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Our British climate is, if possible, getting more changeable – and with Global Warming it will continue to become more and more extreme.  The effects on wildlife are a good indicator of how our climate is warming.  Over my lifetime wild flowers have been blooming earlier and earlier. But in the present winter the effects are even more extreme than anyone could have predicted. The Botanical Society of Great Britain, who do a regular New Year’s day survey of wild flowers found in bloom, usually count less than thirty flowering in the whole of GB- but this year they recorded 600!

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Picture – looking down on winter floods from high ground

Most of us can be pretty smug, not much of our village floods, but my heart bleeds for those poor people up north that have been flooded time after time. In Somerset it is a bit different.  The levels are supposed to flood!  If we are going to have more exceptional weather events as Global Warming accelerates it will happen again and again. Dredging to upper Parrett is only a partial solution – and will probably mean the water will rush off even faster and flood Bridgewater!

David Scarth, Churchwarden for St Mary Magdalene Church has compiled this article about the church as part of his work documenting the Church's significance, for the Diocesan records.  The photos are courtesy Nicky Amos. 

 

Wookey Hole, St Mary Magdalene

Section 1: Brief history and description of the church building, contents, churchyard and setting.

St Mary Magdalene, Wookey Hole is a small Victorian Church built in 1874.  It is built in what is probably an old quarry, occupying a visible, raised position in the centre of the village, next to the village pub and opposite the car park to Wookey Hole caves, a major Somerset tourist attraction. 

It is in the Victorian Gothic Early English style, constructed of local ‘Pudding Stone’, Dolomitic Conglomerate with Doulting freestone dressings.  The Church was listed Grade 2 in 2004. 

 

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I hear there is a mink in the valley- they are devils and will kill anything they get near. They are not  native and have no natural predators, apart from man. Some misguided animal liberators released them from mink farms and had a lot of adverse publicity a few years ago – but  American mink were already well established in most of the UK long before that, as escapes or deliberate releases from uneconomic mink farms. (it is not commonly known that there were at least 30 farms in UK where mink were bred for the fur trade in disgusting  conditions - till wearing of fur became unfashionable.  

I have the skull of one in my collection that came up the Axe a few years ago – only to meet it’s end by attempting to climb a drain pipe after swallows nests – but slid back down and drowned in the rain barrel !

All the conservation bodies in Somerset now have a policy of trapping the little brutes.

 

image.png  Picture – mink killing kingfisher from Halcyon River.BBC 

 

So, apart from Mink, here is a wish for peace to all the Almighty's  creatures and for the world in 2016

Happy Solstice/Christmas

Les C

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Woodcock and Snipe

 

There was a  Woodcock in the Valley yesterday. They have incredible camouflaged, and on a woodland path they will sit tight till you almost tread on them. Woodcock used to breed up at the Priddy Mineries but it is many year since I last heard, usually in spring at dusk, the males grunting flight. I often see them in local Wookey Hole woods – but not normally till the cold of midwinter drives them down from the higher Mendip Woods this one is very early. 

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