Shipton Gorge Heritage






AGM Minutes 2015 SPRING NEWS LETTER 2016



The wet and warm winter has ended and we are now well into Spring and have past the equinox.  The clocks have changed so we will get much lighter evenings.  The birds are busy claiming their territory, singing their hearts out, building nests and mating and obviously the flora is developing rapidly with a perfusion of primroses and now bluebells also starting to flower.  


For SGH it has been a busy start to the year despite having to cancel our first planned event of Wassailing, but we have several events planned for this year, which I hope that you will not only attend but also assist with.


Now to the crux of this Newsletter – what has been happening in Shipton Gorge Heritage?  We are delighted to have some new members, Anne Crowe and also Jo Kearley who joins as an Associate member.  I am pleased to announce that Philippa Young has taken on responsibility for our website and is starting to populate it, but it is still work in progress.


The Orchard.  


Barbara very kindly has pruned the trees for the first time in two years and their shapes have greatly improved and this process will continue with future prunings.  The tree trunks have been painted to deter pests especially the codling moths and again this may need to be redone as some of the paint has worn off.  More bare-root hedging plants have been purchased and these were being stored in Elizabeth Langran’s garden but they have just been planted in the lower border by Barbara and Colin.  The lower border should now develop into a splendid native hedge which will be wildlife friendly.


The Information Board (Interpretation Board) has finally arrived after four years in planning and should be erected in early April.  Steve Young will be doing this and he will be grateful for any assistance so if you are willing to help please contact Steve (897088).  I hope that you will find this board interesting and informative as it gives the history of the Orchard.


The Saunders Richardson Wood.


As you may be aware we have been working on a management plan for the Wood and have had visits from The Forestry Commission, Dorset Wildlife Trust and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  Ian Rees, the regional representative of AONB, was invited to visit the Wood and this resulted in him arranging for Alex Butler from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to devise a management plan for the Wood and also to pay for it to be produced.  Ian also gave us a grant of £1000 to spend on professional work in the Wood resulting from our new Management Plan, which we were only too pleased to accept.  The Management Plan will be placed on our website, but if you have no access to the internet and would like to see a copy please contact Mary or me.  The woodwork, mainly felling of some trees and coppicing of hazel stools will be done at the end of March and early April so should be completed by the time you receive this newsletter.  Many of the trees in the Wood were too close together and hence very spindly and tall and there was too much canopy.  With the reduction of some trees, the others that remain should develop more strongly and ground flora should improve with the reduction of the canopy.  Some of the trees felled will be cut up and stacked to give an excellent wildlife habitat.  I shall be arranging for a Wood Walk very soon so that you can see the changes in the Wood.


As one of our oak trees was blown down in the storms, we will have a space in the Wood to replant a tree, and have received an offer by our new member, Jo Kearley, to replace this oak tree.  Jo is a niece of Nickie Saunders, the lady who bequeathed the Wood to the Woodland Trust and the oak tree is a sapling grown by the Royal Windsor Estate in association with The Woodland Trust to commemorate WW1


Last year Emily Newton from Dorset Wildlife Trust ran a bird survey during the breeding period on 16 May between 7.30 and 8.30am.  The following birds were either seen or heard:


Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Jackdaw, Chiff Chaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Longtailed Tit.  


We wish to maintain and add to this list.  Just before the survey I was in the Wood and saw a tree creeper and Philippa has heard nightingales and owls.  Bats have also been seen, so if you are walking past the Wood and either see or heard any birds not recorded please inform Philippa.  





Sat 23 April (St George’s Day)  Wood Walk at 2pm.  Meet by Wood and we will see the work that has been done in the Wood.


Sat 4 June  Cream Tea and Open Garden from 2pm to 5pm at Church View, kindly hosted by Liz and Robert Langran.


Sat 6 Aug  Once again the Village Society has invited all village organisations to take part in the Fete and we have been offered a stand.  We have some ideas and wish to have a display about the Orchard and Wood together with some activities for children and another guess the number of logs competition as this proved to be very successful last year.  


Sun 23 Oct  Apple Day – this is a day with the theme of Apples that will run from 12 noon to 4pm based in the Village Hall but weather permitting will also extend to the Orchard and its surrounds.  We have invited all the other village organisations to join us to organise apple related activities to make this a fun day for the community, but will of course be grateful for your assistance as well.  More details to follow regarding this event.




Hilary Cunningham

Chairman, Shipton Gorge Heritage


P.S.  The Damson, Merry Weather, is well in blossom in the Orchard.  This is certainly a sign of spring.