Activity Reports

 

Friends of Poets’ Walk

 4th Quarterly Report 2017   October – December

  The Volunteer Workforce

Sixteen individual volunteers contributed to regular Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of October and the end of December. Two additional volunteers complemented the scything team on Wain’s Hill in October.

Attendance per Thursday session, which continues to comprise a paths group and a habitats group, ranged between 10 and 13. The average was 11 per session.

Working parties took place on 11 Thursday afternoons. In addition 43 hours were spent scything and 2 hours strimming on Monday mornings on Wain’s Hill ramparts. The Woodcutters for Wildlife did 16 hours of maintenance work in Salthouse Woods bringing the total number of volunteer working hours to 294.

Working Party tasks

4th quarter map 2017All tasks were based on the Poets’ Walk Management Plan.

The tidying of the formal paths, steps and seats was ongoing and included sweeping of slippery autumn leaves.

Work on Wain’s Hill concentrated on the annual autumn scything and raking of the rampart slope, now for the 6th time since clearing the scrub.

On Church Hill, nettles, feral raspberry and brambles were pulled or grubbed in the woodland glade behind Salthouse Flats. Grassland was scythed and nettles pulled at the view point above the zigzag steps. Volunteers also cut back bramble that was impeding tractor access to Church Hill (near St Andrew’s Church, on request of the contractor), and thinned sycamore saplings in the same area.

Co-operation

The volunteers gratefully acknowledge the valuable work done by Green mantle on the species-rich, west-facing grassy bank on Wain’s Hill, and by farmer Dave Smith in mowing and baling the grass on both hilltops. We are especially grateful to Sam Phillips of North Somerset Council for facilitating the patching up of the crumbling Battery walls on Wain’s Hill, using the appropriate lime mortar, to make them safe and prevent further decay. We have made contact with wall-building expert Tina Bath, who has agreed to visit the site to advise and help the volunteers with lime mortaring in the spring.

In October, the Woodcutters for Wildlife worked in Salthouse Woods, replacing 2 woodland steps, tidying the immediate area and clearing a fallen branch, and also raking the grassland above the woodland steps following the annual grass cut by the contractor.

In December the Friends’ paths team co-operated with the Marine Lake group, Marlens, by sweeping and tidying the formal paths above the lake.

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 thicket areas and woodland glades.

As soon as possible in the spring it is hoped to start some re-building/pointing work of the perimeter wall at the Battery, with the support of Mendip’s Tina Bath and Clevedon Civic Society.

Angela Slotte – Volunteer coordinator on behalf of the Friends of Poets’ Walk, January 2018

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Friends of Poets’ Walk

 3rd Quarterly Report 2017  July – September

 The Volunteer Workforce

Nineteen individual volunteers contributed to Thursday afternoon working parties between the beginning of July and the end of September. There were 4 or 5 in the Monday scything team (including 2 scything-only volunteers). Attendance per Thursday session ranged from 8 (on a drizzly day) to 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, totalling 25 hours on Church Hill (September) and 6 on Wain’s Hill (July). 3 hours were spent over 2 sessions mowing Hack’s Way and the green gate bank near the church. The total number of volunteer working hours was again a new record, this time 357, exceeding last quarter’s record by 7.

Individual ‘off-duty’ volunteers spent at least an hour each week recording species and numbers of butterflies along the Poets’ Walk transect.

Working Party Tasks

3rd quarter map 2017

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

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

In July, ragwort was pulled on both hills and also in the neighbouring Glebe field.

On Church Hill much time and effort was again given to controlling the spread of wild radish. Bramble roots were grubbed out and nettles pulled. Scything of the two slopes overlooking the churchyard took place in September.

A priority on Wain’s Hill was tidying and selective weeding at the Battery site.

Butterfly Survey

The butterfly recording season closed at the end of September and volunteer Bill Thompson reports that we recorded a total of 1,323 butterflies on Poets’ Walk this year as compared with 639 last year, under the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (www.ukbms.org). His comprehensive summary can be read through the following link.

https://clevedonconservationvolunteers.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/2017-summary-for-blog-pdf.pdf

Co-operation

We are most grateful to Sam Phillips from North Somerset Council for pushing ahead with organising a contractor to make the Wain’s Hill battery walls safe.

We are also grateful to Bob Hardcastle and John Tranter of Clevedon Civic Society for surveying the Wain’s Hill battery site and producing a sketch ground plan. This will be useful when applying for funding to help protect the site.

In September the Friends of Poets’ Walk contributed to the Marlens Tides Festival preparations by tidying the paths above Marine Lake.

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 down loaded from the website.

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

Future programme

October will see the late summer/autumn scything of the Wain’s Hill ramparts. This will be for the sixth year since the scrub was cleared. Other work will involve on-going scrub control, including the further enhancement of the woodland glade on Church Hill. An NSC building contractor is expected to be on site at the Wain’s Hill battery in early October to do essential work to make the walls safe. The Friends plan to do further stone wall and pointing work on the site as soon as possible.

Conclusion

The Friends group continues to thrive, and there is no doubt that Poets’ Walk has benefitted from 6 years of regular volunteer work.

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

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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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