On the 8th February we welcomed Charlotte Forrest and Jeff Sim of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to talk to us about our very own Gentleshaw Common. Charlotte is now looking after the Common as the previous officer is on maternity leave, and Jeff is the SWT’s Senior Conservation Manager. Quite a few visitors joined our members to hear all about the restoration work currently being undertaken by staff and volunteers (some of whom had come along) and to appreciate more fully why it was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – not that we take it for granted!
Whilst many of us are lucky enough to see the sundews and other beautiful plants in the three different types of heathland – the photos above were taken on an SWT guided walk – some creatures such as the nightjar and Welsh clearwing moth are harder to spot. Charlotte encouraged us to report sightings of less common birds & invertebrates on the Common, and also talked about Bleak House and Cuckoo Bank, which come under her remit. Jeff shared useful information on other local SWT reserves, plans for the future and the importance of involving the local community in these, also in the reporting of fires and other antisocial behaviour that damage this precious environment.
Before drawing the raffle, they gave helpful & informative answers to questions covering a range of issues, and chatted to members & visitors afterwards. For anybody who is interested in more information please have a look at www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/gentleshaw common from where you can explore their wider website. The super kingfisher and blue tit photos below were taken by Maurice at the SWT’s Wolseley Visitor Centre.