading and District Gardeners. He has worked on pollen in vegetation history, archaeology, medicine and in honey, as well as in forensic science.
In his talk on 'The Uses of Pollen in Forensic Science' he gives examples of its use in solving crimes of fraud, theft, fire-arms offences, bombings and murder, and how pollen and spores disperse and arrive at the scenes of crime. He also looks into what needs to be done to avoid detection, or how to commit the perfect murder!"

What this post needs now is a review of his talk and that I hope to add soon. If you get the chance to hear his talks I recommend them to you. I will be recommending our local wildlife group to arrange another talk sometime. It reminds me of a book titled "An Orchard Invisible - A natural history of Seeds." As recommended by Dr Anne Bebbington.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


As you may recall I have been involved in helping to produce a Parish Plan for the Somerset Parish I live in.
A section of the plan is all about the countryside and wildlife in the 6 sq miles around Curry Rivel.
It includes part of the nationally important RSPB reserve called West Sedgemoor and other local nature reserves. For 2016 I hope we can capture some local enthusiasm for protecting / saving / rescuing biodiversity in our Parish.
Somerset Wildlife Trust has a big programme called Living Landscape but that is limited to several specific areas of the county. It would be great if we could add every parish to that programme by local volunteering action. Is that a practical reality or just a dream?

Please watch the video from Natural England

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Special Area of Conservation- SAC

Worth a read.

I've just sent my comments on this consultation document.  SWT is justly proud of its activities to publicise and protect the wildlife in the seas around our coast . I am amazed the Welsh Government seems to be only interested in the destruction of wildlife in its own "Special Areas of Conservation".

You can see George Monbiot's thoughts on the subject here:

Here is a brief extract!

"Whatever the reason may be, the government is doing all it can to ensure that these “strictly protected areas” remain worthless paper parks, no more than lines on the map, that offer no protection to the wildlife they are meant to support.
It’s not just scallop dredging that is inherently incompatible with the protection of the life of the sea. It is trawling of all kinds. A special area of conservation should be just that: a place in which wildlife is allowed to proliferate, rather than being smashed and dragged and sieved to destruction.
So please respond to the consultation the Welsh government has launched. It takes only a couple of minutes. And where it asks for extra comments, you might recommend that there should be no scallop dredging at all in protected areas and that other destructive fishing techniques (those involving towed gear in other words) should also be excluded from the SACs.
This is your chance to intervene against the blatant and pointless destruction of what is supposed to be a strict conservation zone. If the response is big enough, the Welsh government will have to back down. If we can’t protect our own threatened megafauna, how can we expect any other nations to do so?"

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Nature in Art

I've come across the work of Carry Akroyd for some time now and I am on the distribution list for her newsletter  which has just arrived. You might find it interesting too. Here is an extract. You'll need to see the art work itself to fully appreciate it of course.The illustrations in the news letter don't copy as I had hoped into the Blog so you will need to visit her web site shown below:

Carry Akroyd
click follow to receive my intermittent news:


The autumn trees are lovely this year. 
Another lovely thing is my NEW CALENDAR for 2016 and the surprising news that i now have an online sales facility on the website!

I have a solo show coming up at the Robert Fogell Gallery in Stamford. it runs from October 24th - November 14th.
 Rob is a wonderful sculptor and has created a beautiful gallery.

i have a group of works in The Natural Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. This exhibition opens on Wednesday 28th October and closes at 1pm on Sunday 8th November. I will be giving an illustrated talk at the Mall Galleries on Friday 6th November at 2.30pm, about my interest in the poet John Clare and how his writing has influenced a strong seam of my work.

if you would like an invitation to either of the above let me know.

meanwhile my John Clare series ‘Found in the Fields’ continues to tour Hampshire, currently it is at Andover until November 14th. After that it will go on to the Allen Gallery in Alton.

and upt’north, i will have a solo print show at the Leeds Craft and Design Centre which will run from 7th 
with good wishes

if you would like to be removed from my mailing list, just email ‘remove’ and it shall be done.
Carry Akroyd
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