Urgent – Help us save Cottage Plantation: a fantastic woodland site. We have just 12 weeks to raise £44,000 towards the purchase of Cottage Plantation – a fantastic woodland site in Daws Heath. Cottage Plantation is in a complex of ancient woodlands and has many native species of trees. Essex Wildlife Trust aims to acquire this site and we are determined to raise the last £44,000 which, together with grants, will complete the purchase.
We need 1,760 people to donate £25 each to help us save this truly tranquil and important woodland.
The woodland is on the opposite side of the road to Essex Wildlife Trust’s Little Haven nature reserve and would form an important part of the Daws Heath & Belfairs Living Landscape. As you can see from the attached map, Cottage Plantation is surrounded by ancient woodlands and nature reserves and, through Essex Wildlife Trust acquiring the site, this area will be even more robust so that wildlife can flourish.
The woodland is truly beautiful and walking in it offers tranquillity and a chance to escape from it all. At present it is privately owned but Essex Wildlife Trust will make the area accessible for all to enjoy. Footpaths will be improved and the site will welcome visitors.
Find out more here.
Two positive items about parks!
First of all, we received the following email today from one of our regular readers, Christine Paine:
Something up beat. As I am sure you know there is a park behind the football pitches in Rawreth Lane. I mean the park at the Bedloes end of Rawreth Lane – not Sweyne Park .
I don’t know who is responsible for it, maintenance etc. but it is a complete joy. Planted for wildlife, grass paths and areas always nicely cut, but not over manicured. I walk the dog there once or twice a week, it is quite her favourite place to go. Because of where it is the dog walkers all tend to be local and also respectful – there a good dog poo bins and it is rare to find any laying around in the park, people pick up, dogs are under control. I sat there last Thursday in the sun, and the dog and I watched a couple of woodpeckers flitting around in the trees, which are starting to turn a lovely colour. It is a quiet, peaceful sanctuary which is a joy to visit. Never crowded even when there are a lot of dogs being walked there, always somewhere to just sit and watch whatever birds, stoats etc. happen to be moving around.
Whoever is responsible for looking after it deserves high compliments and perhaps you would be good enough to pass them on if you know who it is.
We will certainly pass this on to the council staff concerned !
Secondly, we had the guided walk around Sweyne Park today – the early morning rain stopped in time. 18 people and 2 dogs has a walk around the park, with former council officer Geoff Dawson as our guide. He explained, for example, how he managed the original planting (with lots of plants that produce food for wildlife). Some of the trees are now 20 years old. The wildlife mentioned included squirrels, foxes, deer, jays, waxwings, magpies , green woodpeckers , sparrowhawks and cinnabar moths. All in all, a very enjoyable walk.
However most of the people who came were from Hawkwell and Hockley rather than Rayleigh!
Sweyne Park can be a beautiful place, and it would benefit from local people getting involved in the Friends of Sweyne Park group. Most of us lead very busy lives nowadays, but spending a few hours helping to organise an event would be be a big help. If you can help please phone Heather Meggison on 01702 318057.
Project Wild Thing is a film-led project – about getting people, especially children, outside, into nature.
If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.
This little film explains it better and is worth watching. Sometimes you are tempted to laugh – or maybe wince :
Hat-tip: Liberal England
From the Port of London Authority Website:
An astounding 708 seals have been spotted in the Thames Estuary in the first ever count by air, land and sea, carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Conservationists and volunteers jumped into boats to help tally the number of grey and harbour seals along the Thames, whilst others took to the air for a bird’s eye view of the coast, or stuck to solid ground to investigate small creeks and rivers.
If you look in the ditch near Laburnum Way in Rawreth, you’ll see too much vegetation in there – it needs clearing out again and we are asking for that to be done.
However you’ll see some of the plant growth is a worrying red colour. It looks alarmingly like pollution.
But apparently it is just willow roots – they produce a red colour when just submerged in water!
If you want to get some fresh air, try going to the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project and:
View the marshes in bloom – sea lavender, sea aster and sea purslane create a carpet of colour
See the rusty seals basking on the mudflats, gleaming red-golden in the sunshine
Soak up the sun on the sea wall and hope to see a migrant butterfly – will it be a clouded yellow or painted lady?
DOZENS of lizards at a Thundersley wildlife haven are set to be relocated to make way for 150 new homes.Developer David Wilson Homes is conducting preliminary work on the construction of new homes on land, known as the Thundersley Plotlands, between Kiln Road and Wensley Road, Thundersley
Worried residents raised concerns over the safety of local wildlife after dozens of trees on the site were cut down last week.
Now, thirty common lizards are set to be transferred to the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park in Rochford to keep them from harm
Full report here
There’s quite a bit of stuff to write tomorrow, including items on Council Tax and FixMyStreet. But for tonight here’s two brand new short videos.
This is one on nature conservation featuring David Attenborough that a friend sent to Chris Black:
And one from a Rayleigh Yoga teacher promoting her classes: (Hat-tip to the Rayleigh Essex facebook page for this one)
From the District Council website:
Chalara dieback of ash
Posted on 08 November 2012 by admin
What is the threat to the ash population in the District and in the UK?
Cherry Orchard Country ParkChalara dieback of ash is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss in affected trees, and can lead to tree death.
The Forestry Commission state that it is potentially a very serious threat. Experience of the outbreak in Europe indicates that it kills young ash trees very quickly, while older trees tend to resist it for some time until prolonged exposure causes them to succumb as well.
There is no evidence of any risk to humans or animals from Chalara fraxinea.
Reporting suspected cases
The Council are carrying out inspections of trees that may be affected, particularly young trees in Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park, however, if you notice the disease on any trees on Council land or on any tree with a Tree Preservation Order please contact the Customer Services on 01702 318111.
Otherwise please click on the below link to the Forestry Commission website which has a video on how to recognise the disease and a contact number 08459 33 55 77 (open 8am – 6pm every day) to ring to report cases:
How you can stop the spread of Chalara fraxinea :
We do ask that if you are visiting an area of trees, please take some simple precautions:
- do not remove any plant material (firewood, sticks, leaves or cuttings)
- where possible, before leaving the area , clean soil, mud, leaves and other plant material from footwear, clothing, dogs, horses, the wheels and tyres of bicycles, baby buggies, carriages and other vehicles, and remove any leaves which are sticking to your car
- before visiting other countryside sites, parks, garden centres and nurseries, thoroughly wash footwear, wheels and tyres in soapy water
There’s a lot going at Wallasea Island.
Remember this is a conservation project on a scale never before attempted in the UK….
It deserves to be better known!
The teams from four McDonalds’ branches in Southend are usually better known for their burger sales, but this week came along on a litter pick very different from those they are used to. Following on from our successful Shoreline Scavenge last year, we invited them to come along and help us clear the shores of some of the flotsam and jetsam that washes up with every tide.
Many thanks to the council staff who brought the truck along to take away that which could not be used on site and we look forward to working with you all again on another project soon. Maybe you’ll bring the picnic next time?
Also last month the first cargo of material from the Crossrail Project arrived by ship.
On September 22nd and 23rd, they have a Wild Coast Weekend:
Wild Coast Weekend
Saturday 22 September and Sunday 23 September
11am to 5pm
A celebration of the rich heritage of Wallasea Island for all the family.
You can escape to the edges of the Wild Coast for a breath of fresh air and a look at a reserve in the making.
Then savour the best of local food and drink, relax to the sounds of some of Essex’s finest musicians, and marvel at the skills of traditional craftsmen of the area.
There’s room for everyone and something of interest for all the family.
And on the following weekend, they have guided walks:
Saturday 29 September 2012
Times are dictated by tides – please contact office for booking and times
Take a Wander along the seawall with the Wallasea Birder and project volunteers.
Watch the landscape change with the seasons .
And be inspired by the sheer scale of the Wild Coast on your doorstep.
Wallasea Island – meeting at the Wetlands carpark, 3/4 of a mile beyond Grapnell’s Farm yard.
We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
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If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.
If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.
If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.
If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?
If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.