July 2014

Pollinators & Verges

2nd Wild flower identification walk
Greenhead, Monday July 21st, 7pm

We'll walk along the 'dead end' bit of the Military road west of Greehead, with Lesley Silvera to help with flower identification. This verge hasn't been managed for years, probably since the A69 bypassed the village and woody scrub species are invading in places. Meet in the Tea Room Car Park, opposite the Greenhead Hotel - where we'll adjourn to discuss the project after our walk. All welcome.

STS's pollinators and verges project aims to raise awareness of the importance of insect pollinators, the challenges they face and the vital role that sympathetically managed verges could play by providing a long-season nectar resource and linking scattered habitats. We have contacted South Tynedale parish councils, Northumberland County Council and RoadLink, who manage the A69, seeking information on policies for managing verges - the 'soft estate'. Most of these organisations are supportive of our aims but defend their current practices for a variety of reasons: the cutting contracts are all in place and would need renegotiating; no, or poor and out-dated, information about the floral composition of the verges; residents want the place to look tidy; driver and pedestrian safety. Of course we do not wish to compromise road safety but would chose a biodiverse, full-of-life, verge over a tidy one every time.

In late June a dozen of us walked along a road in Thorngrafton with botanist Lizzie Madison identifying flowering plants and grasses. The verge had already been cut, but only to about three feet from the road edge and silaging in adjacent fields was in full swing - what we thought would be a quiet country ramble definitely wasn't! The earliness of the grass growth, and the dry June, this year has been a boon for farmers and a stark reminder of the imperative to manage the public grasslands sustainably, allowing flowers to set seed and survive. Beyond the three-foot cut strip we identified over 40 flowering plants in a half mile stretch.

STS volunteers will be monitoring the management of verges near their homes throughout the summer. If you would like to join this project - no botanical knowledge required - please get in touch. We're also keen to hear from anyone, either with botanical skills or able to attend a training walk or two, interested in surveying local verges.

STS members have contributed bee-friendly plants to a new garden at Haltwhistle Middle School. June Abbot took the plants and some compost to the school and, as a temporary measure, planted them in raised beds recently renovated by pupils. Later in the year the plants will be transferred to the new bee-friendly garden that the students are creating next to their newly dug pond. More bee-friendly flower seeds will be sown in the autumn. We hope to continue to support the students’ initiative by maintaining the garden through the school summer holidays. If you have plants you could donate or an hour or two to spare contact June: abbottjnc@yahoo.co.uk

STS Diary dates
Sunday August 3rd Gilsland Show - including STS sponsored veg classes
Sunday October 19th - Pop-up Green Cinema returns to Haltwhistle. A day of free screenings of sustainability-themed films, including premieres of two, Halti-made, specially commissioned shorts.
Plus great local food!

Fibre Fridays of Gilsland

Fibre Fridays are demonstrating their skills with the Sheep to Shawl challenge at Wool on the Wall. The group meets on the second Friday of the month, 1-5pm, downstairs at Gilsland Village Hall. Anyone practicing, or wishing to learn, any fibre-related craft is welcome, for the afternoon or just an hour, whatever suits.
Fibre Fridays have two special one-day workshops scheduled upstairs in Gilsland Village Hall on Thu 7th August and Fri 8th August. Deb Robson, author of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook and The Field Guide to Fleece, will be helping us explore how to approach and use a number of different types of fleeces, some local and others not; some rare breed and others more commercial. This workshop has proved to be so popular we are running it twice! It costs £60 per delegate, not including lunch; anyone interested should contact Sally Antill to enquire about booking a place.
sallyantill333@btinternet.com, tel: 016977 47260.

Hadrian's Wall Farmers' Market

This friendly village market is held in Greenhead Village Hall on the second Sunday of every month from 10am to 2pm. The market stalls sell: organic and local meats; cheese and other dairy products; home baked breads, cakes, biscuits & pies; jams, chutneys & cordials, honey and honey mustards. All this plus local crafts - photographs, jewellery, knitwear, ceramics and replica Roman lamps… and local 'What's on' information.

Hats off to:
Sue and Dave, of the Greenhead Hotel. We'd like to say a great big THANK YOU for generously giving us free use of the Hotel's function room for Wool on the Wall and the Green Christmas Craft Fair. Sue and Dave are moving on later in the year we'd like to send our best wishes for their new venture (we simply can't believe they're going to retire!) and, very cheekily ask one last favour - to put in a good word for us, with the new tenant of the Greenhead Hotel! We'd love to stage another Green Christmas Fair, with the Farmers' Market on December 14th. Fingers crossed for a new Hotel management that continues such great community support.


Bewcastle House of Prayer is a Christian initiative with a radical vision for the shape and role of the Church in rural, twenty-first centaury England. Greenholme, their experimental smallholding, is staging an open day on Saturday, 19th July from 12-5pm.
This is an opportunity to explore the site and discuss the exploration and development of permaculture-based practices on the 6-acre smallholding, including experiments in no-dig grain and potato growing, aquaculture, willow forage and biomass, reed beds, and forest gardening. There are also pigs to romp with, chickens to feed, a horse, guinea pigs and a dog! Plus talks on the Met Office weather station and bees.
There will be lots of craft activities to see and try, including basket-weaving, peg-loom weaving, spinning, blacksmithing, organic cheese, stained-glass crafting, and hand-thrown pottery. There will be music to listen to or play (so bring an instrument along), free food and beer, and a short, informal open-air service (weather permitting) for those who wish to participate.
Free entry and all are very welcome. Post code CA6 6PW

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, sue@mosspeteral.com 016977 47359