Any Community News

Missed recycling collection today – SWP update

Details from Somerset Waste Partnership website below, but the important bit is:

Recycling Mendip: Back Wed 1 1 Aug for collections missed Wed04Aug in-around Easton, Polsham, Portway, Shepton Mallet, Wells, Westbury-sub-Mendip, West Compton, Wookey.

Warning – bees

There’s a reliable report of a dog walker and dog being attacked & stung by a small swarm of bees about 7pm today while walking along the footpath behind Perch Hill Vineyard. This may be an isolated occurrence, but please add a comment to this post if there are any further incidents.

Nature Notes – Orchids from June PEW

Colour photographs for the article on p23 of June 2021 PEW

Common Spotted Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

 

Greater Butterfly Orchid

 

Bee Orchid

 

Plus two bonus photos:

Early Purple Orchid

 

White variant of Green-winged Orchid

Wildflowers in May

Colour photographs for the article on p19 of May 2021 PEW

Birds-foot Trefoil

Pignut

Ragged Robin

Red Valerian

False Oxlip (previously mis-identified as Cowslip)

 

Cowslip (L) and Oxlip (R) for comparison with False Oxlip

All images Creative Commons licence

Ash dieback and pollarding

Several people have expressed concern at the number of mature trees that have been felled or pollarded recently in the upper part of the village.  Sadly, it is a sight that we will have to get used to since most of the trees involved are ash trees and most of them will have been infected with ash dieback- a disease that will kill some 90% of ash trees over the next few years.  You can find out more about dieback here.

Trees affected by dieback can become brittle and unstable and can shed branches in windy conditions.  Where such a tree is alongside a road or path the landowner needs to take action to protect themselves and the public – they would be negligent not to.  Trees well away from public access can be left to die since standing dead wood is a valuable wildlife habitat.

Pollarding – the removal of upper branches – is a long-established form of management and can preserve an ash tree for a time while making it safe. In most cases it will regrow until it finally succumbs to the disease and even then the trunk can be left standing for the benefit of wildlife.

A diseased tree may be weakened internally without signs showing on the outside.  For that reason the safest method of dealing with them is often with giant mechanical shears driven from a heavy vehicle.  The result may not be elegant but it is effective.  Some people have asked whether the brash from infected trees should be burned to slow the spread of the disease.  Unfortunately there are already billions of fungal spores circulating in the air and on leaves that dropped in the autumn so that would have little effect.

Ash dieback will bring about dramatic changes to our local landscape.  Since for environmental reasons we need to increase rather than reduce the number of trees across the country the parish council has established a tree group to help promote awareness of the situation and take practical steps to increase tree planting.  We have compiled information on how to recognise ash dieback, on what sorts of trees might make suitable replacements for ash and where to look for further advice.  We have also established a tree nursery to grow on native trees and begun to plant young trees to replace those that we will lose.

You can find out more about our activities by looking on the website here.  We would be pleased to hear from anyone who is interested in helping us or simply finding out more.

Pandemic update

Friends of Westbury Church

Registered Charity No. 1050069

 

Westbury Church is tucked away and sometimes it may be easy to forget that is there.  Even if we are not regular church goers, we may take it for granted that it will always be there for the major events in our lives such as christenings, weddings and funerals.

 

We are lucky that we have a beautiful ancient church dating back to the 1200’s, but like all old buildings, it needs constant care and attention.  There is always ongoing maintenance   to be paid for.  The organ has just been repaired;  now the Chancel roof needs to be fixed and the internal walls need to be redecorated.

 

The Friends of Westbury Church was formed to give financial support to such repairs but, because of the pandemic, we have been unable to hold our usual fundraising events.  At the moment we are only able to raise income by membership subscription.  If you are not already a member ( perhaps new to the village) we invite you to consider becoming a member in order to help conserve our wonderful building.  Membership for 2021 remains at £10 for an adult and £5 for a young person under 21.

Application for Membership

 

Please leave completed form or donation at the village shop with your name and address, thank you

I wish to become a “Friend of Westbury Church”

and enclose the sum of £…………..  as my first annual subscription/ please send me details for standing order payment

Name

(Block capitals please)

Address…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

……………………………………………………………………

 

email…………………………………………………………………………….

Signed                                                                  Date

Gift Aid Declaration

(Please insert your full name)

of

 

(Please include your full address including the post code)

I hereby declare that I wish all donations I make to The Friends of Westbury Church after 6th April 2000 by way of membership subscription or otherwise to be treated as Gift Aid Donations. I understand that I must pay an amount of Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax in the relevant year equal to any tax reclaimed by The Friends of Westbury Church.

Signed                                                                  Date

 

 

Garden Butterfly Survey sheets for 2021

Peacock butterfly as seen in Westbury flying on 2nd February 2021.  Another was seen on 8th January and was barely able to fly!  They hibernate as adults in sheds and wood piles and can come out at any time during the winter if there is a sunny warm spell.  They will have returned to hibernation quite quickly at the moment.

Butterfly Recording in Westbury Gardens:  a number of people have been recording the butterflies they see in their gardens each week from Week 1 starting on the 1st April to week 26 starting on 23rd September.   The scheme started in 2006, so there is an increasingly long run of data.  If you want to join in download the attached two forms – April to June, and July to September.  At any suitable day in the week count the largest number of each species of butterfly that you see in your garden at any one time.  This means that you cannot count the same one twice.  For example you might see 4 meadow browns and one small tortoiseshells on the lavender one afternoon and the next day 3 small tortoiseshells and a meadow brown on the same lavender. You would put 4 for meadow browns and 3 for small tortoiseshells in the week of the observations onto your sheet.  Return the sheet to Peter Bright at the end of September either in digital form or as a piece of paper.  peterbright60@btinternet.com

2021 April to June Blank recording form      2021 July to September Blank recording form

Pheasant on the feeders

One of seven regular visitors to the garden this winter. Seems to be a hen party, no males around so far.

Mendip Active Travel Consultation

On Monday Sue Isherwood, Rachel Hewson and I have an opportunity to talk to one of the officers from Mendip DC about developing their active travel policies. The relevant section of the invitation, describing the purpose of the meeting, is set out below.  If anyone has thoughts about the items mentioned, or any other comments relevant to this topic please get in touch with any one of us and we will try to ensure that your voice is heard.  You can contact us directly or via the message function on the Strawberry line page of the website

The meeting is really an informal, information sharing session to understand what your active travel aspirations are for your parish and to see how we can coordinate our efforts.

During the meeting we’ll be discussing:

  • Our aspirations for increasing active travel in Mendip
  • Your thoughts and aspirations for a District wide Borrow Bike scheme
  • Bike Racks
  • Walking and Cycling maps
  • Proposed connections
  • How we move forward

Southern hawker laying eggs in pondside vegetation

One of Westbury’s commonest dragonflies.  Males, which are mainly blue, often swarm in large numbers.

2019 was a particularly good year for them.