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East Devon AONB – Saving Species Update 4

  • by JW

Plus July and August events


Left to right: Westhay Meadows – Golden Cap Estate, Hogchester Meadows (Kevin Payne) , Bolshayne Farm, Crab Spider on bramble (Una Garland)

May and June events were very much appreciated and valued as we begin to organise at last outdoor activity. Thanks to all the landowners and event leaders that made these events so memorable and magical and for many it was their first visit to these local wild places. Hogchester Meadows is still open to the public throughout July. with drinks and cakes at the Coffee Cabin on Saturdays.

The first event, ‘In search of the Devon Whitebeam’ was led by Graham Jones,  landscape and tree enthusiast and reports, “ We set out from Branscombe village hall, to explore the area behind the school and the woodland on the south side of the church. The lanes and hedgerows were bursting with fresh growth of many species of wild flowers, ferns and a good variety of native trees. The landscape has been heavily worked since before medieval times. Stone pits, old track ways through to twentieth century coppice. We saw how the flora had adapted and thrived in a man-made environment.  Although we didn’t find a Devon Whitebeam, or any other member of the Sorbus family on the walk, this was an important result in mapping the distribution of this special species in our area.”

On one of the series of Grey Long Eared-bat Meadow Walks, a participant at the Westhay Meadow Stroll said,  What an informative walk! A huge thank you to you all. Marjorie was a delight to listen to and my own grandchildren will now learn how to fire plant arrows and smell pineapples in England!” 

22 of our next generation of potential naturalists – Charmouth Cubs, scoured some of Hogchester Meadows for the minibeasts that could well be supper for the Grey Long-eared bat. “Thanks for running a spectacularly successful evening. As you saw, we had to make the Cubs go home, they we so engrossed in the bug hunting!” said Kevin Payne, Charmouth Cub leader.

The Grey Long Eared Bat Project has also started a series of creative art workshops in local schools.

The whole school at Hawkchurch Primary took part in a range of activities to learn more about this rare bat on their doorstep. Reception and ks 1 created large giant floor collages of the bat using grey and black plastic waste objects – ks 1 designed and painted OHP slides of roost sites, navigation routes and feeding areas and ks 2 designed and created wire shadow puppets of the bats and their prey. The day culminated in a shadow puppet performance demonstrating all they had learnt about these bats from echo location, to the roost and feeding sites they rely on.

BAT MONITORING VOLUNTEER  PLEA                                                                                   

If you are interested in getting more involved with the Grey Long-eared Bat Project, we will shortly be launching a citizen science survey. Please email Ruth,  to register interest.

The Grey Long-eared bat project is funded through the governments Green Recovery Challenge Fund.   More information: Grey Long Eared Bat Project

Daytime and Dusk Discovery Walks, Bats, Blooms, Butterflies and Ancient Trees!

Summer has finally arrived and packed with events to get you closer to the great nature on our doorstep and learn about some of East Devon’s rarest species.

Bats about Bats    Saturday 17 July, 9.00pm – 10.30pm   Shute  Village

Spy on these mysterious flying mammals of the night on a magical bat detecting walk, in search of the rare Grey Long Eared Bat and some of the other 17 UK bat species, with expert Fiona Matthews. This event is also part of Shute Festival of Literature and Landscapes Talking Walks programme.

Booking essential – link to book: Bats about Bats

Deer Park Tree Discovery Trail     Saturday 24 July, 2.00pm – 4.00pm     Woodend Park, near Shute                                                                                                                                  Meet remarkable and magnificent trees ancient and young in the medieval Deer Park including the oldest resident King John at over 800 years old with Jill Butler, Ancient Tree Specialist and will we find the elusive Devon Whitebeam one the Saving Special Species species?!

Booking essential – link to book: Deer Park Tree Discovery Trail

The Big Butterfly Search    Wednesday 28 July, 2.00pm – 4.00pm     RSPB Aylesbeare Common

Aylesbeare Common RSPB, is one of the few places where the Pearl Bordered and Small Pearl Bordered butterfly have been seen in recent years. Join butterfly expert Paul Butter for a guided walk around this rare piece of Devon heathland in search of these elusive insects.

Booking essential – link to book: The Big Butterfly Search

All of a flutter   Saturday 31 July, 11.00am – 3.00pm      RSPB Aylesbeare Common

Get creative to celebrate the Pearl Bordered and Small Pearl Bordered butterfly. These are beautiful orange butterflies with a string of pearls along their edges. We will be there with the Cabin Crew from the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) and Wild East Devon, who run this amazing travelling creative space. Follow the butterfly trail from the car park to find us and drop in to make a butterfly kite and find out more about these endangered butterflies. These are FREE drop – in activities. Donations always welcome. No need to book. Come at any time between 11am and 3pm. Please be aware that we will be running this activity within current Covid – Safety guidelines and appreciate your patience if you have to wait before you can take part.

Event location signed from Joney’s Cross car park (EX10 0BL), just off  A3052 opposite RSPB Aylesbeare Reserve. Care as you cross that busy road. Heath Week event – and Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count

Great Summer Plant Hunt    Saturday 7 August, 2.00pm – 4.00pm       Shute Woods

In search of Heath Lobelia, first discovered growing in the UK at Shute Common in the 1760s and only grows in five southern counties. Guided walk with members of the ‘Heath Lobelia Champions’ volunteers. Walk will start from parking at Shute Pillars (near A35).

Booking essential – link to book: Great Summer Plant Hunt

Completely Batty        Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 August  11am – 3pm       The Donkey Sanctuary

Get creative to celebrate East Devon’s rare bats including the Grey Long-eared. Learn more about these secretive creatures of the night whilst making bat masks. Grey Long Eared bats need meadows to feed on – that where they find their favorite food – moths, craneflies and small beetles. They need our help – kick start your own garden meadow by making seed bombs. These are FREE drop – in activities. Donations always welcome. No need to book. Come at any time between 11am and 3pm. Please be aware that we will be running this activity within current   Covid – Safe guidelines and appreciate your patience if you have to wait before you can take part.                        The Donkey Sanctuary, Slade House Farm, EX10 0NU,  east of Sidmouth (A3052)

Above events are bookable where specified  – also free and all ages welcome. We continue to follow latest government guidelines for covid, ensuring 2m safe distancing with limited numbers.

For further information – Ruth Worsley   01297 489741    07765126565

Wildlife Engagement Officer for East Devon AONB – to enhance its rarest wildlife      Species Recovery Project  Saving Special Species

#SavingSpecialSpecies – protecting endangered species – East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty