Clee Hill Botanical Survey Group

Briza media, Quaking Grass

Briza media, Quaking Grass

The Clee Hill Botanical Group was established in 2012 by Shropshire Wildlife Trust with the help of John Handley. The principle aims of the group are to: conduct plant surveys of local wildlife sites and other local sites of interest; and to train local people in plant ID skills and botanical surveying methods. Wildlife Sites are islands of ecological diversity which are of huge importance in providing refuges and mobility links for species in a fragmented landscape. Setting up a botanical survey group in the Clee Hills meant that local sites which had little information could be surveyed properly and that interested local people could have a chance to sort their Forget-me-nots from their Speedwells.

Surveying will continue in 2018 with Chris Walker leading. If you are interested in joining Chris please contact Kate Singleton at Shropshire Wildlife Trust on KateS@shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/  or telephone 01743 284278.

Botanical Surveying in the Clee Hills

2017

In 2017 Shropshire Wildlife Trust organised for Chris Walker to survey 6 Local Wildlife Sites in the Clee Hills Area and anyone who was interested in joining Chris was welcome to come along.

The sites surveyed were: Gaudywood Park & Woodseaves (both woodland wildlife Sites); Brickworks (a habitat mosaic); and three species-rich meadows Bennett’s End Bridge, Hayton Meadow and Colleybrook Green.  Please be aware that these are privately owned sites and there is no public access unless an existing footpath crosses the site.

Data collected from the surveys is sent to the county recorder and from there to the Shropshire Ecological Data Network database. Farmers and landowners are sent copies of the surveys and can potentially use them to help with funding through Natural England’s Countryside Stewardship schemes or Forestry Commission Woodland Grant Schemes.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for all his hard work and invaluable expertise and look forward to another season of botanical surveying in the wonderful Clee Hills.

2014

This was the first year in which Andrew Heideman and Kirsty Mackirdy led the botanical surveys. The survey season went very well: a diverse range of local sites were visited, members of the group improved their plant ID skills, and we enjoyed some decent weather most of the time. 17 individual sites were surveyed this year and a total of 2113 plant records were made by the group (including bryophytes). 69 Shropshire axiophytes (uncommon species) were recorded. 8 volunteers attended the surveys, 5 of whom were newly recruited this year. An interesting local site near Cleeton St Mary was discovered and permission was gained to survey it next year.

Kirsty and Andrew looking at the Mountain Pansies found at Whatsill

Kirsty and Andrew looking at the Mountain Pansies found at Whatsill

Some highlights from this survey season include: A botanically-rich, grassland site on Catherton Common called ‘The Bogs’ – 33 axiophytes were recorded there, as well as a Marbled White butterfly; also two monads (1x1km²) of the Whatsill and Magpie Hill county wildlife site were surveyed and found to be very botanically-rich – the scarce plant Viola lutea, Mountain Pansy, was recorded in one of the monads and this is possibly a new location for this plant.

A full report on the Clee Hill Botanical Group’s activities and findings in 2014 is available here.

2013

This was again a very successful survey year, with 10 sites surveyed, a good number of volunteers taking part, and survey work of a very high standard achieved. Although four sites were found to be in poor condition, three new sites will be adopted as county wildlife sites. The training was again very successful too with everyone increasing their knowledge of survey and recording techniques.

A summary of the Clee Hill Botanical Group’s activities and findings in 2013 is included in the Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group’s 2013 Annual Report.

2012

This summer saw a mix of sites surveyed: County Wildlife Sites, potential Wildlife Sites and local farms. All surveys took place at weekends (some very soggy) with training, mapping, recording and monitoring all thrown in. John Handley from the Shropshire Botanical Society lead the merry band of volunteers who traipsed through woodland, grassland, heath and mire collecting a few hundred species records. A brilliant site they ‘discovered’ was at Cleeton Vallets, a wonderfully rich mix of habitats with loads of uncommon plants. Nickless Coppice and Milson Wood were also great sites with rich ground flora and good structures. Sadly though, one or two sites appear to have declined quite seriously in terms of their conservation value.

A summary of the Clee Hill Botanical Group’s activities and findings in 2012 is included in the Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group’s 2012 Annual Report.


Page updated: 03/02/2018 by CB