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Curry Woods Conservation

I remember summer holidays. Often I would be sitting on a warm summer's day on a beach somewhere thinking about going for a swim but deciding to snooze a bit longer under the parasol. Finally I would energise myself to go for that swim and I would lethargically get up and move. But the tide had gone out; it was too late. I would have to walk a long way to get to open water over rocky sea bed to achieve my goal and inevitable I gave up.

Any resemblance to climate change? We, the people, have left it too late.

The tide has gone out. The State of Nature report tells us of the decline. We are at the end game, we have to walk over a lot of rocky areas to reach the sea. In other words we are going to have to put in a lot of hard yards to reverse the decline of nature we have all been so complacent about.

How can a paltry little Parish Council like Curry Rivel help? Well we can. We have a little gem of natural England in the Parish. The Curry Woods are historic- they still have a functioning ecosystem. You can still see the big five English mammals, and in fact most native mammals, thriving in the woods (not of course pine martens and otters, that would be silly). The insect population seems very healthy, many butterflies, moths, dragon flies, beetles, ants (especially ants). I can testify that grass snakes breed there and I have seen slow worms and adders. Now the challenge is how to conserve and extend these woods and their ecosystems.

The Parish Council has, since 2016, been monitoring the ownership of the woods. Somerset County Council owned a particularly important area next to and behind the jewel in the crown, a piece of woodland owned and conserved by a far sighted member of our community. In 2018 this Council land was to be sold. The PC asked for it to be transferred to the community as a community asset (this piece of land is a major contributor to water run off and flooding in Water Street- see the PC risk register for details). However the request, stressing the importance of preserving the ecosystem and preventing water run off, was unsuccessful.

But all is not lost, Somerset CC has offered the land to the Parish Council for £60K if it can be raised in six months. To this end a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation is being set up. The PC voted the funds to enable this during the October meeting. You will be kept up to date with how to make donations and a website will be available soon.

The PC has the support of a group who are working hard to improve tree cover in South Somerset. Our district has the lowest tree cover of almost any district in the Country(Country not County) so Curry Woods are priceless and we must protect them.

Come with us, walk over that rocky sea bed to find the tide. Together we can again swim in the natural pool that was there only a few short decades ago.

Peter Goodenough
Curry Rivel Parish Council
01458 250091

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