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Chasewater

Sunday 12th December

This was the second of two recent days clearing invasive trees to preserve the precious heather habitat. A good section cleared – at the end it was looking more like a heathland again rather than an overgrown woodland.

Scrub clearance at Chasewater
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Stapenhill Hollows

Sunday 5th December

Here are a couple of photos from our recent day working on the popular riverside area at Stapenhill Hollows. As well as doing some clearance and tidying work to enhance the views over the Trent from the top path, we also installed quite a few bird boxes in the trees, each box clearly numbered to allow future surveys to be done.

Clearance work at Stapenhill Hollows
Stuart installing a bird box
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Small Mammal survey on the Trent Washlands

Trent Washlands Burton, Nov 13th & 14th 2021
Report by Lawrence

We did a Small Mammal survey on Burton’s Washlands last month in conjunction with the Staffordshire Mammal Group as part of the Transforming the Trent Valley project.

We set 40 humane traps on the Saturday evening, and then checked them on the Sunday morning, recording any findings. The traps contain food and bedding, and do not harm the animals; in fact on sites where regular trapping takes place, some will become ‘trap happy’ and seek out the free food and shelter. Derek Crawley, from the Staffordshire Mammal Group led the walk to identify any small mammals found on Sunday, and recording the sex and weight of each animal. This data will help us to advise on how to improve the site management, to benefit the mammal population.

Setting the traps

We gathered by the life ring alongside the Silverway, where volunteers from BCV and Branston Friends group were shown how to spot potential small mammal runs and all joined in baiting and setting the traps.

Traps were carefully placed, where they would not be obvious to passers-by, (we did once have some traps put in the litter bins, probably by someone thinking that we were harming the animals) but where they would be easy to recover the following morning.

 One team placed traps round the life ring area and adjacent to the Silverway, whilst the others set theirs in the wood at the rear of the old Abbey.

Preparing the humane mammal traps

The survey

The team assembled at the car park, 10.00am, including a number of Mammal Group members, led by Derek, who gave a brief talk on what we were looking for and hoped to find. We then walked to the trapping site to gather the traps and see what we had caught.

The results were very good, with 14 woodmice in a total of 40 traps, = 35%, an average would be 10% = 4, so very positive.

If a trap is occupied (you can tell from the weight), it is upended in a clear plastic bag and emptied out. The occupant can then be moved to a corner of the bag for viewing, and then lifted out by the scruff of its neck, temporarily paralysing it, so it can be identified, sexed and weighed, before release.

First successful trapping
If a trap contains an animal the contents are emptied into a bag.
Placed in a glass tank – note long tail for tree climbing

We were not surprised that the tally was all woodmice, as they are more inquisitive than others. Also being a tree dweller, they would have a better chance of survival, in a floodplain. Later, evidence of badgers digging for worms was seen alongside the path, near St. Peters bridge and 4 harvest mouse nests were found, near the life preserver and the ditch alongside the car park.

A positive result, showing a healthy population of small mammals in the area, suggesting that the area is worth developing further.

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Lawrence is a Country Hero!

Thanks to Lynn for nominating me a Mole Valley Country Hero. (Mole Valley Farmers are a co-op with country stores across Britain.)

Only 12 people per year receive the accolade and Lynn must have done an excellent hard sell as I have been over to their country store today, to collect £500 worth of goods, as a country hero!

The staff, I think were more excited than I was, being the first time that they had a winner nominated at their shop, which was great to see.

I know that I would not have achieved this without the support of all the volunteers, who have turned out in all weathers, to carry out vital environmental work.

Hopefully I can share some of the treats, in the hamper, with the rest of the group, either at the barbecue 19th December, or at our Christmas party 28th January, at the Burton Bridge skittle alley.

So, thanks again to all the volunteers that I have the privilege to lead and particular thanks to Lynn for putting my name forward.

Lawrence, BCV chair

Contents of the prize hamper (Santa not included)

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Wildlife talk – Tuesday 7th Dec

‘Garden Birds’ is the subject of the December talk at the Burton group of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. It takes place on Tuesday 7th December at 7.30pm at All Saints Church, Branston Road – copy of poster below.

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Weaverslake – 21/11/2021

On Sunday we returned to Weaverslake, enjoying the crunch of the autumn leaves beneath our feet as we cleared brambles and culverts, carried out some coppicing and removed a large tree that was partially blocking a public footpath. Events were overseen by our newest recruit and BCV mascot. As ever, our hosts looked after us splendidly, serving delicious Leek and Potato Soup made by Lynn, bringing lots of hot drinks and plenty of scrumptious cake 😊😊

Lynn and Lindsay cracking on with coppicing.

One of the many cleared sections, allowing us to see what further works needs to be done.

Lawrence and Marg, partway through coppicing, along with the gorgeous BCV mascot. In the foreground, the arisings are being used to define a pathway through the woodland.

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Branston Water Park

BCV had their second visit of the year at Branston Water Park on Sunday14th November. The task was to continue clearing the reed beds of non-reed plants.


Happily the weather was quite good when we arrived and it just got better as the day went on. Like the previous week, a lot was achieved and it was a pleasure to be doing some really useful conservation work at Branston Water Park again.

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The Bee’s Knees

Here’s a scan of the certificates that Stuart won at the Burton & District Honey show recently. It’s a brilliant achievement by Stuart and one he should be very proud of.

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Chasewater

BCV were back at Chasewater Country Park today. Happily the heavy rainfall overnight stopped just as the group got to site, lucky or what!

The task was to do more scrub clearance work to let the heather grow. Over three quarters of the Chasewater site is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and heathland creation by helping the heather to grow is an important part of this.

Taking a break
Richard and Alan hard at work
Lawrence giving it his all
About to leave site

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The wildlife talks are back!

We are pleased to report that the monthly Staffordshire Wildlife Trust talks are resuming in November, starting with a talk on the restoration of the Lichfield Canal. It takes place on Tuesday 2nd November at 7.30pm in All Saints Church, Branston Road, Burton. Admission £3.50.