News and Events

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Hairice in Grin Woods

Thank you to Prof Richard Pattrick for these fascinating photographs of hairice forming in dead trees in Grin low during the recent cold spell.

The following explanation has been taken from Wikipedia

Hair ice forms on moist, rotting wood from broadleaf trees when temperatures are slightly under 0 °C (32 °F) and the air is humid.[1] Each of the smooth, silky hairs has a diameter of about 0.02 mm (0.0008 in) and a length of up to 20 cm (8 in).[1] The hairs are brittle, but take the shape of curls and waves.[1] They can maintain their shape for hours and sometimes days.[1] This long lifetime indicates that something is preventing the small ice crystals from recrystallizing into larger ones, since recrystallization normally occurs very quickly at temperatures near 0 °C (32 °F).[1]
The hairs appear to root at the mouth of wood rays (never on the bark), and their thickness is similar to the diameter of the wood ray channels.[1] A piece of wood that produces hair ice once may continue to produce it over several years.[1]
In the year 2015, German and Swiss scientists identified the fungus Exidiopsis effusa as key to the formation of hair ice.[1] The fungus was found on every hair ice sample examined by the researchers, and disabling the fungus with fungicide or hot water prevented hair ice formation.[1] The fungus shapes the ice into fine hairs through an uncertain mechanism and likely stabilizes it by providing a recrystallization inhibitor similar to antifreeze proteins.[1][2]

Mark Cocker talk to Buxton Field Club

Mark Cocker will talk to Buxton Field Club on 15th November at 7.30pm about Re-wilding

A date for your diary: Friday 15th November MARK COCKER is talking about Re-Wilding at Buxton Field Club. Mark is an author, naturalist and environmental tutor, who writes and broadcasts on nature and wildlife in a variety of national media. In 2018 he released a new book Our Place (Cape), on the fate of British nature in the twentieth century, and completed 30 years as a Guardian country diarist.

His 11 other books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. They include Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet (2014) and Birds and People (2013). The latter was published to international acclaim and was a collaboration with the photographer David Tipling.

Time: 7.30-9.30pm
Place: Buxton Methodist Church Hall, Chapel St, Buxton
Free to members, 18-25s, accompanied minors. £3 all others. Everyone is really welcome.

Biodiversity Group inaugural meeting

7.00 pm Tuesday 10th December 2019 at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre

Everywhere nature is under pressure, and Buxton is no different from the rest of the country. As the pressure for more housing and roads increases the landscape becomes more and more fractured making it harder for flora and fauna to thrive and survive.
We need to take action to reverse this decline and it falls within the remit of BCA to take the lead on this. We have demonstrated our stewardship of the beautiful woodlands that we own but we need to look outside our own estate and bring together all the wonderful, dedicated hardworking groups in the town that care for and look after nature.
There is a need for a dedicated grouping to bring these concerned individuals and groups together and to attempt to address these important issues in the town. We have had informal liaison with the Buxton Field Club (a group of naturalists concerned with the study of natural history in and around Buxton) and several BCA members who share this concern. They agree that it would be helpful and valuable for BCA to create a group to fulfil this role.

Some of the immediate issues of concern are;
• the future management of the Nestle landholding at Lightwood
• the management of Fernydale Local Nature Reserve (adjacent to our Sherbrook Wood)
• the County Council land at Solomon’s Temple
• the management of wildflower areas at the Serpentine
• conservation of the important, highly threatened breeding population of Curlew and Lapwing in the immediate vicinity of Buxton
• the management of Cowdale Quarry
• the management of road verges
• spread of tree diseases in the town
• the conservation of breeding populations of swifts, martins, swallows and bats that use buildings in the town
• the conservation of wildlife on brownfield sites in the town

Many of these issues involve liaison, potentially lobbying and, hopefully, partnership working with other organisations (e.g. Nestle, High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB).
If you are interested in being part of the Biodiversity Group email us at;
We are holding an inaugural meeting at Poole’s Cavern on Tuesday 10th December 2019 at 7.00pm.
If you are interested in coming along it would be helpful if you could let us know at communications@buxtoncivicassociation.org.uk

The Butterflies of Grinlow

Steve Orridge, BCA member and local naturalist shares his photographs of all of the 21 species of butterflies identified in Grinlow during this years butterfly surveys.

If you would like to volunteer for next years butterfly survey, please contact us using the contact form on this website.

Butterflies thriving in Grinlow

Steve Orridge reports on a better year for Butterflies in Grin low

Every year a band of dedicated butterfly enthusiasts look forward to the start of the survey season. This runs from the beginning of April until the end of September and lasts for 26 weeks.

The year is divided up between the volunteers and it usually means that we each have one survey to do a month. We started surveying in 2015 and each year has been better than the last.

See Graph below

We are now up to week 19 and our count is already 100 more than last years total. We have seen 18 species of butterfly within Grinlow and here is a selection from the 11 species we saw in week 19’s survey.

Last year was a fantastic year for Red Admirals with huge numbers seen right up to the end of September Will we get the same this year? It is hard to tell but the dry hot summer and lack of rain has reduced the crop of Devil’s Bit Scabious which provided such a wonderful supply of nectar for last year’s generation. No matter how the year ends, it is going to be remembered for the exceptional numbers of butterflies.

Although it is not a rare species this brimstone butterfly is our first record for Grinlow.

It has been a very good year for Common Blue butterfly with 68 being counted on one survey in June.

The introduction of the Woodland Ride in 2015 has provided increased habitats for Butterflies as well as increasing the bio diversity of the wood generally.

We will publish a full report at the end of the year which will be available to download from our website.

If anyone would like to get involved in future surveys please let us know by emailing us at communications@buxtoncivicassociation.org.uk

My Favourite Tree Number One

Christine McMullen describes her favourite tree, an Ash Tree outside the entrance to St Peter's Church, Fairfield

This ash tree is outside the entrance to St Peters Church, Fairfield. The photo was taken last July. It is wonderful tree and people pass it when coming to find peace in church, visiting the churchyard or waiting under it when they come with babies for baptism or as bridesmaids to weddings or to say grieving farewells to family members and friends at funerals.

I like the breadth of the shelter of the tree and the dappled sunshine and shade which symbolically affects the lives of all of us.

Christine McMullen

Grinlow Butterfly Survey 2016

Increase in Butterflies in Grinlow Bucks the National Trend

The recent report in the Guardian and on the BBC Today programme (10th October 2016) of an overall decline in the number of Butterflies observed in nationwide surveys has been bucked, according to the early results in from BCA's Grinlow Butterfly Survey.

Steve Orridge, who heads up the survey team, reported that not only were numbers of butterflies seen during the survey up on last years figures, the number of species surveyed had also increased.

"We are clearly seeing the benefits that the forest ride brings to the woods as well as the importance of the glades. The increase light and variety of plant species is hugely beneficial to the butterflies." Steve went on " This is only the second year of the survey , but already it is giving us important feedback and information on the health and well-being of the woods."

Peter Philipson, BCA Director with responsibility for the woods also commented "The wildflowers in the glades have been fantastic this year, and this has contributed to the increase in numbers of butterflies and other insect species. A key part of our Woodland Management Plan is to support the increase in Bio-diversity and it would appear that the survey results show this to be working."

A full report on the 2016 survey will be available later in the year. If anyone is interested in helping out with the 2017 survey, please email us at contact@buxtoncivicassociation.org.uk

Winter Talk – Bialowieza Forest

The last Primeval Forest In Europe

Imagine walking along a woodland trail deep in the heart of an ancient wood. Birds sing from almost every branch, filling the air with their song. The trees tower forty metres or more above your head and around you, on the ground, the dead and the dying trunks are alive with fungi and insects.

Imagine as the trail turns a corner in this ancient woodland, you briefly glimpse a dark shape, a shadow, as some creature of the forests breaks cover ahead of you. Was it a wolf, a bison or a wild boar? Your heart rate accelerates and for a moment you are back with your ancestors as the flight or fight instinct tries to take over.

Or is it your imagination playing tricks on you, surrounded as you are by the forest, its legends and stories stretching back 10,000 years. The shape disappears and the bird song, temporarily drowned out by the rush of fear you felt, returns and you continue, more cautiously now, on your way.

This is Bialowieza, the forest that straddles the Polish, Belarus border, and is the largest remaining area of European lowland wild wood that once stretched from Siberia to Ireland.

To a packed visitor centre at Poole's Cavern, Buxton Civic Association members and friends listened enthralled as Peter Phillipson, aided by Susan Cross brought the forest to life, with a clever combination of words, pictures and sound recordings, to show the beauty, tranquility, and astounding variety of life in this world heritage site.

Key to the forest's richness of biodiversity is the deadwood and the animals that thrive there. As much as 50% of the trees are dead, either fallen or in some cases still standing. But the "decay is the future", as the forest recycles the nutrients from the dead wood, aided by a wealth of fungi and invertebrates for the next generation of trees.

Wild boar root amongst the leaf litter turning the top two inches over, to provide a habitat for plants and insects, bison create small clearings and the beavers dam the rivers and so reengineer the landscape and create new places for flora and fauna to thrive..

The deer population is kept in check by the Lynx and the Wolf packs so the young saplings are not over grazed. So the cycle continues and has done for thousands of years.

There are challenges to overcome, and tensions between the foresters and ecologists. But the central section of the forest is effectively closed off and nature left unhindered to do what it does best. Access is limited to the fortunate few and then only for a few hours.

Bialowieza is a shining example of how to do conservation. It is a reminder of the landscapes that we have lost but also an example of what can be achieved if the will and understanding is there.