News from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

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Trust all set to celebrate National Meadows Day with free guided walk

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is set to celebrate National Meadows Day by holding a guided walk at one of the county’s best flower rich hay meadows.

The second National Meadows Day takes place on Saturday 2nd July and has been organised to encourage people across the UK to visit and enjoy their local meadow or grassland to celebrate their beauty.

To support the event, the Trust has organised a guided walk at its Rod Wood nature reserve, near Cheddleton.

In 2013, Rod Wood was designated as a ‘Coronation Meadow’ as part of tributes to mark 60 years since Queen Elizabeth was crowned. Devised by Prince Charles, the aim of the project was to recognise the importance of wildflower meadows and create new ones. Alarmingly, the UK has lost 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1950s.

The reserve is part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape – The Wildlife Trusts innovative approach to nature conservation and involves focusing our efforts on improving the wider landscape to make it better for wildlife.

Rod Wood is likely to be at its best in early July, where visitors should be rewarded with a spectacular display of wild flowers including oxeye daisy, eyebright, knapweed and orchids. The range of wild flowers in the pastures and meadows provides a haven for butterflies all of which are abundant on warm, sunny days.

Victoria Brooks, Survey and Records Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Early July is the best time to see Rod Wood so we are hopeful the weather will be on our side and plenty of people will turn up to the walk.

“It’s an opportunity to learn more about the reserve, and how the Trust is managing the site.”

The walk is free to attend and starts at 11am. To book your place, or to find more information about the walk, contact Victoria Brooks at the Trust by email – v.brooks@staffs-wildlife.org.uk or by phone, 01889 880100.

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Discover the secret world of small mammals on free walk

Nature lovers are being given a rare chance to find out what lives on one of Stafford’s least explored wildlife sites.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has teamed up with Staffordshire Mammal Group to hold a free small mammal identification walk on an area of wetland in the grounds of Perkins Engines Company Limited on Sunday 19th June. The grounds include reedbeds, woodland and a wildflower meadow.
Shaun Rimmer, Wild About Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said,

“This is a great opportunity to have a look at this wetlands site which is not normally open to the public. It’s the first time we have recorded what small mammals live in the wetlands, so it should be an exciting event for everyone who attends.”

The walk, which takes place between 10am to 12pm will give people an opportunity to take a closer look at native small mammals including shrews, voles and mice and the chance to learn some tracking techniques.

Walkers should wear suitable outdoor clothes and wear wellies.

People attending should meet at Perkins Social Club behind Perkins Engines manufacturing facility in Tixall Road, Stafford. Parking is available.

For more information contact Shaun Rimmer on 01889 880100, email s.rimmer@staffs-wildlife.org.uk or book online at www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/whats-on

Improvements at Trust’s headquarters to give wildlife a helping hand

Wildlife will thrive at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre headquarters thanks to a whole host of improvements which have taken place during the past 12 months.

The Trust has been working to make the centre, based between Stone & Rugeley, an even more welcoming place for an array of wildlife following the improvements, which include seeding areas with wildflowers, planting within the woodlands and near Swan Lake, and the creation of a new pond area.

New bat boxes have also been installed along the bat path at the centre in collaboration with Staffordshire Bat Group. A new pair of binoculars were also donated to the site and have been installed in the wildlife watching hide to help people get closer views of birds such as reed buntings, mute swans and kingfishers.

The Wolseley Centre is set in 26 acres of beautiful grounds which are full of interesting features and wildlife-friendly display gardens. The site also has a network of accessible footpaths which are easy to navigate and ideal for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The Wolseley Centre boasts three lakes with a boardwalk where visitors can enjoy views over tranquil pools and across the River Trent. Youngsters are also catered for with the Centre’s Play Trail, which includes a welly splash bridge and musical sculptures.

Meanwhile, the Tuesday and Wednesday groups who volunteer on the site are continuing jobs including path resurfacing, controlling non-native invasive species such as Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage and refreshing the benches and picnic tables to make the Wolseley Centre an even more pleasant place to visit.

Victoria Liu, Warden at the Wolseley Centre, said:

“With summer almost here, people will be planning days out, and the Wolseley Centre is somewhere we think people will enjoy visiting and exploring. It is a great place to have a peaceful walk, or come and watch different bird, bee or butterfly species and much more.

“A lot of hard work from our team and particularly our brilliant volunteers continues to go into running and maintaining the site.”

The Wolseley Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.  The Wolseley Centre is easy to find on the A51 near Rugeley. For more information visit the Trust’s website – www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk

Play sessions for children with disabilities

Children and young people with disabilities and their families are being given the chance to get outdoors and get stuck into wildlife themed activities this summer.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are one of many Aiming High providers and have organised a series of wildlife themed activities for children and young people aged eight to 14 with disabilities and their families.

Aiming High sessions being delivered this summer are taking place at:

Apedale Country Park – Newcastle-under-Lyme
Highgate Common – near Wombourne
The Wolseley Centre – Between Stone & Rugeley

All sessions are funded by Staffordshire County Council’s Aiming High for Disabled Children Programme which provides targeted activities for children with disabilities and additional needs.

Shaun Rimmer, from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, who will be delivering the sessions, said:

“Aiming High gives children with disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills from exploring areas, to building a fire, toasting marshmallows to den building. There are so many simple pleasures which youngsters can experience during the events surrounded by other children and staff which will support them.”

Those attending should wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.

To see a full list of events, visit:

https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/health/childrenandfamilycare/childrenwithdisabilities/aimhigh/Activity-guide/activity-guide.aspx

Anyone who would like to book onto the Aiming High events should call 0300 111 8007 and select option six. Or for further information, call Shaun Rimmer on 01889 880100 or email s.rimmer@staffs-wildlife.org.uk.

Families and children with disabilities are entitled to one free Aiming High event per month with any Aiming High provider. Subsequent cost is £9 per event.