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Yar Estuary walk and AONB boundary review

A walk along the Yar estuary

I can join the Freshwater to Yarmouth walk just down my road. It is currently my favourite walk as it seems to capture the best landscapes of lowland England. I head out one glorious September morning.

The prominent landscape feature of the walk Is the Western Yar estuary and I cross the river at the Freshwater causeway with a warning sign alerting driver to be aware of the possibility that swans might be in the road. Are Swans that small that they could be overlooked?

Then the walk is along the old railway line that once served Yarmouth town. The railway line which closed in 1953, is long since dismantled but you can still spot the old metal fence posts that once ran along side the line. The woodland growing up here is quite diverse and on previous walks I have once spotted a dormouse and on numerous occasions red squirrels. Today, I spot a Buzzard lurking in the wood and it flies from one tree to another before flying off across the river.

Past Backets copse the view of the estuary opens up and takes centre stage. Today, I see curlew, lapwing and an egret but later in the year, the estuary is full of wading birds and I have seen Avocet, Spoonbill and my favourite goose, the Dark Bellied Brent Geese where at times, they can be seen in their hundreds. And a  perfect sight it is too.

Wildlife designations

The Yar Estuary is internationally recognised for its special wildlife and the designations include a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a  RAMSAR and a Special Protection Area.   Each one of these designations is from a different body and should give the area, particularly the wildlife and waterscape protection against any potential damaging development. The fourth designation afforded to the river and surrounding hinterland including Yarmouth town is the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a national government AONB boundary review currently taking place and I sincerely hope that more of the Island will be given AONB status as the current boundary makes little sense to me.

As I head towards Yarmouth I take a diversion to Mill Copse. This lovely woodland manged by the Wight Nature Fund has a rich variety of trees to be found in it. My favourites must be the coppiced Field Maple to be found on the far side along the footpath. Goodness knows when they were last coppiced, but they do look magnificently ancient.

Yarmouth Town

Back on the old railway line, past the old water mill into Yarmouth. Plenty to see and do in Yarmouth, best pub is arguably the Kings Head but I go and look at the newly restored pier – built in 1876 it is said to the oldest  wooden pier in the country and has just been beautifully restored, thanks to the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £778,000. I want to see the lobster boats, but all I see is their gear squeezed between some posh yachts.

I cross the Yar over the bridge, bypassing Norton Spit with its sand dunes habitat – the only sand dune habitat that I know of on the Island. Up through Saltern Wood with its No Trespassing signs, I see evidence of badgers and onto the highest point of the walk and views of the chalk downland hills and of Tennyson Monument. But I will leave that walk for another day.

 

Photos and text Pete Johnstone

Wild Flower funding (UK)

Grow Wild Community Project Funding 2018

The innovative wild flower project from Kew has another funding round.

Grants are available to groups and projects working on activities to connect and celebrate UK native wildflowers, plants and fungi.

Grants of £2000 or £4000 are available

Grow Wild will fund 50 groups in 2018 across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Voluntary and charitable groups can apply – must be constituted and not – for -profit.

Deadline: 15th January 2018

More information: https://www.growwilduk.com/project-funding

Grow Wild is funded by the Big  Lottery Fund

 

Photo: Wild Flower meadow, Isle of Wight ©Pete Johnstone.

Crowdfunding Nature – evaluation video on recent work to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding for wildlife organisations in the East of England

Crowdfunding Nature – Project Update (June 2016)

Keep the Nightingales Singing!

Project update: As part of the Crowdfunding for Nature project, Natural England and local charity Nene Coppicing and Crafts raised £5200 from 90 backers from the UK crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder.
Crowdfunding Nature is an initiative run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum and managed by PJ.elements and CrowfundUK. The initiative is currently undergoing evaluation and a short video of the lessons learned to help other environmental organisations with crowdfunding campaigns will be out soon.

Pop up consultations on the Secrets of the Sands

PJ.elements joined forces with Resources for Change to undertake community consultations in the ‘Secrets of the Sands’ landscape area and nearby Bedford and Milton Keynes to discover how much people know about the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge.

 

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Consultation in Flitwick, Central Beds. Photo: Pete Johnstone

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An avenue of parkland trees on the Greensand Ridge. Photo: Pete Johnstone

The Research is part of our work with the Interpretation consultancy TellTale and the Secrets of the Sands Landscape Partnership Scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The results of our work will feed into the Interpretation and Audience Development Plan for the Project’s stage two Heritage Lottery Fund application. More information on the Secrets of the Sands Landscape Partnership Scheme can be found here

‘Secrets of the Sands’ is the landscape partnership scheme for the a long narrow wooded sandstone ridge running 35 miles south west to north east from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay to the south of Bedford. It is a fascinating area of woodlands, heathland and many old parkland estates with their ancient trees. Certainly a hidden landscape and one worth exploring!

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Rowney Warren, a Forestry Commission Woodland not far from Shefford. Photo: Pete Johnstone

 

Images © Pete Johnstone

Environmental crowdfunding – Norfolk Rivers Trust

This crowdfunding project run by the Norfolk Rivers Trust is all about the Trust’s work to improve the health of the chalk rivers in North Norfolk.

The Rivers Trust is using Crowdfunder to host their campaign – they have already reached their initial funding target and are now looking to stretch the crowdfunding income to the £5,000 mark before the campaign closes later in March.

Please support or promote the project where you can:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/stop-the-aliens/

Thank you