Earthworm Blitz 9th/10th April 2016
Over the last few months we have surveyed Pontesford Hill for plants, birds, mammals, moths and butterflies. Now it is time to turn our attention to Earthworms! On Saturday 9th April Dr. Charlie Bell from Preston Montfort Field Studies centre will lead a “blitz” looking for these annelids in various parts of the reserve to compare the species found in the conifer woodlands of Pontesford Hill with those down in the moist mixed woodland, the high acid grassland etc. Samples will be collected from leaf litter and from small trenches a spit deep. The worms found on Saturday will be placed in alcohol to kill and preserve them for examination at Preston Montfort the following day.
All are welcome to attend and lend a hand. If you are planning to attend this event please let David Morgan (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; mobile 07800 506157) know by Thursday 31st March at the latest. Meet at Pontesford Car Park at 10am Saturday 9th April. Those wishing to attend Preston Montfort FSC on Sunday 10th please make that clear when responding. There is normally a £5 charge per head for using their equipment which on this occasion will be paid by the Friends of Pontesford Hill but we will need to do so in advance.
We plan to finish not later than 4pm on Saturday but those who can only stay for the morning will still be welcome. If coming to the reserve please bring suitable footwear (wellington boots recommended) and outdoor clothing. Bring a packed lunch if staying all day. A hand lens might be useful to examine live specimens if anyone cares to bring one along. On Sunday those staying all day should again bring a packed lunch but tea/coffee will be available.
Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see how many of the 27 UK species live in the soil of our hill!”
The First Friends of Pontesford Hill – Work Party 12th December 2015
On the morning of the first ever Pontesford Hill work party I was greeted by a veil of rain as I opened the minibus door just before 10am. It had rained all night, and on the drive down from Shrewsbury, the forecast was for more of the same.
Despite my pessimism and to my surprise I was joined, very soon, by a hardy band of smiling and determined volunteers most armed with their own selection of tools to supplement those I had brought. I was forced to send Mike Mortimer home as the sound of his coughing and wheezing belied his obvious enthusiasm. Still, five of us headed off up the Eastern bridleway determined to widen it for walkers and horse riders and open it up for vehicle access in order to extract firewood in the near future.
The rain proved less dramatic than forecast but the winds did get stronger as we worked. None of this dampened the enthusiasm of the group and we worked through to lunchtime clearing the whole length of the track with hand tools and a scrubcutter. Young trees, bramble and holly were cleared along with overhanging branches. Everyone went home with the warm glow of success for a job well done. A big thankyou from me to all those that helped.
The Friends of Pontesford Hill work parties will take place on the second Saturday of the month from 10am meeting at the car park. Tools and training are provided so if you want to join us contact me or The Friends of Pontesford Hill. The weather isn’t always that bad!
Clive Dean – SWT Reserves Officer South