Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Devon Wildlife Trust calls for token effort to combat dying trees

Leading local conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust is asking the public to help it address one of the biggest challenges facing the county’s countryside and its wildlife.
It wants shoppers at Tesco stores across Devon to help it gain a major monetary boost from the supermarket giant. It’s asking people to drop the little blue tokens they receive at the check-out into the nearby collection boxes which read ‘Devon Wildlife Trust – Saving Devon’s Treescapes’.
The initiative is the latest effort from the charity in its attempt to address the widespread and disastrous effects of ash dieback disease. Devon Wildlife Trust’s message is very much that ‘every little helps’ in the battle to fill the hole which will be left by the widespread loss of ash trees, one of the most common and best-loved of all our trees.
It is estimated that ash dieback will kill at least 90% of Devon’s ash trees in the coming years. The fungal disease is now established and widespread, having arrived in the UK in 2012. Dead and sickly ash trees are a common sight in the South West. The disease and its impact on landscapes is being compared to that of Dutch Elm Disease which ravaged elm trees in the 1960s and 70s.
In response Devon Wildlife Trust is leading the fightback, with the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, in its Saving Devon’s Treescapes project. It wants to work with local communities across the county to plant and then look after thousands of replacement trees. These won’t be ash trees, but they will be of other native Devon species including oak, field maple, aspen , lime, beech, birch and hazel.
Saving Devon’s Treescapes is one of three local causes shortlisted for a Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grant, which could be worth up to £25,000 to help it in its fight to restore Devon’s rural and urban landscapes. The charity is hoping that the public will get behind it and show their support.
Peter Burgess is Devon Wildlife Trust’s Director of Conservation and Development. He said: 
“The facts are stark. We anticipate losing most of the two million ash trees in Devon. That’s a lot of holes in our hedges, in our parks, gardens, roadsides and riverbanks. Their loss is also a huge blow for our already struggling wildlife. Ash trees provide food, a place to live for a wide range of other plants, animals and fungi, and crucially corridors which connect the web of life in the county.
We know that planting replacement, disease-resistant, native species trees is the most effective response we can make. But to do this we need the public’s help. So, I would ask, please can all Tesco shoppers add their little blue tokens to save Devon’s Treescapes ? By doing so they will be making a world of difference to the local wildlife and landscapes that we all love.”
The chance to help the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project runs in Tesco stores until 31 December 2019.
Devon Wildlife Trust is leading the Saving Devon's Treescapes project on behalf of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, a cross-sector partnership of more than 30 organisations established in 2016.

Sick and dying ash trees. Photo copyright Devon Wildlife Trust (All rights reserved)
Sick and dying ash trees. Photo copyright Devon Wildlife Trust (All rights reserved)

More on Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum at www.devonashdieback.org.uk
Devon Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental charity, with 35,000 members. The charity manages 51 nature reserves and six Valley Parks across Devon, including a range of beautiful landscapes such as woodlands, meadows, wetlands and heaths. Devon Wildlife Trust relies on charitable donations, grants and the generous support of its members and the general public to raise more than £4million every year. Money raised is spent maintaining our work for wildlife conservation and education in Devon, for present and future generations. More at www.devonwildlifetrust.org

Monday, 25 November 2019

Devon Wildlife Trust becomes owner of major new wildlife haven in North Devon

Devon Wildlife Trust has purchased the 80 hectare wetland which forms part of the northern edge of the Taw Estuary, close to the village of Braunton. The undisclosed purchase price was met by the charity after it received a generous donation from a local resident and bird watching enthusiast, Mr Mark Ansell. The Trust now intends to make the site its latest nature reserve.

After a breach to its sea wall in 2017, Horsey Island now consists of an extensive intertidal salt marsh and wetland. It is a haven for wildlife and is especially important as a feeding and roosting place for thousands of birds including many rarities. A flock of more than 1,200 golden plover has been seen roosting and feeding there. Ospreys, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis and Great White Egrets have all been recorded there in the recent past. These and many other seasonal sightings have made the site popular among birdwatchers.

With the addition of Horsey Island Devon Wildlife Trust now manages 57 nature havens covering well over 2,000 hectares of the Devon countryside. The Trust aims to improve the site still further as a place for nature and provide opportunities for people to enjoy the spectacular bird life in this quiet corner of North Devon.

Horsey Island has a long and interesting history. The land was reclaimed from the sea in the 1850s to create farmland. Two earth bank defences were constructed to keep the sea out; one an outer wall facing the sea, and the other known as ‘Great Bank’ (not part of the new nature reserve owned by Devon Wildlife Trust), which runs between the site and Braunton Marshes further inland.

However, in recent times Horsey Island’s defences have been compromised. In 2017 a major breach occurred to its outer wall, inundating its interior with sea water. Rising sea levels and more frequent violent storms have since widened the breach. Today its interior is open to the tide and in the place of what was once farmland a fascinating system of tidal creeks, salt marsh and mudflats has been formed.

Peter Burgess, Devon Wildlife Trust’s Director of Conservation and Development, said:
“Horsey is an exciting, dynamic place which is now being shaped by natural processes, dominated by the daily tides which ebb and flow into the reserve. Shifting sands and muds are starting to be colonised by salt marsh plants. It is now an exceptionally important location for roosting and feeding wading birds and stands as one of the best locations in the county to see murmurations of wading birds from the security of the Coast Path”.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, Harry Barton, said: 
“The purchase of Horsey Island is a wonderful opportunity. It will allow us to protect and enhance a stunning area of intertidal habitats in North Devon. Over the coming months we will be developing ambitious plans for the site in discussion with local stakeholders so that it reaches its full potential as a stunning place for wildlife and the local community.”

At present Horsey Island has no direct public access, but good views of the site and its wonderful birdlife can be had from the South West Coast Path which runs adjacent to it.

Devon Wildlife Trust has a successful track record of managing newly created tidal wetlands elsewhere in the county. In 2012 it took on the management of a similar nature reserve at South Efford Marsh nature reserve, near Kingsbridge, in South Devon. Since then the charity has successfully overseen its transition from rough grassland to saltmarsh and mudflats. The nature reserve has become one of Devon’s premier birdwatching venues.

 View across Horsey Island. Photo copyright Andy Bell (All rights reserved)
 View across Horsey Island. Photo copyright Andy Bell (All rights reserved)
Golden plover flock with lapwing in foreground (Nb. not taken at Horsey Island). Photo copyright Andy Parkinson (All rights reserved)
Golden Plover flock with Lapwing in foreground (Nb. not taken at Horsey Island). Photo copyright Andy Parkinson (All rights reserved)

Friday, 8 November 2019

Ode to Remembrance. "For the Fallen"

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_of_Remembrance

 "The Unknown Soldier"   - The stunning commemorative display at RHS Garden Rosemoor (2018) - Photo Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 "The Unknown Soldier"
The stunning commemorative display at RHS Garden Rosemoor in July 2018, celebrating the centenary of the end of the First World War. The "Unknown Soldier" (by Artist: George Hider) amidst one hundred ceramic Poppies (by Artist: Renee Kilburn). The Great War started on the 28th July 1914 and ended on 11th November 1918

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Sunday

NOVEMBER HIGHLIGHTS. “WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase

“WHAAM Showcase” - Westward Ho! & Appledore’s Music Showcase representing North Devon bands and singers performing in aid of the Royal National Life Institution's Appledore Lifeboat Station.

On 22nd November this Showcase will feature some of the most innovative and talented musicians in North Devon presenting a broad spectrum of music from rock ’n roll bands, individual singers, dancers and various acts and will take place at The Pier House, Westward Ho!

The Mayor and Mayoress of Northam, Councillor Mr & Mrs John Hyman will officially open WHAAM.

Acts will include Dave & Les, The Sarah Anne Westcott Studio Dancers, Rough Justice and Wyldwood Bands, Charlotte Pirrone, Winner of the 2019 Westward Ho's Got Talent and a few acts from the Sunset Festival, Westward Ho!

There will be a Grand Raffle in aid of the RNLI. The Principal Sponsor is Robert Braddick of BRADDICKS LEISURE and other Sponsors include Kitemare – Surf & Kiteshop.

“North Devon has a first class reputation for being a centre of excellence for live music events.” said Showcase organisers, John Barton and Peter Sawyer. “We’re excited to be a part of this and to be bringing a showcase of local musical talent to the wider public”.

Doors open at 6.15pm and the entertainment will run continuously from 7.00pm to 10.30pm with a short break at 9.05pm for the Grand Raffle.

All this for only £5.00 a ticket for adults and £3.00 for Children under 16.

Tickets will be sold online and sales outlets at The Co-operative Food, Golf Links Road, Westward Ho! and Market Street Kitchen, 25 Market St, Appledore, and at the door of The Pier House. (All proceeds to the RNLI Appledore).

“WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase  Friday 22nd November  at The Pier House, Westward Ho!
“WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase
Friday 22nd November at The Pier House, Merley Road, Bideford EX39 1JU

Thursday, 7 November 2019

For the Record. "Bideford 'The Little White Town' in North Devon Dubbed as Racist"

What's the story? "Bideford in Devon changes 'Little White Town' signposts after racist claims"
Bideford made local and national news at the beginning of November and the contraversy spilled over into Social Media and TV culminating in a "Little White Town" debate between Bideford councillor Dermot McGeough, Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. Catch Up here - https://youtu.be/CPhh8FCDRts

Bideford has been known as the ‘Little White Town’ for more than 150 years after author Charles Kingsley coined the phrase in reference to its large number of white buildings. Here is an extract from Charles Kingsley's description of Bideford - "The Little White Town which slopes upward from its broad river tide" (Scroll down for full description from the novel Westward Ho!). Looking from these photos,  I reckon his words are appropriate. ?.

Bideford "The Little White Town" - Photo copyright Pat Adams (North Devon Focus)
Bideford Long Bridge - view across the River Torridge to the town from East the Water. Photo credit Pat Adams (North Devon Focus 2010)
Bideford "The Little White Town" - Photo copyright Pat Adams (North Devon Focus)
 Bideford Quay - view across the River Torridge to the town from East the Water. Photo credit Pat Adams (North Devon Focus 2010)
Extract Charles Kingsley's description of  Bideford from the novel "Westward Ho"
All who have travelled through the delicious scenery of North Devon must needs know the little white town of Bideford, which slopes upwards from its broad tide-river paved with yellow sands, and many-arched old bridge where salmon wait for autumn floods, toward the pleasant upland on the west.  Above the town the hills close in, cushioned with deep oak woods, through which juts here and there a crag of fern-fringed slate; below they lower, and open more and more in softly rounded knolls, and fertile squares of red and green, till they sink into the wide expanse of hazy flats, rich salt-marshes, and rolling sand-hills, where Torridge joins her sister Taw, and both together flow quietly toward the broad surges of the bar, and the everlasting thunder of the long Atlantic swell.
Charles Kingsley - http://www.westwardhohistory.co.uk/charles-kingsley/
Kingsley Museum at Clovelly https://www.clovelly.co.uk/things-to-do/seeing-clovelly/kingsley-museum/

Facebook Post 1st November -

Saturday, 2 November 2019

December Highlights. Northam Care Trust Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto

The Northam Care Trust will be hosting its annual Christmas Fair & Grotto on Sunday 8th December.

There will be many stalls with festive crafts & gifts to purchase, fun games and activities to enjoy and Santa will be in his grotto to hear the children's wishes and give a gift.

Hot food and refreshments are available, as well as our bountiful cake stall. Enter and park for free, and bring the family along.

All money raised at this Charity event will go towards a mobile hoist to allow our clients to be fully supported whilst still enjoying holidays.

Northam Care Trust. Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto on Sunday 8th December from 12pm - 4pm at Rose Hill Activity Centre,
Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto 
on Sunday 8th December from 12pm - 4pm
 at Rose Hill Activity Centre,
 Heywood Road, Bideford, EX39 3PG.
The Northam Care Trust is a charity formed as Northam Lodge in 1978 and our mission is to support people with learning and physical disabilities in having choice and control in achieving the best possible quality of life, evidenced by real quality outcomes and supported by our passion for excellence. They are based in Northam and Bideford in North Devon and have developed person centred support for people with profound and multiple learning and other disabilities and complex needs in residential and day activities. Excellent communication, respect, dignity, engagement, support for carers and a set of values and behaviours underpin our work and add value with personalisation at the core. They are the only organisation in North Devon and North Cornwall providing this high care specialist service and are a vital resource for families and carers whose relatives live in our accommodation or use our community support facilities including the range of day activities we offer at Rose Hill. Tap here to find out more about the Northam Care Trust Past and Present
The Northam Care Trust