March 2022 Newsletter

Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Newsletter

March 2022

Hi all,

Spring is my favourite time of the year and it is most certainly here (even though it may be snowing in other parts of the country!). Everyone looks forward to the warmth of spring and the extra hours of daylight, and so do I, but what first excites me about spring is the unfurling of hawthorn leaves in my garden, along with the blossoming of blackthorn, the frogspawn and the first spring flowers such as the early dog violet. Recently, I have discovered that I have magpies and sparrows nesting in my garden and, for the first time ever, I saw a pair of rare, lesser spotted woodpeckers calling to each other on Dartmoor. This is also the time of year when pollinators start emerging, and I only have to walk out of my kitchen door to hear the buzz of hundreds of insects pollinating the goat willow in my garden. This fascinating bee fly in the photo, below, decided to rest on my arm a few days ago!

Calling for stories to go on our website
We are in the process of updating our Wildlife Warden Website, and would like to include inspirational case studies. If you are a Wildlife Warden and would like one of your projects to be included on the website, please send me a short paragraph describing the project along with any photos that you have.
The Devon Biodiversity Records Centre are calling for people to submit sightings of wood anemones. They are an ancient woodland indicator species, so any records will provide crucial data for the DBRC’s Ancient Woodland Inventory Network.
Wild About Devon event for councillors
The Devon Local Nature Partnership are hosting an online knowledge share event on the 29th of April for parish councillors, town councillors and clerks. Grass cutting, pesticides and tree planting will be discussed.
Do share information about this event with your parish/town councillors and clerks, as they may not be part of the Wild About Devon network for councillors, so may not be aware of it.
Catch up with Moor Meadows’ hedge talk
Moor Meadows hosted a brilliant talk about how to manage hedgerows for wildlife, which you can catch up with here
Wildlife Warden training sessions
Peter Chandler, one of our Wildlife Wardens, led a couple of training sessions in how to lay hedges and coppice. Peter also demonstrated the process of hurdle making and spoke about the useful products that can be made from a laid hedge. Thank you, Peter! Also, thanks to Fraser Rush for demonstrating bird ringing to a group of very interested Wildlife Wardens. We also provided a couple of training sessions in how to identify tree species in winter, which can be a tricky task!
Public consultation on changes to protected landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
The government commissioned a review on the way that National Parks and AONB are managed, and they are asking for the publics opinion on their response to the review. This is an opportunity to ask for protected landscapes to be managed better for wildlife. The RSPB have provided advice on how to respond to the consultation in 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending on how much time you can spare. The deadline for responding is the 9th of April.
Current projects
Here is an overview of some of the wonderful things that you have been up to since the last newsletter.
Listen to Emily’s latest podcast here! In this episode Emily talks to Kate Morley and Laura Fairs, who are leading the Devon Wildland Initiative.
Shira and Dom have been working hard on several projects. They created a new orchard on village hall land, and 32 local people helped with the planting. They have joined forces with Elliott Fairs (WW for Doddidiscombsleigh) to survey hedgerows and encourage landowners to manage them better for wildlife. Shira has continued writing articles for the  parish magazine on topics such as hedgehogs, dormice, deadwood, water quality and hedges. 
Bridford Wildlife Wardens have created a management plan to increase the floral diversity of road verges throughout the parish, and it has been approved by the parish council! They are also making wildlife friendly improvements to the local recreation ground, have been creating bird boxes, and have plans to do bat and swift surveys.
Chudleigh Wild hosted a talk about local wildlife by naturalist John Walters as well as a talk on hedgehogs and how to encourage them into gardens. They have teamed up with the River Teign Restoration Project, and are looking for local volunteers to monitor water quality. They are also helping Professor Fiona Mathews to pilot her Motus radio tracking project, which aims to track the movements of greater horseshoe bats. 
College Ward
Chris and Sarah have continued to manage Ogwell Cross Cemetery and Wolborough Churchyard. They have sowed yellow rattle, planted bulbs, put up several bird boxes and have designed information boards to go up on both sites.

Dave, Scott and Jo have continued to survey water quality for the Westcountry CSI. Dave has created a wildlife area at the local allotments, which includes a bug hotel. They have worked with the town council to create a new management plan for some of the parish’s verges, and the council has agreed to a trial. Dave gave a presentation about the Wildlife Warden Scheme to the U3a Natural History group, which has since sparked conversation about the possibility of managing parts of St Gregory’s churchyard for wildlife. Dave and Scott are working with the town council to organise Dawlish’s Turn the Tide event. Jo was busy conducting bird surveys over the winter (ring reads and the December WeBS count at Dawlish Warren), and has also been speaking on Radio Devon about birds and what people can do to help them.
Julia and Pip have been organising monthly meetings for Wildlife Wardens and local people throughout the Teign valley. The next meetings are taking place at 6:30pm on the 21st of April at the Palk Arms (Hennock) and the 25th of May at the Claycutters Arms (Chudleigh Knighton).
Local Wildlife Warden, Peter Chandler, planted 195 saplings from the Woodland Trust with children from the local school, which was a great success. ACT is on the steering group for ‘Exminster and Nature Recovery’, which is a partnership between the parish council, Exminster Green spaces, DWT and the RSPB.
Holcombe Burnell
Kate has arranged a trial to recycle tree guards with Devon Contract Waste, planted 61 wild service trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, created a ‘Beer Can Fairy’ to raise awareness of littering, wrote an article for the local parish magazine, held a stand at Longdown Farmer’s Market (where she ran a pine cone bird feeder activity for children and gave away hedgerow management information) and has continued to survey sites for the Westcountry CSI.
Dom and Robin have created a wildlife display in the village hall using photos from photographers in the village. They also asked villagers to complete a questionnaire so that they could find out how different species are faring in the parish. Here are the results! Robin is collecting metaldehyde slug pellets from villagers and will take them to be recycled. They are illegal to use as of the 1st of April.
Wildlife Wardens have been successful in getting their nature trail idea approved by the town council, a working group has been set up between the town councillors and the Wildlife Wardens, and a Kingsteignton Wild Facebook Group has been created.
Ogwild planted 33 trees at Rectory Field (a Woodland Trust site that they are managing), including native trees and fruit trees. Villagers helped with the planting, and some paid to have their own memorial tree. They have also planted wildflowers across the village.
Paul has been writing monthly articles for the parish magazine. Topics include  the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, the Woodland Trust’s Nature Calendar Project, biodiversity loss and how to help wildlife in your garden. 
Local Wildlife Wardens have started meeting to discuss potential projects. They have agreed to look for local green spaces in the town that can be managed better for wildlife.
We have lots of ideas for potential Wildlife Warden training sessions that will take place this spring and summer, and I look forward to seeing some at those events!

Best wishes,


Leave a comment

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