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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


Reds on the rise again - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) has just published the results of its fifth annual red and grey squirrel survey, which has shown that red squirrels can still be found widely across the north of England, with populations in seven counties.

For the first time since the annual survey began in 2012, last year (2015) found grey squirrels present in more sites than reds. RSNE is delighted to report that this has been reversed, with red squirrels detected in more sites than greys in 2016.

Factors such as wet weather and a lack of natural foods favoured by grey squirrels such as beech nuts and acorns in autumn 2015 are likely to have influenced the result, coupled with a huge conversation effort by RSNE staff, private estates and hundreds of community volunteers across the north of England working together to protect red squirrels.

This year’s results have shown that red squirrel range has remained stable from last year, with 44% of sites surveyed containing the rare mammal. Grey squirrels have fared poorer having been found in only 37% of sites, compared to 47% of sites last year. This result follows two successive years of grey squirrel range expansion and provides some welcome news for the thousands of people involved in red squirrel conservation across the north of England.


Scottish Wildcat Action: wildcats are out there - Scottish Natural Heritage

Pioneering work aimed at saving the iconic Scottish wildcat using almost 150 volunteers and 347 trail cameras in five specific areas in Scotland has so far identified at least 19 wildcats based on coat markings.

And it is anticipated more will be found as surveys continue.

Camera trap image of "Frank" (image: SNH)The results announced by Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) follow the installation of the trail cameras set up at five wildcat priority areas over 60 days last winter.

Camera trap image of "Frank" (image: SNH)

This survey – the largest of its kind – resulted in data which the project team and 139 volunteers have been sifting through over the past few months.

And over the coming weeks a new phase of the project – Trap, Neuter, Vaccination and Return (TNVR) – will see ecologists and vets work together to vaccinate feral cats which pose a threat to the wildcats by spreading disease.

A challenge for the team has been distinguishing wildcats from other cats. SWA partner Dr Andrew Kitchener, a leading specialist based at the National Museum of Scotland, devised a system of scoring animals based on the ‘pelage’ or coat markings.

Scottish Wildcat Action will work to reduce hybridisation and disease from feral and domestic cats; accidental persecution, and impacts from development.

Scientists were delighted to detect wildcats in four of the five priority areas. Cats were detected on 35% – just over a third – of the 347 trail cameras. Wildcats were found in four of the five priority areas with wildcats making up 21% of these cats.


UK’s smallest butterfly given space to spread its wings - Scottish Wildlife Trust

Habitat for the UK’s smallest butterfly is expanding along the Ayrshire coast thanks to a project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust in partnership with Butterfly Conservation Scotland and local links golf courses. 

The small blue butterfly had been completely absent from Ayrshire since the 1980s. The species bred successfully for the third year in a row on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Gailes Marsh reserve and neighbouring Dundonald Links this summer after work to create large areas of kidney vetch (the butterfly’s only food plant), and a carefully managed translocation in 2013. 

Small blue butterfly © Iain Cowe - Butterfly ConservationSmall blue butterfly © Iain Cowe - Butterfly Conservation

Greenkeepers on a number of links courses south of Irvine have now sown kidney vetch and others are following suit later in the year, giving the butterfly a larger area to colonise. Kidney vetch thrives on sandy soil so the courses on the Ayrshire coast are the perfect place to grow it.

Paul Kirkland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland said: “The settled weather of the early summer was ideal for seeing small blues on the wing this year. Our members observed them mating and laying eggs almost daily and we are very hopeful that this small population will spread and grow as their habitat expands.”

Gill Smart, Reserves Manager, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “It’s fantastic that the small blue has continued to breed successfully but the population in Ayrshire is still small and vulnerable. Increasing their habitat by planting kidney vetch on all the golf courses south of Irvine provides the small blue butterflies with room to move and spread across the landscape, giving them a very strong chance of long-term survival.”


Moves to protect freshwater pearl mussels and salmon - Scottish Natural Heritage

Improvements in the River Dee as part of a £3.5 million UK project to improve habitat for freshwater pearl mussels and salmon are set to go ahead this week.

Gravel embankments will be removed along 500m of the Allt an t-Slugain burn near Braemar to restore habitat for the rare freshwater pearl mussel and for salmon.

The embankments were constructed in the 1980s to prevent the burn from spilling onto the adjacent grazing land during high flows. However, in some cases embankments can increase flood risk downstream by reducing temporary floodplain water storage. They can also affect the river channel by increasing flow speed and depth, leading to riverbed erosion, and reducing in stream habitat for mussels and fish.

Removing the embankments will allow the burn to naturally re-meander over time, further slowing the flow of water into the River Dee. The burn will be given a helping hand as infilled connections to old channels will also be re-opened as part of the works. Restoring the natural flow of the burn will increase spawning habitat for salmon, the host species of freshwater pearl mussel larvae.

After works are completed more than 2.5km of new stock fences will be installed to keep livestock off the riverbanks, allowing vegetation to establish. Native trees will be planted along the banks to provide dappled shade over the water and enhance the habitat for the wildlife that lives in and around the streams.

Angus McNicol, estate manager for Invercauld Estate, said: "We are delighted to be helping to facilitate this important project. Conservation is a key element of the estate's objectives and these works are expected to result in improved habitats for a number of species in a key tributary of the upper River Dee."
The work is being done as part of the Pearls in Peril LIFE project (PIP), working in partnership with the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust.  


Back the bees and friends; big agriculture has the chance to help or hinder our most important pollinators - Royal Holloway University of London 

New research published today (9/8) in PeerJ  has identified the most serious future threats to, but also opportunities for pollinating species, which provide essential agricultural and ecological services across the globe.

From the expansion of corporate agriculture, new classes of insecticides and emerging viruses, pollinators are facing changing and increasingly challenging risks. In response, researchers are calling for global policies of proactive prevention, rather than reactive mitigation to ensure the future of these vital species.

The study was conducted by an international group of scientists, government researchers, and NGOs; they used a method of horizon scanning to identify future threats that require preventative action, and opportunities to be taken advantage of, in order to protect the insects, birds, mammals, and reptiles that pollinate wild flowers and crops.

“35% of global crop production, and 85% of wild flowering plants rely on hard-working pollinators to thrive. We are increasingly adopting practices that damage these species. Then, we rather absurdly look to mitigate their loss, rather than prevent it in the first place,” explained group leader, Professor Brown.  “This is an expensive and back-to-front solution for a problem that has very real consequences for our well-being, most research focuses on the battles already being fought, not on the war to come.”

Priority pollinator challenges

Out of a long-list of sixty risks to, and opportunities for pollinators the team identified 6 high priority issues, including:

1)      Corporate control of agriculture at the global scale

2)      Sulfoximine, a novel systemic class of insecticides

3)      New emerging viruses

4)      Increased diversity of managed pollinator species

5)      Effects of extreme weather under climate change

6)      Reductions in chemical use in non-agricultural settings

The research highlights consolidation of the agri-food industries as a major potential threat to pollinators, with a small numbers of companies now having unprecedented control of land.


UK first as experts use GPS to keep tabs on elusive stone-curlews - RSPB

For the first time in the UK, scientists working in the wildlife-rich Brecks region of East Anglia – straddling the border between West-Norfolk and Suffolk – are using high-tech GPS tags to study the movements of one of the country’s most threatened birds, the stone-curlew.

Stone-curlews in the Brecks have been fitted with GPS trackers in UK first (Image: Chris Knights, RSPB)Stone-curlews in the Brecks have been fitted with GPS trackers in UK first (Image: Chris Knights, RSPB)

Stone-curlews, crow-sized birds with large, bright yellow eyes, were close to becoming extinct as breeding birds in the UK 30 years ago. Thanks to conservation efforts, around 400 pairs of stone-curlews now breed in the UK each year – more than half of those in Eastern England. 

By using GPS tracking to learn more about how these shy and elusive birds use different areas of the countryside, researchers hope to help landowners create the conditions stone-curlews need for nesting and feeding, in order to ultimately achieve a sustainable stone-curlew population in the UK. 

The study is part of the PhD research of Rob Hawkes, RSPB Heathland Officer,  “It’s incredibly exciting, not just because we’re doing something that hasn’t been done before, but because we’re learning new things about how the birds behave that just haven’t been possible to study before, and this will improve our understanding of what we need to do to help stone-curlews.”  

And there have already been some surprising results: “We knew that stone-curlews are mainly nocturnal and forage at night. When they have eggs the adults take it in turns to sit on the nest, which gives the ‘off duty’ bird the chance to go in search of a meal. Using the GPS tags we have discovered individual birds travelling much further from their nest to find food than had been known previously, suggesting the birds are prepared to travel a substantial distance to reach a favoured feeding site.”


Conservation partnership calls on Highland Council to protect the environment - RSPB, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust & John Muir Trust

Four conservation charities in the Highlands have called upon Highland Council to maintain its commitment to a healthy environment. RSPB Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the John Muir Trust have joined forces to highlight the special importance of the natural environment to the Highland economy, the health and welfare of its citizens and the education of its young people.

The appeal from the charities comes as Highland Council reviews its services in the light of budgetary pressure. The charities are particularly concerned at a possible threat to the Council’s ranger service which they believe is very important to raising understanding of the environment as well as making a significant contribution to the region’s tourism industry by attracting visitors with an interest in wildlife.

Dr Pete Mayhew of RSPB Scotland said, “We understand and appreciate the funding constraints that Highland Council operates under, and the need for a redesign of its services. However the wildlife, habitats and landscapes in the Highlands are of national and international importance. Highland Council plays a very important part in protecting them and we wish to see the Council continue to fulfil that role.”

Diarmid Hearns, Head of Policy at the National Trust for Scotland, said, “Tourism is believed to bring in £730m into the Highland economy and a growing part of that is related to wildlife and the environment. Ranger-led events, way-marked paths and information centres are some of the Council services that help to draw tourists to Highland and increase the time and money spent here. We should not forget the enormous contribution our wonderful environment makes to the health and welfare – and the prosperity – of our people.” 


Fife sea eagle chick takes flight - RSPB Scotland

A white-tailed sea eagle chick that hatched in a Forest Enterprise Scotland wood in Fife has fledged the nest it was announced today (10/8/16)

Satellite-tagged eagle chick, Image: Gordon Buchanan, RSPB.Satellite-tagged eagle chick, Image: Gordon Buchanan, RSPB.

The chick was fitted with white wing tags with the letter ‘L’ and a satellite transmitter so that staff at Forest Enterprise Scotland and RSPB Scotland can monitor its dispersal. It is the latest fledgling from the East Scotland Sea Eagle project, which successfully reintroduced white-tailed sea eagles to Fife between 2007 and 2012.

Earlier in the season it was announced that this nest contained twins, however one of the siblings died of natural causes in June. This is the fourth successful nesting attempt for this pair, who has fledged a single chick each year since their first attempt in 2013. The adults were both released in 2009 as part of the reintroduction project in Fife which is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Owen Selly is RSPB Scotland’s Sea Eagle Officer. He said: “As in previous years, the nest site has been closely monitored by our dedicated RSPB Scotland nestwatch volunteers who help to protect the birds from disturbance and study their behaviour. It’s fantastic to have another healthy chick fledge  from the Fife pair, which was one of only two pairs to breed successfully across the East of Scotland this year.”

Graeme Findlay, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Environment Manager added: “We are delighted that our star pair of white tailed eagles have successfully fledged a chick again this year in Fife. Having been heavily involved in the release of the birds, and being lucky enough to have them choose one of our forests for the first successful nest in the east of the country, everyone within the local team is delighted at the part the National Forest Estate has played in helping to reintroduce this magnificent species back to the east of Scotland.”


Celebrating Scotland’s road verges - Plantlife

Scottish verges are home to over 550 different species of wild flowers and are one of the most frequently viewed habitats in the country. 

Flowering road verge on the Isle of Harris © Deborah Long/PlantlifeFlowering road verge on the Isle of Harris © Deborah Long/Plantlife

For lots of people, the flower-filled verges they see on their daily commute or trip to the shops are their main contact with nature.

Plantlife estimates that 556 species of wild plants are found on Scottish road verges, including highly threatened flowers such as spignel (Meum athamanticum) and greater butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha). This equates to half of all Scotland's wild flowers. Road verges also constitute one of the most frequently seen habitats in Scotland, giving millions of people every day direct contact with the changing seasons and colours of the countryside. Road users are also given a seated view into the astonishing changing landscapes and habitats of Scotland, from forests to moors.

In addition, 88% of these verge plants provide nectar and pollen for bees and other insects, making road verges essential refuges for insect life; bird’s-foot trefoil alone is a food plant for 132 species of insect.

The good news is that Scotland's 9,386 ha of rural verges appear to be flourishing this summer and providing swathes of natural colour on Scotland's roads for its users to enjoy and providing a valuable haven and food bank to the country's wildlife.


Police investigation following Richmondshire buzzard shooting - North Yorkshire Police

Police are investigating after a buzzard was shot and killed in Richmondshire.

Last week, a member of the public reported that a common buzzard had been found dead near Manfield, North Yorkshire. The buzzard was recovered by the RSPB and taken to a vet in Leeds. An x-ray showed ten fragments inside the bird, consistent with being shot. It is not known how long the buzzard had been dead before it was found.

PC Rob Davies, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Buzzards are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it a criminal offence to kill or injure them. The extent to which raptors are persecuted is completely unacceptable, so I am urging anyone with any information about this incident to get in touch with me without delay.”

Anyone who is aware of suspicious activity in the area, or has any information that could assist the investigation, is asked to contact PC Rob Davies at North Yorkshire Police by dialing 101 and selecting option 2, or via email rob.davies@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Please quote reference number 12160140036.


Satellite tagged golden eagles disappearing in the Monadhliath mountains - RSPB Scotland

RSPB Scotland has issued an appeal for information following the disappearance of another young golden eagle, the eighth of this species to vanish in the same area in less than five years. The young female golden eagle, named Brodie, hatched two years ago and was fitted with a satellite transmitter shortly before she fledged from her nest. Brodie was being monitored by conservationists as part of a national study to improve our understanding of the movements and survival of young golden eagles. Her last recorded position placed her in the northern Monadhliath mountains, south east of Inverness on 2nd July this year.

Since November 2011, eight golden eagles, all less than three years old, fitted with satellite transmitters have disappeared in the same area. The birds were being monitored by RSPB Scotland, the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, Natural Research Ltd and Forestry Commission Scotland. Satellite transmitters are increasingly being used to study the movements of wild birds to gain an understanding of their behaviour and travels following fledging. They are fitted under special licence by a small number of highly accredited individuals, and golden eagle experts. Satellites continue to transmit if a transmitter becomes detached from a bird, or if a tagged bird dies naturally allowing recovery of the body.

Despite comprehensive searches, after consultation with the Police, of the areas around the last recorded positions of all eight eagles none of the birds or transmitters have been recovered, and no further data has been received from the transmitters.


Reaction:  SGA will work with police over allegations – Scottish Gamekeepers Association

In response to a press release from RSPB Scotland, a Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said:

"The Scottish Gamekeepers Association will be asking its members to contact Police Scotland if they know anything regarding the allegations which have been made.

In the past two years the SGA has encouraged its 5300 members to record the eagles on the ground they manage in order to take positive ownership of the role they play in eagle conservation.

We were pleased to report three more nests in occupied territories last year (58), compared to the 2014 survey (55) and, this year, we are extending the survey further north for the first time.

Scotland has one of the highest concentrations of golden eagles in the world and we want our members, many of whom have had eagles on their ground for decades, to continue to be part of that success in a constructive way. Some of the most productive eagle nests in Scotland in the past few years have been on managed grouse moors, with rare triplets in one nest alone last year.

We will be asking our members to comply with any investigation by the Police or Scottish Government into such allegations. If there is any evidence of wrongdoing by any of our members, appropriate action will be taken."


Response: Eagle disappearance review – Scottish Government 

Environment Secretary orders analysis following reports of missing golden eagles.

The Scottish Government has ordered a review of satellite tracking data, following reports from RSPB Scotland that a number of golden eagles have disappeared in the Monadhliath mountains.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said:

“The latest reports of satellite-tagged golden eagles disappearing on or near grouse moors are very disturbing and disappointing. That is why I have instructed officials to analyse the evidence from around 90 surviving and missing satellite-tagged eagles, to discover if there is a pattern of suspicious activity."


Reaction: BASC welcomes review of golden eagle data

BASC’s Scotland director Dr Colin Shedden said: “It is important that the full facts are made available before anyone publicly draws conclusions that are not based on evidence and could damage livelihoods and communities. BASC welcomes the input of the Scottish government. Any persecution of a protected bird is wholly against the interests of shooting and BASC condemns such an action unreservedly. Law breakers and wildlife criminals have no place among British shooters.”


Funder's latest contribution to Rainham Marshes nature reserve ensures the sites' attractions will grow for future generations - RSPB

Veolia North Thames Trust has been funding projects at the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve for nearly two decades. The UK Government requires operators of all landfill sites to pay a levy which is used specifically to enhance and improve adjoining areas. 

Ground nesting lapwing and redshank are vulnerable to predation (Image: Nigel Blake, RSPB)Ground nesting lapwing and redshank are vulnerable to predation (Image: Nigel Blake, RSPB)

 The latest project has seen a £100,000 grant to cover the cost and installation of a 2.6 mile long fence around Wennington Marsh in the centre of the nature reserve. The site attracts ground nesting lapwings, but many chicks are lost to foxes every year. The species is currently red-listed as the population is falling. The fence will allow them to breed successfully and reverse their slide towards extinction.

Site Manager Andrew Gouldstone says: “We know predators have an impact on the number of young birds which make it to adulthood and have enjoyed enormous success in boosting survival rates using fencing. This new fence will be a huge step-change, making this site a major contributor to the future survival of lapwings. We’re enormously grateful to VNTT. Their support has accelerated the improvements we’ve been able to make at Rainham to benefit nature, local communities and visitors.”

In 2015, the reserve supported 61 pairs of lapwing, producing 66 young; well over the number of young per pair required for a stable or increasing population. In 2016, the reserve supported an excellent 68 pairs of lapwing and 60 pairs of redshank. The numbers of pairs of these declining birds has gone up every year for the last four years, and we know the installation of these fences plays a big part in this success.


Biosecurity in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Position Statement – Arboricultural Association

Many of our trees are under threat from the introduction and spread of imported pests and diseases. As an Association that champions the sustainable management of trees, for a sector that revolves around caring for trees, it is imperative that we acknowledge these threats and look at how we can all help to prevent or mitigate against them. The Arboricultural Association have made biosecurity a key area of focus for 2016. To build upon work we have already undertaken collaboratively with other organisations, we are pleased to introduce the Arboricultural Association’s ‘Biosecurity in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Position Statement’.

This statement outlines some basic biosecurity principles that should be adopted to reduce the unwanted introduction and spread of tree pests, diseases and invasive tree species.

This document is aimed at our members, those working in the sector, and those working across the wider industries that connect with arboriculture and urban forestry. It is not an answer to the biosecurity problems we face, but it is a beginning. It is a progressive, industry-led first step, looking to build upon all of the positive and forward thinking steps already undertaken by mainly governmental organisations to date.

The statement has been developed by a team of AA members from different sectors. It aims to be relevant to all those working with trees, whether in a practical, production, tree management or consultancy role. It also supports the work already being undertaken by many of our members in raising awareness of biosecurity issues and threats and in implementing controls.

Download the policy document (PDF)


RSPB warns driven grouse shooting does not have a future without change - RSPB

Europe’s biggest conservation charity is warning that reform is the only way grouse shooting can save itself in England. This follows the RSPB withdrawing support for Defra’s Hen Harrier Action Plan as it failed to deliver the urgent action and change in behaviour needed to prevent Britain’s rarest bird of prey being pushed closer to extinction as a breeding bird in England.

 Jeff Knott, RSPB’s head of nature policy said: “Today, Friday 12 August 2016,  is the start of the red grouse shooting season, a sport that is coming under close scrutiny as more and more people look at some of the practices that support intensive driven grouse moors in England and parts of Scotland. The illegal killing of hen harriers has left just three nesting pairs in England, a country that could be home to over 300 pairs. This is starting to raise the question over whether there is a sustainable future for driven grouse shooting. The simple answer is that it doesn’t have a future unless it changes and adopts best practise. The illegal killing of birds of prey like the hen harrier must end, and sadly this tars the reputation of every grouse moor estate and every shooter. There are also serious concerns about the environmental damage caused by other management practices these moors increasingly rely on, such as the draining and vegetation burning of the natural landscape, and the large scale killing of mountain hares.

The RSPB has concerns with the increasingly intensive and questionable management associated with driven grouse shooting including the killing of birds of prey, burning and drainage of wildlife rich peatlands, tracks and the use of veterinary medicines and killing of mountain hares to reduce the incidence of disease in grouse.

The RSPB is calling for a licensing system for grouse moors. This system would recognise high standards where they exist and would allow a focus on driving up standards of landscape management, and predator control across the industry.  Breaches of the conditions would be subject to penalties, which could ultimately lead to the withdrawal of the license to run a shoot for a period of years.


Why we work beyond our nature reserves - BBOWT blog

Nature Reserves are wonderful, wildlife-rich land. But what about the land between and around them, how wildlife-friendly is that? Jacky Akam explains our work with other land managers in the West Berkshire Living Landscape.


New bracken control breakthrough demonstrated on Dartmoor - Dartmoor National Park

The steep hillsides in the uplands of the UK present access problems when it comes to the control of one particularly difficult to manage plant – bracken. The difficulties associated with operating on steep bracken infested land, particularly for the management of livestock, and the difficulties faced by walkers and other land users increase significantly as it spreads. Bracken spread also causes significant problems for the preservation of important archaeological sites.

Chemical control through specialist application is not always possible or viable for small farmers and steep ground presents dangerous conditions for tractors, making effective bracken management virtually impossible in some upland areas. 

Bracken basher machine in use (image Dartmoor National Park)Bracken basher machine in use (image Dartmoor National Park)

Now, there is another option. This September the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project and Oakland Biofuels will be showcasing new and innovative equipment to cut rush, gorse and bracken specifically in upland areas. The highly innovative equipment being brought to Dartmoor for a series of demonstrations normally operates on the challenging terrain of the high Alps and provides a proven safe and effective harvesting capability.

Sandra Dodd from the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project said: ‘Being able to manage and control bracken and other soft biomass throughout the UK will have far reaching benefits to rural areas not only from an employment and sustainability point of view but in being able to produce renewable energy and biofuel and reduce the reliance on agrochemicals. This series of demonstrations will show that there are now efficient and viable alternatives to leaving hard to reach areas of bracken to spread unchecked.’ 


Two pairs in the air after successful sea eagle breeding season on Canna - National Trust for Scotland

Sea eagles have had a successful breeding season on the Hebridean isle of Canna, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, with two breeding pairs both rearing two chicks.

The conservation charity also reported that the island’s golden eagles had also successfully bred this year, hatching one chick. Golden eagle chicks from Canna were for many years used to reintroduce the species to Ireland and the island is believed to have the highest density of eagles in Scotland

National Trust for Scotland Senior Nature Conservation Adviser Dr Richard Luxmoore said: “Canna has proven to be a very productive breeding site for sea eagles and most years since reintroduction we have had two pairs nesting on the island. It is not so common to have both pairs successfully raise two chicks each so this is great news.“National Trust for Scotland sites have had a number of breeding successes this year. As well as Canna’s sea eagles, our ospreys at Threave in Dumfries & Galloway fledged four healthy chicks and for the first time in many years the same site welcomed peregrines. We also had hen harriers breeding at Mar Lodge for the first time in decades.”


Plead for help to stop vandalism on Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve - Dorset Wildlife Trust

Following the criminal damage to a dry stone wall on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT’s) Lorton Meadows nature reserve in Weymouth, Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward. 

Damage to wall at Lorton Meadows (image: Vicky-Ashbymain, Dorset Wildlife Trust)Damage to wall at Lorton Meadows (image: Vicky-Ashbymain, Dorset Wildlife Trust)

The wall, which is located on the trail off Louiviers Road at the top of Lorton Meadows in the twon, had initially been damaged sometime in June 2016.   It had been repaired by DWT, who maintain the wall, but a second incident of criminal damage was report to police on Friday 5th August 2016. 

DWT Communications Officer, Sally Welbourn, said: "This unique stone way-point not only marks the start of the legacy trail from the 2012 Olympics, but is alsoa place for the local community and visitors to enjoy views across the Lorton Valley Nature Park. We are shocked at the destruction which has occurred here and hope that anyone who can shed light on the perpetrators will come forward to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. "The time and money it takes to repair it could compromise the valuable work Dorset Wildlife Trust do to protect wildlife.” 


Scientific Publications

Ilg, C. and Oertli, B. (2016), Effectiveness of amphibians as biodiversity surrogates in pond conservation. Conservation Biology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/cobi.12802


Groom, Q., Weatherdon, L. and Geijzendorffer, I. R. (2016), Is citizen science an open science in the case of biodiversity observations?. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12767


Zhou, Z.-M., Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., Meng, X., Macdonald, D. W. and Zhou, Y. (2016), Revised Taxonomic Binomials Jeopardize Protective Wildlife Legislation. Conservation Letters. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/conl.12289 


Kelsey N. Hom, Meike Linnenschmidt, James A. Simmons, Andrea Megela Simmons. Echolocation behavior in big brown bats is not impaired after intense broadband noise exposures Journal of Experimental Biology 2016 : doi: 10.1242/jeb.143578


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