Category Archives: wildlife

NEWS: turning worries / badger cull / housing plans / RIP Carole & Mary

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2020
In this post we have news of…: concerns about the Blythe road turning / end to cull / more housing on the horizon / St Mary’s loss

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Junction issue

Now that traffic flow is picking up again with the easing of coronavirus lockdown, we return to the issue of the new road-layout on the turning into Blythe Bridge. Already there have been collisions there, and one councillor has expressed serious concerns.

Road map: A521 turning

Road map shows the sharp hairpin bend turning

For traffic coming into Draycott from the A50 roundabout, the turning into Blythe Bridge is quite a nasty left-hand hairpin bend – so, up until the end of last year, there used to be a slip road, to make the turning easier.
But the slip-road has now gone; a new pavement has been built on top of it. (This new pavement connects the new Blythe Fields estate to the junction).

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But, the new arrangement causes two problems.
First, large wagons have to move into the dual carriageway’s outside (right-hand) lane, then slow down considerably, and then take a large turning circle across the inside lane just to get into the turning.
Secondly, because the turning is so badly signposted on the dual carriageway, motorists unused to the area see the turning late, and have brake a lot as they approach the turning, just to make this sharp manoeuvre.

Councillor Barry Yates, of next-door Forsbrook Council, is so concerned about this that he’s asked for a formal site visit & report from the local county councillor.
We’ll keep you posted.

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Recovery means … more homes

Many of us will have heard in the news that one of the ways that the government wants to solve the homes crisis and also to get the economy on track is to spend ‘billions’ on enabling construction projects.
That sounds great at first, but Draycott people may want to just think a second about the implications.

(The government has also promised the “most radical reforms of the planning system for 60 years”. We all know what that means – huge developers will get even more of their own way – for example, SMDCouncil has been humiliated more than once already over the Blythe Fields development).

The implication of the announcement is that St Modwen Ltd will be able now to more easily hurry through the next phase of its development in Draycott, building even more homes along the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road. As the planning officer said at the time: “Having built the access road (to build the first part of the site), it’s now much easier to work on building the second part.”

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites – Draycott on left

There is outline permission for building all along the ridge, on both sides of the A50, as far as Cresswell (see yellow zone in pic above). Watch this space.

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Badgers update

What with the coronavirus crisis, other news has got lost a bit.
One item was that the national badger cull has now been called off.  The experiment, of trapping and killing badgers (humanely) inside special zones, was to try to see how much badgers spread tuberculosis to cattle. Farmers were largely for it; animal conservationists against it.Badger (pic from Wikipedia)
The reason it matters to Draycott is that, although the details of the ‘killing zones’ were secret, some locations were leaked – and we know that one such zone was not far from here.

The project was called off just as female badgers were producing litters – which will please the conservationists, but not the farmers…

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May they rest in peace

Finally, we have lost two long-standing members of our community.
Mary Crowther, who was 97, and Carole Toft, 80, both died last month. Both worshipped at the small Catholic church of St Mary’s in Cresswell, where they will certainly be missed by the remaining congregation.
RIP.

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Birdland – in Draycott in the Moors

One of the interesting side-effects of the lockdown is that a lot of us began to notice a lot more the bird-life around us.
April and May are a very busy time for birds – the dawn chorus is at its loudest (!), they are nesting, and in late May the migrating birds start arriving.
So, while nobody was happy about lockdown, at least it was a good time to watch out for birds.

Curlew-Wading, courtesy RSPB

The curlew, the (endangered) iconic bird of the Staffordshire Moorlands, visits us

And, if you keep across the village Facebook forum, you’ll notice that some of us are also great wildlife photographers, and they keep us updated with some brilliant pictures of birds in action.In this article, we outline some of the birds you can see locally, why Draycott in the Moors is a special place for birds, and how you can help with recording and conservation.

Blithe flood-plain

Within our district is a special place for wildlife.
On the fields between the railway line and the A50 Highway is a narrow stretch of Green Belt (on the western side of Cresswell Lane); and the prime reason it is Green Belt is because of the flood-plain around the River Blithe there. The Blithe runs right through our district, parallel to the railway (more or less), from Blythe Bridge through Draycott/Cresswell down to Church Leigh and the further.
This Draycott/Cresswell flood plain sits in a ‘special landscape area’ (though, to be honest, SLAs seem to be less important these days, and do not have any protected status.)

Species

The district, and the floodplain in particular, welcomes all sorts of birds.
Most of us will be aware of the enormous population of goldfinches (because of the considerable thistle growth), and the several buzzard nests and three resident rookeries (with all the noise you expect from them!). Most people will know too that our local sky-lark population is not bad, when you consider that sky-larks are in real decline.
But people may be less aware of the curlews (now endangered), white throats, reed buntings, snipe and Jack snipe, as well as several breeding pairs of yellow-hammers and

In a survey, five years ago, a local ornithologist spotted lapwings, a breeding pair of yellow wagtails – and several willow tits, which are sadly also becoming very rare.

Golden-plovers-Cresswell, courtesy LH

Golden plovers feeding on the Cresswell site. Copyright: LH

The real unusual sight though that he discovered is our feeding golden plovers – about thirty pairs visit here each year, and they are very special to bird-watchers.

Conservation

The presence of this wildlife was one of the reasons that the former local action group, VVSM, opposed the extension of the Cresswell business park back in 2014. As we all know, the plans for the extension to the business park were passed anyway (though work has not yet started, oddly).

As a sort of reminder to the authorities of the importance of local wildlife, VVSM fund-raised to create a small wildlife information board (see pic), which was put up in 2015 in the centre of Cresswell, and is still there to this day.

Wildlife Board unveiled

Councillor Mark Deaville (right) unveiled the board, watched by VVSM’s Jacquie Leach (left) and some young enthusiasts

The board lists the twenty or so most common mammals and birds which can be seen in Cresswell.
But, with the disbandment of VVSM, there is no local organisation taking an active interest in the natural environment of Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow.

Help

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust says they would welcome applications from anyone who wants to set up a local branch with them.
(A lot of our local wildlife was protected under European Commission directives, but, what with Brexit, it’s now unclear where protection will come from, so local advocates are more necessary than ever).

However, if you are one of those able to sit and enjoy the birds passing through (and over) your garden, you can also help, in a very easy way – just record what you see. Sign up to British Trust for Ornithology’s ‘Birdtrack’ project – a free, central online recording system which provides info to all our local wildlife conservation groups too.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box near the bottom of this page.
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Reference sites:

Birds of Staffordshire Year List 2020
Not sure if you’ve correctly identified a bird? Click here to see if you got it right!
Advice on How you can directly help birds
Article: Spotting our Draycott-in-the-Moors wildlife (2014)

And… thanks to Nick Pomiankowski for advice.

Draycott Cresswell Wildlife Sightings 2014

Draycott Cresswell Wildlife Sightings 2014, courtesy Staffs Ecological Record

 

NEWS: GP appts / fresh shelter / badger cull / greyhounds charity

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2018
In this post we have news of…: easier appointments at doctor’s / shelter gets painted! / badger kill starts / Cresswell’s animal sanctuary …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a Draycott History Day…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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More flexibility at the doctor’s – but…

As most of us will know, what is most wearisome about going to the doctor is simply getting the appointment in the first place, especially one that is at a good time for us.
The ‘ratings’ system for the surgery at Tean, where many of us go, shows that one in five patients at it were not really satisfied with what happened when they tried to make an appointment.

Well, in response, the process is changing.
As of this month, if you phone Tean (or its sister surgery at Blythe), you are more likely to get an appointment at a time that suits you (including, if you want it, one at a weekend or evening time – which, up to now, has not been offered).
Erm, yes… but what’s the catch? Well, unfortunately, you might well have to travel to another site – our nearest centre for these additional hours is in Longton.

The new system is being introduced, county-wide, to try to cope with a number of things: the workload on doctors; the difficulty of getting the right appointment; and the fact that some people, working-people especially, can’t make daytime appointments, and prefer evening or weekend times instead.
A spokesman said: “Patients will generally not be seen by their usual doctors or nurses but the clinician who sees them will have access to the patient’s records as long as the patient gives consent.”

So… if you phone your local surgery for an appointment, at least you are now more likely to get a convenient appointment – but it may be in the evening, and you may be offered to go to Longton Cottage Hospital for it…

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Fresh lick of paint

A nice bit of public spirit was shown by Draycott resident Roger Tabbernor when he decided to go out and re-paint the Stuart Avenue bus shelter. It was looking pretty manky and even near-derelict.

Bus shelter

Smart bus shelter. Sadly, little can be done about the discoloured perspex windows

Roger got permission first from the village council to do the work, and it now looks pretty smart.

Roger is a parish councillor himself, so he will be aware that schemes that used to provide funds for village beautification just aren’t there anymore.
For example: the grant from SMDC to pay for work undertaken by a local village ‘lengthsman’ (aka – an odd-jobs person) has now been taken away; and even the council-ward community-grants scheme, which has paid for some neat projects in Draycott in the past, looks like it will disappear due to forthcoming cuts at the county-council.
(The village council though has decided to continue to employ a local litter-picker – but at a cost of a hefty £1,100 a year, ie nearly 12.5 per cent of the council’s whole budget).

So… following Roger’s example, local residents are going to have to start volunteering themselves for minor works if they want things to keep looking nice.

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Badgers in cull

As most of us know, there has been a furious argument in recent years about badgers.
Over thirty thousand cattle had to be slaughtered last year in England because they had contracted the cow version of tuberculosis – and farmers say the disease is often passed on to cows by badgers.
The solution, say farmers, is to reduce badger numbers by killing enough of them to thus see the risk reduced.

Badger (pic from Wikipedia)The government is convinced by the argument, and this month, a badger cull started right here in Staffordshire. It’s expected that some 4000 badgers will be killed across the county over the next few months, mostly by shooting.
Some of the ‘cull zones’ are known to be right here in the Moorlands, even though exact locations are not being publicised.

Most of us don’t know what to think about all this, but we are being urged to do something if we spot an injured badger. The Staffordshire Badger Action Group wants you to call them in such a case, and they will try to send someone out to see what has to be done.

In the meantime, we’re told the killing must be left to licensed operatives, and no one should take the law in their own hands. (Ironically, badgers and their setts are still protected under law from the ordinary public….)

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Good news for greyhounds

Talking of animals, there’s a great chance this month to hear about a wonderful local sanctuary to save greyhounds that are no longer wanted by their owners. The centre, based in Cresswell and run by volunteers, has expanded since it started up in 1995, and it now takes in goats and rescue ponies as well.Greyhounds, Golden Oldies & Friends logoA lot of people will know Diane Bostock; and she is giving a talk on the work of the organisation (which is actually called ‘Greyhounds & Golden Oldies’) to the Draycott Women’s Institute in a couple of weeks’ time.
If you’re interested, give the WI a call to see if they have space enough to let you attend.

Incidentally, Diane’s talk is just one of dozens of events in and around Draycott over the next two months. You’ll never be stuck for something to do locally!
Check out our events page to see what we mean.

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Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

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Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

Support our wildlife – buy a mug!

This month, people in our area have a unique opportunity to support our local wildlife and buy a lovely pottery mug at the same time.
All through July there is an exhibition of photographs of birds and mammals – many taken here in this district – at our local library in Blythe Bridge. All of them were taken by the well-known wildlife photographer Louie Horleston, who lives in Cresswell.

Not only are prints of the photos in the exhibition for sale, but also some specially created pottery mugs, which have transfers of the wildlife photographs on them.

Save Our Staffordshire Wildlife mugs

You can see images of the photo-transfers that appear on the mugs in more detail below, in our slideshow.
Most of the animals in these photos can be seen in our part of Staffordshire – though a couple of puffins, and an eagle (neither of which can be seen in Staffordshire !) do make up the full set.

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Hard times for wildlife

Louie Horleston travels all over the country photographing wildlife, particularly birds, especially in the remoter parts of the UK.

But he is particularly saddened that the new housing estate & new industrial estates coming to Cresswell will devastate the local habitats, especially in and around the course of the River Blithe.
The river here creates what’s known as a ‘flood plain’ around it as it goes, so birds like Yellow Wagtails breed here, as do Yellow-Hammers, Kingfishers and Lapwings.
In the river itself one can find wild brown trout, crayfish, a healthy water vole population and frequently we have even otters travelling up and down the river!
There are even over a dozen species here which Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has described as ‘priority’.

But Cresswell’s real claim to fame is our feeding Golden Plovers, which arrive here every year, as do even the very rare Willow Tits and Water Rails.

Campaign

Louie is so dismayed by what the massive new building developments will do to the district’s wildlife that he is donating the profits from the sales of all the prints and the mugs to support local wildlife.
“It is all too easy to forget about our wildlife” Louie told us. “But once it’s gone, it’s gone – and what a tragedy that is.  If this vast new development goes ahead, then the river-plain around Cresswell, and Draycott, will be changed forever.”

Sales

The exhibition of photos by Louie can be seen at Blythe Bridge Library right through July – click here for opening hours (note that the library no longer closes at lunchtimes – no matter what the website says!).

The prints and the mugs are all for sale – the prints are priced around £15; the mugs are £3.50 (earthenware), or £4.95 (china).
The prints and mugs will also be on sale at the Draycott Summer Fayre (on Sunday July 10th).
If you are unable to get to the sales points, but would like more information about getting some, just email for details.

* For more about wildlife in this district, see these articles:  A wildlife information board for Cresswell and Spot wildlife in Draycott

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Want to comment on any item on this page?      Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
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Name that animal

Lots of people in our district are talking about the impact any new-build development might have on the wildlife here – especially in the ‘wild corridor’ that runs alongside the River Blithe.  Because of the unique situation, some birds and animals do thrive here unexpectedly.

Can you identify these birds and animals that can be found in Cresswell, and nearby fields, and along the river-course into Draycott proper?  (They are all mentioned on the Wildlife Board next to the Information Kiosk).

Cresswell wildlife board (without captions)

Local wildlife …

If you find the photo on this page too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately!
[Just remember to press the back-button to get back to this page.]

How did you do?   If you want the answers, click here

If you think any locally-seen significant bird or animal has been missed off the list – or flora and tree-types – would you let us know?  Just use the comments box below, or email us.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: party politics / rabbits / new solar farm / new car park

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-May 2015
News of…:  Why rabbits aren’t welcome at church / a consultation meeting with residents over proposed solar farm / a new car park for college? / why party politics are part of parish councils now…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Cup game for Blythe Cricket Club. Check out the Events page)

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Parish parties

Reading through the results of all the parish council elections in the Moorlands, Draycott PC is obviously the odd one out of the pack.
It seemed that nearly all town and parish council members now identify themselves with a party-political label, and there are even ‘political majorities’ on many councils now.
In the old days, parish councils used to be politics-free zones.

It seems then that Draycott is going to be one of the last parish councils where party-politics will not play a part.   In fact, only one of the candidates for our parish council, Mark Deaville, was standing on a party ticket (Conservative).

What’s your opinion? Do you think our parish council should try to remain non-party-political, or should it accept the way things are changing?
Use the comments box at the bottom of the page if you have views.

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Solar energy date

It looks like this district could have its second solar farm soon if a new proposal is accepted.
Lat year, an application for a solar farm at Newton (between Cresswell and Totmonslow) went through with virtually no opposition, and it is now well-established, and up-and-running.

Newton solar panels view

From a distance, the solar panels at Newton look like a lake…

These sorts of projects basically consist of a number large solar panels placed in a field to gather the sun’s energy; and then underground cables take the electricity away to the main grid. Such projects are part of the drive for ‘green fuel’.

The new plans are for a 52-acre site on Fields Farm, just off Cheadle Road at Draycott Cross.
Residents will have a chance to make their minds about how they feel about the idea if they go along to the consultation meeting on Thursday 21st May from 4.15pm to 8pm, at William Amory Primary School in Blythe Bridge.
The developers will be there to explain the details.

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Parking bliss again?

Residents in Draycott Old Road will be cheering when they hear that Draycott Moor College has put in a planning application to build a car-park in the grounds of the school site.

Why? Well, lots of problems have been reported concerning narrow access along that road because of all the cars parked there by the college’s teachers, supervisors, and staff. Add to those vehicles all the cars that residents themselves want to park there, and it can become difficult.

The college promised a while ago they would put in these plans, and it’s good to see they kept their promise.

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Rabbits are not always cute

Anyone who has visited the graveyard at St Margaret’s Church recently will have noticed a new sign that has recently been installed.

Anti rabbits sign

Anti rabbits sign (to see this photo larger, double-click it; then press back-button to return)

The churchyard is, apparently, plagued with rabbits chomping through the flower offerings among other things.

The church wardens are pleading with residents not to encourage the rabbits. As you can see from the notice, they want relatives to place particular kinds of plants/flowers – ones that will drive the rabbits away, such as red-hot pokers (which doesn’ surprise us!).  All these anti-rabbit plants may even cause the little critters to abandon the churchyard for good.
We’ll see.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: closures / over-60s lunches / silence on issues / bats / walk!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid February 2015
News of…:  changes for Draycott Arms / Izaak to go dark / silence on traveller-site and mobile library issues / bats at Huntley Wood / concert and guided walk this weekend …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Local Guided Walk.  Check out the Events page!)

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Outgoings

Suddenly, there are a series of unwelcome departures in and around this area.

Down at the Draycott Arms pub, John and Deryn Ford have finally decided that the pub-business is no longer for them, and they are selling up.  We understand that a buyer is confirmed and that, if the process all goes according to plan, John & Deryn will be leaving before the end of March.
It’s a lovely community pub, so it’s nice to know that it will remain open for a long time to come, even if it possibly changes hands!
You may want to go down and buy the couple a last drink over the coming weeks.

Draycott Arms

Draycott Arms

Meanwhile, a little further away, the rumours about the post office in Tean have sadly come true. The village’s post office closes today (Wed). The question is: will it ever re-open?
And, over in Blythe Bridge, it has been announced that the Co-op & Britannia Bank is also to close later this year.

We thought that the one bright spot in the gloom was that the Izaak Walton Pub is keeping afloat. After all,  a new scheme has been introduced at the pub for over-60s:  you can get a two-course ‘Seniors’ Lunch’ at the venue any weekday for £6.95.
However, the latest update is that the Izaak Walton too is going to be closed shortly – for a ‘temporary period’ we’re told.  But, how long is ‘temporary’?

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Silent council

We went down to the parish council meeting the other night expecting there to be some discussion on two issues currently on local people’s minds: the revelation that Cresswell is on a list of locations for a possible travellers site; and the fact that Draycott’s mobile library service is under threat.

Over in Werrington (another place which is marked on the possible travellers sites list), the parish council there has organised public debates, got some 2000 residents involved, and even brought in the local MP. See Sentinel report.
However, at our local Draycott Parish Council, when the question was raised by a councillor the matter was immediately dismissed by the chairman.
One wonders why – it would seem likely to be something of public interest after all!

As for the problems being faced by our village’s mobile library service… they were not even mentioned at all.
Shame.

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More bats!

Even though it is the ‘quiet time’ for the Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre at Draycott Cross, work still continues as the place gets ready for the new season.

Bat box at Huntley Wood

Bat box at Huntley Wood

One of the main aims of the owners is to maintain and encourage the wildlife of the park, and it’s good to hear that, as part of this objective, more bird-boxes and bat-houses are going up all over the woods.
The bat-houses are made from off-cuts of oak left over from the building work, and will encourage bats to breed.

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Out and about this weekend

Don’t forget two interesting events taking place this weekend…

On Saturday night, there is The SMDC Chairman’s Charity Concert (featuring the Phoenix Singers) at Great Wood Hall Community Centre in Tean.
The SMDC Chairman at the moment is of course our very own district councillor – Colin Pearce – and he says it will be a great night.

The following day (Sunday 22 February), local lad Austin Knott leads a walk around Cresswell & Fulford, and he guarantees us lots of fresh air!  It’s free – all you have to do is turn up at 10am at Blythe Cricket Club, just up the road from the Izaak Walton Pub. The event is part of the Moorlands Healthy Walks Programme.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

NEWS: cricket funding / bird-watch / Old Lane traffic / more transparency

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid January 2015
News of…:  Blythe cricket new pavilion progress / more transparency demanded of local authorities / give one hour to bird-watching / Foxfield Railway success / traffic on Cresswell Old Lane …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Cricketing in winter

No… the cricket season has not started early!  However, the folks at Blythe Cricket Club in Cresswell don’t relax during these months; as maintaining and caring for the club’s future is a year-round activity.

The good news is that the club has been able to announce that it has been successful in progressing to ‘Stage 3’ of their Lottery Grant Application for a new pavilion/community-centre.   In practical terms, this means the club is now entitled to some grant-aid to help it to progress in matters such as designs, project-management and business plans.  Up until now, it has had to rely on its own fund-raising (and some helpful donations) to try to pay for all the administration costs of the application.
Let’s hope that this is the start of something big – the existing dilapidated pavilion really cannot take too many more years.

Blythe CC presentation

Gavin McAllister of the Your Housing Group presents a cheque to Colin Dawson (in the cap) of Blythe Club for £300 … as every little helps!

Meanwhile, fund-raising goes on: the latest news is that the Your Housing Group has come up with a grant of £300 to help towards better facilities for young players.

Incidentally, the statisticians have been able to reveal that 2014 was Blythe’s best-ever season.  Some fine bowling, and an outstanding performance from batsman Alex Heslop (with over 600 runs), really did the trick.
Well done to Blythe!

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Bird-watching at home

The seriously good thing about the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is that you don’t even have to leave your house to take part – yet you are making a serious contribution to the well-being of the wildlife of this country.  The RSPB use all the data you will collect to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the birdlife in our own areas.

And all you need to do is spend an hour (sometime over the weekend of 24-25 January) counting the birds in your garden. Easy!
The RSPB make it doubly simple by providing you on their website with a checklist of what to look out for.

There are a number of bird-enthusiasts in Draycott.

At Huntley Wood, Chris Jones & Arthur Trevor erected a bird feeding station during the summer, and they have been encouraging birds to feed there.  The idea is to get a perfect site for taking wildlife photographs, and they are also offering courses to anyone who wants to learn how to do so – see Arthur Jones Images .
The feeders make it possible to get remarkably close to the birds…

And remember the wildlife notice-board in Cresswell lay-by, which illustrates some of the less well-known birds that have been seen in this district. You may even see some of them on your garden-watch… with luck.

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Solar panels traffic

Thanks to John Holdcroft, who queried the yellow signs that recently appeared on the road from Draycott to Tean, directing traffic to ‘Solar Park Deliveries’.  (See John’s email)
These signs refer to the Novus solar-panels complex that is being built on land belonging to Lower Newton Farm, on Cresswell Old Lane. (See our coverage of the proposal).

Any traffic that goes along Cresswell Old Lane has to negotiate some very narrow stretches, but at least it’s a good thing that the complex’s managers are directing traffic away from the residential part of Cresswell Road.

How are householders in Cresswell Old Lane finding the traffic flow? Please let us know…  (see Comments)

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More ‘transparency’

The trend in government at the moment is for ‘transparency’.   The problem, it’s said, is that, in the past, councils and local authorities have tended to try to obscure what they do – because they dislike having to be accountable.

So, it’s interesting to see that Staffordshire’s Police Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, has decided to create what he calls a ‘Safer Neighbourhood Panel’ for our area of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
The panel, made up of local people and magistrates, will scrutinise the work done by police in this area and give feedback to their communities.  It’s all part of his drive for ‘transparency’ and ‘open accountability’.  To find out more visit the Police Commissioner website.
People interested in joining a Safer Neighbourhood Panel in the Moorlands area should email junaid.gharda@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

We think it’s a good thing.   In a democratic society, surely voters should to be able to find out in a straightforward way what their representatives are up to; and be able to comment easily too on any activities.

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Steaming up

Finally, though the Foxfield Steam Railway is in the next district, at Blythe Bridge, it is near enough for us to congratulate it on its success in the 2014 Heritage Railway Association Awards.
It managed to pick up the award for Steam Railways – and the HRA praised the way that Foxfield has become a serious national visitor attraction.
We know that some people from Draycott volunteer at Foxfield, so congratulations to them too! It is indeed a fantastic achievement.

In case you are anxious to visit Foxfield, we should tell you that trains aren’t due to be running there again until April – but it may be worth sticking a note in your diary……

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PHOTO: barn owl in wood

The barn owl has got to be a favourite of anyone who likes birds.  It has an attractive look and its cry is one of the highlights of a night-time walk.
Interestingly for an owl, it also hunts by day, so you may see it out and about.

It’s fairly common in Draycott, which is why you’ll find it listed on the village wildlife board at Cresswell lay-by as one of this area’s leading wildlife species.

Barn owl carving at Brookside

Anthony’s barn owl carving at Brookside

We found this lovely example of a carving of a barn owl on the footpath that leads off Brookside.  (Brookside is the lane off Cheadle Road past the Draycott Arms).

It’s a piece by local artist Anthony Hammond of course – his style is unmistakeable!  It’s good of the owners to place it there by the footpath too, so that all can enjoy it as they walk past.

If you’re interested in barn owls, the Barn Owl Trust has a lot more information on them.

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