Friends of the Commons expanding

The most recent event held on Saturday 18th January was a creative writing workshop facilitated by the poet  Diana Gittins. Attended by 11 people representing local wriring groups, the day was very stimulating and resulted in many ideas for developing poetry and prose projects related to heathlands and local 'sense of place'. It was agreed by all present that there was scope for expanding this concept as a way of engaging public interest in the local landscape, and further discussions will be held related to a school initiative. Earlier in the week about 20 people joined Sam Bridgewater and Ed Lagdon on a howling morning walk around Mutter's Moor, with representatives from the Sidmouth in Bloom and Otter Valley Association present. The walk covered a significant section of the County Wildlife Site and generated much debate on the future of heathlands and their management. During the morning areas of recent scrub control and swails were visited. The vegetation is recovering well with young pioneer heath appearing. The next scheduled events are a walk along the Otter Estaury to discuss the ideas for a Restoration Project to naturalise the river (Saturday  25th February, 9am to 11am, meet at Lime Kilm car park), and the Annual Friends Forum on Thursday 13th February.

The Friends group was started in July 2013 as a means of the Trust improving how it communicates locally, and a way to further engage those who use and love the heaths. After six months we have 80 people who jave joined which we're delighted about. So far the events organised seem to have been well received. Here's hoping that the group will expand further in 2014.

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