Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Show your landscape some love

Those who live in the catchment of the river Torridge will know that it's a spectacular and unique wildlife-rich landscape. Local people, landowners and land managers may be interested to hear of a major new project which aims to help boost both wildlife and communities in the area. As the run up to Christmas accelerates, staff of the new Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area project will be at an event near you. They are looking forward to talking more about the free advice available for landowners and the community activities the project will be supporting and how people can get involved. Meet the NIA team and get involved! You can meet members of the NIA team and find out more at the Big Sheep Christmas Fair at Abbotsham every Saturday up until Christmas, and also at Holsworthy Christmas Market on Wednesday 12 December and Okehampton Christmas market on Saturday 15 December. We are also offering the chance to get out in the fresh air, meet new people and start the new year health kick early; simply call phone 01409 221823 or email to get involved in the following forthcoming events in our community volunteer programme: 
  • Thurs 20 December 10am-3pm - Specott Moor scrub clearance (off the Tarka Trail at East Yarde) 
  • Tues 22 January 10am-3pm - Otter holt & small mammal/bird boxes Higher Kingford Farm, Pancrasweek 
  • Friday 8th February 10am-3pm - Stowford Moor hazel coppice and scrub clearance 
  • February mid-week - Thorn Moor Swaling (dates subject to suitable weather conditions) 
  • Sunday 10th March - Ford Wood woodland management NIA Champions! 
As part of our community programme we are also on the look out people interested in wildlife who would like to take an active role to work with the NIA in their community. You might already be involved with wildlife activities or a local group, perhaps you're keen to develop your skills and knowledge or perhaps you know of someone else who fits the bill. Contact the NIA Community Outreach team for an informal discussion. 
So what exactly is the NIA? The Northern Devon NIA is a partnership project led by Devon Wildlife Trust on behalf of the North Devon Biosphere Reserve Partnership. Covering 72,000 ha (the greater part of the river Torridge catchment), the Northern Devon NIA hosts 35% of the UK's remaining Culm grassland, 120 scheduled plants and animals, and important populations of two of Europe's ten most threatened species - the marsh fritillary butterfly and the freshwater pearl mussel. It also includes wooded lower valleys that flank the river Torridge; a feature of great biodiversity interest, but in much need of restoration. Over the next three years and beyond, the Nature Improvement Area project aims to restore and re-create internationally important habitats such as Culm grasslands, wetlands, neutral meadows, woodlands, hedgerows, rivers and streams across Northern Devon's unique Torridge river catchment. We will also help to develop the local woodland economy and will be working with the local community to achieve all this through a diverse programme of events and activities. 
This project has been supported by Defra, DCLG, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Natural England. The Northern Devon NIA is one of the 12 nationally important new landscape scale wildlife schemes across England. It was developed as a partnership project within the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The partnership consists of 16 different organisations, of which Devon Wildlife Trust is the project's lead partner.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Charity clears way ahead for wildflowers

A leading wildlife charity is launching a winter programme of work designed to restore one of the county's best and most unusual sites for wildflowers. Increasing the range and numbers of wildflowers will form the focus of newly-funded work at Devon Wildlife Trust's Sourton Quarry nature reserve which lies in west Devon between Tavistock and Okehampton. As the name suggests, Sourton Quarry was once a thriving limestone quarry. But since its abandonment in 1906 it has been transformed into a wildlife haven and its spoil heaps in particular have become a wonderful new home to plants that thrive in its limestone soils. The long list of plant colonists has come to include rarities and more common examples including the rusty-backed fern, black knapweed, wild strawberry, great mullein and fairy flax. However, in recent years these wonderful wildflowers have come under threat. Other plants, including ivy, bramble and cotoneaster, as well as trees, have all started to take a hold on the nature reserve, shading out its delicate flowers. In response DWT formulated a plan of action designed to reverse this process. But before putting it into place funding was needed. It was at this point that Biffa Award stepped in to make the crucial difference agreeing to fund a winter's programme of practical work. Devon Wildlife Trust's Steve Hussey reacted to the good news: 'The generous funding from Biffa Award is just what was needed. It will pay for vital work clearing invasive plant scrub and providing the space and conditions for wildflowers to flourish. It will set the nature reserve and its wildflowers firmly on the right path.' The Sourton Quarry Wildflower Discovery Project forms part of a wider multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services. For more information about Sourton nature reserve and the work of Devon Wildlife Trust visit 
Beautiful black knapweed is just one of the many wildflowers which will benefit from improvements at Devon Wildlife Trust's Sourton nature reserve. Photo copyright Sherie New - (

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Heritage and Herrings. Ahoy there Clovelly!

We had a great time at the Clovelly Herring Festival on Sunday 18th. I hope we captured the spirit of the day in these photographs. Check out some of the slideshow below:

Monday, 19 November 2012

Charity offers peaceful alternative to Christmas shopping

Devon Wildlife Trust is staging a festive family event at its historic Cricklepit Mill, in the heart of Exeter. Christmas at Cricklepit takes place between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday 1st December and is free. The day promises families a change of scene and pace from the hurly-burly of Christmas shopping. Visitors will be treated to seasonal storytelling, children's Christmas craft making, a chance to make winter bird food treats, and even the opportunity of meeting Father Christmas himself! Mince pies and hot drinks will be available, while visitors can also buy from the charity's wonderful range of Christmas cards, calendars and other wildlife-related gifts. Devon Wildlife Trust's Jo Pullin, who is organising the day, said: 'This is always a popular and inexpensive event for local families. It's a chance to have some fun, to explore our historic mill building and make a difference to wildlife. At a time when shopping and spending money seem to dominate, Christmas at Cricklepit shows people that there is a different side to the festive season, and certainly a more tranquil one!' Devon Wildlife Trust's Cricklepit Mill can be found in Commercial Road, Exeter, EX2 4AB and two minutes walk from Exeter's historic quayside. There is no parking at the Mill, but on street parking and car parks can be found close by. For more information about this event and the work of Devon Wildlife Trust visit
Cricklepit Mill's visitor area and gardens are open to the public 9am-5pm weekdays, throughout the year (except Bank Holidays). Entrance is free. Children coming to this event must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Charity digs for wildlife. Good news about a brighter future for our trees and woodlands.

After all the bad headlines concerning ash dieback, a Devon-based charity is now providing good news about a brighter future for our trees and woodlands. Devon Wildlife Trust is planning to plant more than 1,000 throughout Exeter in its 'The Big Tree Plant' initiative which aims to attract more attractive green spaces for the city's people and wildlife. The charity will be working with community groups including more than 500 local school children to plant native trees which include rowan, oak, hazel, alder and hawthorn, along with fruit trees including cherry and apple. The project, which will plant more than 3,000 trees over the next three years, has been funded by Defra and The Alcoa Foundation. The Big Tree Plant begins with a community-led initiative in the Pennsylvania area of the city. On Saturday 18 November residents organisation, the Sylvania Environment and Community Group, will be working with Devon Wildlife Trust to plant nearly 200 trees in green spaces on their patch. While on Tuesday and Wednesday 20-21 November hundreds of students from the city's St Luke's College and Bicton College will be planting more than 800 trees around the former's school grounds. Devon Wildlife Trust's Emily Stallworthy, who is leading the project, said: 'Planting trees is a great way to improve urban areas. The positive effects made by them on people's health and well-being are well-known. Trees also play a vital role for wildlife providing food, shelter and safe corridors through the landscape. We are delighted with the response we've had from communities across the city - people really have jumped at the chance to make a long-lasting benefit to their local environment. Together we'll be making Exeter a better, greener place to live.' Gail Whalley, Deputy Head of St Luke's College, said: 'St Luke's is proud to be part of this tree-planting project for Exeter. Through Science, and our thriving Eco group and Wildlife Champions group, students are taught how vital reforestation is to the health and survival of the wildlife we love. Every Key Stage 3 student will be planting a tree on the College site and over the next few years will be able to watch their tree grow with them!' Devon Wildlife Trust is now looking for possible tree planting sites across the city. 
If you think your community could get involved contact DWT's Emily Stallworthy on 01392 279244 The Big Tree Plant forms part of Exeter Wild City, a five year partnership project between Devon Wildlife Trust and Exeter City Council. The aim of the project is to improve green space for wildlife and people across the city.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Nearly New Baby & Toddler Sale at the Big Sheep

Nearly New Baby & Toddler Sale  at the Big Sheep, Abbotsham, Sunday 2nd Dec - From 10am. All proceeds to Parents of Premature and Sick Infants at North Devon District Hospital.

We all know Babies and Toddlers grow out of clothes and toys so fast! Often clothes and toys look as good as new. This is a chance to either sell on your items or purchase some bargain clothes and toys.
Great opportunity to tidy up before Christmas or buy some Christmas presents!
Interested in having a stall? Call Claire or Nicola or 01237 472366 or email Stalls are £8 each with the full £8 going to POPSI.
Interested in visiting? Put the Morning of Sunday 2nd December in your diary or on your calendar!
Entry is £1 with the full £1 going to POPSI.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ode of Remembrance: We will remember them

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The Nation will honour the fallen on Remembrance Sunday when wreaths of poppies are laid on local war memorials and a two minutes silence is held at 11 a.m. The "Ode of Remembrance" is an ode taken from Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen", which was first published in The Times in September 1914. Wikipedia Stub:

 For Remembrance Sunday Events around the region visit the North Devon Gazette
In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and -women (principally members of the Royal British Legion), members of local armed forces regular and reserve units (Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines and Royal Marines Reserve, Army and Territorial Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Auxiliary Air Force), military cadet forces (Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps as well as the Combined Cadet Force) and youth organisations (e.g. Scouts and Guides). Wreaths of remembrance poppies are laid on the memorials and two minutes silence is held at 11 a.m. Church bells are usually rung "half-muffled", creating a sombre effect.
Wikipedia Stub:

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Charity Christmas gifts aim to melt hearts

Following the success of its Christmas cards and gifts range in 2011, a local wildlife charity is preparing for a bumper festive season with a new range of designs. Devon Wildlife Trust has been selling Christmas cards and gifts for a number of years and in 2011 the scheme raised more than £6,000 for its vital work for wildlife across the county. This year it has added a number of new lines, each of which will melt even the coldest heart this Christmas. Red squirrels, foxes, deer and woodpeckers are amongst the stunning images featured on The Trust's Christmas cards. A 2013 calendar packed with beautiful British animals is also available. Orders can be made on-line, by phone or by post. Devon Wildlife Trust is also urging people to think of treating the wildlife-lovers in their life with a very special Christmas gift. Adopting a species makes an unusual present. Choices include bee, hedgehog, bat, otter, dormouse and dolphin - with the recipient receiving a cute soft toy, activity book, fact sheet and much more. Also available is Devon Wildlife Trust gift membership. As well as providing the opportunity for countless free days out in some of Devon's most stunning landscapes, family gift membership also includes a free illustrated book, The Seashore Detective's Handbook - the perfect accessory for rockpooling adventures in 2013. Phoebe Grubb, DWT's Fundraising Officer said: 'With Christmas now looming and the weather turning cold we have started to promote our latest range of cards and gifts. Our cards are printed on sustainably sourced card and really show off some of Devon's best-loved animals. The gifts make lovely presents and are a great way to help wildlife on your doorstep while also sending your Christmas wishes to loved ones." All the profits from the sales of Devon Wildlife Trust's cards and gifts go directly to support its work for the county's wildlife. 

 Just a selection of Devon Wildlife Trust Christmas cards for 2012.  
People who wish to purchase cards should visit or call Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244. The cards are also available through the Cards for Good Causes outlets across the county and from The Trust's Cricklepit Mill headquarters in Exeter. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Robbie Williams "Take the Crown" out today

As Robbie Williams looks to the future with the release of the incredible “Take The Crown” , his ninth studio album and his first for Island/Universal, it might also be interesting to remember his considerable achievements so far. In a career strewn with awards, Robbie has quite simply sold more records than any other British solo artist in history. Having sold a staggering 60 million albums over his solo career, Robbie has also won more Brit awards than any other artist in history ( a grand total of 17, to be precise). Six of his albums appear in the all time top 100 biggest selling albums in the UK whilst Williams appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 1.6 million concert tickets in a day in 2006. In 2010 Robbie Williams won the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at the BRITS; later that year his reformation with Take That led to their album becoming the fastest selling album of the century. Since then Robbie has been working on his brand new solo album, recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jacknife Lee. The orchestra on the album was recorded at the fabled Capitol Studios in LA. The track-listing for “Take The Crown” is:
  • BE A BOY
  • LOSERS (featuring Lissie)
The album was preceded by the single “Candy” which was released on October 29. Of this brilliantly addictive classic Robbie Williams pop song, written with Gary Barlow, Robbie says: “It’s a summer song, about a girl who thinks she’s great. And she might be, but she’s a bit nefarious with her ways. Some songs take an age to write and some songs just fall out of your mouth completely formed, and you don’t have to think about it. I don’t know why that fell out of my mouth and out of my brain at that particular time – it just did”.