At this time when we're all seeking to contain the spread of Covid 19, a walk outdoors can be quite therapeutic. Here's a few activities that could enhance our walks - thanks to John Nelson, Brigit Strawbridge and Mike Cummings for these requests and suggestions.
1. Notice and photograph wild flowers on roadside verges. The town council is aiming to boost biodiversity in the town and is preparing to plant wildflowers at a few test sites. More information about what already exists will help in the management and evaluation of this project. See details of how to add wild flower sitings to the mapped records on the Shaftesbury Wild Flower Verges Project page.
2. The town council aims to avoid the use of glyphosate. At the sides of footpaths where natural growth can't be left this means hand-weeding. Every little bit helps!
3. Work is under way to enhance the habitats provided at Breach Common (watch out for separate information on volunteer opportunities). One simple way to assist is by pulling himalayan balsam, a non-native invasive plant that has a toxic effect on our native biodiversity. See details here https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/plant-fungi-species/himalayan-balsam. The plants are annuals that flower from July but will be evident from now. There are more pictures of the plant at different stages of growth here https://www.wildfooduk.com/edible-wild-plants/himalayan-balsam/ , you're likely to find much more than you can eat!
4. Finally, some species to watch out for, and observe the characteristics of, over the coming spring days: both male and female hairy-footed flower bees, lungwort, red dead nettle, wallflowers, dwarf comfrey, primroses, bee-flies.