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This week’s tips give ad­vice to new driv­ers from IAM Road­S­mart’s head of driv­ing and rid­ing stan­dards, Richard Glad­man

STA­TIS­TICS show that the first six months of solo driv­ing are when you are most at risk. ●● Say yes to the ‘P’ plates. These green ‘pro­ba­tion­ary’ plates show you are a new driver. Most peo­ple are a lit­tle more pa­tient when they see them. They are not a ne­ces­sity but you can leave them on for as long as you think you need them. ●● Keep calm. Re­mem­ber you have passed your test and proven you are ca­pa­ble of driv­ing on the road. Be­ing a new driver means you are bound to make a few mis­takes here and there, re­mem­ber to re­main calm and ac­cept that mis­takes hap­pen – ●● how you deal with them can make all the dif­fer­ence to the out­come. ●● Drive solo. Driv­ing with friends in the car can cause you to be dis­tracted and make it much harder to con­cen­trate. If you do have friends in the car make sure they un­der­stand you need to con­cen­trate. Do a few trips on your own or limit the peo­ple you take with you for the first few jour­neys. ●● Put your phone on silent, out of sight and reach – mak­ing the glove box your ‘phone box’ is a good idea. Us­ing a hand-held mo­bile phone while driv­ing car­ries a six- point penalty – so its straight back to learner sta­tus and an­other test if you get caught in your first two years of driv­ing. ●● Get some more ex­pe­ri­ence. Try driv­ing in all weath­ers, on all kinds of roads and at all times, and if you are still lack­ing in con­fi­dence or feel that you need to top up your skills then con­sider some ad­di­tional train­ing. You can al­ways book an ad­vanced driv­ing course.

Richard said: “You have proven your­self com­pe­tent to drive but please re­mem­ber that is the first step. Pass Plus with your driv­ing in­struc­tor or one of IAM Road­S­mart’s new mod­ules may help your con­fi­dence in areas you find tricky. If you are un­sure of any­thing, have the con­fi­dence to ask – ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers will al­ways share their knowl­edge.” A NEW path at Dove Stone reser­voir near Green­field has proved a big hit with vis­i­tors and wildlife alike, and from this Old Water­man who used to pa­trol the area 20-odd years ago, as well as Long­den­dale of course, it is proof pos­i­tive that the re­gional man­agers at North West Wa­ter should have lis­tened to me in the first place.

It soon be­came ob­vi­ous to me that this beau­ti­ful area, which in­cludes the high level Chew Reser­voir, could be trans­formed with a bit of care and for­ward plan­ning.

I’m de­lighted to say that bet­ter late than never, United Util­i­ties, aka North West Wa­ter in part­ner­ship, have cre­ated a gem.

Fol­low­ing months of hard work by RSPB site war­dens and a hardy gang of lo­cal vol­un­teers, vis­i­tors to Dove Stone can now en­joy a walk off the beaten track through a wood­land set­ting, tak­ing in wildlife ponds and reser­voir views.

The new path has been cre­ated through one of United Util­i­ties’ ma­ture conifer plan­ta­tions (known as Pen­ny­worth Plan­ta­tion) and al­lows all vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing those with all-ter­rain ●● wheel­chairs, to ex­pe­ri­ence a dif­fer­ent set­ting to the main cir­cu­lar trail.

Staff and vol­un­teers will next be plant­ing trees such as oak, rowan and birch to cre­ate a won­der­ful mixed wood­land of the sort that would nat­u­rally grow there.

The conifers have been thinned out to al­low more light in, and dead wood, an­other im­por­tant com­po­nent of wood­land man­age­ment, has been left to cre­ate habi­tat piles for in­sects, small mam­mals and birds like robins and wrens, and leave some tree stumps stand­ing up­right for a va­ri­ety of in­sects and birds such as wood­peck­ers.

In fact leav­ing dead wood has proved to be es­pe­cially im­por­tant for one tiny crea­ture – a brand new res­i­dent at Dove Stone which has ap­peared di­rectly as a re­sult of this work.

RSPB vol­un­teer and lo­cal nat­u­ral­ist Ken Gart­side sug­gested holes were drilled into some dead conifer stumps to cre­ate ar­ti­fi­cial rot holes which hov­er­flies breed in.

The team at Dove Stone are very ex­cited to re­port that Ken has al­ready found the rare furry pine hov­er­fly for the first time ever at Dove Stone as a di­rect re­sult of this work

The pine hov­er­fly is ar­guably the most en­dan­gered hov­er­fly in the UK.

It has al­ways had a re­stricted range, but was reg­u­larly recorded in Strath­spey and Dee­side, in Scot­land, up to the 1940s.

Since then it has dra­mat­i­cally de­clined, and in the late 1990s sur­veys by the Mal­loch So­ci­ety (a spe­cial­ist aca­demic or­gan­i­sa­tion that stud­ies flies), funded by Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage, found only two re­main­ing pop­u­la­tions of this species, both in Strath­spey.

The pine hov­er­fly is also de­clin­ing in Europe, where it is re­stricted to moun­tain­ous areas. The pine hov­er­fly needs rot­ten tree stumps that are more than 40cm across to breed.

The lack of these large stumps in pinewoods – es­pe­cially stumps with the nec­es­sary rot con­di­tions – has been the cause of the de­cline.

As well as the new path through the plan­ta­tion, staff and vol­un­teers have also im­proved ac­cess at Binn Green with a new wheel­chair friendly path to the view­point and bird feed­ing area.


Furry pine hov­er­fly

Richard Glad­man

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