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Your January e-bulletin from A Forgotten Landscape
Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2016.  Now, would you like a New Year’s Resolution you’ll enjoy keeping?  Read on to find out more about our amazing volunteer opportunities and workshops.
We have had a lovely break and are now getting back at it.  This spring is shaping up to be really busy and really exciting.  We are welcoming more and more volunteers to help with our hands-on projects, our talks are getting a lot of interest, and we are trying hard not to turn people away from our free training sessions!
This month's bulletin will fill you in on all the latest -
* Our upcoming FREE workshops and trainings
* Our amazing volunteer opportunities
* Our fascinating talks series
* The latest news.

 Happy reading!
Upcoming free workshops!
Register for our free workshops at or by calling 01454 863 043.
For further information please go to or contact us at or on 01454 863 043

Uncover the past! History research taster ession

Wednesday 27 January 2016
Lawrence Weston Community Farm
Interested in exploring the past?  Always wanted to know more about your family’s history, old buildings, or your area’s history? Our historian, Virginia Bainbridge, will show you how to discover the past hidden in archives, photo records, and other historical sources. This is a taster session for everyone but in particular for people interested in joining our Tales of the Vale project (see below).  Register at Places are limited. 

Coming Home to Roost: Bird ID and monitoring workshop
Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January 2016

Piling Wetlands Nature Reserve
Come learn how to identify the beautiful birds that flock along the Severn at this time of year. Ed Drewitt, naturalist, broadcaster and wildlife detective, will lead you through two days of shore bird identification and how to monitor high tide roosts.  Preference given to people joining our Coming Home to Roost high tide roost mapping project (see below) that we are running with the RSPB and Natural England.  Register at You MUST be available for both days.  Places are limited. 

Make your own history!  Oral history taster session
Monday 1 Feb 2016
Lawrence Weston Community Farm

Do you want to literally make history? Do you like listening to people and hearing their stories of the past?  Julia Letts, Oral Historian, will how you how to interview people and record oral histories. This taster session is for everyone but in particular for people interested in joining our Tales of the Vale project (see below).  Register at  Places are limited.

Exploring orchards
Saturday 12 March 2016
Methodist Chapel, Oldbury on Severn
Interested in orchards or wildlife?  Like being outdoors? Orchards, once common, are a haven for wildlife, but have disappeared alarmingly since the 1950s.  Jerry Dicker, aboriculturist and woodland management expert (and man who just likes apples), will show you all you need to know to conduct our simple orchard health survey, learn more about these amazing habitats, and help us plan to improve their conservation where we can.   Preference given to people interested in joining our Traditional Orchard project (see below). Register at Places are limited. 
Wildlife Walk.  Photo: Cheryl Martin
Volunteers opportunities!

Our amazing volunteer opportunities come with free and full training as standard.  Try something new, follow an interest, help preserve, conserve, explore and restore your landscape!
If you see something below that interests you, more information including volunteer role descriptions and application forms are at Or contact Katie on 01454 863 043 or at 

Some opportunities are only open for a short while, so please make sure you get in touch by the deadline if one is given.
Non-invasive archaeological surveying 
Always been interested in archaeology?  Get involved by learning how to do topographical surveys!  Hands-on and practical, you’ll immediately get a chance to practice what you learn as part of our investigation of the Toot in Oldbury-on-Severn. Training days are Sat 23 January and Sat 30 January.  You MUST be available for both dates.  Deadline for applications is 11 Jan – spaces are VERY limited!

Coming Home to Roost - our High Tide Roost mapping project.
The Severn Estuary is an internationally recognised area of importance for wildlife, with a series of international nature conservation designations.  Its mudflats and saltmarsh, augmented by freshwater pills, provide rich invertebrate feeding and roost sites to support a vast assemblage of over-wintering wildfowl and waders.  These include internationally important numbers of Bewick’s swan, European white-fronted goose, gadwall, shelduck, redshank and dunlin, joined by an assemblage of other significant species.  To help understand the impacts of climate change and how bird populations respond, we need to be able to monitor the distribution, numbers, and movement of birds along the coastline.

With our partners the RSPB and Natural England, we are looking for up to 10 volunteers to do this surveying along the Severn Estuary. If you have a spare couple of hours once a month and like being out and about alongside the River Severn then we would love to hear from you. Full training will be given on Sat 30 and Sun 31 January. The training will enable you to identify the species that you are most likely to see and complete the monitoring form. More information and application forms are here.  Register for the training days at  Please note that you MUST attend both trainings days.

Tales of the Vale - A project in two parts
A Forgotten Landscape’s history, both distant and recent, is rich and varied.  We know that it is treasured and loved by local people.  The purpose of Tales of the Vale is to help more people enjoy finding out about the past and to share what they learn with others.  The two strands of this project – one exploring the past with Historian Virginia Bainbridge, one collecting living memories with Oral Historian Julia Letts – will come together in a new publication and a travelling exhibition in 2018.  As a volunteer in this project, you will have the chance learn from and be mentored by Virginia and Julia in a hands-on programme of doing research, collecting, and sharing the histories you find.  No experience necessary!  You’ll have help every step of the way. 
Discover the past!  Tales of the Vale 1 – History research volunteers
Interested in the past?  Always wanted to know more about your family’s history, old buildings, or your area’s history? Our historian, Virginia Bainbridge, will show you how to discover the past hidden in archives, photo records, and other historical sources.  Volunteers are invited to work with us and learn how to research A Forgotten Landscape's rich history and, as a team together with the Oral History volunteers, turn your findings into a ‘Tales of the Vale’ publication and travelling exhibition. We are having our first free training day on Wednesday 27 January - keep the date!  Deadline for application: Friday 15 January.

Make history!  Tales of the Vale 2 – Oral history volunteers

Do you want to literally make history? Do you like listening to people and hearing their stories of the past? Sister project to the one above, Julia Letts, our Oral Historian, will show you all the skills you need to produce oral history interviews of your own. You don’t need any particular experience to become one of our volunteers.  We’ll provide training, support, guidance and equipment and if you need it, we’ll hold your hand every step of the way! With the history research volunteers, you'll have a chance to turn your findings into a ‘Tales of the Vale’ publication and travelling exhibition, as well as uploading the finished stories you collect onto our website.  Training begins on 1 Feb 2016Deadline for application: Friday 15 January.

Fruit of the Vale: Traditional orchards their wildlife

Interested in orchards or wildlife?  Like being outdoors? Orchards, once a common sight in our area, and a haven for wildlife, have disappeared alarmingly since the 1950s – we’ve lost about 90%!  We’d like to find out about the health of the remaining orchards in A Forgotten Landscape through a simple survey, and we need your help to do it.  Your work will contribute to the People's Trust for Endangered Species' nationwide orchard surveying project and help save traditional orchards and the thousands of animals they support. The information collected will be shared with the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre and the People's Trust for Endangered Species.  More information and application forms are here.  Our training day will be led by Jerry Dicker, aboriculturist and woodland management expert (and man who just likes apples).  He will show you all you need to know to conduct our orchard survey, learn more about these amazing habitats, and help us plan to improve their conservation where we can. You can register for the training hereDeadline for applications: Friday 19 February. 

This beautiful landscape.  Yours to explore, restore, conserve and enjoy.
Tuesday Talks
Our fascinating talks series starts in February 2016! 
We’ll be presenting a speaker or speakers the first Tuesday of every month from February to April.
When: 7:30 pm for about an hour
Where: The White Hart, Littleton-on-Severn

Register for the event via Eventbrite ( and get a complimentary cup of tea, coffee or soft drink when you arrive!
Talk 1: Tuesday 2 Feb
Amazing Migrations
Ed Drewitt, naturalist, broadcaster, and wildlife detective will give an illustrated talk looking at the amazing bird migration along the river Severn. Every winter thousands of birds arrive on the Severn Estuary.  Discover the amazing facts behind where have they come from and where they go to when Spring arrives. Come and find out more at what promises to be an entertaining evening. Book your free place at
Talk 2: Tuesday 1 March
The Uncertain Severn
Join us for an intriguing evening exploring the changeable Severn, the impact it’s had on the landscape in the past and what we might expect in the future.  John Morgan, Researcher at the University of Exeter, will talk about historical flooding in South Gloucestershire and how people dealt with flooding in the past while Pru Foster, Research Fellow from the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute will get us all imagining what might happen along the Severn in the future.  What will happen as the climate changes?  Come along and share your stories of the Severn past and present. This evening promises to be interactive, thoughtful, and lively! Book your free place
Talk 3: Tuesday 5 March
Orchards, apples, and the Noble Chafer beetle
Traditional orchards, once common along the Severn, are wildlife havens as well as having historical and cultural importance.  Alarmingly we have lost 90% of this precious habitat since the 1950s.  Adam Bates (Nottingham and Trent University) has been studying orchards and in particular searching for one small green beetle – the Noble Chafer.  Rare at the best of times, mysteriously only found so far in orchards north of the Severn (Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire) but never on the south side.  Find out what makes these special places and this beetle so fascinating!  Book your free place at
A common sandpiper
Ed Drewitt to run Coming Home to Roost Training
We are very pleased to announce that Ed Drewitt will be leading our Coming Home to Roost training days.  Ed is a naturalist, author, broadcaster, tour leader, birder, photographer, public speaker, bird ringer, zoologist, feather expert and Peregrine researcher.   He has an obvious passion for nature and enjoys communicating enthusiastically to a wide range of audiences.

Ed (second left) with the Kings Weston Action Group. 
Photo: David Martyn

Since studying zoology at the University of Bristol, he studied the diet of urban Peregrines and has been colour ringing their young. He works on a huge range of activities from taking schools fossil hunting to showing people wildlife from boats for many different organisations, from the British Trust for Ornithology to the National Trust.  In the spring he specialises in teaching birdsong.  And he works closely with the BBC as a consultant, contributor and presenter. 

AND not only will Ed be training our wonderful volunteers, he’ll also be giving a riveting talk on bird migration on the Severn – the first talk of our series (see above).   For more about Ed, visit
Meet our artist in residence, Deborah Aguirre-Jones

Some of you may already have met Deborah.  We’re delighted that she’s working with us!  She’s going to craft all the visual bits of our work – like the interpretive panels, benches, and toposcopes we’d like to install – and create some permanent works for the Severn Beach area by the end of our project.  She’s also running long- and short-term projects with groups (maybe yours?), starting conversations, and exploring connections in A Forgotten Landscape.
“I want to explore the existing themes, materials, and images of the area while looking to the future.  I really like making links between local places and those further afield” she says.
She'll bring her background in working with sculpture, landscape art, and making art collaboratively with communities to bear in her work to understand how people feel about and respond to A Forgotten Landscape.
If you’ve not met here yet, she’d be happy to talk to you!  You can reach her at  If you’d like to learn more about her and her art, take a look at

Connect with the team!

You can contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or our website using  the links below. Please like or follow us for updates from around the project area. If you have something you'd like to share with the team - an old photo perhaps or an anecdote, a great picture of the area or a contact you think we should make, tag your tweet or instagram photo with #aforgottenlandscape.

You can email us at or call us on 01454 863 043.

Speaking of great pictures of the area - we have posted a few of our favourite landscape shots captured for the project by James Flynn of Falcon's View Photography to our website. Why not drop by and take a look?

Best wishes,

Rebecca, Miriam and Katie
The AFL Project Team


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