Save our Curlew
Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £2,000
This is a joint project with the Upper Clun and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group to improve breeding success of curlew through action on the ground. 35+ volunteers are involved to help find the curlew nests. Once located, electric fencing is put up around the nests to protect the eggs from predation and agricultural activities. Radio tags are fitted to hatched chicks to track them to find out how they use the landscape and what happens to them. The project will report its findings to local and national forums. Understanding the reasons for low levels of chick survival is the key to an effective local and national conservation plan.
Bushmoor Verges Project
Bushmoor Verges Group – grant £1,285
This project is enabling the volunteers of the Bushmoor Verges Group to continue to restore the verges in Bushmoor as good habitat for wildflowers, invertebrates, birds and small mammals. The practical work includes removal of dominant species such as Hogweed from the verges, cutting, collecting seed and scarifying to encourage a diversity of flowering plants. These activities will be documented throughout the year and experiences and knowledge gained shared with others to encourage best practice in managing local roadside verges.
All Stretton Playground Nature Enhancement
Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project – grant £730
This project is enabling volunteers to create a wildflower meadow and new hedgerow on the site of a children’s playground in All Stretton. This will create an opportunity for local and visiting families to get closer to nature and receive health and wellbeing benefits from contact with nature whilst using the play area. The area will be roped off through the winter to allow the seeds to establish. New play equipment is being installed by the All Stretton Village Society.
Verges, Hedges & Churchyards Project
Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project – grant £2,000
The grant is awarded to facilitate collaboration between three existing nature conservation projects in the Shropshire Hills (verges, hedgerows and burial grounds) to enable them to achieve a bigger impact by linking habitats and enhancing wildlife corridors/networks. The project will identify community sites, such as care homes, schools, clinics and pubs to spark interest in developing mini meadows, hedgerow an/or verge restoration projects. Community engagement and recruiting volunteers is key to all these projects and a series of public events will be held to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get involved in local conservation activities.
Llanfair Triangle for Nature & People
Llanfair Waterdine Community Trust – grant £1,000
This is a community project to look after a local site ‘the triangle’ close to Llanfair Hill, and alongside the Offa’s Dyke National Trail. The funding will support a basic ecological survey to find out what is there in terms of plants, invertebrates and birds and to advise on how to best manage the site. The area supports breeding curlew, and the survey will also act as a training session for volunteers to discover more about the wildlife in this area. Some habitat management work is also planned, which may include bracken control. As the triangle a popular spot with walkers and locals, a bench and information panel are also planned as part of this project. The bench is being made locally using local materials.
The deadline for the 2nd round of funding this year is 7th July 2022.
The Conservation Fund is made up with donations from Friends of Shropshire Hills AONB subscriptions, the Millichope Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust and individual contributions.
Pollinator garden at Lower Bush Farm
The farm is a not-for-profit care farm which welcomes adults with learning disabilities, teenagers with mental health difficulties and children and young people with a variety of special educational needs and disabilities. The project enabled the young people to create a pollinator garden as part of their Countryside Management unit to learn about pollinators, healthy habitats and how to increase numbers at the farm and at home.
Lower Bush Farm CIC – grant £2,000 Project Report
This project delivered affordable outdoor education and awareness-raising activities relating to the Shropshire Hills, and its conservation. The sessions combined Forest School education with local nature knowledge, professional knowledge, and with a flare of seasonal relevance. The project was as inclusive as possible by welcoming children (aged between 6-11 years old) of all walks of life into the woodland through being affordable to the majority, and offering two free places for households with a lower-income.
Toni Pettitt– grant £1,780 Project Report
Norbury Hill ecological survey & bracken control
Norbury Hill is an important conservation ‘stepping stone’ between the Long Mynd and Stiperstones. Working with the neighbouring farm, MMCLT commissioned a baseline ecological survey and report to be written for Norbury Hill (250 acres) to guide medium/ long term conservation management. The hill supports breeding skylark, meadow pipits and is a feeding ground for kestrel, curlew and snipe. The grant also supported volunteers to carry out bracken control using had tools.
Middle Marches Community Land Trust (MMCLT) - grant £1,500
Hopton Castle Verges & Tree Planting
Hopton Castle is open to the public. The grant enabled the local community to replant trees in the grounds of the castle which have been lost in recent storms. Wildflowers were also planted on the approaches to the castle and the motte to enhance biodiversity and provide an attractive space to enjoy and picnic in for visitor to the castle and local residents.
Hopton Castle Preservation Trust – grant £816.89 final report
Save our Curlew
This was a joint project with the Stretton Community Wildlife Group to improve Curlew breeding success in the Stretton area by protecting nests using electric fences to protect the eggs from predation and agricultural activities, fitting radio tags to hatched chicks to track them to find out how they use the landscape, and what happens to them. Volunteers helped with sightings and surveys. Understanding the reasons for low levels of chick survival is the key to an effective local and national conservation plan.
Sustainable Charcoal Making
This project enabled members of the Knighton Community Woodland Group to make charcoal using the small timber and brash coppiced from their woodlands. The grant funded the purchase of a charcoal retort and equipment needed to make and sell sustainably produced charcoal. Two one-day training courses were held to demonstrate charcoal making using a retort to other interested community groups in the Shropshire Hills.
Knighton Community Woodland Group – grant £1,293.75 Project Report
Bushmoor Verges Project
This project brought together the residents of Bushmoor hamlet to restore their local roadside verges to encourage wildflowers and create wildlife corridors. The project involved an ecological survey, ground works and planting/seeding as recommended by the report. Volunteers helped with the surveys and in planting/seeding the verge. Photographs were taken to record the verge progress.
This project introduced secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to biodiversity and its value in local woodlands, wild places and the local environment. The students carried out practical activities as part of the school’s fortnightly enrichment sessions, learning how good land management can increase biodiversity. Activities included ‘wilding’ the green areas around the college, raising trees in pots for planting out, and planting a sensory garden.
Lightfoot Enterprises - grant £2,000 Project Report
The following projects were awarded a grant in 2020, but most of them took place in 2021 due to Covid restrictions in place.
Restoring Roadside verges
Restoring the roadside verges in Edgton started a couple of years ago, supported by the Conservation Fund. This grant was awarded to buy wildflower plugs and seeds to improve damaged verges and to extend verge restoration around the village. Discussions with Shropshire Council Highway Department continue regarding verge management and cutting regime to enhance the verges for wildlife.
Edgton Village Meeting – grant £1,000
The aim is to preserve and enhance the roadside verges and hedgerows in the village to provide valuable habitat for plants, insects and small mammals. The village ‘Wildflower Verges Group’ bought together range of people who previously didn’t know each other, and it is hoped that wildflower rich verges will give villagers a sense of wellbeing. The grant will support a professional survey of all the village verges and hedgerows to draw up a plan for future work. These surveys will also be a training opportunity for volunteers. Cutting, raking, scarifying and seeding the verges will also be undertaken by volunteers.
Little Stretton Village Society – grant £795.50
Grassland for Curlew
This project is trialling different grassland management techniques to improve suitability for breeding curlew. Working with volunteer farming partners in the Shropshire Hills, the project will trial and cost alternative and novel mowing regimes to vary the height of grass. The aim is to provide a better food source for the curlew chicks and greater protection from some predators. The results will be used to inform future management and include costs per acre per operation.
Curlew Country - grant £2,000
Exploring Wild Wood
This project introduced secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to the diversity of woodlands, demonstrating how they can be managed for enjoyment, biodiversity and for wood fuel production. The students visit different woodland sites in the AONB to carry out practical activities including tree planting, building shelters, woodland management, a fungi foray and exploring woodland wildlife. The project will also be sharing its knowledge and activities with a group of teachers who have set up Marches Climate Education Group at a workshop being held in Hereford.
Lightfoot Enterprises - grant £1,900
Craven Arms Young Rangers
20 young people, aged 10-18, helped to develop a management/ activity plan for a local woodland site. They will identify what is in the woodland, what is the potential to improve habitat and what practical work needs doing to make a training base for future Young Ranger activity. The six woodland activities days will involve tree and plant identification, mapping species and places of interest, clearing and creating space for a base and better access.
South Shropshire Youth Forum - grant £1,684 read project report
Save our Curlew
This is a joint partnership project with the Upper Clun and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Groups. The project aims to improve Curlew breeding success in the Upper Clun and Clee hills area, through action on the ground. 70+ volunteers from the two community wildlife groups will helped with sightings and surveys.
Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £2,000 Project Report
Harvesting Meadow Plant Seed for Sward Enhancement
The grant supported the purchase of a seed harvester to collect meadow plant seed from local species-rich meadows. The seed will be used on suitable areas of currently species-poor grasslands, including Marches Meadow Group members’ fields, lawns, road verges, public open spaces, school grounds and churchyards in and around the Shropshire Hills. The aims are to increase the number and area of species-rich grasslands and increase the opportunities for meadow plants and animals to move between existing meadows.
Marches Meadow Group - grant £2,000 Final Project Report
Mammal & Bat Recording
Abdon District Community Wildlife Group - grant £300
A small grant was awarded to enable the Community Wildlife Group (CWG) to purchase a bat detector and identification guides. With help from Shropshire Bat Group and Mammal Group, the CWG plan to record the bat and mammal species in their area. Other local CWGs will be welcome to borrow the detector.