I have been asked by a neighbour, who was caught in a traffic jam on Broad Road this morning, to remind people that in icy conditions the road above the quarry can become impassable. Temperatures seem set to fall below freezing again tonight so it might be wise to choose another route until the ice has melted.
Any Community News
Users of the new section of the Strawberry Line path from Station Road to Erlon Lane will notice some construction work being undertaken there in the very near future. Contractors will be building a stone and stone dust, level path so that the views along the line can be enjoyed by cyclists, wheelchair users and those with prams and buggies as well as able bodied walkers. A full ecological survey has established where the contractors need to work carefully to protect areas of wildlife interest.
Access to the public footpath that goes from Station Road down past the sewage works will not be affected though users need to be aware that heavy machinery might be crossing. It would be good, however, to avoid walking along the embankment and beyond while the construction work is in progress.
Today’s events have been moved because of high winds:
St Lawrence Church Fête
Now 2pm in the Village Hall. Stalls, tombola and PTA cream teas.
Jubilee Live Music Evening
Now 6.30pm onwards in the Westbury Inn.
Andy will be serving food but is happy for people to bring their own food if they wish.
The link below takes you to a version of the PEW article with colour photographs instead of black & white.
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.
Colour photographs for the article on p23 of June 2021 PEW
Common Spotted Orchid
Greater Butterfly Orchid
Plus two bonus photos:
Early Purple Orchid
White variant of Green-winged Orchid
Colour photographs for the article on p19 of May 2021 PEW
False Oxlip (previously mis-identified as Cowslip)
Cowslip (L) and Oxlip (R) for comparison with False Oxlip
All images Creative Commons licence
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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org