Category Archives: news

Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds Project – latest news

With the project now approaching the end of its Development Stage and with the application for the next stage (Delivery Stage) due in by 20th August, it is time to thank all those who have been spending time carrying out surveys with our Survey Team: Beth, Will and Giles, and everyone else for supporting the project in so many ways.

(For further update information, please see the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust website pages.)

One of our main achievements this year was to involve 57 people in Training Courses held on four dates at two venues. These provided an excellent introduction to the origins and ecology of kettle hole ponds in the county, and many came away with an enhanced knowledge and enthusiasm for finding out more about these amazing features. The feedback forms were very positive.

So far, over 30 volunteers have come out on further survey days and are providing really useful information that will add to our knowledge about these ponds and become part of our application for further funding from the Lottery.

During the Development Stage, we have contacted landowners and managers of ponds that have been identified as potential Kettle Hole Ponds (KHPs) through previous surveys and through various public engagement events. We have over 30 ponds lined up for initial surveys and 15 of these will be the subject of more detailed surveys and management plans.

Mapping data from LiDar, current and historic Ordnance Survey maps, and aerial photographs have been incorporated into a GIS dataset and is now accessible for interrogation in order to confirm the geological and landform origins of the ponds.

As a result of this work, we have produced a ‘user friendly’ map, clearly showing the distribution of Kettle Hole moraine in the county. The map included in this document also has the location of those we are surveying this year.

This map has been used to great effect at the various events and festivals where project partners engaged with local audiences. People are able to use this map to locate ponds in their area and to engage in discussions about local geology and the likelihood of ponds being kettle holes.

Click here to go to the Ice Age Ponds Project page to read the full list of their achievements.

Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds

August 2019 – Project update

With the project now approaching the end of its Development Stage and with the application for the next stage (Delivery Stage) due in by 20th August, it is time to thank all those who have been spending time carrying out surveys with our Survey Team: Beth, Will and Giles, and everyone else for supporting the project in so many ways.

(For further update information, please see the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust website pages.)

Achievements this year

One of our main achievements this year was to involve 57 people in Training Courses held on four dates at two venues. These provided an excellent introduction to the origins and ecology of kettle hole ponds in the county, and many came away with an enhanced knowledge and enthusiasm for finding out more about these amazing features. The feedback forms were very positive.

So far, over 30 volunteers have come out on further survey days and are providing really useful information that will add to our knowledge about these ponds and become part of our application for further funding from the Lottery.

During the Development Stage, we have contacted landowners and managers of ponds that have been identified as potential Kettle Hole Ponds (KHPs) through previous surveys and through various public engagement events. We have over 30 ponds lined up for initial surveys and 15 of these will be the subject of more detailed surveys and management plans.

Mapping data from LiDar, current and historic Ordnance Survey maps, and aerial photographs have been incorporated into a GIS dataset and is now accessible for interrogation in order to confirm the geological and landform origins of the ponds.

As a result of this work, we have produced a ‘user friendly’ map, clearly showing the distribution of Kettle Hole moraine in the county. The map included in this document also has the location of those we are surveying this year.

Project aims achieved so far (thanks to the help and support of volunteers and staff from HWT, HART and HWEHT):

  • we have delivered four talks to local groups on the origins and wildlife of KHPs
  • led kettle hole pond themed guided walks (more are planned)
  • We have attended seven public or community events and distributed KHP information and leaflets
  • We held a stakeholder engagement meeting at Weobley on 20th June
  • We have delivered talks to representatives of four parish councils
  • We met with representatives from Herefordshire Council regarding our HLF application and our taking part in a planned ‘Ice Age Hereford’ exhibition at Hereford Museum early next year
  • We received expressions of interest from 72 people wanting to come on the first four of our formal training courses
  • We have trained 57 people to undertake KHP pond surveys. To date, over 30 of these have come out on survey training days (more are due to come out in June and July) to hone their survey skills and gain confidence in filling in the form and in recognising KHPs, their geomorphological characteristics, their flora and fauna.
  • We have surveyed over half of our target 30 Kettle Hole ponds
  • We have contacted landowners and managers of ponds throughout NW Herefordshire to seek permission to survey their ponds
  • We have created a Conservation Plan and Strategy
  • We have carried out five Ice Age Pond-themed school visits including Assembly and HWT Wildplay activities
  • We have shortlisted 15 ponds for survey and management
  • We created a bespoke survey form for KHPs
  • The Steering Group and Survey team travelled to Norfolk for a fact-finding visit on pingos (ice age ponds in Norfolk)
  • We have started the detailed surveys of 15 ponds and writing management plans and costing management operations during the development stage.

There is still plenty to do in addition to carrying out the surveys. The following list details the areas where additional volunteer help would be invaluable.

  • Help staff the Ice Age Pond Gazebo, talk to people and share your knowledge. Sites will include Queenswood Country Park, dates to be arranged in July
  • Help to distribute leaflets at local libraries or parish notice boards.
  • Help the survey team to carry out pond surveys.
  • Check your local area for likely Ice Age Ponds – we are still looking for ponds to survey next year if we are successful in getting funding. We are particularly looking for sites in the Weobley and Orleton area: see the map below (where there are no red stars!)

There will be a thank you get together for all volunteers on a date to be arranged shortly in August.

If you are interested in helping with any of the above please contact Dave Hutton.
email:  d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk
tel:       01432 356872 /07494 045012
further project details at Herefordshire Wildlife Trust here

Thank you to Dave and all the team for everything they’ve achieved this year.

And a big thank you to all those people who buy lottery tickets!

 

 

February 2019

David Hutton, Project Manager  d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk

Our new Heritage Lottery and Kingspan funded project in partnership with the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) and the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust (EHT) has started its Development Stage. During this stage preliminary surveys, consultations with public and private landowners together with further prioritisation and selection of ponds will take place. Successful completion of this by August 2019 is necessary in order to secure funding for a further two-year Delivery Stage.

Project Manager David Hutton has been appointed (from end November 2018) and Beth Andrews, the Project Officer for the geology aspects, has been appointed by EHT. David will have overall responsibility for the project, based at the HWT in Queenswood, reporting to Andrew Nixon. Ecology Consultants have also been appointed: HART’s Will Watson and Giles King-Salter.

If you are interested in joining the project, either with an ecology or a geology interest, or both, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities, and training courses will be provided from March onwards. We will be surveying ponds along both sides of the River Wye west of Hereford (around Madley, Moccas, Credenhill and Letton) where many ponds were created at the end of the last Ice Age (approximately 20,000 years ago). Another area is in north-west Herefordshire (around Kington, Pembridge and Shobdon) where there is a lot of hummocky moraine left at the end of the Ice Age where ponds could have formed.

Not all the ponds in these areas are kettle holes – one of the main aims of the surveying will be to use geological techniques to analyse the sediments around and within the ponds to inform us about their origin. We will also be aiming to identify much of the wildlife species found in the ponds, some of which are now increasingly rare and endangered.

Project Training days and a call for potential volunteer trainees

A chance to learn about the fascinating world of Ice Age Ponds, how they were formed, their wildlife and geological origins, and how we can help to conserve them for future generations.
Learn why they are so special and how to identify the wildlife that can be found.

Project Training Days will be held on:

Thursday 28th March        Credenhill Community Centre

Friday 29th March              Pembridge Village Hall

Sunday 14rd April              Credenhill Community Centre

Saturday 11th May            Pembridge Village Hall

Morning Indoor Session

  • Introduction to the Ice Age in Herefordshire and the landforms it left behind
  • Introduction to Pond Ecology
  • Introduction to field survey techniques for Ecology and Geology

Afternoon Session

  • Field visit to a local kettle hole pond site
  • Practical demonstration of geological recording techniques. We will be taking soil core samples using augers, using GPS to record water levels and using meters and test kits to measure the water quality.
  • Practical demonstration of ecological recording techniques, with an emphasis on evaluating habitat quality.
  • Pond dipping to look for amphibians, invertebrates and other pondlife.
  • Training in the use of GPS, Water quality meters etc will be given.

Training will last from 10:00 am – 4.00 pm. All equipment, plus hot drinks and biscuits will be provided. You will need to bring suitable outdoor clothing, Wellington boots and a packed lunch.

These training sessions are free but places are limited and booking is essential. To book your place or find out further details please contact David Hutton on 01432 356872 or email d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk

 

 

Expert unlocks mechanics of how snakes move in a straight line

From the web

Expert unlocks mechanics of how snakes move in a straight line

Science Daily 

Snakes are known for their iconic S-shaped movements. But they have a less noticeable skill that gives them a unique superpower. Snakes can crawl in a straight line. University of Cincinnati biologist Bruce Jayne studied the mechanics of snake movement to understand exactly how they can propel themselves forward like a train through a tunnel.

“It’s a very good way to move in confined spaces,” Jayne said. “A lot of heavy-bodied snakes use this locomotion: vipers, boa constrictors, anacondas and pythons.”

Snakes typically swim, climb or crawl by bending their spine into serpentine coils or using the leading edges to push off objects. An extreme example of their diversity of movement gives the sidewinder rattlesnake its name.

Jayne already has unlocked the mechanics of three kinds of snake locomotion called concertina, serpentine and sidewinding. But the straightforward movement of snakes, called “rectilinear locomotion,” has got less attention, he said.

See the website for more of the article