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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Local news

I think I should Blog about some of the small stuff going on in my small part of Somerset. We're getting on with our programme of public meetings. Talks so far on Beavers and then on Rattle Snakes I missed the first which whilst an important conservation subject only attracted a small attendance. Snakes were a more popular subject. We need a certain number paying our very reasonable charges just to cover the cost of the speaker and the hire of the hall.
Last Sundays walk in the Beer Wood was excellent and discovered a rare species for this part of Europe. That was a bit special for the group and a good addition to the record. We must look again next year to see if it will reappear.
Here is a picture of the moment of discovery! Identified as Battarrea phalloides or also  known as a Sandy Stiltball. Followed by the Group gathering round to see what all the fuss was about.I should add that the specimen was well into the cycle of dispersal of spores but the specimen was left in place as a sensible practice. 

I came across an old small booklet recently on the subject of hedges. Their  history is very much tied up in social history going back to the Enclosure Laws which allowed land owners to make it impossible for the general public to have access. It included articles on methods of dating hedges based on a survey of the numbers of species of shrubs and trees that had appeared over time. I've made contact with a local History Society to see if they can help in any way with identifying local ancient hedges.

  This photo is of our newly planted hedge three years ago which contains seven species of hedge plants. According to the theory if you found a hedge with such a number of species it would be several hundreds of years old. That might be confusing at some time in the future! Here is a picture of a worthy volunteer doing the planting by fitting canes and  plastic guards to stop the rabbits from eating the young  plants..

Last Monday I attended a regular meeting of Chairs of Local Area Groups and had a very stimulating discussion about how we all function and how we relate to the parent body , the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Amongst many points raised was the need to review and update a 5 year old document which laid down rules and guidelines for the work we all do as volunteers. On the basis of the old rule that anyone who speaks out on such items gets asked to be involved in the job of doing the revision. So I've got a nice little project for the next 2 or 3 months.

Meanwhile of course our own small committee has its next meeting in a weeks time when we will need to review our future programe and work out what our priorities are. We are very limited in volunteer resources and need to attract more help.

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