Tuesday 23 August 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Forests and Folkloristics

The Heart of England Forest is a charity that acquires land to try and achieve their vision of creating a 30,000 acre Forest which will be here for future generations.  At the moment the Forest covers a mosaic of habitats across 7,000 acres of land in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, including 4,450 acres of new woodland and 600 acres of mature and ancient woodland.

At just 23% of the way towards their 30,000 acre goal, they are already the largest new native broadleaf woodland in England. 

The Forest will benefit the environment, wildlife, and people for hundreds of years to come, so owning the land to give it permanence is vital. 

Last year they secured new land at Bearley, Perry Mill and Cleeve Prior, adding 240 acres to the Forest.

To continue to expand the Forest, the charity is assembling a three year land bank. 

Each site can take anywhere from one to over three years from acquiring the land to planting trees and shaping the Forest on the ground. 

More recently March 2020 they purchased 200 acres in Bearley 
(where I live and we walk it most weeks after discovering it in lockdown.), a site which offers great tree planting potential, but it also buffers some mature woodland, enhancing this habitat, too, and is only a mile from land they own and have planted at Newnham.

A further 20 acres was acquired at Perry Mill is adjacent to a disused railway line, so this is a strategic purchase for Forest connectivity and finally, 20 acres was purchased at Cleeve Prior, adjacent to a Cleeve Prior Heritage Trust site, which is excellent example of habitat creation and enhancement undertaken by local volunteers.

We know that many species within the Forest rely on linear features to migrate and to feed, from barn owls which can be seen hunting along mature hedgerows at dawn and dusk, to hedgehogs snuffling along hedge bottoms hunting for food whilst remaining out of sight from predators, so this sort of thing can only be encouraged. 

Talking of predators, with Sam catching a 2lb Perch the other day I fancied a lure session to try and see if there were some other decent perch around.

Even when the river is gin clear I still find a bright green lure can often provoke a reaction from a predator when many a lure angler would be reaching for a more natural colour. Chub especially I find like something that stands out more, almost wtf is that. 

Now Nic from Avon Angling Uk was bankside too and he would do what I was going to do later on in this short session. He was baitdropping some pellets in to a few swims (we had the banks to ourselves) to see if he could see any barbel feeding to try and stalk one out.

It was clear as the session went on the barbel and the bigger chub were suspicious in their absence in-fact so much so, Nic after a returning to the baited swims time after time, knew what the outcome would be, and cut his session short.

I managed a perch on 2nd cast but boy it was tough, even in the the weir banker swim cast after cast no hits whatsoever. Other swims the same result, the fish were just not having it.

I stayed in to dusk a swim where I spotted a decent Barbel when I was bankside with Sam but nothing doing whatsoever not even any chub pulls on the reliable Hot Fish Boilie. Oh well nice to catch up with Nic and some much needed fresh air after the dry air-conditioning I had to endure in the office !!!. 


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