December 2022 Newsletter

Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Newsletter 

December 2022

Celebrating two years!
It was the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme’s two-year anniversary in October. Wildlife Wardens have done so much for wildlife since we started the scheme. Your projects fill me with hope, and Audrey and I are always amazed by your enthusiasm! I’m pleased to say that there are now 105 trained and active Teignbridge Wildlife Wardens covering 38 of the 53 Teignbridge parishes and Newton Abbot wards. Your hard work is being recognised by other organisations! Audrey was awarded Radio Devon’s Make a difference award for her work on the Wildlife Warden Scheme, and Teignbridge Wildlife Wardens were given an award by the Devon Local Nature Partnership at the Devon Wildlife Community of the Year Awards evening. Ogwild and Exminster Green Spaces also won awards. Well done all of you!!! I look forward to celebrating with lots of you at the Wildlife Warden big gathering in January.

What’s more, we are helping other groups to set up there own schemes. There is now a Wildlife Warden Scheme in Mid Devon, and we are sharing our knowledge with groups in North Devon, the South Hams and West Devon. I am excited to see how these new schemes help wildlife across the county!

Looking for a new coordinator
I (Flavio) am leaving my position as the Coordinator of the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme at the beginning of February, as I have accepted a job as a Seasonal Ranger with Aigas Field Centre in the Highlands. Whilst I am excited about this new chapter in my career, I will very much miss working with all of you. It has been a pleasure to work with you on some of your amazing projects that are helping wildlife in Teignbridge. I will also very much miss working with Audrey, as she is a big inspiration to me! 

We will advertise the Coordinator role after Christmas. In the meanwhile, do get in touch with me if you, or someone that you know, are be interested in applying!

Fantastic fungi finds!
The world of fungi is mysterious and fascinating! Over the last 3 months there have been several fungi surprises in Teignbridge, which is cause for excitement! Here are a few.

The bottom photo shows Audrey Compton with some rare hazel gloves. This specimen was found by Anna Leatherdale in Audrey’s Blackley Wood. Anna wrote this very interesting article about it. It is an intriguing fungi with very specific habitat requirements and is an indicator of good air quality! 

Sheree Sedgbeer shared the top photo, which is of a wrinkled peach. It was found not far from Audrey’s farm, is on the global fungi red list, and may be the first ever record in the South West! They are most commonly found on dead elms, which are becoming uncommon due to Dutch Elm disease.

We held a couple of waxcap walks at Deer Park Farm for Wildlife Wardens in November. We were thrilled to find orange waxcaps (middle left), which previously had never been recorded at the farm. The farm now has a total of 19 waxcap species. A site needs 18 species to be of national importance for waxcaps. This is just one reason why Deer Park Farm is such as special place!

Shira Rub found this rare octopus stinkhorn (middle right), which smells of rotting meat (yuck!). Flying insects are attracted by the smell and unknowingly help the fungus to spread its spores.

COP 15
World leaders met this month to discuss how they will ensure the survival of species on this planet. This was the 15th UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and was much less publicised than COP 27, which was the UN Convention on Climate Change. Leaders reached an agreement (although, it seems that China forced this through by ignoring an objection from the Democratic Republic of Congo). The deal included a target to protect 30% of ecosystems by 2030. Other main points include more protection for indigenous groups, and providing more money towards protecting biodiversity. Previous targets from COP10 haven’t been met, so lets hope that COP15 is taken more seriously! You can read more about it here.

Local Plan
TDCs revised Local Plan was meant to be out for a final consultation earlier this month. However, Michael Gove wrote a statement, which outlined changes to the planning system. This means that TDC’s consultation has been delayed by several weeks. We will let all WWs know when it is out for consultation.

Teignbridge Lottery
You can now raise money for ACT by buying a Teignbridge Lottery for Communities ticket! 50% (50p) of every ticket that you buy goes to ACT if you choose us as your chosen charity. Money raised will go towards our Carbon Cutters Scheme and Wildlife Warden Scheme. Many thanks to anyone who has already bought a ticket!

Current projects
Here is an overview of some of the wonderful things that you have been up to.

Click here to listen to Emily Marbaix’s latest podcast!
Shira Rub has written articles for her parish magazine on hedgerow management, reducing the spread of disease at bird feeders and ragwort. She has been surveying hedgerows in Ashton using the PTES Healthy Hedgerows app and hopes this will show where deer browsing is an issue. Shira also wrote to Mel Stride to ask him to speak out against proposals in the governments mini budget. She has continued to monitor water quality for the Westcountry Rivers Trust and has been helping Kerri Watson (Bridford WW) with riverfly surveys. Shira ordered a picnic bench for the community orchard. The bench is being made by Co-Create using reclaimed/surplus wood .
Sarah Cochrane wrote to Anne Marie Morris asking her to speak out against proposals in the governments mini budget. These proposals would have weakened laws which protect wildlife and the environment.
Buckland and Milber Ward – Newton Abbot
Eloise Rokirilov commented on the Bradley Mill Industrial Estate planning application and included concerns regarding local wildlife.
Buckland in the Moor
The WWs in Buckland held a tree hub for the Devon Wildlife Trust and distributed 350 trees.
Chudleigh Wild held 2 Bat evenings, which were well attended by children and adults! They also organised a talk where John Evans (a local professional geologist) spoke about Chudleigh’s geology. As mentioned previously, Chudleigh Wild are part of a trial to develop a new system to track bats and birds called the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. Professor Fiona Mathews from the Uni of Sussex is leading the trial and, so far, it has been successful. More greater horseshoe bats were tagged this autumn! Chudleigh Wild continued to do riverfly surveys in the River Teign and Kate Brook. They also walked the Kate Brook to record anything that may be reducing water quality.
College Ward – Newton Abbot
Christine Callard sowed lots more yellow rattle at Ogwell Cross Cemetery and also sowed greater knapweed, hedge bedstraw and field scabious.
Dave Hutton, Scott Williams and Gill approached TDC to ask for permission to plant native trees and an orchard on council land. Scott held a WW information stand at a CAG event in Dawlish. Dave and Scott are starting a Devon Carbon Plan reading club to bring people together to understand what the plan means for the community. Jo King has been using Birdtrack to record oystercatchers, curlew and other waders that are using fields  near to the Exe Estuary, but outside of the Special Protection Area (SPA). Her records will help to show what land is functionally linked to the SPA, and this information should be taken into consideration in any planning applications. More waders are using fields to forage, as cockle and mussel numbers have crashed by 70% in the estuary. 
Julia has joined Smatters, which is a Dunsford-based litter picking group. Dunsford WWs sowed yellow rattle at St Mary’s Churchyard under the guidance of Elliott Fairs (WW for Doddidiscombsleigh). Elliott also led a bat evening at the church. WWs led a moth trapping session at the churchyard with the help of Sam Gray, who is a local moth expert! 80 species were recorded and Julia wrote about the evening in the parish newsletter. Julia and Pip Hayes have continued to organise monthly meetings at pubs around the Teign Valley. Dunsford WWs are using the DBRC’s methodology to survey hedgerows and have found it easier to use than the PTES survey. Pip contacted a local farmer about adopting a 3 year rotational hedge cutting practice.
As many of you know, Peter Chandler, our Exminster WW, sadly passed away in September. Peter is greatly missed, as he was a lovely person and an enthusiastic WW, who enjoyed sharing his skills with others. The Exminster Green Spaces group have now taken up the Wildlife Warden role. They have been working on the Exminster Nature Recovery Project for last 10 months. This has 3 main themes which are building on existing voluntary action, community engagement and partnership working. Some highlights of their work over the past season include tree planting, creating a community tree nursery (with kit from DWT), installing a barn owl box at a green space and planting bulbs. They have also been promoting DWT’s Wildlife Gardening Award, organised the Exminster Environment Fair, have been writing articles for the parish magazine and manage a Facebook page. They are in discussion with TDC and the local churchwarden about the management of St Martin’s Churchyard. Log piles have been created and areas have been identified for ecological enhancement. 
Linda Corkerton and Janet Miller (Bovey Tracey WW) have an agreement with the editor of The Cottage Magazine to write articles about wildlife. The Cottage Magazine goes out to 6,000 households.
Members of Ippleplanet have joined the WW Scheme. They have agreed to help DCC plant 3,000 trees at Bulleigh Elms Farm!
Ogwild are promoting DWT’s wildlife gardening scheme. They will plant more fruit and deciduous trees at Rectory Field this winter, and have planted several kilos of daffodils around the village. They have also been busy with the seasonal management of sites that they manage.
Paul Havemann has been writing articles for the parish magazine. Topics include gardening for wildlife, the DWT gardening award, impacts to nature from unseasonal weather, COP 27 and  COP15, the government’s mini budget, the state of UK’s dragonflies (which are doing well!), ocean pollution, and reducing carbon emissions.
Alison McGregor wrote to Marie Morris about proposals in the government’s mini budget.
Jill Connole has been looking into why one of the mature trees on the village green is diseased and what is causing it to lose bark as well as possible solutions.
Marije helped on ACT’s stand at an XR event in Teignmouth. She also helped the TDC rangers to coppice hazel at Orley Common and used the leftover brash to create a coral around the coppiced stumps to prevent deer browsing. Marije also put out hedgehog footprint tunnels at Teignmouth Cemetery.There wasn’t presence of hedgehogs, but she did get prints of a fox and cat!

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing many of you at Wildlife Warden events in January!

Best wishes,


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *