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YACWAG bought its first field, Ten Acres on Congresbury Moor, Biddle Street SSSI, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – having first formed a registered charity.
We also received a grant from GWR fm / Bentalls Christmas appeal to help improve access for disabled people along the ‘Cheddar Valley Railway Local Nature Reserve’ (now called the Strawberry Line).
Strawberry Special – a Millennium Festival event, was held simultaneously in Yatton and Congresbury with walks along the Strawberry Line linking the two. History, nature and culture were all celebrated with activities throughout the day.
Yanley & North Somerset Environmental Company (YANSEC), Wessex Water and the Heritage Lottery Fund gave us a grant to purchase two more fields (New Croft and Meakers) on Congresbury Moor, Biddle Street SSSI. Stowells Concrete gave us money towards an interpretation board.
YACWAG received a SSSI award from English Nature for management of the Local Nature Reserve.
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With guidance from the Hawk and Owl Trust and help from Yatton Rotary Club, YACWAG erected its first barn owl nesting box on a pole on Ten Acres.
We built an artificial otter holt on our land just before Foot & Mouth disease restrictions prevented further access for the summer. A fourth field, a small paddock (Phippens), was purchased on Congresbury Moor, thanks to YANSEC who granted us 90% of the cost. Congresbury Moor Reserve now extends to over 18 acres (7.5 ha).
YACWAG completed fundraising to buy a 6 acre wet woodland (Littlewood) on Kenn Moor SSSI. Funding came from YANSEC, with the Countryside Agency and Transco providing third party funding.
On Congresbury Moor in Ten Acres, a PhD researcher found a harvest mouse. Thanks to the Lottery Awards for All, YACWAG organised a Field Fayre in Claverham Village Hall to celebrate the history and wildlife of local fields, and thanks to Gerald Harris and other local farmers, put on a traditional haymaking demonstration in New Croft.
YACWAG held its first Littlewood Open Day, running shuttle minibuses to take interested villagers from Claverham, Yatton and Kenn to see the wood.
On Congresbury Moor we joined forces with Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) and the Bristol Dragonfly Recording Society to put on an event called Wet’n’Wild.
Gerald Harris, family and friends, held another public hay-making in New Croft. We began to see the results of the hay cutting regime as patches of knapweed, greater birdsfoot trefoil and the uncommon pepper saxifrage appeared.
YACWAG co-ordinated a project to plant thousands of bulbs at North End Roundabout, supported by Cadbury Garden Centre and Wessex Water.
Barn owls successfully fledged four chicks in one of YACWAG’s boxes on Congresbury Moor. This was the first time barn owls had bred locally for at least 25 years. Trevor Riddle organised watches from the Strawberry Line so local people could see the owls through telescopes.
A day was held in Congresbury to celebrate the life of Sue Grant, a founding YACWAG member. Among her achievements Sue Grant was responsible for raising the profile of trees in Congresbury as well as planting many. People enjoyed pond dipping, guided nature walks and craft activities, followed by a picnic in St Andrew’s Church paddock.
Another open day was held at Littlewood in September.
Fifteen members wanting to learn about bats and bat detection attended training courses at Goblin Combe Environment Centre. Grants from YANSEC and Viridor Waste enabled us to buy bat detectors.
At North End, Yatton YACWAG members repaired the old stone wall under supervision from local stone mason Sam Powell and planted some wild flowers funded by Environment Agency Action Earth.
Two new barn owl boxes were erected on Congresbury Moor to give our resident kestrels new nesting choices and avoid conflict with the owls.
YACWAG Chair Tony Moulin was voted No. 2 Local Hero by ITV West and received a cheque for £1000 for YACWAG.
YANSEC, Yatton Parish Council and Yeo Valley Lions plus members’ donations funded the purchase of two fields to form our Stowey Reserve.
YACWAG volunteers helped the project to renovate Glebelands Park in the centre of Yatton and YACWAG provided a wildlife interpretation board and nesting boxes for birds.
A bat walk was organised for families at St Andrew’s School and the YACWAG bat group established a transect in Claverham to record Noctule, Serotine and Pipistrelle species under the National Bat Monitoring Scheme.
The group also began an annual Daubenton’s bat survey along the River Yeo in Congresbury.
YACWAG acquired two fields off Kenn Moor Road to create another nature reserve. Local people joined members in clearing the land and sowing wild flower seed.
YACWAG member and award winning wildlife artist, Claire Shellis, painted Littlewood and turned it into greetings cards for us to sell.
Staddons Timber Merchants and Churchill School sponsored wooden nestboxes for Littlewood and Stowey Reserves.
Five YACWAG volunteers restored an old stone-lined stock pond on Cadbury Hill, attracting funding from CSV in their national Transformation award.
Footmead, an ancient pasture next to Gangwall, near the Strawberry Line at Yatton, was purchased from the Bristol Quakers.
Stowey Reserve was enriched by the planting of marsh marigold and ragged robin plants grown from seed collected in the same fields.
The Strawberry Line between Yatton and Congresbury was enhanced by the creation of three pools and other wetland features. 27 pairs of reed warblers were singing along the Strawberry Line in 2008 – 11 percent up on the previous best count.
Another thousand daffodils were planted at North End, Yatton.
National Tree Week was celebrated with tree dressing at Yatton Library and giving away free trees for local people to plant in their gardens.
YACWAG celebrated its tenth anniversary with a party at the Chapter House, Yatton.
An information board was put on the edge of our Kenn Moor Reserve, thanks to Adrian Sharp and Westwood Oak Buildings.
YACWAG purchased its tenth field – Nortons, on Congresbury Moor. Three barn owl chicks were fledged from a new nesting box on Stowey Reserve.
The large field at Kenn Moor Reserve had remained unmanaged for three years of wet weather, but at last was grazed by Cobthorn Trust’s Hebridean sheep.
Thanks to a grant from YANSEC and North Somerset Council YACWAG erected traditional iron estate fencing around the stock pond on Cadbury Hill. Volunteers’ work on the lower slope led to a noticeable improvement in wild flowers.
Littlewood produced at least four sightings of woodcock.
Kenn Moor proved to be a good place for over-wintering snipe.
YACWAG members, supervised by ecologist member Sarah Dale, put up dormice tubes and boxes on Cadbury Hill.
YACWAG entered into a 10-year Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England/DEFRA. We contributed over £1000 towards habitat improvements at the Congresbury Station site, including putting up bird and bat boxes.
YACWAG volunteers were the first to find Nathusius pipistrelle bats at Blagdon Lake.
For the first time Reptile and Amphibian surveys were carried out on the Strawberry Line, our own reserves and on Cadbury Hill.
A new bat project was launched with Daniel Hargreaves as project co-ordinator.
Long overdue clearance of the ditches around Footmead was carried out to keep the field stockproof and improve habitat for wetland wildlife.
We finally had conclusive evidence that Greater Horseshoe Bats were foraging at Littlewood.
The YACWAG Otter Group was launched in January, thanks to the work of Kiri Green and Gill Brown, who had been volunteer co-ordinators of the now defunct Avon Wildlife Trust Otter group. It was launched with a public talk by James Williams from Somerset Otter Group.
Nortons was brought into management with some pollarding of willows and restoration of the ditches.
Emma Koblizek and Richard Croucher began surveying our reserves for small mammals using Longworth traps.
YACWAG produced a book entitled ‘Treasured Trees of Yatton and Congresbury’ featuring local trees of significance. David Bellamy wrote the foreword and a copy was sent to Her Majesty as a jubilee gift. YACWAG also initiated a project to plant 60 trees in Yatton and 60 in Congresbury to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Daniel Hargreaves won a national award for his bat work.
Harvest mice nests were found along the Strawberry Line.
A programme of work was started to clear scrub from the eastern ditch at Littlewood. Bat workers visited the wood to check trees for bat roosts.
A mini-conference was held to bring the specialist groups of YACWAG together and showcase their work to members.
YACWAG sponsored the restoration of the Millennium mosaic seat on the Strawberry Line at Yatton, commissioning artist Barbara Disney to work with Yatton Junior School pupils to create images and fix them onto tiles.
The State of Nature report was unhappy reading, but YACWAG was pleased to continue making a difference on a small scale.
YACWAG and the Bat Conservation Trust put on a national conference at Ubley on the Nathuius pipistrelle bat.
YACWAG’s Executive Committee decided to stop producing paper newsletters.
We conducted a Suburban Bird Survey to estimate breeding birds in Yatton.
We held a Nature as Your Neighbour event, launching a pond project to put five new ponds in gardens on the edge of the villages.
Hedgelaying was carried out by volunteers with Malcolm Dowling at Kenn Moor Reserve and Cadbury Hill.
9 young barn owls were successfully fledged from two broods on Congresbury Moor and a surprise nest of barn owls was found at Littlewood.
YACWAG received two special elm trees under the Great British Elm Experiment.
YACWAG pressed for mitigation for damage to the Strawberry Line at Congresbury by IDB contractors, and at Yatton by Western Power.
Malcolm Dowling finished the hedge-laying at Kenn Moor, giving new views of the moor. A hedge was also laid in St Mary’s Churchyard.
With the Rivers Trust we organised an event on Congresbury Millennium Green called ‘Know the Yeo’.
Wine ropes were deployed along the Strawberry Line for National Moth Night, attracting a Red Underwing moth.
Natterers bats were found roosting in Littlewood.
YACWAG launched a new website for the Jubilee Tree Project.
Tree Dressing Day involved 55 people making wildlife bunting for trees in Yatton, Claverham and Congresbury.
Tony Moulin received the Clevedon Mercury Environmental Hero Award on behalf of YACWAG.
A spring family bat walk on Cadbury Hill attracted 39 people.
YACWAG jointly organised a Garden Trail with Yatton Horticultural Society to demonstrate the pleasure of wildlife gardening.
We responded to threats to wildlife from local development and supported the work on the Environment sections of Neighbourhood Plans for Yatton, Claverham and Congresbury.
A calendar for 2017 featuring photos from our reserves was produced to raise funds for YACWAG.