MCA at WirksworthHello from the Nature group! Here’s a little update on what’s been happening and plans for the future too.

Wildflower verges: Two of our members, Penny and Jane, have been surveying a roadside verge in Leek, with a view to it becoming a wildflower verge. Hopefully, this will be the first of many!

Out and about: Thanks to Elen for organising a wildflower walk near Warslow – it was a beautiful walk, and we very much hope there will be more nature walks next year.

Thanks also to Maggie for organising a visit to Wirksworth community garden (pictured), which is an amazingly inspiring place. We are currently exploring the options for community gardens in the Moorlands – whether that’s us setting up a new garden, or looking for existing community gardens that we can get involved in.

Volunteer: Nature group members have also been taking part in Staffordshire Wildlife Trust volunteer days at reserves such as Thorswood and elsewhere.

MCA member Mark Johnson went along to a SWT organised ragwort pulling day. “I turned up on a rainy day at Thorswood to pull ragwort, immediately managed to break my glasses and so blundered semi-blind across the reserve for two and a half hours. Luckily, ragwort is bright yellow, the rangers were on hand to help and I don’t think I pulled up anything rare or precious by mistake. It was a great day, meeting new people and learning a lot about the practicalities of nature conservation first-hand, and from the experts.”  For details of Wildlife Trusts' policies on ragwort see https://www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/common-ragwort and https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/ragwort-management.

Anyone interested in taking part in future events should keep an eye on the Nature channel in Slack, or contact Jane Tattersall via Slack or the Nature group email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can go direct to organisations like Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Peak Park and South West Peaks who all offer nature conservation volunteer opportunities.

Pesticide and peat free and healthy soil in the moorlands: MCA members continue to look at promoting peat free growing, advocating the use of green manures to improve soil with a FaceBook page and two market stalls held this year in Leek, as well as Biddulph. We’ve also just joined the Pesticide Action Network. To find out more about this, go to: pan-uk.org/

Trees: Nature group members have now started informally to map and monitor new, and older, tree growth in and around Leek, including the large and often overlooked planting area on the old tip behind Fowlchurch and the new community orchards. They hope to fill in gaps in knowledge of the state of the trees in the area. This should help in a number of areas, including developing a response to SMDC’s new Tree Strategy, due later this year. Nature group members are also exploring the idea of joining the Tree Council’s tree warden network. A number of members have already expressed interest and anyone who might want to explore this further should contact Wendy Bohme either via Slack or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To find out more about this go to treecouncil.org.uk/take-action/tree-wardens

To make all of these things happen, we need people, so if any of the things talked about here is of interest to you, we always welcome new members!