Author Archive: uf2kil

Bird Race

9 of us turned out today to brave the sogginess and cold for the 17th Ely Bird Race. It was worth it.

The species list was set at 69 for the day and includes White-fronted Goose (2) and a Jack Snipe (Springhead Meadow with 9 Common Snipe). Nice to see 3 Grey Wagtails at the sewage plant (with a chiffchaff), and the pair of stonechats back on their old patch. The only notable omissions were Green Woodpecker, Little Egret and Wigeon.

A later additions was a bit contentious in that we saw a flock of swans in the distance. With a bit of knowledge about what was around Ben Green was confident to say that they were whoopers, but investigations into the swan movements by checking the tracking data from the collar ringed Bewicks proved fruitless. So we end with a species list of 70.

Full list can be seen here.


Last year (2018), the contractors for the McCarthy & Stone development on the old Peck’s site removed the hedge between the development and the public footpath on Springhead Lane. The hedge was outside the site boundary so should not have been removed. Ely Wildspace brought the hedge removal to the attention of the Senior Trees Officer at ECDC, who contacted McC & S, and asked them to replace the hedge. This they did in April 2018, but with no aftercare during the long dry summer most of the shrubs (which were hornbeams) died. The hedge was replaced again by McC & S some time in Jan 2019, again with hornbeams.
To strengthen the hedge, Ely Wildspace volunteers planted 165 mixed hawthorn, hazel, dogwood, blackthorn and guelder rose plants on Sunday 3 February 2019. That was up to 70 m of planting! Thanks to everyone who cam along to help

The hedge plants were donated by The Conservation Volunteers/ OVO Energy and Cambs Highways.

Hedge planting

Hedge planting

In Memory of Gillian Sallis

We were extremely honoured to receive a cheque from Alayne & Susie Sallis. This was generously given to Ely Wildspace from donations made by family and friends in Jill’s memory.

Ely Wildspace will use these monies to improve the wild space around Roswell Pits for the benefit of the birds and animals that Jill loved so much.

Jill lived in the house overlooking the pits in her childhood and was married from there. She had always loved the area, the wildlife and, of course, Roswell Pits. She particularly loved kingfishers and our hope is to install Kingfisher tunnels to help and encourage these beautiful birds to nest and breed.


Gillian Sallis “Jill”

It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of one of our most loyal members, Jill Sallis.

Jill was a valued member and active supporter of Elywildspace from the beginning of our campaign in 2006. She helped the group in any way she could, facilitating many of our activities and promoting good relations with Ely Sailing Club. Jill attended our meetings, litter picks and social events whenever she was able, enjoying talking to the other members and interested in any news about the group and the Wildspace.

Having had a close association with Roswell Pits since her childhood, Jill was keen to share her memories and photographs for our Oral History Project.

Jill was generous and warm hearted and we offer our sincere condolences to family and friends.

Planting in Springhead Lane.

In early 2016 the County Council carried out a clearance operation that generated a number of complaints from the public that the character of the path had been damaged. As a result, East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) met with the County Council, ECDC, Natural England, the County Wildlife Trust, adjacent landowners, and Ely Wildspace. A management regime was developed that would include County Council clearance every 3 -4 years, ongoing minor trimming of vegetation, and planting to restore the ‘green tunnel’ effect. Ely Wildspace undertook to plant an oak tree, ash tree whips, hazel and field maple shrubs and transplant elm suckers in locations agreed with ECDC. This planting was completed by volunteers over the winter/spring of 2017/18. This work was followed up during the long hot summer of 2018 when volunteers cleared around the shrubs and watered them.

This week volunteers gathered again to plant elm whips, clear the undergrowth around the shrubs planted last season, and place new stakes and tree guards. All the plants will now have a great start next spring.

Autumn Litter Pick

Saturday, 3rd November 2pm.

Over 20 people came to help with our Autumn litter pick. It was great to see many of our regular litter pickers and also to welcome some new helpers. We covered a large area of the Wildspace and were reassured to find that there was less litter this time. We collected about 18 sacks, but not so many large items.

Tea and cake at the Sailing Club was appreciated and we thank Ely Sailing Club for allowing us to use the club house. Some of our litter pickers have registered as volunteers. Once again it was an enjoyable and successful day and a good way to get involved and meet others in the local community. Many thanks to everyone who helped.

Extending the wildflower meadow

In 2017 a plan was agreed between East Cambs District Council, the county Wildlife Trust and Ely Wildspace to extend the wildflower meadow on Ely Common. This was to be achieved by spraying off strips of the unimproved meadow, and after preparing the ground, sowing with seed collected from Chettisham Meadow nature reserve.

In July Ely Wildspace volunteers collected wildflower seeds from Chettisham Meadow, to add to the stock collected by staff  of the Wildlife Trust during the summer. In September the Wildlife Trust carried out the spraying, and Ely Wildspace volunteers cleared and raked the sprayed areas in preparation.

We are now pleased to say that the seed has been sown and our wildflower meadow will soon be much bigger. Who knows, we could soon have more orchids and butterflies…

2018 Spring Clean

Today at 2pm around 30 people joined us for a Spring clean around the Wildspace, followed by tea and cake at the sailing club. We’d like to express our thanks to everyone who got involved. It was a very successful and enjoyable day.

We were terribly disappointed to find
1. a large volume of Coke bottle and cans
2. a large number of Costa cups
3. and this is the worst, an extremely large number of dog dirt in bags, thrown into the bushes.