Thursday, 26 May 2016

Update from the kitchen garden

The kitchen garden will soon be supplying the tearoom with some fresh home grown produce. this will include lettuce, beetroot, onions, leeks and more! Growing fruit and vegetables ourselves is helping to reduce our food miles as you can't get much fresher than picking produce a few steps from the kitchen! This will also help to encourage people to grow their own and educate younger visitors about where their food comes from.

Monday, 23 May 2016

New soil bunds

Those of you who have been out on the hill over the past week may have noticed new soil bunds have been placed along the side of the road. These are to reduce the extent of damage done by cars on the verges and will gradually allow the vegetation to recolonise on the grassy areas behind the bunds. These also have the added benefit of discouraging 4x4 vehicles to venture off-road.
The sheep seem to approve!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Conservation Work

Despite the drizzle on Bank Holiday Sunday some intrepid All Strettoners visited Batch Valley for some conservation work.  First job (photos 1&2 ) to construct with Steve Butler dormouse boxes for our furry little friends recently found at Inwood.  Much talk of the feasibility of constructing and utilising recently planted hedgerows to “corridor” the mice through to Castle Hill and perhaps eventually to Batch Valley woods. 

Then off to research Park Coppice with Dick Ward and Chris Stratton the evidences of water creatures in both the ponds and stream.  A good selection of water invertebrates found.  Stonefly larvae proving a good water quality and dragonfly expert Steve revealed Golden ringed Dragonfly Larvae.  Some helpful discussions all round about how to possibly improve the quality of stream and ponds for these wonderful invertebrates. A successful morning without us noticing our cold damp springtime.

This is part of a series of invites to the village families connecting common interests between local experts, NT and community for looking after our wildlife habitats.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sheep Count

On Wednesday our ecologist Andy Perry, accompanied by the Rangers and a group of volunteers carried out another sheep count across the property. This involves splitting into small groups, each with a designated route to walk, and marking on a map the number of sheep in each area. This is to help maintain a suitable level of grazing on the hill. Andy joined Dave the ranger in the Landrover and counted the sheep along the plateau. The weather was clear and sunny, which produced some lovely photo opportunities; some sheep even joined one of our Placement Rangers for lunch! (see picture below)

Monday, 18 April 2016

Education Training Day

An informative training day was held for Learning Staff and Volunteers by Angela Mann from Preston Montford FSC who gave many ploys to hook visitors into discovering what swims in our stream and prove just how clean it is.  Here pictured with how a tablet can be put to use in our labs she got everyone very focussed in(pun?!). Our afternoon was led by NT ecologist Andy Perry who got us all looking carefully at plantlife almost as small as our water creatures! It was just fascinating to be given such great detail to further everyone's interests in what lives here. A true learning day.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Planting has begun!

In accordance with the new kitchen garden plan, the seeds have been planted in the polytunnel. The objective of the plan is to supply the tearoom with as much fresh produce grown on site as possible. Some seeds which have been planted include kale, lettuce, spring onion, along with a small herb garden to provide herbs. If you've visited the tearoom terrace over the past few weeks you may have noticed a new structure beginning to appear in the garden in place of the old fruit cage! This is to replace the fruit cage and increase the productivity of the fruit trees through being more secure to keep birds out!

Digging over the beds.
 If you would like to get involved with any activities in the garden, please feel free to email us at:

A foal has been born!

A heavily pregnant pony was spotted in the valley a little while ago, and on the 9th March she gave  birth to a beautiful chestnut foal just down from the chalet pavilion.
Image courtesy of Sandra Whitlock

More Heather Burning!

The Rangers and some volunteers have been out heather burning again! Last week the weather dried up enough to make the heather dry enough for burning. This years target was to burn 20 hectares, and the deadline is end of March, when the burning season ends.

and a few fun ones...

Spot the ranger!

Fire beaters also double up as broomsticks!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Tree Planting

Last week the Rangers and volunteers were out tree planting in Batch Valley as part of the All Stretton Community Tree Planting Project.

Patrick and James

Emma and Dave

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Conservation Work

The National Trust relies on the support of people to help with management of the properties, one of these people at the Long Mynd is Ian Cheeseborough who has done a lot of work for the Trust to help improve the ecology of the property.
Clearing snipe plots at Wildmoor
 Ian works in carrying out practical habitat management on various sites and for a variety of organisations in the county including National Trust, Shropshire Council and Field Studies Council. Work includes footpath maintenance, hedge laying and planting, scrub control and tree work. He also teaches courses on bees, wasps and ants for the Field Studies Council looking at identification and ecology.
The work he has been involved in for the National Trust on the Long Mynd has included pond clearance on Wildmoor and the strimming of various sites to encourage breeding snipe (see previous post). He has also previously helped with hedge planting in Batch Valley and tree planting in the Wern.
Survey wise he has helped on grouse counts for a number of years and provided a baseline survey of the bees and wasps around the Mynd and recorded the breeding dragonflies on ponds around Pole Cottage.

Here at the Shropshire Hills we really appreciate the support of our volunteers, if you would like to get involved feel free to email us at