Tuesday 13 December 2022

Green Flag Judge's Report

The Butterfly Park's Green Flag award certificate
The Butterfly Park's Green Flag award certificate

On October 12th the Green Flag judge paid a visit to New Ferry Butterfly Park to assess it.

The Park was rated Green in all categories, which means it "meets the standard with no concerns raised".

Here are a few extracts from the Report:

The site is quite small but packed with interest. Interpretation and information signage is in excellent condition.

The illustrated map shown on the entrance board at the Butterfly Park
The illustrated map shown on the entrance board at the Butterfly Park

Is there evidence that the site is managed to have a positive impact on the environment and biodiversity?

Of course, it is, this is not just a site hoping to get butterflies, it has been carefully planned in the selection of trees, shrubs and plants.

ommon blue butterfly at New Ferry Butterfly Park
Common blue butterfly at New Ferry Butterfly Park

There is a strong volunteer group with links to educational organisations… and local companies come in for team building days.

Employees from WSP helped us celebrate the Green Flag award at a workday at the park
Employees from WSP helped us celebrate the Green Flag award at a workday at the park

Final comments: 

A very impressive entrance to a very impressive site. Not only is this site steeped in history, it has been scientifically planned, cultivated for wildlife and of course butterflies. The interpretation and interactive panels keep everyone of all ages engaged in the search for knowledge without being overbearing. The artwork on these boards and information sheets have been beautifully undertaken and considering this site is run by volunteers it is a credit to them. They should be, and I am sure they are, very proud of what they have achieved.

Well Done this does deserve the green site award. In fact, think about going in for the Heritage award, with the brick making and the railway connections.

This is a ringing endorsement and an acknowledgment of all the hard work that goes in to maintaining and continually enhancing the Butterfly Park. Thank you and well done to everyone involved.

Saturday 3 December 2022

A Tree-mendous Celebration of Cheshire Wildlife Trust's 60th Birthday

Tree planting at Brotherton Park, Dibbinsdale, to celebrate Cheshire Wildlife Trust's 60th birthday
Tree planting at Brotherton Park, Dibbinsdale, to celebrate Cheshire Wildlife Trust's 60th birthday

One hundred and eighty tree whips planted in 22 minutes! Not sure if we would make the Guinness Book of Records but it is impressive.

On Saturday 26th November Wirral Wildlife celebrated the 60th birthday of Cheshire Wildlife Trust by organising a tree planting at Brotherton Park, Dibbinsdale. These trees will buffer Brotherton Park against pollution and noise from the busy Spital Road. They are native species and when grown will absorb carbon dioxide and pollutants and support wildlife.

Ron Warne (left), Howard Gibson (centre) and Tim Gannicliffe (right)
Ron Warne (left), Howard Gibson (centre) and Tim Gannicliffe (right)

Around 40 people turned up to help on the day but much meticulous planning had gone on beforehand, by Hilary Ash and Paul Loughnane, who liaised with Dr Nicola Wallbank, Tree Strategy Landscape Manager for Wirral Council. Thanks also to Ron Warne and the Friends of Dibbinsdale, and the Wirral Countryside Volunteers.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust Vice-Chair Charles Neame about to cut the cake
Cheshire Wildlife Trust Vice-Chair, Charles Neame, about to cut the cake

Afterwards hot drinks and cake were enjoyed and Charles Neame, Vice-Chair of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, cut a celebration cake with a specially polished billhook. Thanks are due to the helpers baking cakes, boiling the kettles and washing up afterwards!

A close up of the birthday cake and the ceremonial billhook
A close up of the birthday cake and the ceremonial billhook

Of course that is not the end of it. The trees will need weeding and mulching for the next two summers. We will be asking for volunteer help to do so. Ron and the Friends of Dibbinsdale will keep an eye on them and let us know when care is needed. If we get another drought, then Nicola will organise watering.

Stephen Ross, Chairman of Wirral Wildlife (left), and Charles Neame, vice-Chair of Cheshire Wildlife Trust (right)
Stephen Ross, Chairman of Wirral Wildlife (left),
and Charles Neame, Vice-Chair of Cheshire Wildlife Trust (right)

Finally a message from our Chairman:

I cannot thank you all enough for making the 60th Anniversary of Cheshire Wildlife Trust such a success.

Never have I seen so many trees planted so rapidly by so many keen enthusiastic volunteers. It was pleasurable to converse with so many of you thereafter while the excellent cakes and tea were consumed with such vigour.

It could not have happened without so much planning and care, supported by our cake makers and caterers. To Ron and Friend's of Dibbinsdale, together with Wirral Countryside Volunteers who make such a profound contribution to wildlife conservation across Wirral, particular appreciation.

Once again, many thanks,

Stephen Ross

All photos by Richard Ash.

Thursday 1 December 2022

The Hoverflies of New Ferry Butterfly Park

Many thanks to Roy Lowry for sending us his report and photographs of the hoverflies he has recorded at New Ferry Butterfly Park.

I thought I should start with a brief introduction. I am a retired oceanographic data manager with an interest in wildlife photography going back to the 1970s. Since retirement I have developed an interest in insect photography, using it as a tool for invertebrate recording. This has led to my becoming involved in two invertebrate recording projects, one in the Butterfly Park and the other in the Chester Zoo estates such as the nature reserve and the wildlife corridor. My Butterfly Park surveying during 2022 has involved 23 visits between the beginning of April and the end of October and whilst I record anything that flies or crawls, hoverflies are one of my main subjects. I became interested in them about five years ago when my identification skills were non-existent. Since then, I have developed to the stage where I can identify around 50% of UK hoverfly species reliably, learning a few more each year. My progress up this learning curve has been greatly assisted by corrections and patient guidance from experts on the identification platforms such as Matthew Vosper and Ian Andrews on iNaturalist and Roger Morris on iRecord.

Whilst bees capture the headlines as pollinators, hoverflies are just as important. Their larvae have many, varied lifestyles but the adults, like butterflies, mainly make a living by visiting flowers for nectar. During feeding they get covered in pollen which is then transferred to other flowers. One of the objectives of projects like the Butterfly Park is to provide an environment that supports as many different insects as possible. As far as hoverflies are concerned this has been successfully achieved during 2022. During the year I have recorded 25 different hoverflies to near species level plus an additional 7 identifications to genus level. My best estimate is that this gives a species count of 30 different hoverflies.

Hornet hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) - left and lesser hornet hoverfly (Volucella inanis) - right
Hornet hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) - left
and lesser hornet hoverfly (
Volucella inanis) - right

I will now give a brief introduction to some of the hoverflies that may be found on the reserve. Adult hoverflies are totally defenceless and, as many are quite large, they provide nutritious snacks for many predators. Their main strategy for escaping the menu is by pretending to be something else that is far from defenceless such as bees, wasps and even hornets. Two species of hornet mimics regularly found in the Butterfly Park in July and August are shown in the photo above. The one on the left is the hornet hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) and the one on the right is the lesser hornet hoverfly (Volucella inanis). Both species are increasing their range northwards and have only been recorded on the Wirral in the last four or five years.

Bumblebee hoverfly (Volucella bombylans plumata)
Bumblebee hoverfly (Volucella bombylans plumata)

The hoverfly above is one variant of the bumblebee hoverfly (Volucella bombylans plumata) that does a reasonable impersonation of a buff-tailed bumblebee. A second variant, also seen in the Butterfly Park this year, pretends to be a red-tailed bumblebee. Another large group of hoverflies known as the drone flies choose to impersonate honeybees. A typical example, the common drone fly (Eristalis tenax), is shown below.

Common drone fly (Eristalis tenax)
Common drone fly (Eristalis tenax)

Whilst there are other bee mimics, most hoverfly species have chosen to impersonate wasps with yellow and black striped abdomens. One of the commonest that may be seen all over the Wirral throughout the year is the batman hoverfly (Myathropa florea) shown below. The common name comes from the distinctive marking on the thorax which resembles the signal that calls the Caped Crusader to Gotham City. The insect in the background is a birch shieldbug.

Batman hoverfly (Myathropa florea), with birch shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus) in the background
Batman hoverfly (Myathropa florea), with birch shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus) in the background

One of my favourite wasp mimics, the hook-barred spearhorn (Chrysotoxum festivum), is shown below. The common name comes from the shape of the yellow markings on the abdomen and its antennae.

Hook-barred spearhorn hoverfly (Chrysotoxum festivum)
Hook-barred spearhorn hoverfly (Chrysotoxum festivum)

So, that’s my quick run through hoverfly mimicry. They may look ferocious, but hoverflies are totally harmless and neither bite nor sting. They are beneficial in many ways. In addition to pollination, the larvae of many species are predators of pests in the form of aphids and even wasp grubs. So, please admire their beauty but don’t fear them or harm them. They are our friends.

All photographs were taken by me in New Ferry Butterfly Park during 2022 and are published under cc-by licence.

Roy Lowry

Monday 28 November 2022

June Receives Volunteer Award from Cheshire Wildlife Trust

June Mortazavi (centre) with Felicity Goodey, President of Cheshire Wildlife Trust (left)
and Charlotte Harris CEO of 
Cheshire Wildlife Trust (right)

At the Cheshire Wildlife Trust AGM on November 26th Wirral Wildlife volunteer June Mortazavi was presented with the Eric Thurston Award. This is the highest accolade for volunteering given by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. It is given to acknowledge the Trust’s most inspirational and outstanding volunteers. Winners are awarded a limited edition of a Roger Stephens print of peregrines circling above Beeston Castle.

Here is a taste of why June was nominated.

June arrived with a burst of enthusiasm on the Wildlife Trust scene in 2017 and has made an impact across several Cheshire Wildlife Trust areas. At New Ferry Butterfly Park, she rapidly got involved in practical habitat management and also as a warden, an active committee member and helping host courses and open days. Her impact is Wirral-wide, being an active and encouraging part of the Wirral Wildlife biological recording team. June started with little plant knowledge but has developed her confidence in carrying out botanical surveys and this year is in charge of her own survey. June is a real support to some over stretched volunteers e.g. helping Dr Hilary Ash by writing up flora records. June has become very adept at deciphering Hilary’s annotations of plant names in Latin!

She was trusted to help the Wirral Wildlife recording team process data and publish a peer reviewed paper on quadrat survey carry out at Thurstaston common for 39 years. That is a lot of data!

June gets out and fights for nature, for example liaising with neighbours over injured hedgehogs found at the New Ferry Butterfly Park. June is also a stalwart of the Friends of Lowfields Wood, Eastham, which was set up by Cheshire Wildlife Trust's Natural Futures programme in January 2019 and continues to flourish. June works beyond Wirral with CWT staff in the Delamere area.

All this tremendous activity and sustained and growing enthusiasm is on top of a part time job.  June has not retired yet and achieves so much for the Trust locally on the Wirral and further afield. June is prepared to both do the spade work in the field and in the digital world with alacrity.

She is a deserving recipient of this Award and we are grateful for her commitment and drive.

Friday 25 November 2022

Tribute to Eric Fairgrieve Greenwood 1938 - 2022

Eric Greenwood surveying Dipsacus laciniatus (cutleaf teasel) on the old tip at Bidston, August 2022
Eric Greenwood surveying Dipsacus laciniatus (cutleaf teasel)
on the old tip at Bidston, August 2022

A regular attender at Wirral Wildlife events and our ‘go to’ botanist to identify a particularly tricky sedge, grass or orchid, Eric Greenwood died from cancer on 18th October. He was born on 15 Feb 1938 in Preston and as a wartime child helped turn the family garden into a smallholding. This developed into him having his own allotment where he grew prize-winning vegetables and fruit. He was always alert to the plants around him and his first record sent to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) was when he was 12 and spotted mistletoe on a local tree. He was a BSBI member from 1963 and was vice-county recorder for V.C. 60 (West Lancaster) for over 50 years. It is hardly surprising that he graduated in Botany from the University of Durham and later received his MSc from the University of Newcastle.

In 1966, after teaching for a short while, Eric joined the then City of Liverpool Museum as Keeper of Botany. It was here he met his future wife Barbara. When he started at the Museum there was only one temporary display gallery open following wartime bombing, and when he retired in 1998 as Keeper of the World Museum Liverpool it had become a multi award winning National Museum. He was responsible for securing the £35 million Lottery grant which enabled the Museum’s major redevelopment. During his career at the Museum Eric was involved in many aspects of its development including the JASON project from 1993 to 1996. This was an American educational project designed to bring the excitement of live scientific exploration to students via satellite links from expeditions in Mexico, Belize, Hawaii and Florida. Students could interact with the expedition site, operate remotely controlled cameras and equipment, and ask questions of the research scientists. He was responsible for setting up the North West Biological Field Data Bank at the Museum ensuring that local naturalists’ records did not get lost. This eventually led to RECORD and Mersey Biobank, who today do the same work electronically, and pass records to the National Biodiversity Network.

Eric with his wife Barbara on the occasion of him being presented with the President’s Medal of the Royal Society of Biology in July 2022
Eric with his wife Barbara on the occasion of him being presented with
the President’s Medal of the Royal Society of Biology in July 2022 

Although not a founder member of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, he was involved from the very early days and served a total of 53 years as either Council member, Trustee or member of its Conservation and Scientific Committees. Even though living in Wirral since 1973 he continued as a very active member of LWT. President of the Liverpool Botanical Society for many years and council member for 56 years, he continued to lead field meetings until 2021.

Eric never stopped his botanical investigations and research. North Lancashire flora was always his passion. In 2012 his ‘Flora of North Lancashire’ was a hugely important new publication, for which he gained the Joint Presidents Award from the BSBI and the Wildflower Society. It is an essential work of reference for the flora and ecology of Lancashire north of the Ribble, both now and into the future. Detailed and exhaustively researched, it represents a unique and indispensable 'snapshot' to act as a baseline for the ongoing analysis of changes in our natural environment. Eric put years of meticulous work into presenting this authoritative 656-page account, which also contains hundreds of distribution maps. This book highlights the world-wide significance of Lancashire's temperate, oceanic deciduous woodland and bog communities, and tries to explain changes including the impact of humans and climate.

In 2016 his book ’Hunting plants: the story of those who discovered the flowering plants and ferns of the North’ was published. During lockdown Eric spent more time researching Wirral’s flora and produced four papers this year alone. Two have already been published and one (on Wirral heaths) is due to be published in January.  In the last weeks of his life he put the finishing touches to his paper on the changing coastal flora of Wirral which will hopefully be published next year.

Eric at the summit of Clougha Pike (416m) on his 80th birthday, 15th February 2018
Eric at the summit of Clougha Pike (416m) on his 80th birthday, 15th February 2018

Eric never slowed down and to celebrate his 80th birthday climbed Clougha Pike in Lancashire with his family. On a cold February day the mist cleared just in time to give extensive views over the Lancashire plain and Morecambe Bay. He was following his illustrious predecessor, Albert Wilson, co-author of the Flora of West Lancashire (1907) who was photographed on the summit of nearby Ingleborough on his 80th birthday in 1942. 

Eric was awarded the President’s Medal of the Royal Society of Biology in 2020 in recognition of his work with the local RSB branch, but was unable to receive it due to Covid restrictions. However Eric was presented with the Medal by members of the North Western branch of the RSB surrounded by friends and family in his Heswall garden this July.

He will be sadly missed.

Monday 21 November 2022

Cleaver Heath Invertebrate Survey

Cleaver Heath and some of the invertebrates recorded on 6th July. Photos: The Tanyptera Trust
Cleaver Heath and some of the invertebrates recorded on 6th July.
Photos: The Tanyptera Trust

The Tanyptera Trust is funding a 7.5 year project to promote the study and conservation of insects and other invertebrates in the Lancashire and Cheshire region of NW England. This project is hosted by National Museums Liverpool. Every year, the Trust runs an invertebrate recording day programme to bring together the invert recording community and increase the coverage of invert records on selected important and under-recorded sites.

On July 6th this year, the Trust organised a recording day at Cleaver Heath on the Wirral and a detailed species list obtained has recently been published and can be viewed on their website.


Summary of number of species by invertebrate order

48 species of spider (Araneae)

51 species of beetle (Coleoptera)

92 species of fly (Diptera)

38 species of true bug (Hemiptera)

18 species of bee/wasp/ant (Hymenoptera)

15 species of butterfly/moth (Lepidoptera)

2 species of centipede (Lithobiomorpha)

2 species of lacewing (Neuroptera)

1 species of harvestman (Opiliones)

1 species of grasshopper(Orthoptera)

1 species of booklouse (Psocoptera)

Notable records in terms of scarcity

Two flies, Helina ciliatocosta and Dolichopus virgultorum - New to VC58 (Cheshire)

A spider, Cheiracanthium virescens - Nationally scarce, only 3rd record for VC58 (Cheshire). On heathland, favours areas with short heather growth.

A true bug Alydus calcaratus  - Nationally scarce.  Very local distribution in the North West, only 3rd record for VC 58 (Cheshire),  one previous Wirral record on Thurstaston Common and  recorded on Cleaver this year prior to this event. Nymphs are ant-mimics and are often found in ant nests.

There were also six separate records of the impressive Emperor moth caterpillars (Saturnia pavonia) on heather and other plants.

Overall a very impressive list of species for a single recording day. Looking through the list, inverts associated with all the main vegetation types such as heather, gorse, wild flowers and birch/oak are evident as well as those found in the ground/litter layer. The former car park, now a nectar-rich wildflower area, was of particular interest for hoverflies and butterflies.

As a general rule regarding the management of lowland heathland for invertebrates, structural diversity across all the vegetation is important to support the greatest range of species and included in this would be the need to create and maintain a range of different age structures within the dominant plant species. These objectives are well accounted for within the Cleaver management plan and are also reflected practically in the work day tasks carried out by the volunteers.

John McGaw, Cleaver Heath Reserve Manager

Thursday 20 October 2022

Review of 2022 at New Ferry Butterfly Park

Common blue butterfly at New Ferry Butterfly Park. Photo: June Mortazavi
Common blue butterfly at New Ferry Butterfly Park. Photo: June Mortazavi

New Ferry Butterfly Park is open for visiting from May to mid-September. Now we have reached the end of this year's season, here is a review of what we got up to.

In May, the Butterfly Park celebrated its 27th season of being open to the public with the unveiling of the Silver Jubilee entrance gates


The Silver Jubilee gates at the Butterfly Park
The Silver Jubilee gates at the Butterfly Park

Including that Open Day there were 2,453 visitors to New Ferry Butterfly Park this year, which is a good recovery in numbers from the Covid pandemic. There were 16 guided visits this year: 2 schools, 13 uniformed groups (Beavers, Rainbows etc) and 1 adult group of refugees, totalling 366 people. The Butterfly Park also welcomed Bebington Photographic Society and Cheshire Bee Group and Dr Hilary Ash gave two plant identification courses. Over the last 19 years an impressive total of 29,794 visitors have visited.

The new entrance gates have helped with raising the profile of the Butterfly Park and the regular plant stall has been an additional attraction. Thanks are due to Mike Maher for hosting the plant stall every Sunday and to the Wardening Team who all make the Park so welcoming and engaging for our visitors. Wirral Countryside Volunteers have continued to scythe the grassland, lay hedges and physically maintain the site. It is thanks to all these efforts that we were awarded a Green Flag for the tenth year running.


Raising the 2022/23 Green Flag
Raising the 2022/23 Green Flag

Sunday 18th September fell in Heritage Week and was an extra opening date. There were 60 visitors on the day including 30 for the two guided heritage walks.

On Sunday 11th and 18th September nine Eco Art flower sculptures were brought to the park, hence the extra opening on Sunday 18th. Thanks are due to June Mortazavi, John Bateman and Lynn Struve for helping in the logistics of transporting these artworks back and forth. The giant flowers were well received by the visitors.


White clover (left), dandelion (middle) and spear thistle (right) sculptures made by Alison Bailey Smith from repurposed materials
White clover (left), dandelion (middle) and spear thistle (right) sculptures
made by Alison Bailey Smith from repurposed materials

We held an ‘End of Season’ BBQ for volunteers and, despite the heavy rain that afternoon, 22 people turned up. A October workday had 20 volunteers, including some students from Liverpool John Moores University Conservation Society working at the Park. Some apple pressing was expertly organised by John Bateman with 25 litres of apple juice being pressed. Volunteers got a bottle of apple juice to take home.

John Bateman collecting apples for juicing
John Bateman collecting apples for juicing

Mashing up the apples - the start of the process of turning them into juice
Mashing up the apples - the start of the process of turning them into juice

Pressing juice from the apple pulp
Pressing juice from the apple pulp

The resulting apple juice!
The resulting apple juice!

We were also pleased to install two new 1000 litre translucent water butts which have now been covered in a carpet to reduce algal growth. In October the 2000 litres of water collected in them was added to the pond which had suffered from this year’s lack of rain and the water level was raised by 5cm. 

We continue to record wildlife in the Park and were thrilled by some unusual sightings. 

In May a dingy skipper butterfly, which has not been seen at the park for over two decades, was photographed.


Dingy skipper. Photo: Roy Lowry
Dingy skipper. Photo: Roy Lowry

In June, Roy Lowry noticed a fly which struck him as very different. It was confirmed as a locust blowfly - an African species that has been reported more frequently in recent years as a vagrant in the south of England. Definitely a first for the Butterfly Park. Roy is continuing to photograph and identify insects at the Park and has recorded 34 species of hoverflies this season! 


Locust blowfly. Photo: Roy Lowry
Locust blowfly. Photo: Roy Lowry

In July Colin Millington photographed a white letter hairstreak butterfly. This species was last recorded at the Butterfly Park on 5th July 2003. We rarely see them as they are feeding on the honeydew in the tree canopy (especially on elms).


White letter hairstreak butterfly. Photo: Colin Millington
White letter hairstreak butterfly. Photo: Colin Millington

These are a great endorsement of our habitat management for invertebrates at the Park.

We are now looking ahead to 2023 with our Open Day on April 30th. Hope to see you there.

Monday 26 September 2022

Eco Art at the Butterfly Park

Some of the flower sculptures outside the container at the Butterfly Park
Some of the flower sculptures outside the container at the Butterfly Park

For two Sundays in September, we were pleased to welcome some giant flower sculptures to New Ferry Butterfly Park. They were loaned from the Eco Art In the Park project, a collaboration between Wirral Environmental Network, artist Alison Bailey Smith, Wirral Unplugged and Wirral Council’s Eco Schools programme to highlight the importance of pollinator food plants.

White clover (left), dandelion (middle) and spear thistle (right) sculptures made by Alison Bailey Smith from repurposed materials
White clover (left), dandelion (middle) and spear thistle (right) sculptures
made by Alison Bailey Smith from repurposed materials

Alison Bailey Smith has created nine giant sculptures of plants made using repurposed materials such as garden hose, food packaging, yoga mats, light fittings and toothpaste tubes. The eight wildflowers and one grass depicted by the sculptures are all found in Wirral. Alison was supported in making the flower bases and welding them by Wirral Met Engineering and Construction Departments.

Sculptures of marram grass (left), creeping buttercup (middle) and bluebell (right)
Sculptures of marram grass (left), poppy (middle) and bluebell (right)

Wirral Unplugged designed a Pollinator Passport, a free activity booklet to encourage learning and play around Wirral’s local plants and the fascinating insects that pollinate them. Students from the University of Liverpool worked on the look of the passport and produced social media posts and newspaper articles to publicise the project.

Devil's bit scabious (left), rosebay willowherb (middle) and creeping buttercup (right)
Devil's-bit scabious (left), rosebay willowherb (middle) and creeping buttercup (right)

Find out more about the artworks and view the Pollinator Passport on the Wirral Environmental Network website. The flower sculptures can also be booked via the website for visits to schools, parks and local organisations, whether for public or private events.


Detail of a leaf and petals revealing the source materials
Detail of a leaf and petals revealing the source materials

Monday 29 August 2022

Wirral's Wild 50: September Worksheets

Here are the Wirral's Wild 50 activity sheets for September. Take a look at the autumn leaves, cones, berries, nuts and fruits.

September activities and resources
September activities and resources

Things to do in September

● Learn to identify trees from their leaves

● Find out why trees have cones, berries, nuts and fruits like apples

● Find a spider’s web and learn about spider silk

● Discover how bats catch their prey

● Find an acorn and plant it in a pot of soil outdoors

Look for seeds on an autumn walk and made a bat bookmark
Look for seeds on an autumn walk and made a bat bookmark


1. nuts & berries

2. berry spotter

3. pine cone creatures

4. video - primary school level - spiders

5. craft: nature mandala

6. make a spinning dial to identify leaves

Saturday 13 August 2022

Spring/Summer 2022 Prize Quiz: Winner and Answers

Blue John Cavern, the answer to cryptic clue 17.

The entries for the Spring/ Summer quiz have been marked and judged. Congratulations to the winner, Jean Baker of Chesterfield. A £10 gift voucher is on its way to Jean.

Here are the Peak District themed answers to the cryptic clues.

1. House of conversations value. (10). Chatsworth

2. Rock, stock, or turtle perhaps, with twisted lead. (8). Dovedale

3. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood famously both can do this. (8). Bakewell

4. Fortress heavyweight. (9). Castleton

5. Returning communist took himself to a river. (7). Derwent

6. Lemon salad dressing. (6, 4). Monsal Dale

7. Height of the gold medal... (3, 4). Win Hill

8. .... Height of the wooden spoon. (4, 4). Lose Hill

9. Wire very twisted. (5, 3). River Wye

10. I expect that Faith and Charity can also be found in this vale. (4, 6). Hope Valley

11. As you can hear, I’ll hesitate. (4). Ilam

12. Hotel father didn’t start, wise man! (10). Hathersage

13. This village is in the money, among the wealthiest places in the National Park. (4). Eyam

14. Mother hill, shivering mountain. (3, 3). Mam Tor

15. More benevolent recruiter. (6, 5). Kinder Scout

16. Graduate don’t hurry. (6). Baslow

17. Blanch over June excitedly at this attraction. (4, 4, 6). Blue John Cavern

18. Pulverise the French Fiesta (e.g.) in this village. (11). Grindleford

19. Norse god, pretty excited initially, seen overhead on a hill. (6, 5). Thorpe Cloud

20. S Spain wants revolution. (7, 4). Winnats Pass

21. Yearn, while five hundred finish beer. (11). Longdendale

22. The writer a number place on the scales noisily, starting at 35 and ending in Scotland. (3, 7, 3). The Pennine Way

23. Village in which my Nan lived. She used to say “It is Sing to Nanny time!” and we would have a sing-song before bed. (10). Tissington

24. Village that sounds like the remains after the burning of e.g. £20 pound notes! (7). Monyash

25. Can sixties dance turn the Spanish around in this village? (10). Tintwistle

26. Did biblical patriarch watch angels going up and down these steps? (6, 6). Jacob’s Ladder

27. One that proverbially won’t wait for any man - terrific! (9). Tideswell

28. Madam, pay your respects to the Queen, and be dammed! (9, 9). Ladybower Reservoir

29. Song of Eminem’s Revival, a collector of a car’s exhaust gases. (5, 8). River Manifold

30. Upland area where bicycle seat is of greater value, I’m told. (11, 4). Saddleworth Moor

31. The pram Kyle unfolded became a popular attraction. (4, 4). Lyme Park

32. Roman Catholic follows untamed snake beside Irish lake. (14). Wildboarclough

33. Old garden’s alternatively a village. (7). Edensor

34. Valley of Jonathan (doctor/comedian), Arthur (playwright) or Gina (activist)? (7, 4). Millers Dale

35. Echo glen. (5) Edale

36. Eve C Pallister redesigned this old building. (7, 6) Peveril Castle

37. Deer (maybe white?) in 7th to 14th letters. (10). Hartington

38. Escarpment where Geena staged revolution. 7, 4 Stanage Edge

39. Watch out for adders if you cross the Pennines here. (5, 4). Snake Pass

40. In this village I hear report of Christmas tomb; not that you’ll be sorry. (10). Youlgreave

41. Block up Thermos reservoir. (8). Damflask

42. Are these coarse fish? No. Or abbreviated dirty insect pests? No. They are hills. (3, 7). The Roaches

43. A silence for row with the restaurant worker losing information. (7, 2, 3, 5). Ashford-in-the-Water

44. Place where a mongrel can get a drink? (6). Curbar

45. River where old anaesthetic leads to cry of pain. (7). Etherow

46. Keep this part of the tool sharp! (3, 4). Axe Edge

47. Female cirrus? (3, 5). Hen Cloud

48. Follow the B5053 along northwards until you find this village. (7). Longnor

49. Valley named after HRH of Cambridge? (9, 4). Middleton Dale

50. Ancient site where Anna, Becky, Claire, Debbie, Erin, Fiona, Grace, Helen, and Isobel stand in a ring. Count them! (4, 6). Nine Ladies

Thursday 11 August 2022

What A Difference A Day Makes

Making progress in Charlie's Field at a Corporate Workday for WSP employees

Making progress in Charlie's Field at a Corporate Workday for 
WSP employees

Joanna Bateman, wife of the New Ferry Butterfly Park Treasurer John Bateman, hosted a corporate workday for her employer WSP at New Ferry Butterfly Park. WSP is an international company providing engineering management and consultancy services to the built and natural environment. They have a local office in Exchange Station, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool.

Thirteen fresh-faced, young, fit volunteers turned up at the park and after a quick briefing, got stuck in straight away to a variety of jobs joined by a team of eleven of our own volunteers. Various long-standing jobs were tackled: restoring the plant pot trailer previously stripped down by an AstraZeneca corporate workday in March; extending the life of the Park’s compost bins, built in 2005, by lining the inside of the bays with 18mm plywood, reused from a former building site hoarding; turning the compost; bagging up wood chippings for autumn sales; repairing the trolley for collecting cuttings; plant sale stocks sorted and the invasive two flowered honey suckle removed.

John Bateman and co fixing the trailer
John Bateman and co fixing the trailer

The main body of WSP volunteers concentrated on Charlie’s Field, in the area between the Silver Jubilee entrance gates and Aldi. The WSP volunteers got enthusiastically involved with removal of bramble and suckering blackthorn invading from the hedgerow as well as scything the wildflower grassland. One of the WSP volunteers, Alex, took to scything naturally and impressively gave the field as close a shave as you can get.

Alex, a scything natural, in Charlie's Field
Alex, a scything natural, in Charlie's Field

The volunteers were given hot drinks and homemade butterfly cakes for elevenses. Following lunch, Joanna and John Bateman were invited to raise the 10th Community Green Flag that the park has recently been awarded. John Bateman organised a corporate workday for his employer, AstraZeneca, earlier in the year. What a great boost to the park the Bateman duo are!

Following the flag raising, Hilary Ash gave a 40-minute tour around the park giving an overall picture of the Park’s aims and projects. Then, fully rested, the WSP volunteers returned to their projects for another hour to complete them. Positive connections were made between the WSP employers as it was good to see fellow colleagues in the flesh than over a screen. They do have legs!

“For the first time Charlie’s Field is starting to look meadow like. Whilst using the scythe we could see the leaves of cowslips. These plants will benefit greatly from the removal of the competing vegetation. We hope to get a second cut of the field in the autumn. This is all in an attempt to make Charlie’s Field more suitable for opening up to the public in the future”, enthused Paul Loughnane, Honorary Reserve Manager.

Scything and bramble and blackthorn removal completed in Charlie's Field, thanks to WSP
Scything and bramble and blackthorn removal completed in Charlie's Field, thanks to WSP

Joanna Bateman said, “New Ferry Butterfly Park has become an important part of Bateman family life, with John being a volunteer here since 2018 and our two young children are big fans of bug hunting, butterfly spotting and berry picking when they visit. To have been able to coordinate my work colleagues coming to volunteer at the Park has been amazing. WSP are committed to giving back to the local community and provide their employees with Volunteer Days to be able to achieve this. To be able to have colleagues from several of our engineering disciplines in the Liverpool team come together in the Great Outdoors and get so much completed during the day was wonderful to see. I’ve been getting fantastic feedback from those who attended, with one saying it’s the best WSP volunteering day he’s been on. New Ferry Butterfly Park has so much to offer and give to the local community as well as all the benefits it has for the local ecology. Every visit seems to give something new to explore for me, from learning about Thick-Legged Flower Beetles and finding Bee Orchids, seeing a fox and last month I saw a hummingbird hawk moth flitting about. I really encourage anyone who hasn’t been to come and have a visit. I’m thankful that Paul, Hilary and the team were so welcoming and accommodating of WSP and look forward to planning more community events at this beautiful location.”

This corporate workday has been great for the park as it stimulates the park’s committee to get on with projects which they do not have the time and resources for. It raises the profile of the park further and builds links between WSP employees and our own volunteers. John Bateman came four years ago to learn how to scythe and has stayed with the park and become our treasurer. Let us hope some of the WSP volunteers catch that bug too.