Save our skylarks plea to walkers
Walkers on Stinchcombe Hill can play their part in a campaign to save skylarks and other birds, which are coming under increasing pressure from those seeking out green spaces as an escape during the Covid-19 restrictions.
The threat to skylarks
Conservationists report that the hill is suffering from the unprecedented number of people using it for recreation. Ecologist Dr James Robinson, who lives locally, said: “One of the main problems is that dogs are being allowed off the lead and chase the ground-nesting birds like skylarks. Spring is the time when the larks are forming territories and building nests, a time when they are most vulnerable to disturbance.”
Keeping Stinchcombe Hill special
The Hill was bought in 1929 by Sir Stanley Tubbs and placed in trust in 1930. Over 200 acres are registered with the Charity Commissioners and administered by the Stinchcombe Hill Trust. The Trust works with local councils to promote public access, and with the Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club.
The wooded slopes and the grassland are environmentally sensitive, with some areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Dogs must be kept on a lead in these areas from the end of March to mid-July.
Stinchcombe Hill Trustee Christina Carter said: “It’s really important to maintain the hill as a full access green space for all the people of the area. The irony is that many of the things that make it so attractive to people are currently under threat because of the massive increase in numbers over the past few months, during the pandemic.
“We are considering what measures we can take, including whether we can put up notices reminding people to stick to the designated paths, and to keep their dog on a lead, giving the breeding birds a chance to get on with their lives relatively undisturbed.”
‘The Skylark Path’
Another Stinchcombe Hill Trustee, John Hammill, has christened the path running roughly south west from the road leading to Stinchcombe Hill House as ‘The Skylark Path’ (see map). John plans to erect temporary laminated signs at each end to encourage people to stick to the path and not let their dog run free in this prime nesting area.
A final plea
If we fail to act now, the joy of hearing lark song on Stinchcombe Hill may soon be a thing of the past. Please don’t let that happen.