Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Bumble bees

Bumblebees are in decline. A new organisation has been set up to try to save them - the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Some bumblebees might find suitable food plants in the hedges around Buckle's Wood, but since Elmsett's full of nature lovers (judging from the number that turned out on planting day), maybe we can provide more for the bees in our gardens? Traditional native plants like bluebells, rosemary, geraniums and honeysuckle are all good for them, but there are more suggestion's on the BCT's site.

Photo (c) M Nelson 2005

Green Light Trust events

The Green Light Trust, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, is organising two events where you can learn more about owning and managing a community woodland. On Wednesday 21st they'll be at Moreton Hall Community Centre, near Bury St Edmunds, and on 22nd June they'll be at Debenham Community Centre. Both are from 6 to 8pm, beginning with a presentation and ending with a visit to the local community woodland. RSVPs by 16th June. If anyone would like to see what other groups are doing (especially what Moreton Hall woodlanders have done for disabled visitors), please let us know.

The trust reports: Susan Hollister is part of the 'Wildwood' group in Needham Market, which formed in 2002 and now has its own hectare of woodland.
"Without the advice, support, enthusiasm and expertise of the Green Light team I am certain our project would never have started, as the range and depth of knowledge required was initially quite intimidating. Their visionary approach to creating new woodlands, encouraging local biodiversity and educating all ages and abilities within the community helped us to set up a project which will enhance our local environmental heritage for countless future generations."

Buckle's Wood bridge

Babergh District Council has awarded EGGS a grant to pay for the costs of the bridge (built by James Hitchcock) that leads from Village Hall land to Buckle's Wood across a ditch, thanks to Babergh's Countryside Officer, Peter Berry. The grant includes the cost of the temporary notice board (also made by JH).

There will eventually be a larger notice board with a plan of the wood and other information.

The photo on the left is of the gap in the hedge, pre-bridge.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Report from RSPB Warden, Mark Nowers

I had a stroll around Buckle's Wood this morning.

There was a fair breeze that may have suppressed some songsters, but they did not prevent the following being seen/heard. I have added a few comments where appropriate.

Greenfinch - four birds in the dead elms in the east hedge. Most likely nesting in the hedge.


Blackbird - a male singing on the wires by the north hedge.

Yellowhammer - a male singing on the wires to the north of the field. It then moved in to the north hedge and seemed very agitated. Likely to be nesting in there. Yellowhammers like a hedgerow to have some tall trees which they favour as song-posts.

House Martin - one over the fields.

Mistle Thrush - male singing by the hall.

Blue Tit - feeding in the east hedge.

Wren - singing in the north hedge.

Carrion Crow.

Whitethroat - one calling in the east hedge (north-east corner of the field).

Green Woodpecker - heard one 'yaffling' nearby.

Dunnock - male singing in the south hedge.

Great Tit - a pair by the bridge.

Sparrowhawk - a female flew out of the west hedge clutching what looked like a Blue Tit.

Stock Dove - a pair flew out of the south hedge. These are a hole-nesting dove (Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves make a flimsy twig nest) and I suspect they are breeding near to the field.

There was a fantastic male Orange Tip butterfly in the north-west corner of the field.

Lovely to see the saplings growing and the hedge thickening out. It makes for a fantastic habitat and a good shelter belt for the young trees in the field as well.

Hope all is well in the village.


To find out more about the birds and butterfly Mark saw, click on the links.

Illustration of an orange tip butterfly from the RSPB website.

Wet weather, and the AGM

All the rain we've had lately might have interfered with your half term holiday, but it's been good for our young trees. They've thrived in the wet weather. Let's hope the summer is sunnier, but not too dry.

Under the terms of our constitution and the agreement we have with the Green Light Trust, EGGS must have an AGM within 15 months of the last one. Accordingly, we’ll have an AGM on 30th June.

EGGS steering group members may, or may not, stand for re-election, and anyone else who’s interested is welcome to nominate him or herself. If you have special skills that could be useful, that would be great, but enthusiasm is our main requirement. We need people with a passion for trees, the countryside and the community, with a “can do” attitude. Even if you’re not physically fit, there are plenty of ways to make yourself useful. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

The Green Light Trust, which supports the Elmsett scheme, provides training and other resources. So far, we haven’t taken advantage of what they’ve offered. There’s an opportunity in the near future, open to anyone involved with EGGS and the school. The trust’s new HQ, the Foundry in Lawshall, is the venue for a course on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th June. The Forest School Skills Award Level 1 course would normally cost £250, but their special offer price is £150. EGGS could pay for a steering group member or supporter who’d apply the resulting skills to our scheme. It’s a fully accredited course with the Open College Network and will be led by an experienced team of accredited Forest School Leaders, providing an OCN certificate. It’s aimed at teachers, teaching assistants, nursery nurses, youth club leaders, and anyone interested in working/playing with primary age children in the great outdoors. For more information on Forest Schools and an application form, please contact Adrian -, tel. 01284 830829, and please let us know if you’re interested. The trust can also help by arranging Criminal Record Bureau checks for anyone who’s going to work with children.

At the last EGGS steering group meeting, there was disagreement about disabled access. The Disability Discrimination Act covers outdoor spaces that are open to the public, such as our scheme. According to guidelines published by the Countryside Agency, together with English Nature, the Rural Development Service, and DEFRA, we are expected to provide access “by all reasonable means”. Failure to do so could result in a challenge in the courts. Opinion was divided between those who felt that it’s “too soon” to think about disabled access to the Elmsett scheme, and those who felt that we should find out as much as we can about our options so we can incorporate access as the scheme develops. For example, we could visit other schemes in the county who can show us what they’ve done to provide access for disabled people, and see how we might adapt some of their ideas. The term “disabled” isn’t just about people in wheelchairs. It includes:
  • people with poor manual co-ordination or little strength;
  • people with sensory impairments, including impaired sight and hearing;
  • people who lack memory, concentration or understanding;
  • people with progressive conditions, such as MS, HIV or cancer.
If you have any useful information on the subject, please get in touch.

For more information, see:
The Fieldfare Trust, promoting countryside access for disabled people.
By all reasonable means: inclusive access to the outdoors for disabled people’ from the Countryside Agency (PDF)
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