Friends of the Byes are helping to to save life on earth starting with a bramble bank

Section of the Byes called Bramble Bank

Section of the Byes called Bramble Bank - Credit: Charles Sinclair

The Friends of the Byes are saving life on earth from extinction one step at a time, David Attenborough does bigger things. Our efforts maybe just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is only a lot of raindrops that have come together.
The Bramble Bank in The Byes is a strip of land that stretches from the steps by Lawn Vista to Water Lane. For many years it was a tangle of brambles that threatened the steps and the cycle path. Then one day it was cut to the ground. It was a chance for starting over.
The land is owned by the National Trust and managed by East Devon District Council. Their policies are to promote biodiversity by protecting and enhancing living things and making wildlife corridors. The Friends of The Byes have been putting in the detail and carrying out the work.

Evidence of new planting

Evidence of new planting - Credit: Charles Sinclair


With the brambles gone it could be seen that the bank was steep, had been a dump for rubble and was infested with invasive non-natives like Japanese knotweed, three cornered leek and Spanish bluebell. The knotweed has been professionally removed and the Friends have started to get the leek and bluebell under control. Both are pretty flowers but they stop native plants growing and insects and other creatures need the native plants.
Last winter over one hundred native hedging shrubs of ten different types were planted along the top of the bank. We had received generous grants from Stuart Hughes of Devon County Council and a nearby house owner. Then came drought, Covid-19 and wasps. Whilst keeping to regulations, great efforts were made to keep the plants watered and clear of vegetation, but as summer went on the wasps made it unsafe to visit many parts of the bank. However only five plants have died. In the future we will manage the plants to make a wildlife corridor.

Last year's wasp nest on Bramble Bank

Last year's wasp nest on Bramble Bank - Credit: Charles Sinclair


This is not a makeover. Don’t expect Charlie Dimmock to come for a week and make everything neat. But the area will become home for all kinds of wildlife to feed, breed and move around safely. All we are doing is giving life a chance.

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