Local Nature Organisations

If the group name is underlined, please click on it to explore their website.

Bumblebees on the Mynd

The small population of the Bilberry Bumblebee (Bombus monticola) in the Shropshire Hills is the most significant southern population in England. We encourage local people to monitor and record their sightings and take responsibility to manage and improve the habitat for B.monticola – particularly in providing alternate late flowering nectar sources such as bramble, clover and hogweed. This will give this species the best chance to adapt to the warming climate and provide ‘stepping stones’ for movement.

Contact: Charlie Bell, Stepping Stones

Butterfly conservation with ‘Our Upland Commons’

The Grayling butterfly (Hipparchia semele) is one of our rarest and most threatened species At a national level the Grayling was moved from Vulnerable to Endangered on the butterfly ‘Red List’ in 2022. It’s not easy to spot as it is well camouflaged and rarely opens its wings. Though usually found in coastal areas, we are fortunate to have a small local population. It likes sunny outcrops and can be spotted on the Long Mynd from July onwards. Records from SACWG and Butterfly Conservation members are really important in monitoring this endangered species. It is one of the key species along with Dark Green Fritillary, Green Hairstreak and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary within ‘Our Common Cause’ butterfly and moth project run by Jenny Joy and Mike Williams from West Midlands Butterfly Conservation, managed by the Foundation for Common Land.

Church Stretton Tree Group

Established in 2008 to champion the magnificent trees in Church Stretton and the importance of tree cover to the essential character of the town and surrounding area.

Talks, outdoor events and walks are arranged. Trees and hedgerows are planted in the town.

Coppice Leasowes Interest Group

Coppice Leasowes reserve includes a wonderful and varied mosaic of habitats covering an area of 4.8 hectares. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1998.

The reserve is separated into two by the A49. The eastern side includes species-rich grassland and semi-natural woodland underlain, unusually for this area, by Wenlock Limestone. The western side of the nature reserve is much wetter with streams, wetlands and ridge and furrow pasture. Scrapes and ponds have been created to slow the flow of the Ashbrook waters flowing north to join the Cound and Severn. Water loving plants such as Yellow Flag and Crowfoot flourish. It is managed by the Town
Council with the support of volunteers for the benefit of wildlife and residents.

Contact: Janet Martin

Cudwell Meadow

Cudwell meadow is a three-acre wetland wildflower meadow bought by public donations through Middle Marches Land Trust. The meadow has a management plan in liaison with a local farmer. Monthly volunteer sessions (first Thursday of each month at 1.30pm) maintain it in good condition. Over 150 flora species, 78 invertebrates and 11 mammal species (3 of them on the BAP priority list) have so far been recorded in the meadow.

Email: strettonwetlands@gmail.com

High Leasowes

High Leasowes is a sixteen acre (6.5 hectare) organic grassland site to the east of Church Stretton bought by public donations in 2023 through Middle Marches Community Land Trust and managed by The High Leasowes Trust, registered charity no. 1207101. The site, which adjoins Coppice Leasowes Nature Reserve, comprises three fields divided by ancient hedgerows rich in life. A Baseline Ecological Evaluation carried out by ecologist Caroline Uff identified over 100 species of ground flora, 33 species of birds and over 100 species of invertebrates including the bilberry bumble bee, cinnabar moth and black and yellow longhorn.

Volunteer work parties carry out important work such as hedgerow restoration, bracken bashing and meadow management. For more information or to sign up for our newsletter please email highleasowes@gmail.com

Living Sanctuaries

The Anglican churches of St Laurence, St Michael and All Saints, are managing their churchyards as islands of biodiversity. Typically churchyards have not been cultivated, reseeded or had fertilisers and agrochemicals applied for centuries. Veteran trees, often oaks or yews, may be found covered in ivy as a habitat for nesting birds. Churchyards may contain the only surviving area of flower-rich grassland in a parish; reservoirs from which wildlife can spread to the surrounding area. The national charity Caring for God’s Acre based locally in Craven Arms is an inspiring support in our task.

Contact: Mike Carter

Long Mynd Breeding Bird Project

A dozen volunteers have been mapping the distribution of 25 upland bird species since 2017, most importantly Whinchat, Snipe, Curlew, Tree Pipit, Stonechat, Wheatear and Reed Bunting. They are repeating surveys from 1994-98 and 2006-09, to establish population trends and habitat preferences. Whinchat in particular has declined considerably over this period. The National Trust has employed a team of nest-finders in 2021 and 2022, to monitor breeding success, identify the preferred habitats used for nest sites and colour-ring nestlings. In 2022 72 Whinchat nests were found and 277 chicks in 54 nests were ringed. The results inform the National Trust’s management of bracken.

For the period 2021-23, this project is part of the Our Upland Commons Project, made possible thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The National Trust has financed it in previous years.

Contact: Leo Smith

Longmynd Commoners’ Association

Much is written about the Longmynd. This can create a sense of the familiar, together with the thousands of hours Strettonians spend walking its paths, studying its geology, excavating its past, and counting its nature – butterflies, grouse, whinchats. Far less is known about its farmed heritage, its commoners, and their grazing livestock that have fashioned this familiar landscape over a thousand years.  Important new work between the National Trust and the Longmynd Commoners’ Association will address knowledge gaps, produce new and better interpretation and tackle dense stands of bracken and gorse for improved nature and livestock outcomes.

Rectory Wood & Field Interest Group

Rectory Wood and Field are part woodland and part meadow, rising to meet the Long Mynd to the west. They once formed part of the grounds of the Rectory, designed around 1770 as a woodland landscape garden, partially preserved in stream, pool, winding paths, views and plantations. The town council took over their management in 2017, preserving them for the long term benefit of the Strettons.

The 10 hectare site was formally declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2022 due to the value of the site for wildlife. It also provides important recreational open space. They are maintained by the Town Council with the support of an enthusiastic group of volunteers.

Contact: Janet Martin

The Little Stretton Wildflower Verges Group, established in 2019, set up a selected programme of strimming allowing plants to flower and seed. They also planted plugs of wildflowers. Verges have been transformed from hogweed and rank vegetation to wildflowers native to Shropshire, including yellow rattle, white musk mallow, ragged robin, oxeye daisy, yarrow and field scabious.

The All Stretton Wildflower Verges Group started work a couple of years ago. They are working with the Village Society and local residents primarily on the main Shrewsbury Road verge, successfully planting yellow rattle and other native stock.

contact: Meg Stratford

Shropshire Ornithological Society
Church Stretton

The only local branch of The Shropshire Ornithological Society is located in Church Stretton.  Our main activity is a series of talks on bird-related subjects given during the winter months. All members of the SOS and non-members are welcome to take part in branch activities.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust Strettons Branch

Aims to increase awareness of the natural world and our part in it through a range of illustrated winter talks and summer outdoor events covering various aspects of wildlife.

We hope they will inspire people to be involved in caring for our countryside and its wildlife.

Contact: Strettons@ShropshireWildlifeTrust.org.uk

South Shropshire Local Group RSPB

RSPB local groups are a perfect way to meet people with similar interests in natural history in a relaxed setting. We offer a varied programme of indoor meetings where talks are not only about birds but also other wildlife orientated subjects from around the world. These are held in Diddlebury Village Hall, Mill Lane, Diddlebury SY7 9DH and run from September to April.  Outdoor meetings run all year round roughly once a month where experienced bird-watchers are happy to assist those just starting out on their bird-watching journey.

Please note the following fees enable the group to fund events which are otherwise not provided through RSPB membership
Annual group membership – £10
Indoor meetings – Members £2, Guests £5
Outdoor walks – £2

Group contact: carolwood772@outlook.com

Stepping Stones Project

Stepping Stones is a landscape-scale nature conservation project in the Shropshire Hills. Our 50-year vision is for natural habitats in the Shropshire Hills to be restored, healthy and connected, and for the people who live, work and play in this remarkable area to understand and support our efforts. The
project area covers over 200km² within the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Our aim is to connect wildlife habitats by strengthening or creating ‘stepping stones’ and corridors of habitat between and around the two core sites of Long Mynd and the Stiperstones. We work with farmers, the local community and volunteers and manage ‘stepping stones’ owned by the National Trust and our partner organisations.

Contact: Charlie Bell, Stepping Stones

The Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group

The Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group (SACWG) brings together local people to encourage and enhance interest in wildlife, to survey priority wildlife and habitats and to actively promote nature conservation. Our work is coordinated by specific project leaders focusing on surveying a wide variety of fauna and flora within the local area. The results are used locally to help in the conservation of target species.

Our website has full details of all the different projects we support. Our annual meeting ( 28 February 2024 at All Stretton Village Hall.  Doors open at 7.15pm, meeting starts at 7.30pm.) is always an excellent way of gaining up-to-date information and engaging with our various activities.

Email Isabel Carter (Chair) or Julie Cowley (Secretary)