News: June 2021

Climate change through art; Community-led action on climate change map and news stories; Incredible Edible beds in Reeth; Lembas wholefood group purchasing scheme; National Meadows Day 2021; Richmondshire Preferred Options Local Plan 2018-2039; Plantlife’s ‘every flower counts’ survey; Renaturing Arkengarthdale; Visiting the seaside: the big seaweed watch.

Here are a few quick updates on what we’re up to…if you’re on Facebook, please join our group and get involved in the conversations.

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Climate change through art

The Loving Earth project uses textiles to express concerns over climate change. Some of the work will be displayed at the COP26 International Climate changes talks in Glasgow later in the year. A local exhibition will be held 15-19 July in the Quaker Meeting House, Bainbridge.

Community-led action on climate change mapped, and other news stories

climate change map, created by student Alice Foster, highlights community-led action on climate change in Richmondshire. Projects recorded include our Incredible Edible project in Reeth.

Check out the RIchmondshire Climate Action website for stories on how groups are addressing the climate emergency. Stories include the St Xavier pupils, who persuaded the Guardian Newspaper to wrap their magazines in corn starch wrappers rather than plastic,  and Whashton Parish Council’s Net Zero Carbon Footprint Project.

Incredible Edible Beds in Reeth

The community beds at the Reeth Surgery are starting to fill up with new planting.  Much of the planting needs more time but some of the herbs such as chives, lemon balm, lovage and oregano are ready. Do help yourself and feel free to get involved. Any offers of help with watering and weeding would be very welcome.

Lembas wholefood group purchasing scheme

Because of bank holidays affecting delivery schedules, the ordering window will now close Tuesday with delivery on the following Friday (10 days later).  Please contact Hannah for more information:

National meadows day

National Meadows Day is 4 July 2021.  Plantlife has some online events celebrating the day – check out its website for more details.

Some local nature reserves that you could consider visiting include:

Ballowfields Local Nature Reserve. Run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it is situated off the  main road between Askrigg and Carperby.  Eller Beck runs through an area of lead mining spoil so it is particularly rich in metallophytes – plants which can survive on mineral rich soils.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve covers 100 acres of moorland edge adjacent to Cambrai Lines at Catterick and contains wet meadows, heath, woodland and a lake. Information on opening hours and parking can be found on its website.

Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve in Muker is located just off the B6270, a mile east of Muker (look out for small parking bay and sign on gate). It is a traditional managed meadow owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is a great place to visit at various times of the year but is particularly splendid at the moment. More information on the Yellands Nature Reserve website.

Other places with lots of meadow flowers include Gunnerside Bottoms, the Millennium Meadows at Muker and the Richmond Race Course (which I have only just discovered!). The racecourse was absolutely resplendent with meadow flowers on 15th June.

Planning: Richmondshire Preferred Options Local Plan 2018-2039

Richmondshire District Council is updating its local plan which will set out a vision for Richmondshire and define planning policy up to 2039. This will impact on areas of Richmondshire outside of the National Park eg Richmond, Leyburn and the Catterick camp areas.  

RDC is seeking responses to its draft local plan by 6 July 2021. Documentation can be viewed on the RDC website.

Plantlife's 'Every flower counts' survey

Plantlife’s ‘Every Flower Counts’ survey ran this year between 22-31 May. I refrained from mowing my lawn this year during May and then counted the number of flowers in a 1 metre square quadrat.  This gives you a Personal  Nectar Score. I took readings from the lawn behind the house and a combination of colder weather meaning late flowering,  and grazing by rabbits meant that the score was G (the lowest). 

The next survey window is 10-18 July when I can repeat the survey.  As I couldn’t bring myself to mow the lawn completely, I have left  “islands” of wildflowers which are now coming into flower,  I am hoping for a bigger Personal Nectar Score in July.

The orchard, the topic of a blog about our attempts to establish a wild flower meadow, has done much better with a score of C (average is D).  The yellow rattle, which flowered for the first time last year, is flowering again this year so that is good news. I tried to introduce red clover last autumn  but the rabbits just scrabbled at the disturbed earth so I will have to have another go this autumn with better protection around the planting sites. Otherwise I have recorded bedstraws, bluebells, red campion, yellow rattle, speedwells, buttercups, bugle, oxeye daisies and yarrow amongst other flowers

Renaturing Arkengarthdale

A walk on 13th June  (or ‘bioskirmish’ as leader Martin WW called it) gave a group of mainly local people a chance to find out about plans to renature a 200 acre site in Arkengarthdale. The Heggs-Castle Renaturing project is a collaborative project being run by three landowners. Possible plans include a move away from solely grazing with sheep to a low density mixed grazing system which will allow natural regeneration of the grassland; the expansion of wet areas to increase flora biodiversity; and planting of more trees to increase habitats.  A good number of plants were identified including cuckoo flower, yellow rattle and bugle in the grassland and marsh marigold, mints and ragged robin in the wetter areas. The cuckoo sang for us, a kestrel hovered and a woodpecker yaffled.  A  number of butterflies were additionally observed and such sightings are being registered on a national register. The site includes a mixture of trees including ash, oak, elm and willow and an area of alder carr.

A number of events will run across the summer  including moth observations, tree identification, water surveys and bird ringing.  Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year. More information is available at the project’s website.

Swifts and swallows

A reminder that if you see any of the four birds (swift, swallow, house martin and sand martins), then please go to the survey form on the website where you can write up your sightings along with where you saw them. A map of sightings is also available on the website.  We had a lot of interest from a pair of swallows back in the  middle of May when they fully inspected all our windows and porch but alas, they decided not to nest with us. They must be nesting locally as we see them flying around.

Visiting the seaside? The Big Seaweed Watch

Those lucky enough to be going to the seaside this summer might like to take part in the Big Seaweed Watch. Run by the Marine Conservation Society/the Natural History Museum, beachgoers are being asked to select 5m of coastline and record the presence of  the 14 most commonly found seaweeds which may be affected by sea temperature rises, ocean acidification and the spread of non-native species. 

Next core group meeting

The July meeting will take place on 1 July at 7.30 – (to be confirmed). Please get in touch if you’d like to join us on Zoom.

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