Thursday, 26 March 2015

Volunteer training day - Geology walk

Today Chris Stratton (Learning Officer at Carding Mill Valley) led a geology walk for National Trust, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Community Wildlife Group volunteers. We started off at Carding Mill Valley, walking down the valley to look at Stretton shail and then walked up the valley looking at the other layers of rock including; Buxton rock and synalds.

We walked up to the reservoir to look at very early fossilised organisms, once believed to be fossilised raindrops but recently organic matter was discovered within them. Then we headed to Wenlock Edge where we looked at the strata and fault lines in Knowle quarry.

Before heading to look at the old lime kilns and learning about burning limestone and charcoal making and walking to Lea quarry to look at fossils.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Volunteer Training Day Bird Walk

Last Thursday we had an introductory bird identification training day for volunteers. It was led by Pat who told us all about the species we could find on the Long Mynd throughout the year.  

It was glorious weather and we walked up to the reservoir to search for birds before heading onto the top to Pole bank looking for bramblings. Pat was a brilliant enthusiastic teacher and everyone enjoyed the day.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sheep Counts

A couple of weeks ago National Trust staff and volunteers checked the whole of the Long Mynd in order to count the sheep. The Long Mynd is mostly common land where about 15 farmers have the rights to graze their sheep, however in the past the Mynd has suffered from over grazing so in order to protect the area grazing has to be controlled and the number of sheep limited. To monitor the numbers the National Trust undertakes a sheep count a few times every year.

Hebridean Sheep

Carding Mill Valley has its own collection of sheep used for conservation grazing, recently Rangers had the fun job of trimming their feet (without getting a horn in their side). These sheep can live for about 12 years and need some careful pampering every now and then.

Heather Management

Last week National Trust Rangers started heather burning again on the Long Mynd. Heather burning is a great way to help the heather regenerate quicker and creates the perfect habitat for Grouse. Grouse like to live in tall heather but scout for food in smaller heather, however they wont go to far from cover so heather burning has to be planned carefully. We only have til around the end of March to fit in burning as after that it is ground nesting bird season and burning will disrupt the nests and the birds.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A new arrival!

Visitors who came to Carding Mill Valley at the end of February had an unexpected bonus to their visit when at 3:50pm on Saturday the 21st a foal was born in the valley. 

 During the labour, the other pony (presumably the mare's mother or sister) stood next to her throughout obviously guarding her and keeping a close watch - a tender sight. A large crowd gathered on the car park side of the stream watching the event. It must have been quite an education for most, especially for the children watching!

Thank you to Barrie Raynor who took these beautiful images and gave us the details of the event. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Improving our visitor experience

On the 4th of March the Learning Team at Carding Mill Valley had a useful day looking at the “visitor journey” made by students. Much discussion was had about best practice, Health & Safety and the sixteen staff and volunteers were able to give each other many helpful hints on how to make a student visit a memorable one and how to upgrade the quality of our services. 

The team is dedicated to providing much more than ticks for covering some of the National Curriculum.  We want children to get engaged with nature, to question, understand and thirst to learn, to possibly feel awe, to want to explore more and to become conservators of it.  We hope that for many their visit will be a lasting memory.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Carding Mill Valley Wildlife Garden

You may have noticed some changes in the garden at Carding Mill Valley, our Tuesday volunteers have improved the paths and volunteer Pat is helping to install a pond. There is lots more to be done over the coming months so that we can attract as much wildlife as possible to the garden.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Reverend Carr - 150 years later

On January 29th commemorating 150years (to the day) when the Vicar of Woolstaston became benighted for 24 hours on The Long Mynd, National Trust Learning officer Chris Stratton led a walk in very similar conditions.

Photo courtesy of Pat Holbourn-Williams  
Reverend Edmund Donald Carr was caught up in one of the worst snowstorms to hit the Long Mynd the century before last.  In trying to return from his Church service in Ratlinghope to his home parish of Woolstaston he lost his way – the ferocity of the storm blowing him down time and again and preventing him from seeing where he went.  No one had seen so much snow fall for nigh on fifty years. Several others died on the hill that night. After a whole night and day of struggling in snowdrifts, and after losing his hat, boots, gloves and nearly his life he was eventually found by children playing in Carding Mill Valley.

Photo Courtesy of Malcolm Roddy

Winter Education Visits

On Monday our Learning Officer instructed a group of 22 M.A. students from Birmingham University through the processes of leading Geography fieldtrips.  Within a year we hope that they all find a teaching job and make a return visit with their students, confident in the activities of booking, risk assessments and conducting river studies.