CNCV: Tegg’s Nose

I was out for another of the (usually) fortnightly tasks with Crewe and Nantwich Conservation Volunteers. It was our first outing for a month and we went a little further than usual this time; to Tegg’s Nose County Park, working for Cheshire East Council Rangers. We were tasked by Ranger Martin to clear gorse in one of the fields. First we cleared a section to widen an approach to a gateway, where the cattle usually get a bit spooked by the narrowness of the path. We then cleared a patch encroaching on the field, giving more space for some of the rare species of plant that grow on the hillside meadows.

It started off as a lovely morning but after lunch we could see the cloud coming in across the Cheshire Plain and the rain started coming down just as we finished. It was that fine rain that gets you really soaked and as Tegg’s Nose is high up on the top of the hill, the rain turned into low cloud, dropping the visibility down quite significantly.

The County Park is a lovely place, just on the edge of the Peak District National Park and good starting point for a number of good walks into the hills and valleys. It has great view into the park but also across the flat Cheshire Plain, with Jodrell Bank standing out well above green pastureland.

Next time we’re out, it will be to Wybunbury Moss, and hopefully a first fire of the autumn – sausages at the ready!

A Nose for snow

I spent a few hours today at Tegg’s Nose Country Park taking advantage of the snow to try out my new camera…

With the mild winter we’ve had, I didn’t expect to get any snow photos and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  It was slightly strange driving from early spring at home into winter in the hills and I took other photos looking from the hills towards a green Cheshire Plain. However, the birds up there also seem to be in a spring-likee mood with plenty of singing in the woods and valleys.

There are rumours that the weather is to remain cold all the way into April so there might be more chances to take a shot worthy of my next Christmas card!

A tweet can lead to a good Nose for butterflies

Last night a friend posted on Facebook a photo of a caterpillar he had seen while working. I’m not great at identifying butterflies or moths, in fact I’m a complete novice, so I tweeted a copy of the photo and included Cheshire East Council Rangers (@CECRangers) in the tweet. Within a few minutes, Martin, the Ranger from Tegg’s Nose Country Park, replied and identified it as a Mullein Moth (no, I hadn’t heard of one of those before either!). Martin then asked whether I was attending the butterfly walk he was leading this morning. As I didn’t have anything else to do, I thought it was a great idea and booked a place via the Council’s (very efficient) on line system.

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As I drove to Tegg’s Nose this morning the weather didn’t look great and as I arrived at the country park, just above Macclesfield, the rain started to fall. However, I pressed on and joined a small, select band of hardy folk who, like me, didn’t really want to let a bit of wind and rain get in the way. Martin was joined by a local butterfly expert, who does weekly surveys of Tegg’s Nose, and the group of us set off to try to find some butterflies.

Slowly wandering around the country park in the rain and wind we didn’t expect to see many butterflies but spirits remained high, as did hopes that the rain wouldn’t last forever. Eventually, as the rain was blown away and the wind dropped, we started to see some movement over the grass. First we saw a few moths and eventually after over an hour of looking we found and caught (then released) a Meadow Brown and then found a Common Blue sheltering in the grass.

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While the number of butterflies wasn’t huge, we were given some very good hints and tips on finding them in better weather and I will probably return later in the summer to check the place again – taking my butterfly education further. However, we didn’t just look at the butterflies on the way around and we were given a good general guide of the different habitats at Tegg’s Nose. The meadows and fields on the way back to the visitor centre had carpets of flowers and I got some nice shots with my phone.

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Some people say that social media reduces face-to-face human interaction – for me, today at least, it has done the exact opposite – used well, it can make life richer and fuller.