FGCP joins other local environmental groups at the annual Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group Forum
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country ParkBy Diane Moore
I arrived at the campus early, with 30mins to spare before the event started, so I decided to venture down ‘memory lane’. I need to explain. I studied horticulture at Brackenhurst in middle 1990s and thought I would wander down to the walled garden to recall memories of working in groups digging, pruning the fruit trees and planting vegetables. However, I did not stop there - I walked over to the woodland and saw the pond as grand as ever and the ever increasing carpet of blue/white flowers of the Anemones.
I was well into my ‘memory lane’ and soon found myself at the rose garden. I remember forking over the beds for winter and carefully pruning the thorny stems to past the practical test. The ‘temporary’ study rooms were all gone and replaced with student accommodation. By now I had almost completed a circular walk so decided to browse the library I knew so well as a student. However, I soon discovered a brand new library building with a large collection of garden design, horticulture books etc. It is likely I will be calling at the library again in the near future to borrow books. A wonderful circular walk full of very happy memories.
By now I had arrived back at the Bramley Building for the 9.45am start of the event. A tempting table full of delicious cakes and plenty of tea, coffee and soft drinks greeted me/us provided by volunteers from Dynamo House Café supporting Bestwood Country Park.
Reading down the impressive delegate list I discovered numerous ‘Friends of’ groups; our Friends of Gedling Country Park with two delegates myself and Brian, Friends of Bestwood Country Park, Friends of Colliers Wood, as well as Nottinghamshire County Council officers, Natural England, Nottingham Wildlife Trust and many more.
I was very pleased the programme covered a wide range of topics; grassland, reed beds, woodland, heathland followed by practical workshops; hedgerow diversity, ponds inventory, arable field margins, scrub, blue butterfly grassland and woodlands for wildlife.
The presentations were very professional and the speakers were well up on their subject. I've listed below a few highlights from each presentation:
Nick Crouch, Senior Practitioner Nature Conservation, Nottinghamshire County Council discussed - exploring Calcareous grassland as a resource, its value and how we must strive to preserve and enhance these to increase wildlife value. They provide extremely valuable support to rare plants such as the fragrant orchid and habitat for ground nesting birds. Local examples include Annesley Woodhouse, The Linby Trail and Bulwell Hall Park. However, the threats are under-and-over grazing, development and abandonment.
Tristan Galletly, Woodland Officer, Forestry Commission. Biodiversity Rich Woodlands. (Tristan highlighted he mainly deals with private landowners). He stressed the need for woodlands to be managed and how they can be managed for a particular species or a variety of species in the short /long term, such as Night Jars, Woodlarks and Warblers. Tristan also stressed that we need to be on the lookout for Chalara ash die back and how woodlands are responding to climate change and how they will survive in 25-50 years time.
Carl Cornish, RSPB. Reedbeds and Wetlands. Discussed the need to try to achieve favourable, sustainable and well managed reed beds not only to sustain wildlife but also because it helps to attract funding for environmental projects. However, we also need to have a close look at our ambitions, reality and how achievable our targets are. Carl’s presentation included a diagram of a variety of sizes of reed beds and he stressed bigger is better and should be well connected in order to be of maximum benefit to wildlife.
Janice Bradley, Head of Conservation Policy and Planning, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Enhancing Nottinghamshire Heathland for Future Generations. Janice discussed using Development Plans to protect sites, particularly for Heathland establishment at local former collieries. Janice described spoil treatment, the need to stabilise spoil through spreading and compaction to establish a nursing grass sward using three species grass seed. Janice also mentioned Living Landscapes engaging with local communities to improve their outdoor spaces and working with the police and landowners to reduce trail bikers and antisocial behaviour.
After a delicious lunch we attended the workshops. I attended the Sarah Pierce, Hedgerow Practical workshop (basic level of hedgerow survey). Our hedgerow strip was well established, linear Hawthorn hedge with intervals of Blackthorn. Sarah explained we needed to record the date, time, weather, location, size and hedge description. Equipment consisted of large butterfly net and measure tape, clipboard with identification lists. We measured out three metres and using the large net we brushed the branches gently and inspected the net. We counted several small beetles, spiders and moths. Undergrowth and rocks revealed woodlice, empty snails shells and rabbit holes. Data collected, we returned for the summing up and closure.
The day was very informative and professional and from the above outline summary I hope you will be inspired to attend next year or join the LBAP to gain more information and experience. Meeting like minded people; professionals and Friends of groups is very encouraging and keeps the momentum going. You can find out more information about the Nottinghamshire BAG through their website by clicking on this link http://www.nottsbag.org.uk/
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country Park