Wrekin Forest volunteers recently visited Whitcliffe on the lookout for unusual insects and they were well rewarded with David Williams getting this picture of a scarlet tiger moth while Jim Almond photographed a white plume moth and a white letter hairstreak.
Some of you may be wondering why this tree beside the path from The Bowling Green to Ludford was felled this week.
A limb over the path had been damaged and, on inspection was found to be diseased and likely to fall on the path. So, armed with necessary permissions Matt from Shropshire Wildlife Trust felled it. Some of the wood has gone to Tom Crowther and will eventually be turned into beautiful wood ornaments and sold to raise money for the Friends of Whitcliffe.
Dennis Pitt’s vigil by the riverside was rewarded with these lovely pictUrges of the otter with her kitts.
The work party has been out again reinstating the stone which guides rainwater off the paths and helps stop them wearing out.
My thanks to Dennis Pitt for his lovely picture of an otter with her two cubs slippng quietly over the Mill Street weir to play on the island below. Dennis says they are now a regular sight at Mill Street weir..
After a series of incidents involving four wheel drive vehicles entering the old wood and causing problems we blocked off the southern part of the woods with tree trunks.
However the move proved unpopular with walkers who accessed the wood that way. We have now cut a way through the tree trunks so that walkers can once again access the wood from that direction.
Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) is not a common species in Shropshire but it has appeared on The BreadWalk. It differs from the more frequently seen Teasel (D. fullonum) by its having smaller and spherical flowering heads compared to the conical heads of Teasel. The latter is often found around Ludlow on waste ground and churchyards etc. whereas, Small Teasel has been spotted in Ludlow Castle last year. Now we have it growing nicely along the Breadwalk. It is biennial and likes damp shady conditions, si its present site on Whitcliffe is ideal and the plants can be admired by passing walkers.
Senseless vandalism or just plain theft? Whichever it is, it has been condemned by the voluntary group which cares for the Ludlow beauty spot of Whitcliffe Common.
Both have happened at the common in the past couple of weeks, actions which have angered the Friends of Whitcliffe Common.
Vandalism or theft have seen four slabs ripped up and taken from the popular picnic table area at Dinham. “It has happened in two separate incidents,” said chairman Daphne Jones. “It has seen two slabs taken each time so it is either someone intent on vandalism or on stealing slabs for themselves.
“Whichever it is we are very angry. We are only a very small charity which cares for the common. Like everyone else in this Coronavirus crisis our fund raising has come to a complete halt. And we rely on that fund raising to help us keep the common in top condition and safe for the public to use.
“It is very sad at any time but particularly now when the common has become an even more popular place for people to go for fresh air and exercise.”
Mrs Jones added that further vandalism had been done to “No Cycling” signs and posts on which they had been erected. “Cycling is not allowed on the common as it is dangerous to people who enjoy walking there.
“We can only appeal to members of the public who walk on Whitcliffe to be vigilant and report any unsocial behaviour to me.”
Her telephone number is 01584 874773.
Friends of Whitcliffe Common. End of year 2019/20 Report.
We work with Shropshire Wildlife Trust to keep Whitcliffe a safe and enjoyable environment for the public., while remembering it is a wildlife reserve.
This is of the utmost importance, being such a popular public place.
Now, in Covid19 lockdown, it is extremely popular for outdoor walking.
Money spent must be raised and this year, at present, our fundraising activities taken away!
During the past year approx. £12,000 has been spent (see year end accounts for details) while keeping £35.000 ring fenced for any emergency. This in agreement with Accountants, Whittingham Riddell and Charity Commission.
A large amount of this spent in 2 ways.
1. The wet and windy Winter weather brought down and split off too many branches over paths needing to be removed for safety reasons. A huge tree came down across the popular Breadwalk and into the river requiring the walk to be closed for a few days. The removal of this one tree needed 2 day’s work by a tree surgeon and workers.
2. The invasive major quick growing Himalayan Balsam weed which needed to be dealt with by professionals.
This year we have planted 20 trees on Whitcliffe – a mix of oak and hornbeam.
Volunteers have given 253 hours working on the Common.
Added to this, our Whitcliffe Ranger visits the Common twice a day.
Outside the general tidying of seats and paths, mending of seats and fences etc, the following is a continual problem — fly tipping in the car park ( this year including asbestos) and cyclists.
“No Cycling,” notices have now been installed on new strong posts BUT, already one of these broken off and retrieved from down the bank at the end of the Mortimer Trail path. Lockdown has, at present, prevented renewal and many cyclists are seen ignoring the request.
A new picnic table has been placed at Dinham. The old one taken by our Ludlow Town Council Representative, Graeme Perks, for use on other projects in town.
Our volunteer workers, generally, can be seen out working twice a month but more often when necessary.
We are always pleased to work with others.
Through the year we have co-operated with Severn Rivers Trust for the completion of the Mill St Weir fish pass.
Chair of Trustees met with Ludlow in Bloom judges and spoke with them about the fish pass and the Whitcliffe wildflower project.
Worked with Cllr. Andy Boddington for placement of a homeless person living on Whitcliffe.
Erected a soldier by the 1914/18 memorial seat, for short periods of time, around any celebration.
Worked with a keen student, as part of his studies, from Hereford College.
Supported the Wildlife Watch family group, gathering monthly on Whitcliffe at the Dinham picnic area.
We are grateful for the co-operation of others.
Graeme Perks has agreeably worked with us on a number of projects – a helpful asset for F.o.W.C.
Proff. Michael Rosenbaum gave us direction for the clearing of the rock faces, requested by the Geological Society.
Morris Bufton & Co, are extremely helpful keeping our machinery in good order, thanks go to them. Thanks also to Fishmore Hall Hotel and The Cliff Hotel for hosting our fundraising lunches and coffee mornings and the large number of local shops and people who supply us with goods for prizes.
Big thanks go to those who have become a “Friend.” Their annual donation, of no more than £15, is invaluable.
Daphne Jones —- Chair of Trustees.