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Advisory Group - Environment



Click here to comment on your thoughts/experience of the Kettlewell walk plus any wildlife sightings.

Kettlewell Walk
Rattery celebrated the opening of The Kettlewell Walk, a new permissive footpath in the heart of the village, on the morning of Saturday 6 October 2018.
The Chairman of Rattery Parish Council, Richard Haigh, welcomed everyone braving the rain to attend the ceremony and invited County Councillor, Richard Hosking, to cut the ribbon to open the Walk.  Councillor Hosking told the assembled parishioners and guests that the project was a brilliant example of what could be achieved by co-operation and community action.
The new path was made possible by the generous permission of various landowners, including Devon and Cornwall Housing and, in particular, Dartington Hall Estate.
Dartington Hall Chief Executive, Rhodri Samuel, joined the group walking the path for the first time. He commented that he was delighted to see further evidence of the productive partnership between Dartington Hall Estate and the Rattery community.
 Cllr Haigh explained  that collaboration with Dartington Hall had given the Parish Council better control of the village playing field, help and advice with wildlife conservation,  a clear way forward for management of the Kettlewell woodland, as well as the new permissive path.
The Kettlewell Walk is named after the area (by the lower part of the walk) which was the source of water for the village before the arrival of mains water as late as 1949. The Walk extends and connects existing footpaths to create a longer off-road network stretching across the parish.
The scheme was financed by a grant from the National Grid Community Fund and forms part of a conservation project led by the Rattery Environment Group. This is a new charity devoted to conservation in the parish. Chairperson of the Group, Kim Howard, thanked all the volunteers and organisations, including Totnes Young Farmers, who had helped bring the plan to fruition. 
She explained that the project will preserve and enhance an area of woodland and wetland and the hedgerow corridor that links it to other wildlife areas along the valley of the Bidwell Brook. The parish is home to 13 species of bat, and an internationally important roost for Greater Horseshoe Bats, so the maintenance of corridors that serve as flight paths is a very high priority.
The project has so far included additional fencing, gates, ground clearing and the cutting back of some overgrown hedgerow, to stimulate regeneration. The area will be traditionally managed to provide a good environment for many species, including the local dormice.

This project is the first phase of a longer-term strategy by the Rattery Environment Group to both improve biodiversity in the parish and increase publically accessible open space.  Download full details of project (PDF file)

Click here for information about joining the group or helping with conservation work.


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.