by Matt Parkins
I took the news of the restoration of Fingle Woods back to my home town of Warwick last night. I had been invited to talk to the Warwick Natural History Society and an audience of 50 interested ecologists and conservationists listened with interest as I took them through the Teign valley gorge. We visited all the areas of the woods where the wildlife habitat work has been going on and the slideshow took them through the dense Douglas fir trees to the remnants of oak woodland that hang onto the steep sides of the valley. The members of the group were also interested to learn about the unique archaeology in Fingle Woods and how the features are being protected as part of the overall conservation plan.
The Fingle dormice were of particular interest to the people of Warwickshire as they are making a concerted effort to improve habitats in the county, linking together suitable woodlands to support a species reintroduction programme. As Devon is one of the country’s dormouse strongholds we have a responsibility at Fingle Woods to protect and enhance the habitat for these small mammals and our monitoring is showing some good results so far.
Pear Tree in Peril
Another important campaign is going on in Warwickshire and you have the opportunity to help. One of the largest wild pear trees in the country stands at South Cubbington Wood and is under threat from the proposed high speed rail link HS2. This special tree could soon disappear after standing proudly on a Warwickshire hill for around 250 years. To help to raise its profile you can vote for it to become the European Tree of the Year 2016, following on from its nomination as English Tree of the Year in 2015. You don’t have long to register your support but can do so before the end of February by visiting the website at http://www.treeoftheyear.org/Letosni-rocnik/Hrusen-z-Cubbingtonu.aspx
There are some beautiful photos of this treasured tree on the website but, for a taste of this rare pear tree, here’s a photo taken by my mum!