Monday, 25 April 2016

AWG Etal.

Over the last couple of years, AWG members have been carrying out some wildlife surveys for Lord Joicey on Ford and Etal Estates, particularly around Slainsfield Moor and Ford Moss.

As a thank you, he invited up those who had worked to provide data on the wildlife of the area, to have an informal introduction to the estate, led by Lord James himself, then back to the village hall for some food, drink and a right old jolly.

Twenty of us arrived at 4.30pm where we were introduced to our host, then made our way to the village hall for a short presentation on the life of the estate. I particularly like it when Lord Joicey described how his great grandfather became a Lord in 1908 after donating a large sum of cash to the then liberal government!

Lord Joicey giving his introduction.
The present incumbent, Lord James Joicey has a much more enlightened and modern approach as a large landowner. He is keen to see all users and visitors get the most from the area. The villages of Ford and Etal are immaculate in appearance with a range of small private businesses ranging from artisan bread makers to the small miniature railway line.

St Mary's Well, believed to date back to the 1300's
Geology - a cement stone seam visible from the path is 350 million years old!
There are several notable wildlife areas, including those mentioned above plus a Ramsar site in Holborn Moss near Kyloe. As visitors are actively encouraged to call in ( small signs welcomed visitors, dogs and residents to walk the pathways) try to get this on your summer outings agenda this year, I'm sure you wont be disappointed. Don't forget to report your nature sightings to Alnwick Wildlife Group.


Alnwick Wildlife Group in front of Etal Manor the home of the Joicey family.

Snakeshead Fritillaries in the lawn at Etal Manor.

An unusual variety of Wood Dock with 'blood veins'.
After the presentations and a very interesting guided walk around the village of Etal, we returned to the village hall that had been transformed in our absence into a restaurant. Here we were treated to a delicious homemade  2-course dinner with wine. The food was so nice a few ( inc yours truly) had seconds, before we said our thanks and bade our farewells and headed home.

We will definitely be back here on a nice summers day to see what other wildlife can be located...

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