Activity Reports

Friends of Poets’ Walk

 2nd Quarterly Report 2017  April – June 

The Volunteer Workforce

19 individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of April and the end of June.  The Monday scything team numbered between 3 and 5 (including 2 scything-only volunteers). Attendance per Thursday session ranged between 10 and 15. The average was between 12 and 13 per session, shared between the habitats team and the paths team.

Working parties took place on 13 Thursday afternoons. Scything was done on 3 Mondays and totalled 31 hours. 4 hours was spent over 2 sessions mowing Hack’s Way and the 1923 path. The total number of volunteer working hours was a new record of 350, exceeding even last quarter’s total.

In addition, individual ‘off-duty’ volunteers spent about an hour each week recording species and numbers of butterflies along the Poets’ Walk transect.

Working Party Tasks

2nd quarter map 2017

All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing.

A priority on Church Hill was the scything and grubbing out of invasive wild radish (now for the 3rd summer), which is proving difficult to bring under control. The 1923 path over Church Hill was petrol mown and Hack’s Way mechanically trimmed and tidied to enhance access. The green gate bank beside the churchyard wall was scythed and weeded in May.

On Wain’s Hill, clearance of nettles and a general tidy-up continued at the battery site and along the nearby woodland path, and scrub was cleared from around the ‘pillbox’. June saw the start of the early summer scything of the rampart slope.

Co-operation

We are grateful to officers from North Somerset Council for their site visit to the Wain’s Hill battery site and for their agreement to look into patching up the vulnerable Victorian wall and for the possible hiring of a skip to take away rubble.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website.

The Friends of Poets’ Walk Map leaflet is available at various outlets in Clevedon and can be downloaded from the same website at:.

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Future programme

The annual ragwort pull will take place in July. Wild radish on Church Hill will be cut or grubbed as often as possible during the summer to prevent seeding. Nettles, brambles and feral raspberry will be further controlled, especially in the woodland glade behind the Salthouse flats.

The end of September will see the scything of the 2 north-west facing slopes on Church Hill, and October the second annual scything of the Wain’s Hill ramparts.

Conclusion

Numbers of volunteers continue to be consistently very good, especially in the paths team (now up to 8), and morale is high. The opinion of both volunteers and the general public is that Poets’ Walk is looking good!

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, August 2017

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 1st Quarterly Report 2017  January – March

 The Volunteer Workforce

18 individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of January and the end of March.  Attendance per session ranged between 11 and 16. The average was between 13 and 14 per session, shared between the habitats team and the paths team, an all-time record.

Working parties took place on 12 Thursday afternoons. One session was rained off. The total number of volunteer working hours was an impressive 325.

Working Party Tasks

1st quarter 2017 map

All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing.

Work on Church Hill included woodland glade management behind the Salthouse Flats by cutting and grubbing young brambles and feral raspberries. The thicket areas on the north-west facing slope were further enhanced. On the coastal path beyond the churchyard scrub trees were cut back to restore the view from a seat.

On Wain’s Hill most of this quarter was spent at the old Battery site grubbing out nettles and carting away by wheelbarrow soil and rubble. An old apple tree on the slope overlooking the Pill was freed from brambles.

In March, a session involving both groups was spent clearing brambles and tree shoots from St Andrew’s churchyard.

Co-operation

We are grateful to the Woodcutters for Wildlife for felling several self-set sycamores that were out-competing other species in the thicket areas between Church Hill and St Andrew’s churchyard (21 volunteer hours).

We are again grateful to the Glebe Community project volunteers for burning the brash cut by the Friends in the churchyard.

Future programme

From 1st April our volunteers will again be recording butterfly sightings on a weekly basis and submitting results to a national database under the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (www.ukbms.org).

Grassland management will be a priority during the summer. In particular, invasive wild radish on Church Hill will be controlled by scything, grubbing and pulling.

Work will continue to keep paths and seats tidy, views maintained and access points to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill kept clear. The route of the 1923 grassy path around Church Hill, as well as Hack’s Way, will be kept open by mechanical trimming.

The clearing of nettles and debris from the Battery site will continue, and we hope that a skip can be hired before long to take away the rubble.

June will see the start of the annual summer cut of the Wain’s Hill ramparts by scything.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, May 2017

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

4th Quarterly Report 2016  October – December

The Volunteer Workforce

16 individual volunteers contributed to regular Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of October and the end of December. Three additional volunteers took part in the scything of Wain’s Hill in October.

Attendance per Thursday session, which continues to comprise a paths group and a habitats group, ranged between 4 (on a wet day) and 15. The average – a record to date – was almost 12 per session.

Working parties took place on 11 Thursday afternoons. In addition 45 hours were spent on Monday mornings scything on Wain’s Hill ramparts. The total number of volunteer working hours was 262.

Working Party tasks

poets-walk-4th-quarter-2016-report-map

All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing. Work on Wain’s Hill consisted mainly of scything and raking the rampart slopes and clearing scrub from the old gun battery site.

On Church Hill time was spent on woodland enhancement behind the Salthouse Flats and a lot of nettle pulling, particularly along the central formal path that runs behind the churchyard wall.

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website at:

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Future programme

Work will continue to keep paths and seats tidy, to maintain or improve views, and to keep access points to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill clear. January and February will see follow-up scrub control and some further enhancement of the thicket area on Church Hill.

More nettles and accumulated debris will be cleared from the 1860s Gun Battery site on Wain’s Hill in the hope that the area can be established as a Heritage Site in co-operation with North Somerset Council and English Heritage.

The first of March will mark the end of the scrub clearing season and the start of the bird nesting season.

Conclusion

The paths group continues to be popular, with regular membership now up to 8, and in the habitats team numbers of regular attendees are also up and include volunteers from Yatton and Backwell. We have an excellent workforce and look forward to our spring and summer programme.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, February 2017

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

3rd Quarterly Report 2016  July – September

The Volunteer Workforce

19 individual volunteers contributed to regular Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of July and the end of September. There were five new volunteers, one of which came only once while the other four have become regular members. Attendance per Thursday session, which continues to comprise a paths group and a habitats group, ranged between 10 and 16. The average per session was over 12 – a record since our working parties began. The paths group alone has up to 7 regular members.

Three other volunteers joined the scything group when necessary, augmenting that team to five.

Working parties took place on 13 Thursday afternoons. Further sessions, mainly for mowing, took place on 7 other occasions. The total number of volunteer working hours was 346, which includes 29 hours scything plus 4 hours mowing and raking the Church Hill 1923 path. In addition, the Clevedon Woodcutters for Wildlife, working on behalf of the Friends, spent 31 hours laying new revetment boards along the Public Right of Way through Salthouse Woods.

Working Party Tasks

3rd-quarter-2016-map

All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan. References to relevant paragraphs in the Management Plan are included on the accompanying Work Sheet.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats, and of St Andrew’s green gate bank and Hack’s Way was ongoing. The June cut of the Wain’s Hill ramparts was completed in early July. Other work involved grassland management to control scrub and invasive herbaceous species. This included ragwort pulling in July, late summer scything of the two Church Hill slopes as well as scything and tidying of the view point above the zigzag path, mowing of the 1923 path and a concentrated effort to halt the spread of invasive wild radish on Church Hill by scything, grubbing out and pulling.

Fauna and Flora

The last day of September marked the end of the butterfly monitoring season. Results of our weekly survey have been submitted to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme national data base (www.ukbms.org). A summary of the Poets’ Walk records can be seen on https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/butterfly-survey/.

Publicity

An article appeared in the September edition of Clevedon Living announcing the group’s 5th anniversary and calling for new volunteers.

NSC’s North Somerset Life magazine published a walk around Poets’ Walk illustrated with a map and photographs.

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website at:

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Our map leaflet continues to be available at outlets in Clevedon, and can be downloaded from our website.

Future programme

Work will continue to keep paths and seats tidy, views maintained and access points to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill kept clear. The late summer scything and raking of the Wain’s Hill rampart slope will start in early October. Scrub control will continue throughout the winter months, including some more at the Wain’s Hill battery site.

Conclusion

The Friends of Poets’ Walk have now completed 5 years of working parties, the mid September anniversary being celebrated at the Salthouse Pub with drinks and homemade cakes. Our numbers have continued to grow and we look forward to the start of our 6th winter programme in the knowledge that our hard work is appreciated by the community.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, October 2016

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 2nd Quarterly Report 2016   April – June

The Volunteer Workforce

16 individual volunteers contributed to regular Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of April and the end of June. Attendance per Thursday session, which continues to comprise a paths group and a habitats group, ranged between 6 and 11. The average was 9 per session.

Working parties took place on 13 Thursday afternoons. The total number of volunteer working hours was 263, which includes 41 hours scything on Wain’s Hill plus 2 hours brush cutting and raking Hack’s Way.

Working Party Tasks

2nd-quarter-2016-mapAll tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan. References to relevant paragraphs in the Management Plan are included on the accompanying Work Sheet.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing. Seasonal grassland management on Church Hill focussed on the control of wild radish by pulling, grubbing and scything. At the request of the farmer/contractor some dock was also grubbed out. Rank vegetation including nettles above the zigzag path was scythed. Grass on Hack’s Way and along the 1923 path was mechanically trimmed.

Scything took place every Monday in June on the Wain’s Hill rampart slope, followed by raking up.  Our scything team now numbers up to four. Bramble roots and nettles were grubbed out from the grassy plateau at the view point beyond the old battery site, and sycamore seedlings were pulled and nettles scythed along the Wain’s Hill zigzag.

Fauna and Flora

1st April saw the start of our new Butterfly Survey under the leadership of volunteer Bill Thompson. Using our Butterfly Transect for Church Hill and Wain’s Hill, which is registered with the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (www.ukbms.org), data has been recorded by our own volunteers and submitted weekly to the national database. A summary of results can be seen on our own blog page at https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/butterfly-survey/

Publicity

Regular updates appeared on the Monthly Diary page under the section Poets’ Walk on the Clevedon Conservation Volunteers website at:

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.org/poets-walk/

Our map leaflet continues to be available at outlets in Clevedon, and can be downloaded from our website.

Future programme

Grassland management will continue to be a priority during the summer. In particular, increasingly invasive wild radish on Church Hill will be controlled by scything, pulling and grubbing out.

Work will continue to keep paths and seats tidy, views maintained and access points to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill kept clear. The route of the 1923 grassy path around Church Hill, as well as Hack’s Way, will be kept open by mechanical trimming.

July will see the annual Ragwort pull on both hills.

In August Clevedon Woodcutters for Wildlife will continue to lay revetment boards along the Public Right of Way through Salthouse Woods.

In September scrub clearing can restart where necessary. Two steep slopes on Church Hill will again be scythed by volunteers as well as the Wain’s Hill ramparts.

Conclusion

The diversification of our work programme to include membership in a national butterfly survey is especially pleasing. We are also happy to have a fourth scything volunteer. We have been able to keep to schedule with our work plans and morale continues to be high among the volunteers.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, August 2016

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