Archive for November, 2009

RSS feeds – a helpful tool

Following up Bill’s original suggestion,  it is possible to obtain an automatic update of website POSTS, sent direct to your own mailbox, by utilising the RSS feed button  (orange die) in the bottom LH corner of the page.   This arrangement works very well and might be of use, for example, in future notifications of sewage bypasses for anybody bound for the river at AG.


Rod has very kindly provided us with the results of his 2009 bird count on the estuary and they can be found on the ECOLOGY page along with his three previous years’ records.


At the recent Avon Estuary Forum,  Gordon Waterhouse reported anew on the Dwarf Spikerush (Eleocharis parvula) which has been observed just downstream of the bridge at Aveton Gifford for several decades but is little known by river users.  This is a protected species, appearing in Natural England’s Red Data Book.  Only 7 sites are known in the UK and this site at AG is the only one in Devon.

The plant grows here in a sizeable colony in the estuary mud, avoiding strong saline, close to the upper tidal limit.  It dies back over winter.  The identification is not in doubt as it was made originally by the South Devon recorder for the Botanical Society of the British Isles, Roger Smith.

This is yet another reason to celebrate the unique beauty of our river!


It may seem rather early notice but we are planning another  New Year’s Day clean up of rubbish from around the river downstream of Aveton Gifford for 2010.  The last couple of clean ups on NYD have proved a popular means of blowing away those party cobwebs and you might wish to  mark your 2010 diary to avoid missing out.

LW will be around noon  so we should be able to gather at Timbers car park and Stakes Road for a 1100 start.    Subsequently, we might repair to the Fisherman’s Rest for a recharge!

The ACA can supply collection bags and disposable gloves, courtesy of SHDC.


The Finding Sanctuary Project

The Finding Sanctuary project is encouraging you to tell them which areas of sea around the south-west are important to you. In November this year, the new Marine and Coastal Access Act became law.  Amongst other things, the Act will introduce new protected areas called Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). These MCZs will aim to protect marine animals, plants, and habitats around the coasts and seas of England, by managing how we use particular parts of the sea.  Boating is one of the activities that could be restricted within MCZs in certain ways, which may in turn affect some activities. Therefore it’s important you have the opportunity to have your say on where MCZs should be located around the south-west region. Exeter-based project, Finding Sanctuary, has been set up to help you to do just this. Through working with local sea users to understand how different groups use the sea, the project will ensure MCZs in the south-west are planned in a way that minimises conflicts with human uses, and at the same time that they meet the conservation goals.

Finding Sanctuary staff are conducting face to face mapping interviews with sea users throughout the region to record your knowledge of your local area, information on which areas of sea you use, and any concerns you may have. By sharing your knowledge and information with Finding Sanctuary, you are ensuring that your interests can be taken into account.

Perhaps you are a sailor/boater yourself and would like to contribute information about your personal use of the sea? Or maybe you are a member of a club or organisation and would like to tell us about the areas that your club uses? Alternatively, you may like to share information about locations of the sea that are important to your business? If you would like to make sure your views are taken into account please get in touch with Beth Henshall. Beth will be happy to meet with you to conduct a short face to face interview. She can also come to your club or organisation to speak to your members in more detail about the work of Finding Sanctuary.  To arrange an interview or a talk please call Beth on 07709 495629, or email her at For more information about Finding Sanctuary, visit .

Beth Henshall
Recreational Boating Assistant Liaison Officer, Finding Sanctuary