Report on the core area from to Oct 16th 2006 to Jan 15th 2007

Report on the core area from to Oct 16th 2006 to Jan 15th 2007



1 Staffing

The Braunton Burrows Education Warden contract has been revised with combined funding from Natural England and MoD. 


2 Management

i) Grazing

The Flats, to the east of the American Road, were been grazed by 64 cattle until the end of October.

ii) Scrub Clearance

Major scrub clearance covering c30ha has taken place within the grazing trial plot. Minor clearance has taken place on two islands in D Lane Pond and in Adder Slack where the scrub is encroaching on a site for water germander.


3 Flora & Fauna 

As a result of the prevailing mild conditions a pair of common darter dragonflies were observed laying eggs on Nov 18th and the first crested newts were recorded in I Lane pond on Jan 14th. 


Four dead and one live guillemot were washed up on the beach in the beginning of Jan – the live one was quite weak and taken to Diana Lewis.


4 Research & Monitoring

Despite the winter rain the water table readings remained lower than usual with 6 of the 18 dip wells still dry at c1.5M deep on Jan 2nd. Rainfall for Dec was 114.5mm. 


Regular rabbit counts have continued with no significant change in the MoD training area but a slight increase in the grazing trial area. Volunteers enjoy assisting with these counts.


5 Undesirable Activities

Dogs The pollution from dog excrement is still an ongoing problem with concentrations of filled poo bags dumped on the junction where the bridlepath runs northwards from Dog Lane. This revolting pile was cleared up by a local man who wrote to the N Devon Journal. A sign has since appeared at this junction stating:- 



" THIS IS NOT A POO PICK UP POINT. 

OTHER DOG WALKERS ARE CLEANING UP YOUR MESS.

THERE IS A POO BIN IN THE CAR PARK BY THE HUT, FROM APRIL UNTIL OCTOBER EACH YEAR. AT ALL OTHER TIMES YOU WILL NEED TO TAKE YOUR MESS AWAY WITH YOU AND DISPOSE OF IT RESPONSIBLY.

FAILURE TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN ALL OF US LOSING THE PRIVILEGE OF WALKING OUR DOGS ON THESE LOVELY BURROWS. 

PLEASE DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN. THANK YOU." 


However, this sign has been disregarded by uncaring dog owners as the piles have accumulated again but have been periodically removed. Bags of poo have also been dumped along Dog Lane and the perimeter of Sandy Lane car park.


Civilian scramblers have been regularly trespassing throughout the dune system with increasing numbers of unregistered machines present at weekends. Several complaints have been received and one person found their presence particularly intimidating at 0820 on Christmas day! On Sunday 14th Jan at least 7 bikes were wildly riding throughout the dunes. Many people curtailed their visits fearing for the safety of their families & several complained to both my wife and myself. There was a report of a dog being injured by a bike and one lady stated that she will not come on the guided walks if the bikes remained uncontrolled. I have urged people to inform the police and the landowner. The owner of the injured dog has since contacted me saying he reported the incident to the police who attended the scene.


6 Publicity

Display boards about the flora, fauna and management of Braunton Burrows were erected in the foyer of Barnstaple library from 28th Oct to Nov 12th. Good feedback was received as the boards had generated a lot of interest, people were still looking at them & asking questions as they were being removed.


A report on the successful beach clean of September 24th was published in the “EX33” magazine which is distributed to every household in Braunton and the surrounding area.


A public information meeting concerning various issues on the Burrows was held in Braunton Parish Hall on Thursday Nov 16th. It was widely advertised and well attended with c70 people.


A talk was given to accommodation providers at the DWT 'wildlife & green tourism' workshop at Croyde.


7 Future Events

The 2007 summer events programme has been drafted. It includes c20 guided walks of different lengths and covering a variety of themes such as orchids, moths & bats, WW11 history and looking at the benefits of the management. Other activities include family events with pond dipping for children, rare plant surveys and a series of practical conservation tasks – 4 beach cleans, buckthorn digging etc.


We have qualified as guides for the 'walk and talk' initiative and will be leading 6 of these 'health' walks on the Burrows and others in the wider biosphere area.


A series of 14 talks is again being planned to take place at Braunton Countryside Centre this summer/early autumn. 


8 Educational Groups

Four groups of 'A' level students from Ilfracombe College and Richard Huish, Taunton were given talks on the management and succession of the dunes and were then assisted with their fieldwork.


Illustrated talks have been given to the Dolton group of the DWT and Marwood Womens Fellowship. 


J M Breeds, 

Braunton Burrows Education Warden 

15.1.07