Thursday 22 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Plant Hunt

We hope that you enjoy a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

As an antidote to the festivities why not get out between 1st and 4th January and join in with the New Year Plant Hunt.

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland want to record which wild plants are in bloom at New Year.

Visit their website for more information about taking part and how to record your finds:

Friday 16 December 2016

Green Grass Gas

A renewable energy company has submitted a planning application to generate energy from grass on sites where fracking is planned in Lancashire. Ecotricity propose two green gas mills. Species rich grass grown on farmland would be harvested and undergo anaerobic digestion to produce renewable gas for heating buildings. They claim this process would cut carbon emissions, help create wildlife habitats, improve soils if grass is grown in rotation with food crops and provide income for farmers. The company is hoping to provide an alternative form of renewable energy and provide a viable alternative to fracking.

For more information see the Ecotricity website:

Thursday 15 December 2016

Treemendous Re-growth

Matt Allmark surprised by the regrowth
of the hazel coppice at the Butterfly Park.
Photo: Paul Loughnane

Matt Allmark, Cheshire Wildlife Trust Reserve Officer West, visited New Ferry Butterfly Park with his two beloved hairy companions Stan and Poppy. Matt primarily came to carry out a tool inspection, to see if the tools passed muster, which they did admirably. Whilst at the park he carried out a tree inspection and found two suspect roadside willow trunks which will be dealt with over the winter season.

Following a tour around the site he was (and looked) astounded at the regrowth of the hazel stools in Brick Pit Coppice. The tallest re-growths were over two metres in height and shoots from the stools which only started emerging this May. That is nearly an average growth rate of 30cm a month! This is a reflection of the nutrient rich ground, the coppice being developed on an in-filled brick pit, the fact that this is a simple i.e. a coppice that has no large trees above the stools to shade them and that the stools are well established being in their third in cycle coppice cut. The coppice crop of hedging stakes has increased with each subsequent cut with 400 stakes being cut in January and February this year.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Trees on TV

The Bowthorpe Oak. Photo: Julian Hight, Woodland Trust

On Saturday 17th December at 8 p.m. a television programme will be devoted to finding the ‘Tree of the Year’. The judges on this Channel 4 programme will be able to vote for one of four trees chosen from each of the four nations. The competition is organised by the Woodland Trust and is designed to raise awareness of British trees, many species of which are under threat.

Which tree will win? Could it be the elm from Sheffield, the Bowthorpe Oak (over 1000 years old) in Lincolnshire, the ‘Sycamore Gap’ tree near Hadrian’s Wall or the ‘Ding Dong’ tree in a primary school near Edinburgh?

To see all the shortlisted trees and read the full details visit the Woodland Trust website:

Thursday 8 December 2016

Nature Nativity

Some ‘crafty’ members of the committee rose to the challenge of creating a nativity scene that reflected our wildlife interests. St. David’s United Reform Church, Eastham will be displaying our ‘Nature Nativity’ along with others created by local groups and businesses on Saturday December 17th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Do go along and see how we fashioned our scene using conkers, cones, leaves, acorns and feathers. See if you can find the snail shell.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Prince Helps A Young Lady

For those who do not know, Prince Charles is the patron of the National Hedge Laying Society and an able cutter himself. Some time ago HRH invited some conservation volunteers to lay hedges on one of his estates. He knows his hedges and was disappointed with the result. The skill base had become diluted. To remedy this Prince Charles has put forward some incentives for young people taking up the call and becoming involved in hedge laying. He has offered those under 30 years old taking part in novice competition or undergoing training a £25 bonus for taking part. This award is administered by the National Hedge Laying Society.

We are pleased to announce one of the Wirral Countryside Volunteers, Jessica Lindsey (pictured with her own work), was given such an award for taking part in Wirral Countryside Volunteer’s 11th free hedge laying training event, Cheshire style, which took place at Poulton Hall, Bebington.

Jessica said “It is amazing to be recognised by the National Hedge Laying Society and a great encouragement. I enjoy my days out with the volunteers they are so welcoming and happy to share their expertise.” Jessica added “I plan to join the National Hedgelaying Society using my award money.” 

Paul Loughnane