We are pleased to present our new series of seasonal trails around the Friary. Please use them, either ‘virtually’ from home, or for real at the Friary. We hope you enjoy them. It is a new development for us, and if you have any feedback, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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We would like to thank Sam Woodhouse very much for all the hard and amazing work she has put in to create these trails and also the Hilfield Updates!!!
One of the most exciting upshots from our purchase of the new land is how it connects neighbours with similar conservation interests, like the missing piece of a jigsaw. This has stimulated us to get together and form the ‘High Stoy Conservation Cluster’. Here neighbours offer encouragement, advice and practical support to one another as well developing a landscape scale approach to conservation.
One of the partners has kindly donated some tit boxes which have been put up around the Friary and a neighbouring farm. A couple have already been used this year.
The Friary are currently building a series of nest boxes, one for each partner. So far we have made a barn owl box and a kestrel box which will be put up on our neighbours land to help wildlife and celebrate our new partnership.
Wildflower seed harvest
In the summer volunteers from the Friary were joined by those from the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Rangers from Dorset County Council who came with their special cutting machine and tractor to cut the seed-rich hay from the camping field and spread it into Tallawells Mead on the new land. These seeds should then germinate and it will be very exciting to see what comes up this spring in what was just a boring green desert of grass. It was amazing what we were able to achieve with many hands and the Councils machinery. It is hoped we can repeat this in future years sharing our seed resource with neighbours who want to create their own meadows.
Duke of Burgundy butterfly
The Duke of Burgundy Butterfly is one of the species the group are in a good position to try to help collectively. This rare butterfly actually has two small colonies at either end of the land managed by members of the cluster. We are looking at ways we can link them up by creating the right kind of habitat for caterpillars and adults. It is a great example of the importance and power of a landscape scale approach to conservation that is possible by working together.
A Rocha UK is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world. Visit their website: http://arocha.org.uk/
The Friary is the first community in the UK to be given an Eco Church Gold Award in recognition of the integrated ecology we are seeking to put into practice at Hilfield. This includes our prayer and worship, the growing and sourcing of our food, the energy we use (predominantly biomass and solar), the use of transport (electric car, bicycles and public transport), the care and conservation of habitat and species of wildlife, our concern for social justice and our education programme.
Church is an A Rocha UK project to encourage churches and other Christian groups to ‘go green’ and demonstrate that they care for God’s earth. We hope that our Gold Award will spur others on!
Interest in environmental issues is increasing rapidly amongst UK Christians, and in the last year we have seen a surge of enquiries and interest in what is being done by UK Christians to address these issues. This includes at least 15 organisations with interest in joining the Partners in Action (PIA) network. This is both encouraging and challenging.
A Rocha UK give Hilfield this message: Thank you so much for the work you do on the environment in your context, and for your witness on this issue to those who visit your place. You have been amazing pioneers on working with us for a better planet! As we continue to journey together on these issues, we are looking to better resource partners, to provide further training opportunities and to expand the partner network to have wider geographic coverage, and to inspire others by our example of Christians making a difference in the places we live and work.
With this in mind, we have made the Partners in Action network the focus of our autumn appeal. We hope that through this appeal, we may directly be able to benefit your organisation- with the hope of more resource support (capital and time). We would be very grateful if you could share the following link with your supporters, staff and board:
Please share this as widely as you are able, so that, together we can make a lasting contribution to restoring nature in the UK – and to witnessing to a loving Creator God across the UK through how we treat the land.