It’s great to see a real community-style project come together.
The fact that Cresswell now has a smart new wildlife information board is down to collaboration between the local community action group, the area county councillor, the county wildlife trust, the local highways team, and even the district policing team.
It has all been what you might call – a ‘working together’!
The wildlife information board was the brainchild of Cresswell’s own Jacquie Leach, ably supported by her neighbour Louie Horlestone – whose knowledge of wildlife in our area simply can’t be beat. Louie also took some of the photographs.
Then, other members of the VVSM Community Group also promised support, added to which, our area county councillor Mark Deaville was able to donate £700 from his ‘Community Initiative Fund’.
You can see the results of all this work by going along to the lay-by in Cresswell (by the old telephone box).
On Saturday morning (15th Nov), Mark Deaville formally unveiled the board. It was a cold morning, but VVSM were supplying hot coffee and scones, which maybe explains why the crowd was bigger than expected (!).
On the board are listed over twenty species which can be found in or around the stretch of the River Blithe. Because there is a narrow strip of isolated land, between the river and the railway line (stretching from the industrial park right up through the side of Draycott to the A50 roundabout), wildlife does manage to flourish here undisturbed. There are even over a dozen species which Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has described as ‘priority’.
It’s amazing to think that otters have even been glimpsed in this stretch, but SWT did confirm that this is very possible, as otters are returning in numbers to the Moorlands region.
Other species which are worth looking out locally for are the birds: skylarks, wheatears, and water rails, all of which are becoming rarer.
“We are all very grateful to Mark Deaville for the grant,” Jacquie told us, “as a sturdy, metal structure like the one we have here comes very expensive! To save money, we did the graphics ourselves, and put it up ourselves. And it’s pretty strong, I’m glad to say.
“The real hope is that local residents will realise, even more, how wonderful the nature immediately around us is. Even Staffordshire Wildlife Trust were surprised when we showed them the amount of the species that local people had seen and recorded here.
“We know also that a lot of walkers pass through Cresswell, so a board like this will make them feel welcome and, you never know, might encourage more visitors to our hamlet…”
But… why is there a figure of the seventeenth century angling writer Izaak Walton shown on the board?
Jacquie explained: “There is a long tradition that the famous man actually did come to Cresswell to fish. You’ll find this story mentioned in a few accounts.
Izaak was a great lover of nature – so it seemed right that he should be on the board too!”
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