View accidentally restored

1C53E8CD-CFE7-41C6-BB08-33BBE4A78ECBThree trees down and two paths blocked so the volunteers were in action to clear up, and when they did so they found a view down to the River Teme, unseen for many years, had been restored.

DCDB8954-5460-470A-8E44-7EBC4F1BEC13The casualties were a hornbeam and an oak, both uprooted by the heavy rain. We also took the opportunity to clear some paths of leaves.

A further casualty has left the BreadWalk temporarily closed. It’s too big and too precarious for the volunteers to tackle so awaits the attention of the professionals.

several walkers are still scrambling under and over this tree, despite signs saying the path is closed. Please be aware this tree weighs many tonnes and, if it shifts as you scramble under it, we are not responsible for the consequences.

Wider view

1F0E42F9-75FE-4EAC-B597-73D8D614E844 1E17B55D-7F3D-47FA-B83B-BB2E4E25093AThe Friends of Whitcliffe work team have been hard at work removing scrub and overgrown branches alongside the main road above Ledford lay-by in order to improve the sight lines for vehicles leaving the lay-by.

Seat renovated

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A wooden seat on Ludlow’s Whitcliffe Common, installed in memory of a long-time supporter, has been renovated.
The seat looks northward from its site above the old quarry and was erected some years ago in memory of the late Ray Sykes.
Mr Sykes, a Ludlow accountant, was a long time supporter of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common, the volunteer group which cares for the common in association with its leaseholders Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
He began his connection when the group was the former Whitcliffe Commoners Association. He audited its books free of charge from then until his retirement over 20 years later.
Mr Sykes was also instrumental in helping the group meet the cost of two major projects through his role as controller of a trust set up to aid local causes.
The first was a donation towards the cost of the work needed to restore the damage done by the storms of 2007.
The second was a larger donation which enabled the then now FOWC to complete the £70,000 revetment of the riverbank which was threatening to undercut the famous Breadwalk.
When he died the charity decided to install the seat as a memorial to him. Over the years it had deteriorated and the decision was made recently to renovate it.
This has now been done with the assistance of Graeme Perks, the town council’s representative on the FOWC Trustees, who is a skilled woodworker.
“I had an old railway sleeper in my garage which belonged to my son Harry. He had obtained it for something but it never got used. It has proved perfect for renovating Ray’s seat,” said Graeme.
Chair Daphne Jones said, “We are very grateful to Graeme for doing this work. Ray was a much-respected supporter of our group. We are delighted that it will continue to remind walkers on Whitcliffe of the debt the common owes to people like Ray.”

PHOTO: The photograph shows the memorial seat being replaced. On the left is FOWC vice chairman Harvey Griffiths and on the right volunteer group co-ordinator Rick Summers. In the centre Graeme Perks, who carried out the renovation work, shows the damage time had done to part of the original seat.

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

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.