On the Beacon … in the Buff

Regular visitors to the Beacon, especially the Cotswold Trail area between Catbrain and Popes Wood, may have made the acquaintance of three Dartmoor ponies who were walked over from their home in Slad to munch on the ramparts in an enclosed paddock.  By eating the scrub they were helping to maintain and enhance the species richness of the wild flowers and grassland on this SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). They had plenty to eat and an important job to do, and we hoped that passers-by would not  be tempted to feed them, would keep dogs under close control, and thereby respect the ponies’ space.  Sadly, they have returned to Slad due to security and welfare concerns.  Somebody was interfering with their water-troughing, and apparently, the fencing too.

Members of The Beacon Conservation Group are now completing work on the new paddock, for the Gloucester Cattle that are expected early in March.  ‘Spring Gates’ have been installed at strategic points enabling walkers who wish to ‘cross’ the electrified fence line and continue along some of the popular paths.  The work has not been helped by the jokers who will pull posts out soon after they are installed.

Please pick it up No. 1: If you choose to walk in a paddock and you should find a bottle, can or golf ball in a paddock, do please pick it up and take it away.  Damage could be caused to an animal’s feet or internally if swallowed. If you do see an animal that looks uncomfortable or distressed in any way do please immediately contact the grazing co-ordinator Britta Koehler on 01452 813672 or 07964 246113.  Britta would also like to hear from you if you are willing to help as one of the “checkers”; who make daily inspections in and around the paddocks.

Please pick it up No. 2 We have been disappointed by dog walkers who allow their ‘charges’ to contaminate the common. Some even leave poo bags hanging in bushes after considerately using the bag. Weird! Since it is a legal requirement to collect and dispose of the poo (Beacon page 5 December 2012 issue) we encourage you to encourage others to do the decent thing.

In the Buff? Apologies for the intriguing heading because you are unlikely to see naturists (as opposed to naturalists)on the Beacon, but I was given, for Christmas, a neckwarmer, which the makers, surprisingly, sell as ‘The Buff’.

David Allott,Chairman, 812624

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