November 2023 Newsletter

Meadow Waxcaps

We had a mild start to the month but the temperature has finally dropped and following a beautiful frost for many of us on Saturday morning, today we have snow! The autumn colours and fabulous fungi have been a pleasure to find and enjoy during November. Thank you to everyone for continuing to do fantastic work in your parish for nature.

In this months newsletter:

Seed Swap and Share

On a wet and windy day, a group of us gathered in the warmth of Audrey’s kitchen to sort, swap and share seeds. Lots of the seeds had been collected during the late summer at Deer Park farm including yellow rattle, pale flax, corky fruited water dropwort and devil’s bit scabious. We all enjoyed chatting and learning about where best to plant certain species. We also bagged up seeds for specific parish projects and these have already been put to good use on a verge in Teignmouth and a wild flower area in the school field at Ilsington. A very satisfying morning!

Farmwise Event, Exeter

Val, Audrey and I ran a wildlife warden activity stand at the Farmwise event at Westpoint in Exeter last month. The event, which runs every year, brings together children from lots of local primary schools in order to teach them about farming, food and wildlife. There was a wonderful buzzing atmosphere as children went round in small groups to experience all sorts of different activities, talks and interactive displays. We decided to run a “Nature Detective” activity, with a deer and a badger as our mystery animals. We brought along a few clues including skulls, food and footprints. The kids all did so well and were really engaged in the discussions. I think our highlight moment was when a teacher popped back say thank you; one of her students, who had been unmotivated up until that point, had been at the front of his group asking all sorts of questions when he was at our stand. A great day, which will hopefully inspire some children to start looking at what they have around them: the first step in caring for it. Let me know if this is something you would be keen to be involved with next year.

Waxcap walks

During November we ran two waxcap walks at Deer Park farm, taking advantage of the beautiful display in the ancient grassland meadows there. With over 20 different species recorded, Deer Park farm is a nationally important site.

Audrey encouraged us all to pick (if they were plentiful), touch and smell them to help with identification. A particular favourite of mine was the delicate, white Cedarwood waxcap which had the most glorious, fresh smell.

Waxcaps are rare treasures found in unimproved grasslands. Often fields that are good for waxcaps are poorer for wildflowers and grasses. We learnt about and saw some of the fungal indicator species known by the acronym CHEGD (based on the scientific family names). These include spindles, clubs, waxcaps, earth tongues, pink gills and Dermolomas. If anyone is particularly interested in this topic the book “Grassland Fungi, A Field Guide” by Elsa Wood and Jon Punkelman is to be recommended.

Practical Hedgerow Management

Thank you so much to the two groups of wildlife wardens, who came to Deer Park Farm last week to help clear and mark gaps in a new hedge on the farm. We had two really productive mornings and it was great to be out, as a group doing something very practical. Gaps will be filled with homegrown whips later in the season.

Village Hall Connections

Most parishes have a village hall, often with land around them, and so it can be really beneficial for wildlife wardens to make connections and become involved in managing the site with wildlife in mind.

WW Jill from Stokenteignhead is now a member of the village hall committee and has found that lots of positive changes are happening through that connection. She has been able to write and implement a new environmental policy, remove flood lights from the carpark, plant 300 Woodland trust trees and hopes that further funding will allow nest boxes, hedgehog houses, water butts and compost bins to be added. Recently, further funding from the parish council has been given in order to plant fruit trees which will be planted over the winter.

Ilsington WWs Sheree and Linda have also found connection with their village hall has been valuable. There were able to meet with the hall committee members and talk through what measures could be taken for wildlife in the village hall grounds and provide seeds for the project.    

If you would like to be connected to wardens who have experience working with their village halls please do get in touch or post a message onto our Group IO email group.

Wildlife Warden iRecord Group

Did you know that we have our own iRecord group for logging your plant and wildlife records?

The Action on Climate in Teignbridge group is set up for wildlife wardens to submit their records onto, making it easy to see what we are recording across Teignbridge. So far we only have 29 wardens in the iRecord group but 692 records! It would be lovely if we could have more of you join. Recording what species we are seeing is so important even the common things: providing valuable data on population trends as well as interesting new finds. The iRecord app can make submitting records whilst out and about very simple.

Jess Smallcombe very kindly recorded a webinar for wildlife wardens talking about how to record and submit your sightings. In this webinar she shows how you can join the ACT group and also how to use the iRecord app. You can find the recording on the wildlife warden website in Resources>Webinar section or follow this link.

If you would like to be invited to join the iRecord group please email me.

Dates for your Diary

7th December
Farm Grants Update and Navigating the Agricultural Transitionfree event at Teign Valley Community Hall for landowners and farmers. Please promote in your parish.
8th December 10amZoom meeting with Devon Biodiversity Record Centre for WWs involved or interested in County Wildlife Site surveying
January 9th, 10th or 12th
Date/venue tbc
Winter tree and hedgerow ID
Date tbc
Training in hedgerow surveying
22nd-29th June 2024ACT with the ARTS Festival
Looking for Wildlife Wardens who would be interested in becoming involved with this project
Please email if you are interested in coming along to an event

Round up of Wildlife Warden Activity Across Teignbridge

Ashton WW Shira made a successful application on behalf of a local farmer for free trees and has started doing hedgerow surveys on the same farm. She made a positive connection with a local farmer about hedgerow cutting and leaving hedgerow bounty for longer, whilst also speaking at the Harvest Festival about the value of hedgerows for wildlife. Shira has connected a local bird ringer with landowners to help site kestrel and barn owl boxes in the parish. After completing several County Wildlife Site surveys over the summer Shira has now written up and submitted reports to DBRC. She has also written monthly articles for the parish magazine about pine martens, creating habitats for dormice, ringing of kingfisher and dippers and a piece about river health.

Bishopsteignton WW Sarah has started surveying in her parish for Brown Hairstreak butterfly eggs as part of the DWT Treescapes project. Please email Lindsay Mahon if you are interested in doing these surveys in your own parish over winter. Whilst out and about doing surveys Sarah has also been litter picking.  

Bovey Tracey Welcomes new Wildlife Warden Andrew! WW Janet along with Ilsington warden Linda, led a wellbeing walk in Parke this month. Run the day after storm Ciaran passed through they were certainly lucky with the weather! Bovey wardens have also been making connections with the Ilsington wardens in creating a joint Hedgehog and Wildlife Gardening Group. This is being supported by a couple of Bovey councillors and the group are planning to be present with a stall at the Bovey Christmas Fayre.

Chudleigh Welcomes new Wildlife Warden Ben! WW Susan has started surveying in her parish for Brown Hairstreak butterfly eggs as part of the Devon Treescapes project. No eggs so far but Susan has been enjoying the Redwings and Fieldfares whilst out and about! The recent Chudleigh Wild newsletter contains really informative articles from WWs Tess, Sue and Barbara about foraging opportunities in Chudleigh, the DWT Oldway Batfields Reserve and bringing peoples attention to the affects of car idling in the town.

Footpath at Oak Hill, Dawlish

Dawlish WW Dave has started writing a monthly newsletter about projects in and around Dawlish that help nature. Recent projects include; creating 13 metre squared areas along an existing footpath which were sown with wildflower seeds, preparing and clearing a roundabout for wildflower seed sowing, the ongoing management of St. Gregory’s churchyard to increase biodiversity and also bringing to the attention of National Rail and Teignbridge District Council the potential obstruction of a bat roost by a fence along the trainline.

WW Gill has been liaising with the Greenspaces team to gain permission to plant wildflowers in the Dawlish Municipal cemetery. She is hoping to gather together a small team of Dawlish wardens to help plant these during the next month.

Dunsford WWs Glyn, Jess, Pip and Julia all helped prepare and plant a hedgerow along the boundary of St Mary’s church in Dunsford, along with a few members of the community. The waxcaps have also been recorded in the churchyard. Jess and Julia continue to write monthly articles for the Teign Unity magazine including a recent one on lichens. Julia has started hedgerow and brown hairstreak surveying as well as helping Smatters, the litter picking group in the village. Pip and Julia organise a monthly wildlife meeting at various venues which are very well attended – the next meeting will be held at The Bridford Inn on January 17th 2024.

Exminster WW Jeremy enlisted a couple of small helpers to rake in the wildflower seeds shared at the recent seed swap at Deer Park Farm. Exminster Greenspaces and WWs planted trees at the local football club which they hope, in time will create both a benefit for wildlife and a nice post-match chill out zone! Early in November Jeremy ran some mini tours of the churchyard at St Martins giving information about the trees and management of the site, alongside stories about some of the people commemorated there.

Ideford WW Robin has been involved in planting a native hedge and sowing another wildflower patch in the churchyard in Ideford.

Ilsington Welcomes new wildlife warden Dawn! WWs Linda and Sheree have been involved at the Liverton village hall to scarify and seed an area with wildflowers. The Ilsington school pond was in need of renovation, so Linda and Sheree met and discussed this with the headmistress as well as providing wildflower seeds for an area on the school playing fields. Teaming up with the Bovey wardens they are running a “Hedgehogs and Wildlife in Our Gardens” stall at the Bovey Christmas Market on Saturday 2nd December. They have been creating a parish street map showing hedgehog and other wildlife sightings to use at pubic events, along with a garden hedgehog video. They continue to write a monthly article for the parish magazine and have met up with the local district councillor to talk about plans for green spaces in Liverton.

Kenton Welcomes new wildlife warden, Daisy!

North Bovey Welcomes new wildlife warden Susan!

Ogwell WWs Betina and Pauline with the Ogwild team, were involved with planting at the Rectory Field: a Woodland Trust field managed for the community in Ogwell. Three silver birches and a medlar tree were planted along with willows, with the aim of creating a tunnel. An oak tree that had died during the dry summer was also replaced. In October they had a successful apple pressing day with people bringing their surplus apples along. There was juice to taste on the day, and 139 bottles of pasteurised juice for future use. Some will be offered mulled at the Wassail event planned for 3rd February.

Stokenteignhead WW Jill is a member of the village hall committee and has written and implemented a new environmental policy for the hall. A review of the lighting in the hall, as well as the cleaning products being used are now underway. Jill has recently secured funding for some fruit trees which will be planted over this winter in the village hall field and she hopes to get further funding for nest boxes, compost bins and water butts in the future. Jill also writes a monthly article in the parish magazine and keeps the parish council updated on her work.

Jill and new WW Sam have met and discussed ways of working together in the area. They hope to restart the local wildlife group and start being more active on the Facebook group Teignside Wildlife Interest Group, TWIG.

Teignmouth WW Peppy created a wildflower seed bed in a verge in Teignmouth using seeds shared at the recent seed swap at Deer Pak Farm. WW Cath has signed up to do the brown hairstreak egg survey in Eastcliff park and is interested in doing some artwork for the ACT Art event.

Trusham Big congratulations go to WW Helen and the team at Trusham churchyard for receiving a “Certificate of Commendation” from the CPRE this month. Helen has been working so hard to improve the biodiversity in the churchyard and now has 370 invertebrate species recorded for the site (and still counting)! Helen has also run a moth trapping session at Ashton for a group of interested residents there.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor Welcomes new wildlife warden, Charlie!

Wildlife Warden Poster

If you are able to display a poster somewhere in your parish please email me and I will send you the PDF. It would be lovely to find new wardens to increase our impact across Teignbridge.

ACTs Public Engagement Group

ACT would love to get to as local parish events as possible but we do not always hear about them. Please could you either get in touch with Pauline or myself 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.


If you update any of your details via a Mailchimp link please also let me know as it does not automatically change the Wildlife Warden database. Many thanks. 

Thank you for all your continued support and amazing action for nature this month. Please keep your updates coming – we love to hear what you have all been doing .


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