News and Events

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September Members Talk

A Vision for the Uplands with Dr Tim Birch Director and head of Living Landscapes at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

‘A Picture is worth a thousand words’ so says the well know English idiom. And this was amply illustrated by Dr Tim Birch, a Director and Head of Living Landscapes at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, at his recent talk titled ‘A Vision for the Uplands’ where he spoke to 60 members of Buxton Civic Association at their September Members meeting.

Tim put a picture on the screen of a chunk of Welsh hillside. The hillside was divided by a fence that ran from the road up to the rocky cliff top. To the left was the usual sheep grazed scene, shorn of all but the shortest grasses, bare, and barren.

But on the right hand side, protected as it had been from the sheep, the picture was staggeringly different. The hillside was a riot of small trees, birch, rowan and juniper and blackthorn bushes.

Who built the fence? Tim had yet to find out, but the message was clear. Give nature a chance and she will restore and recover damaged landscapes. And once the landscape is restored wildlife will find it and move in.

Knepp Estate a 3,500 acre ex arable farm in Sussex is proof of this. Tim had led a team from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in the early summer to see the pioneering and inspiring work that Charlie Burrell and his wife Isabella Tree have done in wilding their farm.

Just two examples illustrate their success, Nightingales have declined by 90% since the 1970’s across Southern England but have found Knepp and are making it a stronghold, the Emperor butterfly is flourishing there and the early morning air is full of bird song. Tim and his team were astonished and moved by the dawn chorus.

The vision for the uplands is to achieve something similar on a landscape scale for the Peak District.

To enable the landscape to recover and heal itself, to encourage once common species such as Pine Marten and red squirrels to return and thrive. And to provide a wonderful place for us, our children and grandchildren to learn about and appreciate the natural world all around us.

But to do this, to achieve this vision, will require a landscape scale solution.

Tim talked about the isolation of the Derbyshire Wildlife reserves, surrounded as they often are by grouse moors and shooting estates with their traps and snares. The reserves become little refuges for nature but on too small and too fragmented a scale.

A good example of this is the Lady Bower Woods Reserve. The picture below illustrates the point. To the left of the stone wall is the Moscar Grouse Moor, to the right the DWT reserve.

But create a landscape wide approach and then these reserves become isolated no more, but become vital hot spots of wildlife that can then spread out into the wider landscape.

Of course it will all take time. There are a multitude of landowners and stakeholders to consult with and bring on board. But things are changing. Almost daily there is news of new initiatives and schemes, the recent ‘Summit to Shore’ rewilding project in Wales and the plans to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland to name but two.

And with the drive and vision of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and all the other wildlife groups including the work that Buxton Civic Association is doing to create woodland habitats that encourage greater biodiversity, then a grand plan for the Peak District will not be far behind.

One day soon perhaps there will no need for a fence and we can learn how to let nature survive and thrive alongside us.

A Peak District teeming with wildlife, with wildflowers and trees and scrub, where bird song and the hum of insects is taken for granted again, and who knows what might be lurking in the undergrowth or surprise you round the next corner in the forest.

That is some vision, and some picture. It is something worth working for.

Links to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Website and others below

East Midlands In Bloom

Buxton awarded a Silver-Gilt in the RHS East Midlands in Bloom

Another excellent result for the town in the East Midlands in Bloom. Achieving a silver gilt for the second year running. Claire Millard from the Buxton in Bloom team thanked all the individuals and organisations that had been involved. Commenting on the achievement she said;

" Again the town did really well thanks to your support, sponsorship, enthusiasm and hard work! We increased our marks in each of the three categories of horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation and were awarded 160 points out of 200."

Poole's Cavern and Country Park was mentioned in the judges report. They were particularly impressed with the wildflower glades and the sculptures.

Grinlow’s Glades

Late Summer wildflowers on Top Glade Grinlow Wood

Peter Philipson BCA director took these photographs of the wildflower glades over the course of the summer. They look absolutely stunning.

The pictures show Grass of Parnassus & dwarf willow in Top glade, Grin Low Wood

Rewilding Britain

What is rewilding? Helen Meech (Director of Rewilding Britain) talks to BBC Breakfast

It’s not about abandoning land or reducing biodiversity... Rewilding Britain director, Helen Meech, appeared on the famous BBC Breakfast red sofa to discuss 'Wild Britain' with Ross Murray, Country Land & Business Association, and Robin Milton, NFU.

A Year up Corbar

Exhibition at the Green Man Gallery 30th September to 26th October 2016

Corbar Hill, topped by its iconic cross, is one of Buxton’s most imposing landmarks. In 2015, keen photographer Terry Richardson, facing a family tragedy, made the short ascent to its 1,433ft summit virtually every day. His images capture the austere grandeur of this unique location in all weathers and seasons.

A fundraising exhibition in aid of Blythe House Hospice, Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Launch event on Friday 30th September from 7pm to 9pm. All welcome.

The Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Hall
Hardwick Square South
Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6PY

Natures Great Invaders – The Grey Squirrel

BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting a five part series on invasive foreign species.

"The grey squirrel is considered one of the worlds greatest natural invaders. It's been on UK shores for over a hundred years and it's two million strong population dwarfs that of our native red squirrel. It is maligned by many, but does the grey squirrel deserve its reputation as an unstoppable invader? Derek Mooney intends to find out."

Text from BBC Radio 4 Nature's Great Invaders

We have a link to the programme below.

ENVIRONMENT

Flooding and some alternative approaches to flood prevention in the Environment

Flood prevention and protection is a key part of managing the Environment.

The Holincote Estate in the Exmoor National Park, Somerset is owned by the National Trust and covers more than 12000 acres of farmland, woodland and moorland. Since 2009 it has been part of Multi-Objective Flood Management Demonstration Schemes, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to examine how changes in the management of river catchment areas can influence the incidence and severity of flooding in the area.

The Link to the article below reports on the progress so far.

FROM MY WINDOW

A young blackbird struggles with her breakfast

I happen to glance up from my desk in the "Monkey House" just as the rain stopped. A young female blackbird tumbled out of the hedge and paused briefly before renewing her attack on a slug that she had dragged down with her.

She pecked at it fitfully for a few seconds and then vigorously wiped her beak on the ground before renewing the assault. Every so often she would pause and then with an almost audible sigh drag the slug a little further along the path.

This went on for half an hour or so. Until eventually she dragged the slug back into the hedge. It began to rain again.

I was very glad that I was not a blackbird.