Cotswold Life

My Wild Life

- Animals · Volunteering · Wildlife · Society · United Kingdom · Usk · Cotswolds · Wye · Chepstow · Gloucestershire · Severn Area Rescue Association

I’ve come to know Poor’s Al­lot­ment well over the years, whether it’s through walk­ing the dog or my vol­un­tary work with the Sev­ern Area Res­cue As­so­ci­a­tion (SARA).

SARA is one of the most di­verse search and res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tions in the UK, with 180 op­er­a­tional vol­un­teers. We run lifeboats on the Rivers Sev­ern, Usk and Wye, un­der­take cliff res­cues and work with the po­lice to carry out land searches look­ing for vul­ner­a­ble and miss­ing peo­ple. I be­came in­volved with the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­cause I en­joy do­ing things out­doors, and it’s a way of giv­ing some­thing back.

SARA uses Poor’s Al­lot­ment to prac­tise land searches, both dur­ing the hours of day­light and in the dark.

The re­serve has rel­a­tively wild heath­land, along with wood­land and gorse ar­eas. It of­fers a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ter­rain and is great for prac­tis­ing nav­i­ga­tion and search tech­niques.

Poor’s Al­lot­ment isn’t huge, but when you’re there it seems like you’re in the mid­dle of a large re­mote area, partly be­cause of the big views across the Sev­ern Es­tu­ary to the Cotswolds. It’s easy for some­body to ‘dis­ap­pear’ and be quite hard to find.

It’s a rea­son­ably ex­posed site ly­ing on the up­per edge of the For­est of Dean es­carp­ment, and it’s strik­ing how the tem­per­a­ture at Poor’s Al­lot­ment can some­times be sev­eral de­grees lower than in Chep­stow just a cou­ple of miles away. In ad­di­tion it’s a won­der­ful place to see wildlife: in spring there’s a blan­ket of blue­bells, the colour and smell of which are amaz­ing, and it’s great to see their num­ber in­creas­ing as a re­sult of clear­ance work car­ried out by Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust.

Mun­t­jac and fal­low deer, bad­gers, foxes and end­less rab­bits are a com­mon sight and it’s great to see adders there in sum­mer: if you re­spect them and give them their space they won’t trou­ble you, and gen­er­ally we make enough noise that they will have slith­ered out of the way by the time we reach them.

Other places I en­joy vis­it­ing in­clude the Lan­caut penin­sula, which lies right next to the river and is in­cred­i­ble, while my home on the edge of the For­est gets a fair share of wildlife. We have bats roost­ing in the roof, foxes and stoats, and tawny owls nest­ing in the trees. Ear­lier in the year they were quite noisy.

I grew up in the Mendips and came to the For­est of Dean 35 years ago. Ev­ery morn­ing I get up and look across the River Sev­ern. It’s beau­ti­ful.

 ??  ?? Phacelia tanaceti­fo­lia about to bloom - this will keep the bees happy
Phacelia tanaceti­fo­lia about to bloom - this will keep the bees happy
 ??  ?? Kathy Don­ald­son
Kathy Don­ald­son

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