Winter hare
Winter hare

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Kestrel

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Autumn

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Winter hare
Winter hare

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Images courtesy of Simon Booker stokerpix.com

about

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A group of enthusiastic South Stokers have got together to form the South Stoke Wildlife & Conservation Group.  We’d like to welcome people of all ages to get involved in learning more about the wildlife in the parish of South Stoke and find ways of helping it thrive.

Our aim is to confirm what wildlife there is in the area, record it, map it, and then help protect, enhance and conserve it. We also hope to improve the management of some areas, maintain and enhance biodiversity, and create new habitats for wildlife where possible.

It’s an opportunity for everybody in the parish to be part of - with lots of fun and learning along the way!

Wildlife as diverse as otters, water voles, turtle doves, Soprano Pipistrelle bats, the wonderfully named Cetti’s Warbler and Azure Hawker dragonflies have all been spotted and recorded locally.

 

We’re proud of our wonderful parish and its natural environment and want it to be protected and improved!

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Most importantly, whenever you're out and about in the countryside, please be aware of and respect the five main points of the Countryside Code:

  • Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs

  • Leave gates and property as you find them. ...

  • Protect plants and animals and take your litter home. ...

  • Keep dogs under close control. ...

  • Consider other people

news

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Dragonfly walk - Sunday June 5th, 0930am (amended date) meeting at the slipway. Please sign up here  Last year we spotted 9 different species and we're hoping to add a couple of extra species this time round, including the Common Clubtail (a misleading name - it's actually a nationally rare species, but one that is found along our stretch of the river). The walk will include a section along the riverbank and also the Lower Farm wildlife pond. It'll take approximately 2 hours. We'll be walking over rough ground and damp areas, so appropriate footwear is important. All ages and levels of knowledge are welcome, but good behaviour from small ones will be appreciated!  Sorry, no dogs.

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Dawn chorus walk - join us on Saturday 11th June at 0545 for a repeat of one of the most popular events of 2021. Led by Simon Booker and his birding colleague...a couple of hours exploring the riverbank listening to and photographing birdlife

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Brightwell cum Sotwell Community Orchard tour and Red Lion pub lunch, Saturday 14th May 11am. This is a unique opportunity and will be led by retired fruit farmer and local fruit expert, Paul Chilton. Ten spaces are available on a strictly first come, first served basis. Meet at Red Lion at 11am sharp. Tour duration of approx 1 hour. No fee for the tour. Lunch to be paid for at time of ordering. Book your space here (one form per person)

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SSWCG are hosting a Curry & Quiz Night: Thursday 26th May, 7.30pm at the Perch & Pike. Book a table of 6 or buy tickets on a 'meet your neighbour mix n match table'. Tickets £15 each, including food,* and must be bought in advance. No expert knowledge required; just a taste for curry and a fun night out!

(*Please make dietary requirements known at time of booking)

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Thanks to everybody who visited and supported our May Day stand. It was great to meet friends old and new and we were thrilled so many children participated in the butterfly art (big thanks to Mel) and also the sunflower seed planting. Looking forward to seeing photos of your huge sunflowers!

PS  If you bought our native wildflower seeds mix, sowing instructions are here

Apple winner
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And the winner of the No Mow sign competition is.... REBECCA CHARON! Many congratulations and thank you to Rebecca and to all the other brilliant entrants. Eleanor Wong had a big challenge on her hands judging, but Rebecca's sign stood out (so it'll do a great job protecting the newly planted wildflower verges!).

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Simon Booker gave a talk on wildlife photography on Tuesday 26th April and it was a phenomenal successTargeted at anyone interested in local wildlife with stories, fieldcraft and photography ethics (definitely not two hours of techno-babble!), it went down so well there's going to be a follow up! Watch this space!

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Issue 7 of our e-Newsletter has mailed; if you've not received your copy, please check your Junk box as it's image heavy!

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SSWCG responded to a request from the PC for ideas on how The Park may be used in the future, and submitted a proposal for a Community Garden. The proposal was available for all to see and discuss on Saturday, 26th March, in the Village Hall. In preparation for the meeting we created a 'Frequently Asked Questions' document which you can download and read/print on the Community Gardens page. On the same page we've added a summary of the presentation and a document on the management of the gardens.

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Wildflower Survey Schedule 2022 - we've got all the dates, now we just need volunteers!

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Hedgehogs, hedgehogs, hedgehogs everywhere. The south side of South Stoke village hedgehog survey and trail map is COMPLETE. Sighting and Trail maps for the whole village are available here

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And on the subject of Hedgehogs, hedgehogs, hedgehogs everywhere... visit Top tips for some handy hints and ideas to make your garden hog friendly

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Hedge planting - it's a wrap!

Thanks to an amazing community turn-out, and Martin Bullock for tasking SSWCG with filling in a 64m boundary hedge gap, we managed to dig in 500 whips in one day! As ever, fuelled by Boki coffee (also available in the village Shop!) we had a fun and very productive session. Thanks to Madgalena Lyubomirova Filipova-Rivers whose grant paid for it all.  See if you notice the difference when you take the Postman's Path or pass Whitehill Quarry :)

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We're pleased to announce that SSWCG are now members of CAG Oxfordshire and also Social Farms & Gardens

CAG Oxfordshire is a network of almost 100 community action groups working across the county to green and sustainable ends. Social Farms & Garden is a UK wide charity supporting communities to farm, garden and grow together.

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The SSWCG Bug Hunt: A total of twelve children and adults braved the cold and windy (but thankfully dry) weather on December 5th, to rebuild the "Bug Hotel" on the Rec.  After two hours, with the children having had loads of fun (and the adults starting to feel cold) we finished off, and everyone went home to warm up. We will repeat the bug hunt next Spring, when the warmer weather should enable us to find even more exciting wildlife. Full story in the next edition of the e-Newsletter!

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How about a foraging and cooking course in Oxfordshire? Justine Gens does just that; teaching how to identify, harvest and embrace wild plants with a sustainable approach. Justine will be writing all about her ethos and work in the next issue of our e-Newsletter but, in the meantime, have a look at the website.  We have it on great authority that the courses are well worth attending! https://www.ma-roemca.com/

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worth a read

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For a really inspiring read: 'I feel I've made a mark': the man who built homes for 60,000 swifts 

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The Henley Standard's suggestions of environmental activities you could get involved with during the year

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Trees should be planted without plastic guards, says UK study

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Ten ways to be more sustainable in your garden - practical advice from the RHS

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UK dragonflies are benefitting from climate change. Read all about it

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CPRE releases groundbreaking new research into hedgerows. Read more here

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The insect apocalypse: insects have declined by 75% in the past 50 years – and the consequences may soon be catastrophic. Biologist Dave Goulson reveals the vital services they perform. Read the Guardian article here

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Jays and grey squirrels get planting! Half the trees in two new woods were planted by jays scientists find. Read more here

top tips

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Click here for some great ideas on what you can do to protect and enjoy the flora and fauna around you. 

dates for your diary

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Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 1st – 7th May 2022, it is organised by the BHPS (British Hedgehog Preservation Society) and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them. This year is the 40th Birthday of BHPS!

Great British Spring Clean , 28 May to 13 June 2022. This spring, join Keep Britain Tidy and our community of #Litterheroes on our #MillionMileMission to clear litter from our streets, parks and beaches. Because what is good for our environment is good for our mental and physical health too.

e-newsletter

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We will be producing e-newsletters on a bi-monthly basis. If you’d like to receive them, please sign up.

 

Previous e-Newsletter issues can be found in the archive at the foot of the sign up form.