Thursday, 24 July 2014

Seed Collection at Red Hill

Good morning to you all,
I remember how impressed we were by the work of Volunteer Warden Harry Turner when we visited  the LWT Red Hill reserve last year with the LAG and last month when we visited with Louth U3A. Harry has done wonders during the last decade to create an SSSI site and the Coronation Meadow. On both occasions some of us said that we would be prepared to offer help at the reserve so long the task was not too onerous.
I have just heard from Harry who tells me that he would appreciate some help in collecting the heads of cowslip plants in order that he may extract and dry the seeds. Rather than ad hoc arrangements we agreed that 10.00 am on Wednesday 6 August might be a good time for people to gather at the car park opposite the Coronation Meadow  to spend a little time gathering Cowslips. Children will be welcome.
Map reference TF 264806, nearest post code LN11 9UE.
The only equipment needed is a medium sized polythene bag or as Harry defined it, 'the size that contains a large loaf of bread'. 
Let me know if you can join me or just turn up on the day.
Best wishes
Ray Woodcock

Chairman LAG

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Visit to Gibraltar Point Reserve


10.00 am Saturday 19 July 2014

We shall meet at the Main Car Park of the Gibraltar Point Reserve at 10.00 am when the Warden, Kevin Wilson, will take us on a tour of parts of the reserve where we will have the opportunity to observe how the ecology of the site has been changed by the December 2013 floods and what management measures need to be taken to deal with the changes. We shall also see lots of birds, so bring your bins.
The visitors' centre café and toilets no longer function. However, there are mobile toilets and a busy snack bar at the car park. You may wish to take your own refreshments, particularly water, as it is likely to be a hot day. We will be on the move for about a couple of hours – but on flat ground!
The daily car park fee is £3 whilst groups visiting Gibraltar Point are asked to make a donation towards the upkeep of the reserve.
Ray Woodcock

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Wildflower Seed Picking Picnic

 We are having a Picking Picnic event at Red Hill on Sunday 10th August from 10am-1pm.

This will be an opportunity to gather free wildflower seed of local provenance for your gardens and growing projects.  You can also help the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust gather seed for community green spaces too.

I will give a wildflower identification field presentation and provide collecting bags and some refreshments.  Toilets are available on the site.  Bring a packed lunch and drink if you’d like to join a picnic afterwards!

Similar events may be organised later in August/September.

Here also is a link to more information on Red Hill Nature reserve:

I look forward to seeing you there!

With best regards,


Mark Schofield         
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Banovallum House
Manor House Street

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wonderful Wild Flowers


20 members of Louth U3A, many of whom are also LAG members, enjoyed a bright sunny day with brilliant cloudscapes and an extremely knowledgeable guide. It could not have been better. Harry Turner, the volunteer warden at Red Hill has worked so hard for the last decade to convert barley fields into wild flower meadows that have become recognised as an SSSI and as a Coronation Meadow.
We walked across a ridge and up and down hilly meadows with stunning views and excellent visibility. We saw Lincoln cathedral 20 miles away! Harry identified the flowers - I jotted down 80 species - and butterflies whilst describing the ways in which he had managed the site in cooperation with the LWT, councils and other public agencies.
We collected £27 for the LWT and furthermore some of us agreed to join with members of the Louth Area Group of the LWT to provide some 'hands on' assistance to Harry later in the year. Thanks to Sue Coxon for the group shot:  

Some interesting 'Harry facts'.
  • The chalk and sandstone strata of rocks exposed by the quarrying continue across eastern England to emerge as Hunstanton cliffs.
  • Until 1933 Red Hill quarry was actively producing limestone with the chalk being burnt in an earth kiln.
  • The LWT have had the site since 1948.
  • LWT sources provide wild flower seeds for farmers to sow on the verges of their fields.
  • 9 specimens of fairly rare Kidney Vetch have been specially seeded to cover an acre.
  • Tor grass on the scarp slope is the home of the caterpillars of White Marbled butterflies.
  • The Bladder Campion is the sole food source for the tiny moth - Coleophora silenella
  • The soil has to be poor for wild flowers to flourish
  • White clover is not good for a wild flower meadow as it fixes the nitrogen in the soil too efficiently.
  • The very rare Horseshoe vetch, Blue Milkwort, together with rare Yellow Wort and Pasque Flower thrive at Red Hill.
  • Weld - a plant with metre high spike flowers - can be processed to produce a yellow dye.
  • Eyebright is used to treat eye infections and until recently was grown commercially for 'Optrex'.

Self heal - you probably have it growing in your lawn! Prior to World War II, it was used to staunch bleeding and for treating heart disease. A decoction of the leaves was used to treat sore throats and internal bleeding. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and has anti-allergic activity. In western medicine it is used externally for treating minor injuries, sores, burns, bruises and can also be used as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers.
Ray Woodcock

Record Your Sightings

Yesterday John Walker and I were walking round my garden when he spotted a Brown Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshna grandis. There's information about it here. It is widespread across much of England but there are very few records of sightings from near the Lincolnshire coast so John suggested sending a record in to the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership (GLNP) at Banovallum House, where wildlife records database is managed.

If you see something of interest that might be worthy of a record the GLNP would appreciate hearing about your sightings. You can find out more about the process at or just send them an e-mail:

Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) dragonfly photographed in Norwich,Norfolk,UK on August 2nd 2005.

Re-wilding the Meadows

And so the re-wilding season begins!

The 'Meadowmobile' has arrived at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, full of wildflowers ready to be sent around the county to reinvigorate our wild meadows with diverse and beautiful flora. We now have 1500 wildflower plants ready to distribute!

Photo: Wildflower Meadows Project Officer Mark Schofield with the Meadowmobile.

Harry is the Daddy. It's only because of his example and the results he has achieved over nearly 20 years that the Meadow Network Project is now trying to reverse local extinctions and rapid habitat loss of wildflowers in the intensively cultivated county of Lincolnshire. Nearly all the seeds my project is relying on come from the Coronation Meadow he has helped to create.

Harry Turner, Volunteer Reserve Manager at Lincolnshire's Coronation Meadow, Red Hill, inspects the new plaque at the reserve.
Harry is one of the inspirations behind our new Wildflower Meadow Network Project. Red Hill nature reserve was extended with the purchase of adjacent arable fields. To help tranform the fields into meadow, Harry grew wildflowers from seed and planted them across the new area. For example - from nine kidney vetch plants he has grown 500 plug plants and collected and distributed seed to establish kidney vetch over a 15 acre area.
Mark Schofield

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


In May 2013 we held the Louth Festival of the Bees. One of our guest speakers, who gave a wonderful talk about the wild bees, has sent this message:

By Brigit Strawbridge
Q: Why do I keep banging on about Neonicotinoid Pesticides? What are they? Weren't they 'banned' last year anyway? And why have I suddenly started posting about them in ernest again?

A: I keep banging on about Neonicotinoids because, alongside habitat loss, they are a major cause of bee decline. They also kill other pollinators and small song birds, and are indirectly responsible for declining numbers of reptiles, mammals and amphibians.

Neonicotinoids are powerful neuro-toxins (nerve poisons). One of them, Imidacloprid is OVER 7,000 TIMES MORE TOXIC TO BEES THAN DDT!!! They are currently the worlds most widely used pesticide. They coat the seeds of the crops they are used on so the nerve poison is taken up by the entire plant: roots; leaves; fruit; seeds etc. They remain in the soil to be taken up by subsequent crops for many years.

After years of campaigning by those concerned about the dire effect these pesticides are having upon bees and other wildlife, 3 types of neonicotinoid have recently been restricted in the UK, on certain crops attractive to bees, for 3 years. This not quite the same as a 'ban', but it's a hard fought for beginning.

The scary thing is that SYNGENTA, one of the companies who manufacture these pesticides, have now applied to the UK government for an exemption on this ban. If they are granted the exemption we will be back to square one.

So, PLEASE, PLEASE sign and share this petition if you haven't already. It really is incredibly important that these money grabbing multinationals don't wriggle their way out of the restrictions, and your voice may just make a difference.

Many, many thanks for all that you do x