January 2024 Newsletter

We have got off to a busy start this year: making plans for upcoming training, sharing our experiences with a potential new WW scheme for the South Hams and welcoming nine new wardens to our network. We now have almost 130 wardens across Teignbridge; a fantastic achievement!

In this months newsletter:

Winter Tree ID Training

We ran two winter tree ID training sessions in early January. A bright but bitterly cold day at Orley Common and a slightly less finger numbing one at Deer Park Farm, Trusham later in the week! In small groups, wardens hunted and examined various twigs, taking careful note of bud type, size, smell and shape to help narrow down the identification of native species. We chatted about how mature trees looked and compared this with how we might find species in hedges. Thanks to Audrey for running these sessions which really helped increase everyone’s confidence in tree identification during the winter months.

Thank you to Dave for finding out that the wayfaring tree (Vibernum lantana) was given its name by the herbalist John Gerard, who noticed it on routes between Wiltshire and London, whilst travelling in the 1500s. It is said that you are on or near a path if you see a wayfaring tree.

Articles for Parish Publications

Many wardens write regular articles for their parish magazines and publications. It can be a great way to reach out to the community: bringing interesting topics to people’s attention and highlighting what wardens are doing within the parish. Some wardens have been pleasantly surprised by how many people read these articles and the positive changes in behaviour they can bring.

Would this be something you could do in your parish?

We have a new warden joining us who has writing experience and is keen to help compose articles with other wardens. If you feel you have all the information but would like help creating a well written piece, then please do get in touch and I will connect you.

We also have a shared folder containing past articles which you are welcome to find inspiration from. We would encourage anyone who is already writing regular articles to post them here for others to view. Please email me if you would like the link to this folder.

Hedgerow Events

We are all very aware of just how important and valuable to wildlife our wonderful Devon hedgerows are. Managed and maintained well, our hedgerows provide vital habitats and connectivity throughout the landscape. With this in mind we are planning to run a few hedgerow related events during February and into early March.

Ecologist, farm advisor and wildlife warden Elliot Fairs, will kindly be hosting a zoom meeting for wardens on February 21st. The aim is to bring awareness and discussion around the new Sustainable Farming Incentives (SFIs) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) available to farmers and landowners, as they transition towards the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

We would all love to see our hedges managed optimally for both the landowner and for wildlife and this is potentially something wardens may be able to help directly with. We have asked Elliot to give us an overview of the current situation and discuss how wardens could get involved in supporting their local farmers and landowners to be able to access funding. The talk will look at hedgerow surveying methods and what a hedgerow management plan could look like as part of a positive way forwards towards better hedge management.

We will follow up the zoom meeting with a practical hedge surveying session later in the month, in order to build our skills and confidence in this area.

Please do get in touch if you would be interested in attending either event.

Training for Leading Groups and Volunteers

Would you like to start leading groups as part of your wildlife warden activities? Perhaps you want to organise a planting event, an ID skills session or nature walk for people in your community during this year. In order to be covered by ACT insurance you need to have attended our further training session for leading groups. This session runs through all the important aspects of organising and running a successful and safe event. We are hoping to set up a zoom meeting for this in the next few months so please do get in touch if you would be interested in joining us.

Devon Local Nature Partnership Outstanding Individual Award

Many congratulations to Jeremy Pyne for receiving this award; a well-deserved recognition of all the fantastic work he has been involved with. Jeremy plays a leading role in the Exminster Greenspaces Team, promoting wildlife friendly initiatives in the parish and pushing forward to create and enhance community spaces for nature. We are very pleased to have Jeremy as part of the Wildlife Warden network and thank him for always being happy to share ideas with the wider group.

Devon Wildlife Trust Free Tree Hubs

Devon Wildlife Trust are offering free trees for planting in your garden or any land where you have permission. These are being given away at local distribution hubs during winter months, with each hub having between 200-400 trees to give away. The trees are all UK native species such as Oak, Rowan and Crab Apple. Have a look here for hub locations in Devon where you can collect a free tree, a planting guide and tree protection.

Several wildlife wardens are running a hub in their parish this year with the next one coming up on 3rd Feb in Dunsford Village Hall run by Julia and Jess.

Dates for Your Diary

Wednesday 21st February
Zoom meeting with Elliot Fairs updating wardens on the new Sustainable Farming Incentives (SFIs), with a focus on hedgerow surveys and warden involvement.
Potential dates 27th Feb or 3rd March Practical Hedgerow Survey Training – How wardens can help landowners and farmers create better hedgerow habitats.
March/April Date TBCBIG Spring Wildlife Warden Celebration – details coming soon!
March Date TBCDevon Biodiversity Record Centre (DBRC) Greater Crested Newt Habitat Training Zoom
April Date TBC DBRC County Wildlife Site Survey Training/Refresher – Woodlands
27th – 29th JuneAct with the ARTS Festival
Opening ceremony 27th
Closing ceremony 29th
If you are interested in joining us for an event please email me.

Round up of Wildlife Warden Activity Across Teignbridge

Abbotskerswell WW Emily, along with local group Abbwild, have been busy digging up non-native heliotrope from the community wildflower area. They have continued the eco church project by installing a hedgehog box, siting a donated bench and reviewing the mowing schedule. Regular work parties have continued in the community orchard and there is discussion about creating a “seed swap” cupboard in the local repair workshop. Emily has also been busy teaching children at the local primary school about wildlife and sustainability as part of her forest school sessions.

Ashton Shira has been looking into arranging a household pesticide and weed killer amnesty in her area. She has contacted her local councillors who have said they would back this idea for the Teign Valley area, which is great. There is a pilot kerbside collection of pesticides and other garden chemicals in Bradley Ward later in the year, so potentially this is something we could push for Teignbridge wide.

Bridford WW Lucy ran a DWT tree hub in her parish this month; we hope it was a success.

Buckfastleigh Welcome new WWs Caroline, Bruce and Iso!

Chudleigh WW Ben has started doing the Westcountry Rivers Citizen Science water quality testing in his area and is planning to get stuck in with the community group, Chudleigh Wild. WW Susan has surveyed 4 sites as part of the Devon Treescapes Brown Hairstreak Butterfly project and was thrilled to find an egg!

Dawlish Welcome new WWs Pete, Mariya and Bill! WW Dave has been writing a regular newsletter called Looking After Nature in Dawlish (LAND). Updates include the monitoring and reporting of potential interference with the site of a historic bat roost with the ongoing railway works at Lea Mount, yellow rattle planting as part of St.Gregory’s biodiversity project and wildflower seed sowing of a roundabout.

WWs Ric and Jo have had an active month planting trees in their woodland and community orchard.

Dawlish Wardens are also organising several fundraising evenings in February to support the hugely successful Turn the Tide Festival, which will take place in June. There will be a chance to watch a film and listen to various speakers talking about water and climate related themes. Please take a look here for further information about these exciting evenings.

Exminster WW Jeremy and the Greenspaces team held several maintenance work parties for the village orchard and churchyard which included the installation of a new hedgehog house at the church. The hedgehog house was made at New Leaf: a local NHS Partnership facility which provides occupational therapy activities including woodworking workshops. If other wardens have got the budget and would like to use this local supplier, please do get in touch for contacts.

Ideford WW Robin has been busy looking into a planning application which involves converting a local barn into a house. The barn is currently used as a bat roost for both greater horseshoe and the very rare grey long-eared bat. Robin has been involved in guiding the Parish Council and alerting DWT; both of whom have objected to the plans.

Ilsington WW Dawn has started surveying a local wood for ferns, mosses and lichens and had also been involved with planting wildflower seed in Liverton with WW Sheree. Having had recent chats with Teignbridge Councillor Rob Steemson, Ilsington WWs have been successful in securing Councillors Community Funding, with help from ACT. WW Linda put together a very detailed costings and plans to buy hedgehog houses, nest boxes and wildflowers for sites in both Liverton and Ilsington. Excellent news!  

Tree planting in Ipplepen

Ipplepen Thank you to WWs Ruth, Mabel, Neil, Diane, Alan and Barry and the Ippleplanet team for a comprehensive update of all their fantastic work in the parish during 2023.

Moth evening at Orley Common with Teignbridge Rangers

Highlights include: running a DWT tree hub, tree planting at Combe Fishacre with ParkLife SW, three birdsong walks lead by Mabel, a visit to Ogwild for inspiration, a moth evening at Orley Common with the Teignbridge rangers, a display during carnival week, tree maintenance alongside the PC at the Long field and a display at the Christmas tree festival. Ippleplanet have also successfully achieved a £1000 grant with the Co-op for an Orchard and Nature Reconnection Space – we look forward to finding out more about your plans for this next year!

Ippleplanet and WW display at carnival week

Kingskerswell Welcome new WW George!

Lustleigh Welcome new WW Rachel!

Moretonhampstead Welcome new WW Bee!

Newton Abbot Thank you to WW Sarah who ran a stand at the recent Health and Wellness event at the Newton Abbot library. Audrey and Sarah were able to chat with people about how awareness of nature and spending time outdoors can bring such positive mental and physical health benefits. It was a chance to chat about how the wildlife warden scheme not only helps wildlife but also brings likeminded people together to learn and make new friends.

Starcross WW Ali has organised the planting of a mixed native species hedgerow, a willow grove and a small community orchard with support from the parish council, Starcross Goes Wild and Starcross Action for Trees. Log pile habitats for invertebrates and log seating for children was also added. Ali has written an great article for the local parish magazine to highlight this planting to the local community as well as bringing awareness of the hedgerows and trees around the village following on from the winter tree ID session that Ali came along to. She also brings attention to local garden waste fly-tipping and how this can be detrimental to wildlife and native species.  

ACTs Public Engagement Group

ACT would love to get to as many local parish events as possible but we do not always hear about them. Please could you either get in touch with Pauline or Vicky if there is a parish event you think ACT and the Wildlife Wardens could come along to.

ACT Website

ACT have also asked that any events that WWs are running could be popped onto the ACT website Events Area please.

Please click on “Tell us about your event” in the first box, and follow the link. 

Thank you for all your continued support, time and fantastic work for nature this month. Please do keep your updates coming – we love to hear what you have all been doing.

Vicky (vicky@actionclimateteignbridge.org)

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