Saturday 20 December 2014

Stop The Spread

North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) have produced a Biosecurity Plan to minimise the risk of transmission of marine invasive non-native species (INNS) and shellfish diseases within its district. For more information see the poster below.

If you have spotted any of the species in the poster, report your sightings by email to NWIFCA.

To read the Biosecurity Plan, go to the Science and Research page of the NWIFCA website. There is also information on non-native invasive species on the Non-native Species Secretariat website.

Monday 1 December 2014

Wirral Farmers' Market Sees Blue

Wirral Farmers' Market is run by volunteers, and the profits made from hiring out stalls go back into the local community. They have given an impressive £32,000 locally so far. Nearby New Ferry Butterfly Park benefited from their community grant scheme with a grant enabling 500 bluebell bulbs to be purchased. These were planted at Brick Pit Coppice, so called after the adjacent brick pit at the Butterfly Park. This was dug out to extract clay to make bricks in the late eighteenth century when the ferry was “new”. In the past finds at the site have included a brick with 200-year-old hedgehog footprints and a trident-looking tool, once used for breaking open the brick kiln.

The hazel coppice was planted in 1998 and cut in the autumns of 2004 and 2009. It will be cut next in the autumn of 2015. The initial saplings were established by planting them through a black geotextile, which acted as a mulch mat to reduce competition from vigorous brambles while the plants were young. This November the mulch matting was removed, the hazels thinned, and the soil dug over so bulbs could be planted. They can now establish their roots before taking advantage of the open conditions in spring 2016 when they will flower, providing nectar sources for bees, and butterflies such as peacock and orange tip, as well as for our newest breeding butterfly resident, the brimstone.

Simon Bell, Honorary treasurer of Wirral Farmers' Market came down to the planting event with his family and enjoyed planting the bulbs.

The next farmers' market in New Ferry is in the village hall on Saturday 13th December 9am until 1pm. Get there early as it will be busy. When considering treating yourself to some good quality products, remember that the money is recycled locally.

This is the third lot of bluebell planting at the park. In the last three years 1,500 bluebell bulbs have been planted to develop a woodland flora under the hazel shrubs. To create, in the words of Poet Laureate, John Masefield, who was associated with New Ferry, "a blue sea in which no ship sailed." Interestingly this coppice lies adjacent to Masefield Close.