Thanks to the generosity of the people of Stinchcombe and friends and acquaintances we smashed our target of £800. Instead we raised over £1000 towards the Historic Churches Trust in Gloucestershire.
Ride + Stride is the single largest source of income for many Historic Churches Trusts enabling them to make Grants to places of Christian worship. Taking place on the 2nd Saturday of September every year the funds raised are split between the Trust and St Cyrs.
If you would like to take part for all or just some of the time next year contact Andy Hamilton.
We have had local thefts in Stinchcombe and area of Catalytic Converters. It seems that the Honda Jazz is the favoured target.
A combination of factors including surging global demand for vehicles, and the slump in mining during the pandemic, has meant that the price of the precious metals contained within catalytic converters has risen exponentially. An ounce of rhodium costs more than a brand-new Honda Jazz. This hasn’t escaped the attention of criminals. With a single scrap catalytic converter currently worth around £400, organised gangs are targeting dozens of cars each day. Older Toyota and Honda models are particularly at risk of Converter theft.
If yours is stolen
Call the police 101
The cost of a Catalytic Converter Theft
What to do
To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:
Park your car in a locked garage where possible. Or park it in a well-lit and well-populated are.
Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb. This makes the theft more difficult
Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road. This may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.
For thefts occurring on driveways, consider the use of a Secured by Design (SBD) approved driveway alarm and sensor. This may assist in alerting you of a potential intruder entering your driveway or garden
If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
Alternatively, you can mark your catalytic converter. Please ensure any property marking is Secured by Design (SBD) approved
You can purchase a ‘cage clamp’. This is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota are offering a ‘Catloc’ for the Prius (3rd generation, 2009-2011 models) and Auris (2nd generation, 2012-2018 models). Please contact your Toyota dealership for more information
Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham approved alarm. A tilt sensor will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter
If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.
Because 97% of our wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s, roadside verges provide an important food source for insects, birds and bats. Buglife have reviewed the evidence on the importance of verges for pollinating insects and found that as well as a food source they provide shelter, nesting and hibernation sites.
Here in Stinchcombe
Have you noticed how rich in wildflowers Stinchcombe’s outlying roadside verges are? In mid-July we found about seventy species on Echo Lane, including orchids (see photo above). Seventy sounds a lot but, according to Plantlife over 700 species grow on British verges.
We’re also lucky to have a few miles of different types of verge; lowland grassy, wooded, urban and probably a bit of damp verge too.
Trouble in Paradise?
Verges are vulnerable to poor management, progressively losing their wildflower diversity and their value to wildlife. The main problem is cutting them too early before the summer-flowering plants have set seed. Failing to remove the clippings makes things worse because they release nutrients that are bad for most wildflowers. Early flowering plants e.g. garlic mustard (see below) and ones that tolerate fertile soil and don’t rely on setting seed to spread e.g. cow parsley do well but at the expense of other species.
It was Jess who first suggested that we should do more to look after our verges and the invertebrates that rely on them. Trudy and Kath have been doing some surveys to find out what wildflower species we currently have.
How to increase wildflower diversity
Sowing a generic seed mix for a quick explosion of colour that has mostly disappeared by the following year is definitely not a good idea! The Good Verge Guidestrongly recommends establishing an appropriate mix of perennial native flowers. Although this approach is slower and more effortful, once in place it helps a wide range of wildlife for years to come. It is also cheaper in the long run because the new plants should be self-sustaining.
What has been done so far
We have collected small amounts of seed locally, including yellow rattle, foxgloves, ox-eye daisies, field scabious, musk mallow, red campion and white campion. Trudy, the green-fingered one, is already nurturing lots of little plants. Photo of Trudy’s ox-eye daisy seedlings
Proposed next steps
We would like to do some limited planting in three areas. The aim is a gentle build on each years’ successes (or failures) culminating in self-seeding, self-sustaining verges.
Wick Lane in front of the churchyard wall – the objective this autumn is to sow patches of yellow rattle, with red poppies for additional colour. Yellow rattle is known as nature’s own lawnmower because it can reduce grass growth by up to 60%, making it easier for other wildflowers to grow.
Less grass and less frequent mowing is also good news for Russell Legg and his team. And don’t worry, we’ll work around the snowdrops and daffodils that already give such a lovely display each year. As the yellow rattle does its work we will introduce other wildflowers to increase the diversity and interest.
The Avenue – the introduction of foxgloves and ox-eye daisies (see below) between the trees this autumn, followed by a couple of other shade-tolerant plants next year.
Clingre end of Oldhill Lane – we plan to introduce white campion initially in this sunny area.
Let us know what you think
We have already discussed these ideas with the Parish Council, and with Rev Fiona in the case of the Wick Lane plot. It would be helpful to know what residents think via the comments facility or by contacting Kath or Trudy directly. Admittedly, there are valid concerns about wildflower areas looking untidy at times, overhanging pavements or obstructing drivers’ or pedestrians’ view of the road. We believe that these can be addressed to a large degree and are happy to discuss how this might be achieved.
Would you like to get involved?
There is plenty of scope to get involved e.g.
joining in with next year’s wildflower survey
donating small native wildflower plants grown using your own seed (no garden hybrids or foreign imports please, however pretty they look in the garden)
giving us the benefit of your expertise if you have a successful wildflower area
helping to collect and dispose of clippings after mowing
committing to mowing later and less frequently if you maintain a stretch of verge
British citizens will require an ETIAS to visit EU member countries in 2023
The EU now consider the UK as a ‘third-country’. At present we can travel to the EU without a travel authorization until the ETIAS is launched in 2023. The ETIAS requirement for British travellers was confirmed by the EU in 2019.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System. It was announced by the European Commission in 2016
How will I apply?
You can only apply online for ETIAS, as you would any other electronic travel authorization. Mail or postal applications are not accepted.
Do I need to apply for a separate ETIAS for each country I visit?
No, only one approved ETIAS is required per traveller to visit all ETIAS member countries. You do not need to apply for an ETIAS for each member country you visit. An approved ETIAS will cover all visits to ETIAS member countries, regardless the travellers point of E.U. entry or exit
How long is the ETIAS valid for?
The ETIAS will be valid for three years, or the date of passport expiry (whichever comes first), and can be used for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
No, we don’t mean crossing The Street at busy times, though that can be a game of chance. We’re talking about the Lucky Severn Lottery.
You can support Stinchcombe Speed Watch by buying a ticket from our lottery page. It’s easy to access using the QR code on the flyer.
Every penny we get will go towards improving road safety in Stinchcombe. The increase in Parish Precept (i.e. your council tax) will pay for the vehicle-activated sign. But we want to do more, starting with automated traffic counts to provide the comprehensive evidence we need and village gateways like those in Slimbridge.
We’ve been set a target of 50 tickets in the first 28 days. Please help us to meet it – just 18 more tickets before the end of August and we’re there!
Lower Woods is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England and is perfect for people who like to explore and to get deep into nature. It comprises 23 separate woods whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries and a stretch of the Little Avon river runs through the nature reserve.
At almost 300 hectares (700 acres), Lower Woods is the largest Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve and is jointly managed with Avon Wildlife Trust. It is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England. A visit to Lower Woods is to go back in time. It comprises 23 separate woods whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries, with some areas reflecting the landscape during the Medieval era, around 500 years ago.
Ash trees in Lower Woods have been affected by a fungal disease called Ash-dieback. There is a risk infected ash tree’s limbs will become brittle and break, falling onto walkways. GWT puts visitor safety first and we are taking pre-emptive action to avoid risks to visitors. Please take care when walking through the wood and please bear with us as we work to make the woods as safe as possible.
The photos show the cut tree trunks being loaded onto lorries for use as firewood. Also a huge pile of brash which will be chipped on site and used as biomass at a power station.
DNA Protected is supported by Gloucestershire Constabulary
We are seeing a rise in the thefts of not only ‘working’ dogs but also treasured pets which are then ransomed back to the owner or used for breeding purposes. There have also been instances where owners who have advertised the loss of a dog, have been asked for cash for the return of the animal but when money is paid, it transpired that the criminal was never in possession of the dog and it was just a scam to obtain the cash.
Better than Data Chips
We have all seen on TV that criminals have been caught as a result of their DNA being found at a crime scene. DNA like fingerprints are unique to an individual and the same applies to animals, in particular to your dog. Their DNA is unique to them and cannot be altered or removed like a data chip.
It is easy and straight forward to obtain the DNA from your dog, a simple mouth swab is used to collect the sample, which is sent to the laboratory where the swab is analysed to generate the DNA profile. The DNA profile is then added to the Forensic Dog DNA Database.
The problem has always been how to identify an animal positively when it is recovered into Police possession, DNA now give’s a reliable and positive result to that question, which can be used in court. This is a positive way of identifying your dog and getting it back to you should it be lost or worse happens and it gets stolen.
The video above is a short video showing how the sample is taken. The DNA swabbing kits are available from: