Conservation Fund Projects, 2019-20

Grants from the AONB Conservation Fund were awarded to 11 projects in 2019-20.  Project summaries and reports are listed below.

The Fund is made up with donations from Friends of Shropshire Hills AONB subscriptions, the Millichope Foundation and individual contributions. Grants are awarded by the Shropshire Hills AONB Trust.

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2019-20 projects:

Brynmawr Farm Summer Club

This is a new one-day-a-week club for young people (aged 11-14) through the summer holidays at Brynmawr Organic Farm.  Weekly topics will look at different elements of the natural environment and practical conservation work.  Hands-on activities will aim to promote an active lifestyle and increasing self-confidence, self-belief and self-responsibility.  A Pettitt – grant £1,490  Project Report

 


Sowing the Seed of God’s Acre

This project is surveying 10 burial grounds in the AONB, where little or nothing is known about the flora and fauna.  Grassland management sessions and a meadow management training day will support volunteers and share best practice.  Yellow Rattle seed from meadows in the AONB will be collected and sown into the long grass area of churchyards.  Yellow Rattle suppresses grass growth, making the management of these sites more sustainable in the long term. Caring for God’s Acre - grant £1,500

 


Hills Stories 2019

This project is helping young people to explore and engage with Shropshire Hills landscape, its wildlife and heritage.  Working with youth leaders, creative digital media practitioners, and other artists, the participants will use digital technology (eg iPods / iPads / digital cameras) to reflect on their experiences and create their own physical and digital media responses to share online.  An exhibition will be held to showcase their workNick Fogg & Mike Smart – grant £1,500  Project Report

 


Shropshire Favourite Bird Sites (booklet)

This new booklet will highlight 20 wildlife sites in Shropshire which are good for bird-watching (8 are in the AONB).  It is aimed at beginners.  The grant is helping with printing costs.  It will be launched in September at the RSPB South Shropshire group 50th anniversary event.  All monies raised goes towards helping migrating birds.  RSPB South Shropshire Group - grant £500  Project Report

 


The Shropshire Barytes Industry

The barytes industry in the Shropshire Hills was of national importance and a substantial employer during the first half of the twentieth century.  This project is undertaking practical work at two sites; Cothercott and the Bog Mine, to enable volunteers to continue their survey of the sites and help to reveal more of our barytes heritage.  Shropshire Caving and Mining Club - grant £1,000

 


REACH

This project will deliver six sessions for 10 young people aged 13-16 who have been referred onto the programme by Church Stretton Secondary School.  The young people play an active part in the development of the sessions to help them appreciated their local landscape. South Shropshire Youth Forum – grant £1,500

 


Upper Onny Balsam Bashing

The eradication of Himalayan balsam continues in the Upper Onny catchment.  This year’s focus is the West Onny, along Criftin Brook and at the Bog.  These stretches of river will be surveyed and the balsam cleared by volunteer work parties.  The project also aims to increase awareness of the issues of habitat loss and encourage the community and landowners to help reverse the spread of invasive species in this part of the AONB. Upper Onny Wildlife Group - grant £1,500  Project Report

 


People & Plants 

The project is delivering 8 training sessions (walks, surveys and workshops) in the Shropshire Hills for people interested in plants.  The sessions will teach people how to identify and record veteran trees, fungi, ferns and mosses as well as flowering plants, and aims encourage new people to get involved in active conservation. Upper Onny Wildlife Group - grant £500  Project Report

 


Whinchat Conservation on the Long Mynd

This is a Pilot Project to test and evaluate proposals for a Whinchat conservation project on the Long Mynd.  Whinchats are wholly restricted to bracken habitats.  The project will find a sample of whinchat nests, monitor them with trail cameras, colour-ring the chicks and catch as many of the breeding adults as possible. National Trust - grant £2,500

 


The Halfway House on the Wrekin

The grant will help to create a flower rich garden at the Halfway House café that’s attractive to visitors and to a range of pollinating insects.  A series of six events will be held to increase visitor awareness of the uniqueness of the Wrekin, its natural heritage, the woodland, and the special wildlife it supports giving priority to the birds in the area, pollinating insects and the plants that they use.  J. Joy - grant £1,283

 


Youth in Woods

This project introduces secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to the richness and diversity of woodlands, and demonstrates how they can be managed for enjoyment, biodiversity and for wood fuel production.  Students will carry out practical activities including building shelters, woodland management (cutting and logging), making things from objects found in the woodland, and exploring the woodland diversity.  Lightfoot – grant £1,500