Star turn Tom and dates for your diary

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A few dates for your diary concerning Whitcliffe starting with a lunch at Fishmore Hall on April 4. If you have anything you are willing to donate as a raffle prize then please let Daphne Jones know daphjones3@hotmail.com

On May 16 there will be a coffee morning at Fishmore Hall and once again if you can help with manning stalls, providing raffle or tombola prizes please let Daphne know.

A wide range of wood turning, ranging from bowls to birds, all made by Tom Crowther at his Whitcliffe workshop will be on sale to boost our funds. In the past year donations for Tom’s work have raised more than £1,000 for the Friends for which we are extremely grateful.

Attention! Stand Easy

3A26E294-5F55-4EF7-8BC1-8FD7FB684975Friends of Whitcliffe Common Trustees have welcomed plans for the memorial soldier on Whitcliffe to return for a week each side of Remembrance Day but decided that having the silhouette there all year round would make it less special.
Rick Summers said the soldier had been absolutely right to celebrate the centenary this year but would would lose its poignant effect if it was there all the year round.
“We already have a permanent memorial bench and we should welcome the silhouette back into position for a week each side of Remembrance Day as well as look at any future special anniversaries.

Feast of fungi promotes Whitcliffe wildlife

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67F12133-28C4-41B8-ABDA-D37C2ECB50F0Fungi of Whitcliffe Common
Autumn on Whitcliffe is a beautiful time. Golden colours, stunning light but above all its fungi. The array of habitats and mix of trees mean a diversity of toadstools.

Fungi and trees have evolved together for millions of years and have become mutually dependant. The red and white-spotted fly agaric associates with birch and is a frequent sight at the top of the Common.

In the meadow around the toposcope look out for colourful little jewels that are waxcaps. These thrive in old grassland not poisoned with fertilizers and pesticides.

The fungal stars of Whitcliffe are its ancient trees – oaks, beeches and sweet chestnuts. These have been hollowed out by the action of fungi. Far from making the trees dangerous, it helps them to survive by reducing the forces from high winds. Hollow trunks and branches become homes for wildlife such as owls and even pine martens.

So the next time you take a walk on Whitciffe and spot a mushroom sprouting out of the ground or on a tree, just remember that without fungi there wouldn’t be the wealth of wildlife and the Common would look very different indeed.

John Hughes
Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Coffee morning

Wood turner Tom Crowther will have some of his excellent work on sale at a festive coffee morning in aid of the Friends at Fishmore Hall on Thursday, November 22 at 10.30am. Entrance is £4 and includes a coffee and a festive mince pie.

Otter feast

imageimageMy thanks to Dennis Pitt for these two lovely pictures of the dog otter on the lookout and with a large salmon at Mill Street weir.
Still good numbers of salmon making their way up though it has slowed down from the weekend. Two made it over the weir at Mill Street while I watched this afternoon but 16 failed during an hour of watching.

Lantern walk

image imageAn event which began on Ludlow’s Whitcliffe Common with just a handful of youngsters a few years ago has turned into a most popular evening for children and their parents.
The annual Lantern Walk, which is organised by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, had fewer than a dozen the first time it was held. Year on year the numbers have increased so that this time there were almost 90 children and parents taking part.
They were led on a twilight walk over the common, stopping from time to time for Bryony Carter, SWT’s People and Wildlife Officer, to tell them light hearted “ghost” stories.
The walk ended with the procession making their way back along the Breadwalk to the picnic area at Dinham, their balloon lanterns making a lovely display which was reflected in the river.
The picnic area is used because it is a safe place for parents and helpers from the Friends of Whitcliffe members to watch the children as they served them drinks and handed out sweets (which are paid for by two of the FOWC Trustees as they have been since the event began).
Bryony supervised the toasting of marshmallows over a fire dish while most of the children enjoyed sparklers. The evening, as it has since it began, ended with a very brief display – just one combination firework – paid for by another FOWC Trustee.
Bryony Carter paid tribute to the assistance given to her by the FOWC members which helped to bring so much enjoyment to so many.
Chair Daphne Jones said FOWC was delighted to be able to help at such a popular event for youngsters. “We have watched this event grow in popularity over the years and are so pleased that it brings youngsters to Whitcliffe where they can appreciate what a wonderful asset it is for Ludlow.”

Meadow Flowers Prosper

Harebells

Harebells

Fiona Gomersall, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust carried out a wildflower survey in the summer to see if strewing the meadow hay and other work has led to any increase in wildflower varieties. The good news is …. it has.
Fiona writes:”I’ve just been looking through the data, comparing the list with last year and of the significant new species I’d say that Harebell and Heath Grass were the most interesting-the others were common. These two signify an increase in good indicator species that are found in more acidic meadows. There is already an acidic component to Whitcliffe and it means that the biodiversity of this element is increasing in a positive way. There was also an increase in Sheep’s Fescue, Common Knapweed and Tormentil-all indicating that the meadow is improving in its condition and diversity.