Who We Are & What We Do

Breaking News


Given the current situation around managing the spread of the coronavirus, it will come as no surprise that events and activities – including the annual curlew survey – have had to be postponed for the time being.
…But we can still keep our eyes and ears out for curlews!
Although we must of course abide by the Government’s instructions while the coronavirus emergency is ongoing, it doesn’t mean that our efforts to monitor curlew numbers have to cease entirely.  Although it is not possible for our volunteers to conduct the usual surveys, we can ill afford a total loss of data on their population and distribution in 2020.  There are probably now only 120 pairs left in the whole of the Shropshire, and we haven’t got long to save them from local extinction.  Therefore, within the restrictions applicable during the coronavirus outbreak, we’d really like to know of any curlews you see or hear.

What can you do?

Make a note of any curlews you see or hear from your home, or while out taking your permitted exercise.
Ask other people you are in contact with locally to let you know if they see or hear curlews.
If you have to go out, to buy food or medicine, take your binoculars in your car with you so that you can stop and scan places where you might expect to see curlews.
What information should you record?

All records should indicate the number of curlews seen, their behaviour (feeding, in flight, nesting, display – bubbling – call, agitated call, chasing off crows, buzzards, etc.), and date and place.  If you have binoculars and can check for colour-rings, please report those too.

What should I do with the information?

Send it by email to Leo Smith – leo@leosmith.org.uk – who oversees the local curlew surveys.

Above all, though…

Stick to the guidance and instructions issued by HM’s Government to limit the spread of Covid-19 and keep all of us safe and well.

SOS Save our Curlews Appeal – 2020

The Upper Clun and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Groups are working with Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS) on a project to find and protect nests, and radio tag and track chicks. Finding out what happens to the chicks, and why so few of them fledge, is the key to developing a successful conservation plan.

2018-06-28 - 15-00-ss-1 - JP-# - Tree Nursery, Adult compressed

This work costs money, and SOS has launched an appeal to fund it.

If you feel that you can afford it, please support the Appeal. If you are a UK Tax Payer, please sign the Gift Aid certificate too, as it enables us to reclaim the tax you paid on the donation (i.e. it increases the value of your donation by 25%). Click here SOS Curlew Appeal for details of the Appeal, and to download the Donation form

For further information about how all the Community Wildlife Groups are involved in Save our Curlews, see below. Please help if you can.

Curlew Monitoring

An important part of the SOS “Save our Curlews” campaign is knowing how many breeding pairs there are, where they are, and the population trends across the County.

In 2019, around 94 – 115 pairs were found altogether, the vast majority of the County population. Over 320 CWG members participated, and put in over 2,370 hours, a clear indication of the commitment of local people to saving our Curlews.

In 2020, these 11 Community Wildlife Groups will be repeating their Curlew surveys (also looking for Lapwing, and, as an optional extra, a number of other threatened species). This usually involves three half-day visits, around 1 April, 1 May and mid-June.

All the groups need more helpers.

For further information about the “Save our Curlews” campaign see the SOS website, www.shropshirebirds.com/save-our-curlews/

Anyone who wants to help the Save our Curlews campaign is encouraged to get involved in one of the Community Wildlife Groups

Curlew Distribution Map and Community Wildlife Group Areas

Shropshire’s Community Wildlife Groups – Who We Are & What We Do

Welcome to the website for Shropshire’s Community Wildlife Groups. Wildlife is an important part of our landscape and natural heritage but much of it is disappearing.  Community Wildlife Groups give local people a chance to do something about this by finding and recording wildlife (both plants and animals) of all types, especially species which are in decline, so that existing populations and habitats can be conserved. The Groups:

  • bring together people interested in wildlife,
  • undertake survey work to establish the status of key wildlife species and their habitats,
  • encourage and enhance local interest in wildlife, and
  • actively promote conservation.
Wall brown (Lasiommata megera)

Wall brown (Lasiommata megera) – one of the butterfly species being sought in Group surveys.

If you want to contribute effectively to local knowledge and conservation and you live or work in one of our Group’s areas, we welcome your involvement.  Groups are for everyone in the community, not just experts.  Your enthusiasm and interest in the area are far more important than specialised knowledge.  Most of the target animals and plants are both important and easy to recognise and search for.  You will receive initial training on identification and simple survey methods, and regular support and advice.  Expect to learn a lot and have fun doing it.   This is “citizen science” at its best! There are currently eight Groups and more may be created where there is sufficient interest.

Most of the area covered by the Groups is in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  For more information on areas of operation, programme of activities and contact details for any group, select its name below.

  • Abdon District Community Wildlife Group (ADCWG) covers 64 square kilometres between Broadstone, Ditton Priors, Cold Weston and Loughton. encompassing  Clee Liberty Common and the Brown Clee Hill.  Follow this link to learn how to become involved in the activities of this group.
  • The Upper Clun Community Wildlife Group (UCCWG) covers the catchment area of the River Clun west of Clun, including the valleys of the River Unk and the Folly Brook, plus that part of the Bettws y Crwyn parish that is outside the River Clun catchment area.
  • The Upper Onny Wildlife Group (UOWG) covers 126 square kilometres between Long Mynd and the Welsh border, mainly between the Long Mynd and the Welsh Border (from just north of Bridges, Pennerly and Shelve, as far south as Horderley and Bishops Castle), in the parishes of Ratlinghope, Wentnor, Norbury, Myndtown, More and Lydham.
  • The Kemp Valley Community Wildlife Group (KVCWG) covers 84 square kilometres around Brockton, Lydbury North and Kempton, including Colebatch, Clunton to Aston on Clun, and Hopesay to Edgton.
  • The Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group (CHCWG) covers 80 square kilometres, centred on the open hill land of Titterstone Clee and Clee Hill common. It extends approximately as far as Knowlegate and Knowbury to the south, Bitterley to the west, Cleedownton and Bromdon to the north, and Catherton Common and Doddington to the east.
  • The Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group (SACWG) covers 108 square kilometres, centred on Church Stretton, and includes the Long Mynd and Stretton Hills. It extends approximately as far as Longnor to the north, Church Preen to the east, Marshbrook to the south and to the western edge of the Long Mynd.
  • The Wenlock Edge Community Wildlife Group (WECWG).  Currently inactive.
  • The Camlad Valley Community Wildlife Group (CVCWG).  This new group’s area corresponds roughly with the Camlad catchment and includes Churchstoke, Hyssington, Priest Weston and Chirbury.
  • The Rea Valley Community Wildlife Group (RVCWG) is another newly-formed group.  As its name suggests, it covers the catchment of the Rea Brook and encompasses Pontesbury, Minsterley, the Stiperstones and the Hope Valley.

Several Groups are monitoring the breeding success of the declining Lapwing. (Photo: John Harding)

Most of these groups are monitoring their local Lapwing and Curlew population, along with other target bird species, local plant life and butterflies.  Other activities include surveying hedgerows and verges, identifying potential County Wildlife Sites, and running Bird, Plant and Butterfly Walks to attract new members. All want new members to help with survey work.  Remember that training is provided for people who want it. Each of the Groups will make collective annual decisions about the continuation of current projects and new surveys of other species and types of wildlife, based on local interest and demand.

Species rich verge near Craignant

If you have any general questions about the Community Wildlife Group concept, need help locating your local group or have comments on or problems with this website, contact us.   If you are interested in participating, please provide your name, address, preferred email address and a phone number.  (Please note that your name and contact information will be used only for Community Wildlife Group purposes and will not be passed to any other person or organisation.)

Page updated: 06/04/2020 by CB

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