It’s haymaking time!

The heatwave this summer has enabled us to cut and bale the hay on three of our sites – St Cuthbert’s field in Oborne, the allotments field in Lenthay on the western edge of Sherborne and the upper area of the Terraces SNCI in Sherborne. In addition we have had a local agricultural contractor cut and bale over 2 acres of grass for us on the edge of Hazelbury Bryan. We have sold all the minibales and the rectangular small bales to local people.


The Lenthay field before turning


and after.


Ben and Nick baling up the last row in the Oborne field, St Cuthbert’s chancel behind


contractor’s small bales in our Hazelbury Bryan field. These cost £2.40 each to make and we sold them off the field for £2.50! Costs happily covered!

We have also removed the about-to-seed ragwort from several of our sites where we are intending to make hay, to ensure that none gets into the haybales. We leave it as long as possible to enable the insects to get the maximum benefit – ragwort is said to support at least 40 species of insects (some sources say 60).

The EuCAN Somerset Volunteers have also paid their annual visit to our friends at Rugbourne Farm near Timsbury (Bath) where we cut Zanna and Andy’s banks and their wildflower meadow which is improving every year. We used five brushcutters to cut the grass then heaped it into piles to be removed by the tractor in the following days.


Background to EuCAN  EuCAN originated in 2007 as a scheme to take volunteers to different corners of Europe to carry out habitat management work alongside our European partners. These visits were generously funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme but the grants have come to an end. However, we are still keen to maintain our contacts in Europe and are able to arrange a number of study tours and placements each year (though sadly these are no longer free!). Since Brexit, it has obviously become considerably more difficult to find funding for projects with our European partners and friends and most of our work is based on contracts, surveying and volunteering in Dorset and Somerset.

Have a look at our Flickr site to get an idea of the range of activities we have been involved with!

Cerne Valley group lunch break with bacon butties November 2017

Cerne Valley group lunch break with bacon butties November 2017

Through the year: habitat management contracts in Dorset and Somerset – we are looking for volunteers, trainees and sub-contractors. Summer is generally a quieter time for contracts but there are opportunities throughout the year to get involved in scrub cutting, haymaking, hedgelaying, dry-stone walling, Himalayan Balsam removal, ragwort pulling and cutting, and ongoing habitat management work for Butterfly Conservation, Natural England and other landowners. Click here for more info.


strimming Himalayan Balsam on the slopes of the Beaminster Tunnel

Our regular Volunteer groups are always on the look-out for new members - join in, it’s great fun, costs nothing and you will learn new skills, visit lovely places, get healthy exercise and fresh air – and at the same time contribute to the improvement of some of our best wildlife habitats.

The EuCAN Mid-week Volunteers meet every Wednesday for a variety of different tasks, mainly in south Dorset. Minibus transport is provided from Weymouth and Dorchester.Contact the group leader, Dave Searle, via this link to our website:  http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/dorset/dorset-mid-week-group/


The EuCAN Somerset Volunteers generally meet every Tuesday .Based in south Somerset, the group carries out tasks on a great range of sites in Somerset and north and west Dorset. http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/somerset/somerset-eucan-volunteers/ . In addition to practical work, we also have a programme of walks and visits planned for the summer.

Lankham chalkpit 6.12.16 1

The Milverton Conservation Volunteers meet monthly and are based in the west Somerset area. See  http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/somerset/milverton-local-volunteers/


Cerne Valley Community Landscape Project  This project ran for 8 very successful years, but our work in the Cerne valley still continues.


Cerne Valley Community Landscape Project volunteers working at Yelcombe, Cerne Abbas.


We created a glade in the woods at Nether Cerne to improve the habitat for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly