Thursday, 7 April 2016

Success or Failure ?

I came across an article relating to the initial purchase of Jeskyns Farm and the subsequent conversion to a green country space fit for public use.
This was back in 2005/06  when the farm and land was sold after the death of the owner.

John Prescott the then deputy  prime minister made available to the Forestry commission monies from the ODPM sustainable communities fund to buy the land and turn it into a community woodland.

Initially there was a bit of an outcry on the Forestry commission's actions in converting this farmland to a community woodland or country park.

They made the mistake which they fully admitted and apologised for, of ploughing up the land during the ground nesting birds season, many Skylarks, Corn Bunting nests were destroyed, there was a fear that other red listed birds like the Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit would be driven away.

Apparently they then went on to spray the land with a super strength pesticide, driving away other forms of wildlife.

A quote from a local ornithologist who was devastated when he visited the site, stating that "What the Forestry Commission has done to the land is appalling," he said. "They are supposed to be conservation experts, but instead have killed endangered birds by destroying the land during the crucial nesting season."

So here we are in 2016 about ten years later after the country park was set up. I must admit I prefer the Ashenbank woodland and the so called Ashenbank meadows and glades end of the park, but some of this land would probably not have public access if it was still farmland,  it's a huge expanse with nice views and space to walk and wander, so a positive there.

As for the birds, some of the land is still set aside for pasture and used by the 'Young Farmers club' to graze a few cattle. Skylark, Yellowhammer, and Meadow pipits are seen regularly, I am yet to see a Corn Bunting but I am sure they are there, and plenty of other bird species can be seen around the country park. So not as bad as people predicted.

A close encounter with a Skylark singing and displaying on its territorial mound was an obvious good sign.


Meadow Pipit
All the species they were originally worried about seem to be  around the country park, possibly not in the same numbers, hopefully they will continue to breed and prosper.

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