Friday, 15 February 2013

Countryside Mobility. The South West’s Beauty Spots Now Open to All.

The Countryside Mobility scheme, run by Devon charity Living Options Devon, is working to make the South West a truly ‘accessible’ tourism destination by improving access to the countryside for people with limited mobility. Based on the principle of urban Shopmobility schemes, ‘Tramper’ all-terrain mobility scooters and wheelchair accessible ‘Wheelyboats’ are now available for hire at more than 30 countryside locations across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset with more to follow. James Maben, Countryside Mobility Project Manager said: “with such a varied selection of sites now involved, people with limited mobility have some fantastic opportunities to get out and explore the region.” “There is something for everyone – from wild Exmoor moorland to peaceful country parks and beautiful sections of the South West Coast Path.” “Feedback from people using the Trampers has been excellent and a number of our members have told us they planned a holiday in the region specifically as a result of the scheme being set up. This clearly demonstrates how the scheme is helping to make the south west a truly accessible visitor destination and I hope we can develop more partnerships within the tourism industry to improve accessibility at more visitor attractions.” The scheme has been supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme. To hire Trampers people need to join the Countryside Mobility membership scheme which is £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks. Becoming a member means people receive proper training in how to use the equipment safely and includes use of all Tramper sites in the South West. The equipment can be used by anyone who has a permanent or temporary mobility impairment that makes walking difficult. People do not have to be registered as disabled or have a Blue Badge. 
Full details about the scheme, the sites, and how to become a member can be found on the website or by telephoning 01392 459222.

Monday, 11 February 2013

My Little Garden Birdwatch. Spring is just around the Corner

February and it’s still raining, keep your fingers crossed, let’s hope the weather improves for Spring 2013. Even though 2012 was the 2nd wettest year on record in the UK, rain hasn’t stopped play in my soggy little garden. Chaffinches and Robins are chirping and the Blackbirds, in pairs, are atop the hedgerows so looks like Spring is just around the corner. The two Doves, which fledged from the Hawthorne bush, just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee, are still coming to the feeder. They now do a regular circuit, fluttering from the Willow to the street lamp, from the street lamp to the old cherry then to the feeder. That is what’s so wonderful about nature it goes round and around. We also get visits from Greenfinch, a Great Tit, a Coal Tit and brave little Blue Tits. I say brave because they are the only ones to snatch a peanut while the Doves are plonked on the feeder. I sat and watched out the window as Jenny Wren and partner shared the job of nest-building, darting in and out of the fir tree above the feeder and I was thrilled to catch the moment as two baby wrens fledged. The Chaffinches have been around in numbers all winter, the Sparrows which nestled on mass in the privet hedge are now ensconced in the Hawthorne. Other visitors to the garden last year were a Peregrine Falcon, a fleeting sojourn from 8 Goldfinches, a female Bullfinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. In the video clip a male Chaffinch is singing for England in my garden. He sang his little heart out on this branch every day, practically the whole of last May. (Collins Gem Description) “Ringing pink call; song a powerful cascade of rich notes ending in a flourish” If you know if he is singing to attract a mate or protecting his territory leave a comment.!

In January North Devon was all a twitter as Waxwings made a rare appearance in the area. They are regally, proud looking wanderers, and I hope they stayed around for the the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. which was held on 26-27 January 2013. Wildlife Surveys are great fun for the whole family so if you’d like to get involved in other RSPB Surveys visit
Ariticle by P. Adams 2nd January 2013