Saturday, 25 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Somebody or somebodies in the Teign Valley, Castle Drogo area has taken it upon themselves to wage war on ivy. We find large ivy stems on our trees sawn through along the sides of footpaths.
We have had letters of complaint from knowledgeable people ''Why is the National Trust cutting and killing ivy on its trees''. We have to answer ''Its not us''.
There are people out there who have a very negative view of ivy. They believe it kills trees.
Ivy is a remarkable plant.
- Its evergreen luscious leaves are a valuable food source for many herbivorous animals in the winter especially deer.
- Its black berries are high in protein and an invaluable food source to many birds and small mammals.
- Its dense stems and thick leaf cover protect all sorts of overwintering butterflies, bats small mammals and insects.
- In spring the stems provide ideal sheltered nest sites for birds.
- The late flowers provide an important nectar and pollen source for bees and other insects long after most other flowers have disappeared.
- On big old ivy stems very rare lichens grow, there and nowhere else a partnership developed over thousands of years.
- We cut sprigs to make wreaths and to decorate our homes with at Christmas.
- We write hymns about it along with its woodland colleague the holly.
- Often the vandals are not good with tools and damage the bark of the tree when cutting ivy leading to sap bleeding and possible infection.
There are those that think it strangles trees. NO it expands with the trees girth, unlike the strangling but much prettier honeysuckle.
It feeds off the tree, NO ivy is not a parasite it only uses the tree for support.
OK foresters hate ivy when felling and converting timber with a chainsaw it is a pain.
OK at times of heavy wet snow like the year before last it can lead to trees limbs breaking.
OK as an evergreen its leaves can act as a sail in exposed sites and can lead to trees with allot of ivy blowing over. This is the only time that I would take ivy from a tree is there was allot of ivy on a valuable ancient tree in an exposed spot.
A well known entomologist said '' cutting ivy from a tree is an act of vandalism.'' this has been slightly modified to ''cutting mature ivy from a tree is an act of vandalism'' after input from lichen specialist who argue that young ivy moving onto a tree with valuable lichen populations should be removed to. Goes to show nothing is that clear cut in the natural world.
If you see anybody cutting ivy with a little saw around the National Trust land on Dartmoor please ask them to stop.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Make a date to get into the Christmas spirit at Widecombe - Father Christmas, music and lots of things to see and do. On and around the green there will be children's craft activities, biscuit decorating, cone decorating, Christmas card making, along with mulled wine, fruit punch, mince pies and shops open for Christmas shopping.
9.30am - 3pm: Village market and crafts in Church House
10 - 11am: Church bells pealing
11am - 3pm: Ceilidh band
11.30am: Grimspound Morris Dancers outside the NT shop
12 noon: Hawking display at the Rugglestone Inn
12 noon – 3pm: Nativity animals under the Christmas tree
1.45pm: Father Christmas travels to Widecombe by pony and trap
2pm: Father Christmas arrives outside NT shop to give free presents to children (aged 11 and under)
2.30pm: Grimspound Morris Dancers outside the NT shop and raffle to be drawn.
3pm: Church bells pealing
3.30pm: Carol Service, St Pancras Church
For more information call 01364 621321 or email email@example.com
Monday, 6 December 2010
This is a unique opportunity to see the Castle festively decorated and soak up the very special atmosphere of the period. Visitors can also enjoy some of the Drewe Family traditions, including the giant 14ft Christmas tree that impressively fills the Entrance Hall.
Rosemary Gilchrist is Julius Drewe’s granddaughter and was born in the early 1920s. She remembers various Christmas traditions at Castle Drogo,
‘Being a child at Christmas time at Castle Drogo was magical. On Christmas Eve, in the Library, there would be dust sheets from the big fire place to the Hall Christmas tree. And for Father Christmas, on a little table, there would be placed a mug, a plate of bread and butter and maybe a slice of cake. In the morning when the children came down there would be big, sooty foot prints on the dust sheets leading from the fire place all the way up to the Hall Christmas tree, which was piled high with presents. When we looked there would be a big bite out of the bread and butter and the mug would be empty. This tradition happened every Christmas.’
The large open fire will be lit in the Library, providing a warm welcome and there will be seasonal music each day, provided by pianists and local choir groups, to add to the festive atmosphere. On Saturday 11 December there will be entertainment from Moor Harmony, on Saturday 18 we will have Lustleigh Choir and Mummers and on Thursday 23 the Chagford Singers will be singing carols in the Drawing Room, all guaranteed to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
The Drawing Room is set out for a family Christmas complete with presents that have just been unwrapped, while in the Dining Room, the table is set for Christmas dinner, with a miniature Christmas tree and home made crackers. Visitors can also see the Drewe family’s decorations, which have been used every Christmas since the 1930s.
Displays in the Kitchen demonstrate the fantastic dishes the servants would have created for the family. There will be handy information around the castle to learn the origins of our Christmas traditions.
There is a magical treat in store for children too as they can visit our wonderful Grotto and find Father Christmas waiting to hear their Christmas wishes. They will also be able to choose a special present from our Winter Wonderland (Entrance to Grotto and present is £2 per child, incl NT Members). A fun Christmas quiz will keep younger visitors amused while they wait and they can even write a letter to Father Christmas and post it in the Drogo Post Box.
Admission to the event is free for NT Members and winter admission charges apply for non members
The gardens, shop and tea-rooms will also be open from 11am to 4.30pm on the same dates so you can explore the winter landscape, buy a wide range of Christmas gifts, including books, local produce and crafts, or tuck into the tasty festive food. You can also purchase special Christmas treats from our Drogo Christmas Pantry, all home made especially by our chef.
Please telephone (01647) 433306 for more details of the event.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Adverse weather conditions – advice to the public
Dartmoor National Park Authority understands that people want to come and enjoy the wintry conditions on Dartmoor. We do however request the assistance of the public at what is a difficult time when resources are stretched. Icy roads and snow falls can cause great difficulty for Emergency Services, Highway Authorities and local residents. Farmers face particular difficulties as animals become trapped in snow drifts and require supplementary feed and water in these adverse condions.
It is essential that at these times visitors do not venture beyond any ‘ROAD CLOSED’ signs as they will hinder any clearance operation. Once roads are clear the various agencies will endeavour to open up car parks and official access points as soon as possible.
Please use common sense if you are coming onto Dartmoor and follow these simple guidelines:-
•Heed verbal advice and warnings from officials, regularly monitor and act upon local media updates and weather reports.
•Take adequate warm clothing, shovel, blankets, food, and a hot drink. Be prepared that the weather conditions may deteriorate rapidly.
•Do not drive beyond “ROAD CLOSED” signs, the signs will be there for a reason; additional traffic on roads that are closed hampers clearance operations as snow ploughs are unable to pass..
•Use official car parks and lay-bys for parking.
•Do not leave unattended vehicles on roadsides, verges or turning areas – even if the person in front of you decides to. Vehicles left in this manner can obstruct emergency services access.
•Do not obstruct gateways, farmers need access to fields in adverse weather to check on the welfare of animals. Animal’s lives could be put at risk by inappropriate parking.
•Do not enter private land for sledging without landowners permission.
•Enjoy yourselves, be safe and take ALL LITTER (including sledging materials) home with you.