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Advisory Group - Environment


Official opening
11.00am on Saturday 6 October 2018
(meet at the entrance to Garden Close,
or in the Village Hall, if poor weather)

Kettlewell Walk

Come for a stroll around this newly extended permissive path, and enjoy free tea and cakes and a small display about local wildlife along the way.

Support your local hedgehog:
Just a quick reminder that now would be a good time to start giving supplementary food to any visiting hedgehogs you may be fortunate to have. This will  help to ensure they reach the 650g weight needed to successfully hibernate. It’s especially important this year, as they will be struggling to find food and water in this extremely dry weather. Give good quality cat or dog meat and/or cat biscuits (kibble/crunchies). Feed in the evening in a large shallow dish. Don’t start digging up things in the garden for the hog to have "its natural diet", as they may contain things that could kill it. The diet detailed above is perfectly healthy for them, but  please don't give ‘treats’  (e.g. fairy cakes, digestive biscuits, fruit and scrambled eggs);  whilst these are often recommended on the web, they  are not good for them.  Also do not feed mealworms, peanuts or sunflower hearts, as they are  high in phosphorus and low in calcium,  which leads to metabolic bone disease (causing fractures etc.).  Sultanas/raisins/currants get stuck on their back teeth and cause tooth decay, so avoid giving them. And of course, never give bread or milk, but do leave a shallow bowl with plenty of water – hogs need a lot.

Rattery Environment Group news

REG: The Rattery Environment Group is now up and running as a registered charity. Exciting news about the official opening of the new Kettlewell Walk coming shortly!

Devon Bat Survey: We’re very lucky in this parish to have bats, and it would be great to know exactly where they fly/forage, so we can support them in key habitat ‘hotspots’ and maybe identify where it would be helpful to establish more wildlife ‘corridors’.  Devon Wildlife Trust are running surveys in September/October (click here for details). You can borrow a bat detector for your chosen area, and record bat activity over a few nights. It would be great to have the whole of Rattery covered, so we’ve got a complete picture of bat activity in our parish.

Gardens/gardeners: thanks to those of you who responded re. the garden ‘sharing’ scheme. We have had some offers of gardens, but no gardeners so far. So, contact me if you would like to grow some veg., but don’t have the space,  and I’ll put you in contact with the garden offerers.

Volunteers: big thanks also to those of you who’ve so far offered to support the REG, and have already started to help maintain the Kettlewell Walk. Jobs that need doing will be posted on the volunteer page of the village website as they arise, so there will be plenty of opportunity to get involved!

 Report to Parish Council meeting on 13.02.18. Cllr Ms K Howard
The E.A.G. met on 30.1.18.  The following progress has been made:
a) Devon County Council land:
DCC are being reminded about the need for a date for a further meeting.
b) Communication
Information about dormice has been added to the parish website.
c) Permissive Path – Dartington land at Garden Close-Kettlewell
Permission has now been given by all parties concerned for the creation/continuation of a permissive path, which will enable a wildlife corridor, and the management of a protected woodland nature reserve in the Kettlewell site. Peter Smerdon has offered to help Matt Symes to cut back the remaining hedge on the housing association bit of land, with possible help from the local Young Farmers Group. The hedgerow will subsequently be managed manually and allowed to grow until sufficient height to coppice and then lay, providing ideal dormice habitat. 

It was agreed that the path should be fenced for its entire length, with a slight realignment of the current path in Kettlewell to create a less steep, slippery section. Matt Symes has been asked to investigate the best way of managing the path across the boggiest part of the Kettlewell field, and provide costings for this. Once the final costings total is known and a charity set up, fund-raising will begin, starting with an application to the Western Power fund.

It was noted that it would greatly assist any fund-raising if:
i) the parish is seen to be actively supporting the proposal; and
ii) the Environment Advisory Group applied for charitable status.

d) Establishing a charity
A proposal to set up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO): Foundation Structure was discussed.  The proposed constitution is attached at Appendix A. It was agreed that:
a) the CIO Foundation structure should be adopted;
b) the name of the charity should be the “Rattery Environment Group” (REG)

Report to Parish Council meeting on 09.01.18.
Rattery Open Spaces Community Project (ROSCP)
Following the agreement made at the December Council meeting to extend the ROSCP to include the proposed permissive footpath at the back of Garden Close, the project proposal has been amended to include the latter as a Phase 1 of the overall project (subject to consent being confirmed by all householders whose gardens would be alongside the new path). An application for grant funding towards the project is now in the process of being made to Western Power. A date is still awaited for the next meeting with DCC to further discuss the proposal regarding their land.

Cllr P Smerdon confirmed that he has approached Matt Symes and Totnes Young Farmers who would be able to take out the wood in the hedgerow to make the new footpath and dig out the hedge to enable a new fence to be put up – the digging out would be approx £500 and then around £500 more for the fencing – site meeting with Dartington will be arranged to decide who will do what. Cllr R Haigh, Cllr P Smerdon and Cllr Ms K Howard will deal with this project and take forward

Rattery Parish Plan
Kettlewell Conservation Project

The Rattery Parish Plan Steering Group aims to create a wildlife asset, with managed public access, in the centre of the village of Rattery in South Devon. The costs will amount to approximately £9,000. The Group has no financial assets but has received local support and so is applying for a grant to meet 50% of the outlay.

Ecological Background

The project area incorporates a variety of habitats. These include established and freshly laid hedgerows, both shady and sunny, containing both evergreen and deciduous plants. Some of the hedges are on soil banks, others on walled banks greatly increasing the range of hedgerow habitats.

Part of the trail overlooks a goat farm, run organically, therefore the dung is ideal for insects which bats and small mammals enjoy. Another area runs alongside an established south facing meadow, well drained in parts, overlying rock and damp in other areas, increasing the biodiversity, making it ideal for insects and some birds.

Kettlewell itself (so called because it was the source of water for the village before mains water was brought in in 1946) is a source of springs, exceptionally wet and set in a sheltered corner overshadowed on one side by mature oak and brambles on another side. It has recorded an impressive range of wild life.

Adjoining Kettlewell is an established and undisturbed wood with the Bidwell Brook running through it. Download full details of project (PDF file)