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Goose Green, Yoxall

On Sunday 19th Sept, we completed the first of two sessions this month working at Goose Green, Yoxall’s new outdoor community and wildlife area alongside the River Swarbourn. Tasks included opening up a further area of the wildlife pond which we started last year (although it’s all very dry at the moment), removing weeds from the tree saplings around the site to encourage growth, and clearing invasive Himalayan balsam from the river bank.

We have another session there on Sunday 26th Sept from 10.30am, when local people will be very welcome to come along and help, as part of a launch day for a local conservation group in Yoxall.

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Autumn Footprints: Amber Valley & Erewash walking festival

If anyone is interested in guided walks slightly outside our area, we have received details of an Autumn Footprints walking festival in the Amber Valley/Erewash area, which is currently on and runs until Sunday 26th September. Details are on the Autumn Footprints website. All of the walks are free of charge, but you need to book in advance via the website.

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Burton Big Green Week: September 18th to 26th

Burton Conservation Volunteers are teaming up with East Staffordshire Fairtrade group and Plastic Free Burton for Burton’s Big Green Week, 18th-26th September.

Why is Fairtrade involved? Because Climate Change is disproportionately impacting on the poorer farmers and workers, the Fairtrade Foundation is working to support. Many are losing their land and homes to flash flooding, or finding that their traditional crops will not grow, leaving families destitute and starving.

Here are the activities for the week so far:

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Path work on the National Forest Way

We spent a day doing some footpath repair work near Yoxall on the National Forest Way, including some cutting back of vegetation, and the fixing of a loose stile which was a bit of a challenge as we were competing with a huge oak root on one side!

We did the work to improve access ahead of a 75-mile charity challenge trek along the trail, which takes place over the weekend Sept 17th to 19th.

Repairing a stile on the National Forest Way
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Llwyn Celyn week

Here are a few pictures from our recent week away working at Llwyn Celyn in the grounds of a 600-year-old farmhouse which has been extensively restored over the last ten years by the Landmark Trust.

We did some mowing and strimming in the adjoining meadow and orchard, and cleared a permissive access path of bracken and nettles, and installed an interpretation board to welcome visitors to the site, plus some fence repair work. This was all in preparation for an open weekend when visitors will have a chance to have a look around the site.

The site is situated in the beautiful Black Mountains, on the road to Llanthony Priory. On the days off we had trips into nearby Abergavenny, a wine tasting session at the local vineyard, and walks around the local area including the Skirrid.

We stayed in the bunkhouse which was really comfortable and has good cooking facilities – useful for preparing soups and stews from the mountain of veg we had from the allotments!

Llwyn Celyn farmhouse, museum barn and bunkhouse
Mowing and strimming the meadow, with the Skirrid hill in the background
Installing an interpretation board
A walk around a Welsh vineyard
A small museum in the “Beast House” barn.
Inside the old farmhouse
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Big Washlands Watch

The TTTV (Transforming the Trent Valley) scheme is encouraging local people to become involved in a biological recording survey, the idea being to record sightings of 32 chosen species of animals and plants, ranging from kingfishers to bee orchids. Lawrence has some packs available containing a survey booklet and a colour identification guide, if you missed these at the BCV meeting.

If you spot any of the 32 target species, you can report what you have seen by taking a photo and uploading it to the Biological Records Centre’s iRecord website or by installing the iRecord app on your smartphone.

You can read more details about the survey in the TTTV blog.

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Sinai House

Here are a few pictures from our latest workday in the delightful grounds of Sinai House. The outdoor teaching area is beginning to take shape; we tidied up the plunge pool area, using the surplus topsoil to add to the ‘bunds’ (grass mounds) which will be used as a raised seating area.

The sheds have now arrived for the two compost toilets. After manoeuvring the sheds into the correct positions on the bases, we worked on the inside fittings.

Sinai House
Positioning a compost toilet shed
The plunge pool area
A children’s kitchen area, crafted by Stuart using recycled materials from an old shed
Our newest BCV recruit, Eric the monk!
A raised seating area
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Toad Hole, Branston

We had a work-day at the Toad Hole nature reserve in Branston, a popular walking trail for local residents. Tasks included clearance work along the main footpath, and removing some of the overhanging branches; also the creation of a new ‘secret trail’ through the woods.

Toad Hole, Branston
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Winshill Water Tower footpath

Today we resurfaced a footpath which runs alongside the Winshill Water Tower, a familiar landmark on the edge of Burton. This involved laying several tonnes of stone along the path, and it will hopefully in the future avoid the problems with muddy conditions during wet winter weather. We also replaced the posts, rails and side fencing on the stile leading to the field below – this is a great viewpoint above the town.

Barrow-loads of stone

Above: ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures of the stile

We had a wonderful team of volunteers and local residents who did an amazing job wheelbarrowing endless loads of stone, with a one-way circuit in operation to maintain social distancing. It was a case of “many hands make light work”, with the path finished just after lunchtime.

It’s good to see that the path is well-used – we had several groups of walkers passing through during the day, appreciating our work.

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Virtual 1000-Year Walk

Saturday 1st May at 10.30 am

The Friends of Sinai Park House are organising a ‘1000 Year Walk’ premiere on Saturday 1st May from 10.30am to 12 noon. The 1000 year period starts with Burton Abbey founded in the early 11th century, then guides us through the ancient forest of Oak Wood, up to our current work at Sinai Park House.

This online event uses drone footage of the route, filmed stories, snippets about historic features, and instructions for people to do the walk themselves at a later date.

The premiere is to raise funds for the ‘Forest School’ outdoor learning area in the grounds of Sinai Park House where BCV has been involved.

More details and tickets for £5.98 via this Facebook/Eventbrite link.

Or alternatively you can claim a ticket by making a donation of £10 or more via the Sinai Park Forest School crowdfunder site.