November 2021 Newsletter

Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Newsletter

November 2021

Hi all,

Winter is here and walks in the countryside can seem a bit dull, until you look more closely and notice the vibrant splashes of colour which come in the form of wild berries! Not only are they beautiful, berries provide a lifeline for many species of birds and mammals which otherwise wouldn’t make it through the cold winter months. I was amazed to read that birds choose which berries to eat first so that they have enough food available to last the whole winter. This article from the Woodland Trust provides information about various winter berries and their value to wildlife and people.

Here is a message from Audrey Compton (Lead of ACT’s Ecology Group) to all of you!

Our Teignbridge Wildife Warden Scheme has completed its first year – and it has been an extraordinary success, helping wildlife and people throughout our district! To our Wildlife Wardens, to our ACT Ecology Group and to everyone who has helped in any way, thank you so much for turning a vague dream into a vibrant reality; together we have put together a template which anyone can use, anywhere, to help wildlife survive and recover. Keep talking about it to your friends and family wherever they live (whether it is Devon UK or Denver US!) and let’s spread the Wildlife Warden scheme around. Have a wonderful Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year – and if you can, share your wildlife sightings with us via our Facebook page and our Groups io email!

with very best wishes


Here is our end of first year report in case you haven’t already been sent it.
National Tree week
It is National Tree week! I read today that there are 115 ancient oak trees with a circumference greater than 9m in England and only 96 in the rest of Europe. This is a staggering statistic and it just goes to show how important our trees are.

Here are some things that you can do to help trees and woodlands:

Old trees, like this ash, can provide a home for numerous species. Can you spot the young tawny owl? I took this photo from my student house when I was at university in Cornwall.

Upcoming webinars

  • 7pm, 9th of Dec – Wild About Devon – The Exmoor Non-Native Invasive Species project will be showing a short film and giving an update on their work. Book here
  • 7:30pm, 9th of Dec – Moor Meadows – Conservation Grazing Part 2 – Find out about the ways livestock can support the making of an ecologically rich meadow. Book here
  • 7:30pm, 13th of Dec – Devon Mammal Group – Devon Bat Survey 2021 Results. Book here

Catch up with recent webinars

  • Catch up with previous Wild About Devon webinars here. Recent talks cover light pollution and marine conservation.
  • Catch up with previous talks, hosted by Moor Meadows, here. Recently, author Nicholas Gates, gave a brilliant talk for Moor Meadows about the importance of orchards, which you can watch here.

An introduction to harvest mice and information on how to get involved with the Devon Harvest Mouse Project. Watch it here.

The Environment Act 2021
A new Environment Act was passed in November which, now that we have left the EU, replaces EU environmental laws. Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, wrote that it is “the most ground-breaking piece of environmental legislation in many years”. It will set statutory targets for nature recovery in four priority areas, which are air quality, biodiversity, water and waste.

Here are some measures that the act will enforce:

  • A target to reverse the decline in species abundance by the end of 2030.
  • A requirement for planning applications to provide at least 10% biodiversity net gain.
  • The creation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.
  • An enhanced NERC (biodiversity reporting) duty on public authorities.
  • A legal duty for water companies to secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts from storm overflows.
  • There is a new Office for Environmental Protection, which will hold government and public authorities to account.

Here is the Devon Wildlife Trust’s response to the new act. They welcome it, but also point out some reasons that they believe “prevent it from living up to its promise to be a world leading piece of legislation”.

For more information, you can read this press release. Please do get in touch if you would like us to hold a discussion about this on Zoom in the new year.

Current projects
Here is an overview of some of the wonderful things that you have been up to.
Catch up with Emily Marbaix’s brilliant Wildlife Warden podcast here!
Shira Rub wrote an article for the parish magazine about meadow restoration and fungi. She has also recently signed up to survey the water quality of local streams and rivers for the Westcountry CSI scheme.
Sarah Cochrane wrote an article for the parish magazine about ethical cleaning products and promoted the Ethical Consumer website.
Bovey Tracey
Ann Sullivan and Janet Miller are helping Natural England to survey dormice at East Dartmoor NNR. They are also continuing to survey wildlife across the parish.

We now have a group of 3 WWs in Bridford. They haven’t yet completed introductory training, but they have already introduced themselves to their parish council, written an article for their parish magazine and have responded to a planning application.
Buckland in the Moor
Since attending our seed nursery training session, Rebecca Gethin has sowed seeds of hazel, hornbeam, sweet chestnut, hawthorn, rowan, elder, wayfairing tree and wild service tree as well as several species of wildflower.
Chudleigh Wild provided a pond walk for a local wildlife gardening group. They also gave a talk to their local U3A group. They have just been awarded £3,000 from their Coop bid, which will pay for a brush cutter, high pruning saw and for materials to make a nature trail in the town.
Clive Sheppard-Allen is continuing to work hard to secure land for a community wildlife area in Holcombe.
Julia Kirkland has created a seed swap box, which is in the village shop!

Holcombe Burnell
Kate Morley reported 2 instances of fly-tipping, wrote an awareness piece on hedgehogs which she has displayed on a village notice board, took part in sensory walks training (with the charity SENSE) so that she can lead walks for people with sensory loss, facilitated ACT’s children’s stand at the Great Big Green Week, arranged a tree guard recycling pilot trial with Devon Contract Waste, assisted at Ide School ‘Moth’s to a flame‘ project for COP26, reported dead hedgehogs and has continued to complete surveys for the Westcountry CSI.
Robin Aaronson and Dominic Morby wrote an article for their parish magazine about wildlife gardening, pressed for a TPO on a magnificent oak tree, created a wildlife notice board for the village green, are working on a permenant wildlife display for the village hall, secured a repair by SW Water to a sewer that was polluting a ditch, created a wildlife questionnaire  which has been distributed to parishioners, have signed up to host a free tree hub for DWT’s Saving Devon’s Treescapes project and are assisting a councillor in launching Sustainable Ideford. They are also holding a wildlife stand this weekend at Ideford Artisan Market.
Kingsteignton WWs presented their idea for a nature trail to the town council and have applied for funding. They have also set up a group called Kingsteignton Wild. Hanna Dolling helped to plant 400 trees at Clifford Park as part of national tree week!

The Ogwild team have continued to organise numerous volunteer work parties to look after the wildflower patches across the village. They have ordered 30 trees (a mixture of native trees and fruit trees, which were donated by members of the public) to plant at Rectory Field. They have also collected wildflower seed which they have offered to local people.
Paul Havemann has written several articles for the parish magazine. He has covered a range of topics, including the dredging of Exmouth Marina, the River Teign Restoration Project, wildlife gardening, eco-anxiety, the state of dragonflies and advice on reducing your carbon footprint.
Alison McGregor met with the Starcross Action for Trees group to plan a hedgerow and tree survey around the village with a view to planting more and protecting what they already have.
Tedburn St. Mary
Tedburn WWs organised a hedge ramble, where they practiced their ID skills and collected seeds which they will use to start their own tree nursery.

Thank you very much for all of your hard work over the last year! It has been brilliant to see all of your projects develop. It hasn’t been the easiest of years, so don’t worry if you haven’t been able to spend as much time as you would like on the scheme. We really appreciate anything that you are able to do as a Wildlife Warden.

We are organising some social events for Wildlife Wardens in the new year. Because of the current risk from Covid, we have decided that these will take place outdoors. Please do let me know if there are any suitable walks in your area.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes,


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