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Steve’s Nature Diary

Looking back to a recent trip, not far away but to a reserve I had only been to once before, we were lucky with the weather and pleasantly surprised at the range of species we saw. Nosterfield Nature Reserve is 150 acres of wet grassland and open water situated between the Rivers Ure and Swale nor far from Nosterfield Village. It is generally regarded as one of North Yorkshire’s premier wetland grassland; however, it is the underlying magnesium limestone and its associated aquifer which makes the location special. A dramatic rise and fall in the water levels, associated with the natural water table and rainfall, results in a huge range in water levels, typically 2.5 m per year. Sand and gravel were produced from a former quarry here until the late 1980s. It was designated a reserve in 2001 and is the only Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in the Hambleton District. It is now managed by the Lowe Ure Conservation trust who have developed the site for visitors and wildlife including hides connected by a pedestrian walkway which is fully accessible for those with mobility issues.

We were there to see the autumnal birds but in summer it has other attractions including nine species of orchid, it’s the only place in Yorkshire to see the Bloody-nosed Beetle, and 25-odd species of butterfly have been recorded. Highlights of the visit included massive skeins of geese flying over the reserve honking away and then landing right in front of the hides. Most or the flock was made up of Grey Lag Goose and of course the next task was trying to find the occasional Barnacle Goose and Pink-footed Goose amongst the throng. However stood out like a sore thumb was a very white Snow Goose, it was sat down initially, but when it stood up were we able to see its black wing feathers a real contrast the rest of the white bird. Also in the water feeding was another rarity a Ruddy Shelduck. With both these species it is difficult to work out weather the birds are pure wild birds or have escaped from a collection and now living wild, but it’s very nice to see them anyway. The other highlight was a bird which when I was growing up in the 70’s was a really difficult bird to see unless you traipsed off to the Cornish cliffs or Scottish highlands. We were scanning one of the islands in the gravel pits and at one end was a bird, on its own, standing tall and looking out of place - it was a Peregrine Falcon. Peregrines are now a regular sight in many areas, including on Teesside.

There comeback has been swift and dramatic. The organo-chlorine based pesticides of the 50’s and 60’s, which killed them by becoming concentrated in their prey and causing them to lay thin-shelled eggs, have been banned. Public attitude in general has changed and the birds have taken to feeding on pigeons and nesting on high buildings including industrial ones and cathedrals. We thoroughly enjoyed our day out and it is important that these reserves and other green spaces are protected. The Wildlife Trusts are part of a Green Futures Alliance and are asking for a new Environment Act and a Wilder Future for us all.

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Let the Fun Begin

An exciting first day in December sees the opening at 10am by Pam Royle, of the Christmas Tree Festival in St Edmund’s Church PLUS a full day of entertainment at Sedgefield Town Council’s Annual Snow Party. The Festivities continue on Sunday 2nd with the Christmas Farmers’ Market and Music at the Christmas Tree Festival from 1pm. A piano recital is followed by Ceddesfolk at 2pm, and Ceddesfeld Ukulele Band will round off the day at 2.45pm. The festival runs until Thursday, December 6th. Admission is free but donations will be welcome.

Other Christmas events can be found on the Arts & Events page or listed in our Diary on page 5. This includes many church services, but for a full list covering all local churches, please go to

Children in Need

School raises over £600 for BBC fundraiser! Staff and students at Sedgefield Community College were united in a good cause, amongst much hilarity, for Children in Need week. Every £50 increment that was reached unlocked a teacher to meet their fate – either an icy bucket of water or a leg waxing!

Deputy Head teacher Paul Fleming and Assistant Head teacher Craig Hutton were amongst those unlocked, and the buzz and momentum gathered as the week went on, the students thoroughly enjoying seeing the teachers face their fate. Year Eight student Chloe Langley raised an additional £30 by completing a sponsored silence, which gained a special mention from Charity representative Paul McGeary.

Left, the leg wax queue; the Assistant Head, Craig Hutton meet his icy fate!

It’s Up 2 U Funding Bids successful

Local groups who worked hard to obtain funding from the AAP in November are very grateful to the people who prepared their bids, spent voting day talking about their projects to anyone who would listen, and especially to everyone who made a special journey to vote. Where would we be without them? As a result...
Sedgefield Cricket Club will make progress on a new Member’s Area in the bar;
Sedgefield Youth U9s Football Club can improve storage & fund FA coaching courses;
Fishburn Academy Band can purchase instruments, so more children can take part;
Fishburn Youth & Community Centre will convert unused space into a Craft Room;
Sedgefield Primary School PTA can build an Outdoor Canopy for play and learning;
and The Woodland & Wildlife Project can purchase essential equipment/storage.

1st Sedgefield Scout Group needs you

There has been a Scout Group in Sedgefield since 1966, and during that time the group has thrived, with a huge number of young people coming and going through our doors. Although we continue to deliver a highquality programme for our current members, we have a limited number of qualified leaders, and that restricts the number of young people we can take, as well as our ability to go outdoors or try new activities.

We need enthusiastic people who can spare a few hours every week (and occasional weekends) to come and assist, and train to become future leaders of the group. If you can help to keep the group going please contact Group Scout Leader, Andrew Guppy. Call 01740 623747 or email

1918 - 2018 ‘We will remember them’

Around 70 children from Sedgefield schools joined veterans, local dignitaries and townsfolk on 9th November at a special wreath laying and remembrance service at the memorial at St Luke’s Chapel Winterton, to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1.

Sedgefield veteran David Hillerby opened the ceremony and Year 5 pupils from Sedgefield Primary School sang ‘From Now On’, before readings by Sedgefield Mayor, Mavis Wayman, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Andrea Flynn, Town Council Chair Mel Carr and Sedgefield Community College’s head boy and head girl, Joshua Wilson and Anna Haycock. Cllr Wayman said: “It is so important for our children to understand and acknowledge the heroes who fought and who died in war to protect the future for generations to come. When we talk about war, we don’t want children to be scared, we want them to remember the people who bravely battled on their behalf.” Earlier that week Sedgefield Primary School invited Mr Hillerby, known locally for his work with Sedgefield Veterans’ Association, to attend a special assembly in their school on Rectory Row where they performed Remembrance poem ‘The Inquisitive Child’.

Deputy head and class teacher Samantha Smith said: “The class has embraced learning about the war and taken their role at the Remembrance service very seriously. It’s vital that each generation continues to understand the magnitude of this day by learning in the classroom and talking to their families. “It is a subject I love to teach because my own grandad Fredrick Edward Jones served in the Gloucestershire Regiment throughout World War 2. He received a letter of commendation from Lord Montgomery for his part in El Alamein – a pivotal turning point recognised by Sir Winston Churchill. I instil in the children the importance of remembering just how much these servicemen did for our country.”

At 6am on November 11th, the WW1 Armistice Centenary commemoration began at the war memorial on Sedgefield Village Green. Lone piper, Anthony Robb played the traditional Scottish lament, Battle’s O’er’, to mark the time that the armistice was signed in Paris, to cease hostilities. This came into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

At 10am, the Service of Remembrance took place in St. Edmund’s Church. Attended by local civic leaders and many local people, the service included stories of ordinary people in both the UK and Germany, living through extraordinary times. Representatives from the uniformed organisations from scouts and guiding formed a guard of honour as the congregation left the church. Following two minute silence at 11am, poppy wreaths were laid, marking the end of 100 years of commemoration. In addition to the wooden crosses and the wreaths, Sedgefield girl guides rangers and trefoil guild, produced a stunning display for remembrance on one of the benches on the Green. A beautiful tribute.

In Memoriam A profoundly moving exhibition was mounted jointly by Sedgefield Veterans and the Local History Society showing letters, artefacts and tributes to the Sedgefield men lost 100 years ago.

Sedgefield During the First World War A booklet describing Sedgefield Life at the time of the war, mainly using newspaper reports from the era, is available now, price £6, from the Town Council office or directly from the author, Alison Hodgson, Tel 620912.

Children take evacuee roles for trip to Beamish

As part of their study of the impact World War 2 had on families, Year 5 children at Sedgefield Primary School swapped their uniforms for typical evacuee outfits and spent the day at Beamish Museum. They were helped to understand more about the sacrifices made during the war, covering topics such as rationing, black out, wartime cookery and the Home Guard.

Teacher, Samantha Smith, said: “The children simply loved the experience. The smiles on their faces say it all.” Children, mothers with infants, pregnant women and the infirm, were evacuated from British towns and cities during WWII by the Government, over fears that German bombing would cause a high number of civilian deaths. The first wave of evacuation occurred in September 1939. 1.5 million people, including 827,000 children, were sent to countryside locations deemed to be safe, with a few clothes and provisions, a gas mask and identity card. By the end of the war some 3.5 million people had experienced evacuation. Ross Towler, age 10, said: “It is the best day of the year in Class 5, we loved every minute. The air raid was so exciting!”

L-R: “Evacuees” Grace Dobson, Ashley Wong, Iona Darnton, Freddie Theakston, Sadie Clark, Ross Towler, Grace Stanley.