Michael's Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

Creating Wildflower Meadow

Here at Sun Rising the development of a new area of wildflower meadow is now underway.  This new area will add another acre and a half of wildflower meadow to the nature reserve, making an enormous contribution towards the ecological importance of the site.

At the moment, the area has been ploughed and harrowed, and we’re waiting for some perfect damp still days in which to sow the seed.  That’s a long and painstaking job to be done by hand.  Then all we can do is wait …

Michael's Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

Michael’s Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

We’re using a special seed mix, customised specifically for Sun Rising, which means this area will have a slightly different feel from the wildflower areas that area already established.  However, it could take a few years to get there: the seeds that will germinate first will be the arable weeds that have been sitting quietly in the soil waiting for a chance to come through, the charlock, fool’s parsley, fat hen, thistles, willowherb and the like.  Once it settles down, though, this view from the pond, looking up towards Sun Rising Hill, will be absolutely glorious!

Autumn and Winter Events

A  note to let you know that our autumn and winter events have now been posted on the website – and on the noticeboard in the main car park.  They are also listed in our twice yearly newsletter which will be coming out over the next week or so. Let us know if you have any queries!

Tyr's Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Stones

There is something extraordinary about large stones.  In millennia past there would have been vast stones scattered across the landscape, strewn by the surging forces of water and ice which have long since receded.  Over time, however, these stones would have been broken up and moved by those clearing the fields for farming, and claiming the stone for building.  Seeing a huge stone now is a magical experience – and such experiences provoke us to pause, to wonder, to feel the power of nature.  They slow us down in a delightful way.

At Sun Rising we have today set two such stones in place.  The larger is around 5′ tall, the round one behind it slightly smaller but still over a tonne in weight.  They stand directly on the sight line from the main car park, along the track, through the roundhouse and beyond.  The last section of that, over grass, is a path we’ll be mowing, encouraging visitors to wander up to the stones and pause.

Tyr's Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Tyr’s Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising

The local quarries from which this honey-coloured Hornton stone has been dug for some centuries once employed a third of the area’s working men.  Living on starvation wages, labouring in harsh conditions year-round, this stone not only draws our minds to the beauty of nature but it also acknowledges all those men, sons, husbands, brothers, whose hard lives were so grounded in this landscape.  I hope the peace found at Sun Rising in some way touches their memory.

 

Green Flag 2017

Green Flag Award

We are very pleased to announce that we have once again been awarded a Green Flag for the natural burial ground and nature reserve.  This is very special to us: the Green Flag has a very high standard, and the high marks we were given last time have been significantly raised with this year’s award.

Green Flag 2017

Our Green Flag 2017-18

The judges inspecting the site carefully consider every aspect of the project, looking at ecology, sustainability, public engagement and management, from what seeds are sown to how we recycle.  The Green Flag is a valuable way of ensuring that what we are doing is as good as it can be – for us, for the planet, for every family and visitor, and for all those who have been laid to rest here amidst the trees and wildflowers.

In the picture above, managers Emma and David Restall Orr (on the right) are holding up the flag together with trustees and members of The Friends of Sun Rising.  We all look as we should do after a long and rewarding Nature Watch Day, recording butterflies and moths, plants and birds, beetles and dragonflies at the site.

The flag itself is not something that we will be flying from a flagpole, as it would seem a little out of keeping with the gentle feel of the place, but we will have a plaque made.

Friends of Sun Rising Calendar (Back Cover)

The Friends Wall Calendar

The Friends of Sun Rising 2018 wall calendar is now in production.  This is an A3 wall calendar, with a photograph per month, each picture taken at Sun Rising and donated to the project. The calendars will be sold in aid of The Friends: they are £10 each and will be available at events.  It’s a short print run, and a second printing will open happen if we have enough orders to make it worthwhile.  Let us know if you’re interested! Check out the page on the website : 2018 Calendar.

Friends of Sun Rising Calendar (Back Cover)

Friends of Sun Rising 2018 Calendar (Back Cover)

 

Cowslips at Sun Rising

Countryfile

On Sunday 30 April, Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve will be on BBC’s ‘Countryfile’.  The programme is aired at 7 pm, and more information can be found here : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08pnvmg.

We expect to be no more than a few minutes in a full programme about Warwickshire.  Television is always a risk, but ‘Countryfile’ seems to be a much loved programme that strives to be positive, so we hope it will be fine!

Cowslips at Sun Rising

Cowslips at Sun Rising

We’re in the thick of our yellow season at Sun Rising, with the daffodils, primroses and lesser celandine having given way to cowslips, and the dandelions are in full glory.  When they go to seed, it’ll be buttercups … And in the surrounding countryside, the oilseed rape is in full flower.  The bees are loving it!

Habitat Interpretation Board : Birdfeeders

Habitat Interpretation Boards

At Sun Rising we have now installed the first drafts of our habitat interpretation boards.

If you were to walk around the nature reserve, you would find eight at the moment, and another handful are planned to go up towards the end of the year.  They cover the established wildflower meadow, young woodland, grassland, hedgerow, the wildlife pond, ruderal borders, the birdfeeders, and the margin of tussocky plants and grasses.  These are key habitats within the nature reserve.

Habitat Interpretation Board : Birdfeeders

Habitat Interpretation Board : Birdfeeders

Our aim is to create boards that are informative, both about the particular habitat and about how we manage that habitat as part of the nature reserve.  There are photographs, all taken at Sun Rising, of plants, birds, butterflies, moths, mammals, that may be found there.

We are hoping that families, friends and other visitors will have a wander around, look at the pictures, read the text, and give us feedback.  Are they in the right places and easy to read?  Can you find any errors?

If you have a chance, do have a look and let us know what you think.  Once we have had a good amount of feedback, we will transform these drafts into long term boards.

Ri Price having completed the Berlin Marathon

An Amazing Result

A little while ago we told you about Ri Price, who had decided to run the Berlin Marathon in aid of The Friends of Sun Rising.  (Ri’s Marathon)

We are now able to give you the final result of all she raised : £1658.41.  What a star!  Thank you so much, Ri, and thank you to all who supported her in both the fund raising and the running.

Ri Price having completed the Berlin Marathon

Ri Price having completed the Berlin Marathon

Here she is at the finish, sporting not just an exhausted but still determined smile, but also a very lovely shirt with The Friends’ logo on it.

The Friends of Sun Rising is the charity that will care for the natural burial ground and nature reserve into the long term future.

Example Habitat Interpretation Board

New Newsletter and Events

Our Sun Rising Autumn/Winter 2016 newsletter has now been published.  For those on our mailing list, it will be emailed out today or posted in the next few days.  If you prefer, it can be found here: Latest Newsletter.

You’ll see that in this edition we have news of all our winter events, including the bulb planting day, tree planting, Armistice Day, carols and Christmas Day.  Do have a look through and make a note in your diary.  As summer slips away and the damper chillier days of autumn and winter approach, it’s good to know there are worthwhile days to anticipate and share.

In the newsletter we are also asking for feedback on our new Habitat Interpretation Boards.  Have a look and let us know what you think?

Example Habitat Interpretation Board

Example Habitat Interpretation Board at Sun Rising