Page 1

Moving the World! The Friends of Nature movement is looking back on a singular history of international co operation. It has hardly an equal when it comes to setting examples of respectful and solidarityoriented togetherness beyond national borders and of advocating a fair share for all in our natural resources. This tradition of joining forces is of particular importance in the context of nature conservation projects, and a key element in building a common liveable future. Even though individual initiatives need to be implemented at the local level, they will only take full effect in a global context. Tree planting campaigns along the Akpato River in Togo, Natura Trails at the North Sea, in the Alps or in the Danube Delta or international eco-camps – will in many respects pose similar challenges and pursue identical aims. Let us continue to walk this chosen path together and to learn from one another. If we succeed in regarding ourselves as part of a large, active and committed network, each of our actions, each minor success in our local groups or national federations will become a mosaic piece that fits into a large overall picture – a picture which will instil us with courage in the face of the challenges confronting our society. It is the picture of an international community that will not simply accept the status quo that will not helplessly watch the trials and tribulations caused by a policy of growth at all costs that has clearly got out of hand, but of a community that will take a stand for an equitable and ecological future! Manfred Pils, President of International Friends of Nature

................................................................................................................................................. Sustainability Unlimited Under the  motto  "Sustainability  Unlimited“,  the  XXI  Congress  of  Naturefriends  International  took   place in Graz from 30 September to 1 October 2011. 120 delegates from 19 countries set the course for the next three years of NFI work. Joint resolutions on topics such as climate change, renewable energy and agricultural policy form a basis for our projects and activities, always taking into consideration the three pillars of sustainability: the economic, ecological and social pillar. It is not possible to separate these three pillars. This becomes evident in what appears to be an area of tension between protection of the environment and leisure activities. Nevertheless, for decades have Nature friends set an example of how to experience nature in an economic- ally and socially balanced way - in accordance with the demands of modern environmental protection. It is this balance which enables us to implement win-win-win projects in the field of environmental education and protection of species – projects that make us proud, implemented in national federations, local groups or in your individual leisure activities. Every contribution to the preservation of our natural biodiversity is one step towards a future in an intact environment – worth living in for everyone!

Manfred Pils, President of Naturefriends International

New Era for Protecting Biodiversity in the EU, a New Era.

The 2020-strategy from the viewpoint of the NFI EU Policy Office In October 2010, a landmark deal to halt the loss of habitats and species was reached at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-10) in Nagoya, Japan. A Global Strategic Plan for the next ten years to combat biodiversity loss was adopted and a new era for biodiversity protection at the global level has begun. The new  Strategic  Plan  (the  “Aichi  Target”)  consists  of  20  headline  targets,  including  the  integration   of biodiversity values into national and local policy strategies, which have been pledged also by the EU. As for the biodiversity commitments at EU level, following the failure of Member States to meet the 2010 deadline to avert biodiversity loss by 2010, EU leaders set the new deadline for putting a stop to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems in Europe in the same year. This new 2020 target has been also accompanied by a long-term vision of protecting and restoring Europe’s  biodiversity  and  its  ecosystem  services  by  2050. In line with implementing the global commitments made in Nagoya, as well as the two commitments made by EU leaders in 2010, the new EU Biodiversity Strategy  to  2020  “ Our  life  insurance,  our  natural  capital:  an  EU  biodiversity  strategy  to  2020”  has  been  adopted  in   May 2011 re-affirming  the  EU’s  commitment  to  help  averting  the  global  biodiversity  crisis  and  laying   down the policy foundations and actions that will be carried out at the EU level over the decade to meet  the  EU’s  2020  headline  target. There are six main targets and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal of halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. The six targets range, from full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity to a wider use of green infrastructure, from tighter controls on invasive alien species to bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. It also highlights the key role of agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. Major environmental groups criticised that the targets are immeasurable and unclear as well as they  lack  deadlines  and  strong  actions  which  indeed  put  the  Strategy’s  success  to  meet  its  goal into question. NFI believes that a one single strategy would not be sufficient to halt the current biodiversity crisis. Thus, halting the continuing loss of biodiversity requires ambitious and effective actions integrating protecting and restoring measures in the implementation of other EU strategies (such as the EU 2020 Strategy) and major upcoming reforms in EU budget and sect oral policies in agriculture, regional development and fisheries. Through concerted actions such as effective lobbying in the frame of the Green10, the NFI EU Policy Office in Brussels continues its advocacy and monitoring work for an enhanced implementation of EU Nature legislation and the integration of biodiversity protection into other policy areas. Seda Orhan-Defranceschi, Naturefriends International

Friends of Nature UK - National AGM 2012 This year the National A.G.M was held in Norwich on Sat 21st April and hosted by the Norwich Group. Some 17 members were present at the National AGM held in the afternoon and this was later followed by the Norwich and Northern (NorFoN) Local Group AGM's. Sadly our retiring Vice-President Erich Schmidt was unable to attend due to a hospital appointment for wife Barbara. Also missed was long-serving member Jack Fincham who of late has been unwell and sorely missed by Norwich Group. Get Well messages were sent to both missing parties. Some core points from the AGM: Membership appeared nationally to be static with a few new members joining and some departing - the challenge being to retain those that do join us and so build membership slowly. If the Continental countries can do it, why can't we? It was suggested that future Local Group AGM's should be circa 4 weeks prior to the National AGM ~ this would then allow any points arising from the Local Groups meeting to be aired at the National event Lancashire Friends of Nature, which was launched January 2012, was officially accepted as a Local Group of National FoN. Several events have already taken place - notably a walk and visit to the Wray Scarecrow Festival; the Cross Morecambe Bay Walk; and hopefully a timely visit to the Rochdale Pioneers Museum reopening in this the 'International Year of Co-operatives' as designated by the United Nations. See the web site at for the Lancs Group Page. A link with Friends of Nature Nepal has been established and we have raised funds for their new web site and a commitment to fund future conservation and healthcare projects. See Both Northern and Norwich Groups reported having successfully held a full programme of events during the past year, see specific articles elsewhere in the Bulletin and the Group programmes on the website After many, many years of service to FoN here in the UK and Internationally, it was with sadness that we accepted the retirement of Erich Schmidt as Vice-President. As he said "it is time for younger blood to take the group forward" - I have a suspicion that although Erich has formally stepped down, the guiding hand will always be there and we will hopefully see him and Barbara in the not too distant future!! Farewell and Thanks also to our National Treasurer, Rohan Lewis, who steps down after some 10 yrs in post. Again, another 'behind the scenes post' which Rohan took on for the benefit of FoN. Hopefully Rohan will still maintain links with the NorFoN Group. We welcome long-time member Alan Gentle as the new FoN Treasurer. After the National AGM, the Norwich Group as per usual laid on a buffet spread with live music for all members - a great time to catch up with all our members from various parts of the UK. Our thanks to Norwich for hosting a great AGM event and making everyone so welcome .......................................................................


Diary date: FoN National AGM April 20th 2013 Next year’s  National AGM will be held on Sat. 20th April 2013. By popular demand the AGM will be again at Earby FoN House (probably late afternoon to allow full day for activities), with Accommodation provided for those attending for the Friday 19th and Saturday 20th nights. Organisation will be jointly, by NorFoN and Lancs FoN Groups. More details to follow, and on website

Northern F of N Groups’ Recognition  of  Erich and Barbara Schmidts’  Work Between 1996 and 2004 ,Erich and Barbara Schmidt, Erich being the President of FON UK and Barbara, the Northern group secretary, had the foresight ,the energy, the determination and drive to organise work parties and annual International Summer camps in Cunnery Wood,Halifax, West Yorkshire. The aim of this work was the restoration of the neglected wood, with the guidance of the Countryside Rangers. The Summer Camps attracted young people from mainly Eastern European countries for a one or two week working, conservation holiday, staying in hostel type accommodation, with the catering, some of the transport and help with the social aspects being provided by members of Friends of Nature. It was a true team effort. The work parties continued throughout the year using British members. Following  Erich  and  Barbara’s  move  from  Brighouse  to  Scotland  in  2004,  the  camps   and the work continued under the direction of Claire (nee Dinsdale) and Simon Watts and Michelle (nee Lee)Clarke-Edwards until 2008. In recognition of all their work and enthusiasm, the NorFon group decided to erect two benches in the wood, complete with commemorative plaques, and also planted a  tree  in  Erich  and  Barbara’s  name. The benches were installed in 2010, the plaques were added in 2011 and a Hornbeam tree was planted on Sunday 18th November 2012 by the members, in a specially cleared area overlooking the pond and one of the benches. Two members still continue maintenance work there with the rangers.

Pat Lee for NorFon Group

Walk to Gibson Mill near Hebden Bridge On a sunny cool day on 19th November 2011 a group met for the advertised Northern Group walk led by Simon Neal titled Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean. The main route (which was taken by the majority of people) was about 8 miles, but two of us decided to   do   Simon’s   alternative   shorter   route   following   the   river   in   Hardcastle   Crags   to   Gibson Mill. This was a very scenic, rocky, undulating path passing the stone stanchions which are the only evidence left of a huge wooden trestle bridge which carried a railway, built in 1902 to carry men and materials during the construction of the three Walshaw Dean reservoirs. The present woodland was mostly planted in the  1870’s  but  evidence  of  over  30  medieval   charcoal pits indicates that this has been a wooded valley for centuries. There is a rich and varied habitat with over 500 different species of fungi, lichens and mosses. The bird life is abundant and flora rich in variety. An internationally rare species, the northern hairy wood ant live here in their millions and build nests a metre high and two metres wide with several kilometres of tunnels going a metre underground. After passing weirs and mill ponds we arrived at Gibson Mill which was built around 1800 to produce cotton yarn. Horses and carts transported materials back and forth from the Rochdale canal at Hebden Bridge. The mill was extended in the mid 1800’s   to   accommodate   a   weaving   shed   and   a   steam   generator.     Towards   the   end   of   the   1800’s   transportation costs made the mill financially unviable. By 1902 production had ceased and the mill was transformed   into   an   entertainment   emporium.     At   it’s   peak   in   the   1920’s   over   500,000   people   a   year   visited   the mill. The top floor was a restaurant divided into two halves. First class diners looked out over the mill pond and the second class diners had a view of the courtyard. The weaving shed was used for roller skating and lessons were given by Arnold Binns who set world   records   for   endurance   skating   in   the   1930’s.     Fuelled by a diet of tripe and Horlicks, he roller-skated from   John   o’Groats   to   Lands   End.     The   first   floor   was   used for dancing. Outside, the mill pond had pleasure boats, there were donkey rides, swing boats, an ice cream parlour and pavilions throughout the estate selling light refreshments. Decline started as car ownership increased and people could travel further and faster and when the owner died in 1956 the mill closed. Hardcastle Crags had been given to the National Trust in 1950 and Gibson Mill was given to them in 1956. The mill remained closed until 2005 when restoration of the buildings was undertaken and they are now a model of environmental self-sufficiency with a museum and café. There is no link to the national grid, nor any mains water or sewerage. The original 1927 hydro turbine converts water power into electricity generating 9 kilowatts an hour. The photovoltaic panels on the roof generate 4.5 kilowatts an hour at the height of summer and a small hydro turbine has been installed to generate 1.5 kilowatts an hour to supplement the batteries  when  the  river  level  is  low  or  the  sun  doesn’t  shine.    The  total  energy  running  cost   of the complex is one kilowatt per hour. There are a series of heaters around the complex which convert the excess electricity generated into heat. Low energy light bulbs are used and the fridge is ten times more efficient than a standard one. All water is from a spring, fed down a pipe by gravity to the mill. 40 tonnes of wood a year are used from the estate.

Logs are burnt in a biomass boiler to provide hot water for drinks and washing up. The water is heated to 85 degrees in the boiler and stored in a 2,500 litre tank in the kitchen. An electric zip boiler is then used for hot drinks. In the café there is a ceramic stove (common in the Baltic States) where logs are burnt to provide heat. The heat circulates through a series of internal chambers that gradually warm up and emit heat throughout the day, rather than being lost up the chimney. The lift measures the weight of the people in it and counterbalances it, enabling muscle power alone to be used for moving the lift up and down. The composting toilets use centrifugal force to separate liquid from solid waste. The solid waste is held in a tank with a twelve month capacity, broken down by worms and converted into fertiliser. A long pipe with a series of holes in it stretches underneath the meadow allowing liquid waste to be gradually filtered and put back into the water system. Recycled products are used wherever possible – the crockery is second-hand and the interpretation panels are made of recycled yoghurt pots and CDs. The furniture is made from sustainable timber and the majority of the wood used in the restoration came from the estate. Waste is kept to an absolute minimum so where possible no packaging is used. All products are locally sourced and all property vehicles run on bio-diesel. This was an excellent walk full of natural, historical and environmental interest. Jan Green ................................................................................................................................................ Northern F of N Derbyshire Weekend The Northern Group organised a weekend away from 8 th – 10th June, staying at Hartington Hall Youth Hostel in Hartington, Derbyshire. Eight members had originally booked to go but, at the last minute, 2 members were unable to join us, leaving a select group of six, Pat & John Lee, Michelle & Mya Clarke-Edwards, June & Peter Noble. Four of us arrived on the Friday in time for the evening meal, with June and Peter arriving at bed time. Saturday dawned dull and cloudy, with the obvious potential for rain. We, therefore, decided to visit Poole Cavern in Buxton. It was very interesting and Mya, who had just celebrated her 4 th birthday, thought it was all very exciting with all the stalactites and stalagmites and the river, down in the cavern, in full flow. From there the Lee/Clarke- Edwards contingency walked into the centre of Buxton in the rain and took refuge in The Buxton Pavilion where we had lunch, looked around the craft shop and just had a relaxing afternoon  there,  whilst  Mya  played  happily  in  the  children’s  corner  with  other  children  whose   families had the same idea as us – to stay warm and dry. June and Peter also went into Buxton, had lunch and a short walk around in the rain. We met up at the evening meal in the hostel and spent a pleasant evening together. Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny and after a very good breakfast and vacating our rooms, we bid farewell to June and Peter who had other plans. We set off ,in the sunshine in complete contrast to the previous day, for a lovely walk from the hostel, through fields ,along part of the River Dove, returning to Hartington village via little country lanes, in time for afternoon tea in the little PO/café, before making the journey home. It was a very enjoyable weekend in a lovely, comfortable hostel full of character, in a pretty area of Derbyshire.  It  was  a  pity  more  people  couldn’t  join  us  ‘ Pat Lee Secretary NorFoN

Northern Group Barbecue 17th July 2011 The venue of this annual event had to be changed at fairly short notice and Rohan and Julie Lewis kindly volunteered to host it at their house near Hull. The weather  forecast  wasn’t  very  good  with  heavy  thundery  showers  likely. I think this perhaps put some people off as not many turned up. Allan and I set off and it got darker and darker, and just as we got to the Humber Bridge the heavens opened and down came the rain. It was thundering and lightening and the rain It didn’t   last   very   long   and   by   the   time   we   arrived   at   the   barbecue   venue   the   sun   was   out   again. We had a plentiful supply of food nicely cooked by Christopher (the son of Rohan and Julie who was on his winter break halfway through his 4th year at university in Sydney). There were a few light showers during the afternoon but we sat under the cover of a gazebo so stayed dry. Eventually we all drifted inside and sat and talked for a good long time before Michelle left as it was bedtime for her daughter Mya. Allan and I then left and booked into the nearby Travelodge for the night, taking advantage of being in a different area. The following day we went to Spurn Point at the mouth of the River Humber and had a good long, very windswept walk all around the point. It is an unusual, spectacular place being a National Nature Reserve and also home to the Humber lifeboat and pilots. There are views of the southern bank of the Humber along with the dock tower at Grimsby. This is a hydraulic accumulator tower and a famous maritime landmark. It was completed on 27 March 1852 with the purpose of containing a 30,000 UK gallon (136 m³) hydraulic wrought iron reservoir at a height of 200 feet (61 m), to provide hydraulic power (rather than a supply of water) to the lock gates and cranes of Grimsby docks. The extreme height of the tower was necessary to achieve sufficient pressure. Also visible from Spurn Point is Bull Sand Fort which is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from shore off Spurn Head. This is one of two of the Humber Forts which are large fortifications in the mouth of the Humber estuary. The two forts were planned in 1914 to protect the entrance to the estuary. They stand 18 metres (59 ft) above the water and have a diameter of 25 metres (82 ft). There was accommodation for 200 soldiers. Starting in May 1915, they took more than four years to build and construction was not finished until December 1919. During World War II they were reactivated and modernised. The forts were regularly attacked by enemy aircraft. During this time netting was put in place to prevent enemy submarines travelling up the estuary to Hull or Grimsby. The forts were finally deserted by the military in 1956. In 1987 Bull Sand Fort was given a Grade 2 listed building status. To find out more go to: Jan Green Bull Sand Fort

The (2nd) Cross Morecambe Bay Walk, 14th July 2012 Myself and my dog Isla, along with Simon Neal with his dog Barney and around ten other FoN members met at the start of one of the big charity walks across Morecambe Bay in July this year, this was the second time for some of us and as in 2010, it was a day to remember. We joined hundreds of people walking in aid of various charities including mountaineer Chris Bonington, who was spotted walking for Friends of the Lake District. We all met at the promenade in the pretty village of Arnside for the 2pm start, it was a dry day which was lucky given the weather last summer and at times the sun even came out which is always a bonus. The walk was led by Cedric Robinson, the official Queens Guide to the sands, therefore although conscious of the dangers that Morecambe Bay can hold, we felt confident in the route Cedric had planned (he plans the route the day before and marks it with branches stuck in to the sand). The walk is approximately 8 miles long and took around 4 hours to complete, it started with a mile or so skirting the estuary then walking through the caravan park in Frith Wood to emerge on to the huge expanse of Morecambe Bay. We headed out on to the sand, walking in the middle of the bay and heading directly out to sea, which felt odd given that our eventual destination was the other side of the bay.

It was mainly dry underfoot with just one or two shallow channels to cross until we came to the last crossing which was the Kent River, this was about 300 metres wide and at times mid thigh deep. Everyone had to wait for Cedric to blow his whistle before starting, which made the crossing quite a spectacle. My dog loves water and took on the challenge swimming with a stick in her mouth, which she had carried from the beginning of the walk. Barney (Simon’s  dog)  on  the  other  hand  used  the  ‘bouncing   on  his  two  back  paws’  technique,  although  Simon  will  say  he  swam   the whole way! We then took a big right hand turn towards Kents Bank and walked the last couple of miles to the station; this included crossing the salt marshes which were particularly slippery and extremely boggy due to all the summer rain. The last train which would take us back to Arnside was due at 6.30pm and the final 20 minutes were a bit nerve jangling as I wondered whether we would make it in time as hundreds of people squeezed through one small stile to get on to the platform. Thankfully our entire group just made it and dogs and all got on to the train with seconds to spare. We finished off the day back in Arnside with fantastic fish and chips. A great time was had by all and £85 was raised for FON Nepal Kerry White. Lancs FoN

NORWICH NEWS THROUGH THE YEAR 2012 National/Norwich AGM April 21st Eight members from the Northern group travelled to Norwich for the AGM, and seven members from Norwich were present. Erich Schmidt, vice President, Rohan Lewis, National Treasurer and Myra Gentle, Assistant National Secretary, resigned after many years of service on the National Committee. They were thanked for their hard work by the President, John Bowles. Alan Gentle is now National Treasurer. Later the same day Norwich held their AGM, followed by a Cheese and wine /Social Evening with Live music and dancing. It was a very enjoyable night and thanks go to Mick and Margaret for their hard work. ...................................................................................................................................................................................... Turkey May 14th Eleven members travelled to Marmaris , staying at the 5* All Inclusive Ideal Palm Beach It was a beautiful hotel, and the food sumptuous. We had a lovely time, all doing our own thing during the day and meeting up at in the evening for drinks. Our luggage was a bit heavier coming home due to several handbags, watches, and jewellery being purchased at the local shops...... Thanks to John Hubbard for organising the week at quite short notice .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Bowls and Buffet June 17th Forty members gathered for the Bowls n Buffet Sunday at Woodbastwick Village Hall. Twenty four members competed in the bowls competition. Philip Howes, (pictured) won, and was awarded the Gordon Oakley Cup. A magnificent two course buffet was provided by Margaret Mickleburgh, helped by Tracey Mickleburgh and Barbara Walker. Thanks to Mick Mickleburgh for arranging the day and the matches ......................................................................................................................................................................................

Petanque and Buffet. August 5th On a beautifully hot and sunny Sunday, 38 members gathered at Hevingham Village Hall for a fun competition of Petanque. After a morning coffee, we started the games at 11 30am with the knock-out rounds. About six games were played before we had a break for lunch. A magnificent two course buffet was prepared and catered by Margaret Mickleburgh, assisted by Barbara Walker and Jean Dugdale. Well done Ladies.. The games resumed, but before we could get to a winning team the heavens opened and the game had to be curtailed. Inside the Hall, a game was played for a bottle of gin, and a raffle was held; it’s just a pity that the weather `dampened’  the  last  hour  of  a  very  enjoyable   day. Thanks once again to our organiser, Mick Mickleburgh

WORZEL GUMMIDGE WOULD BE PROUD OF WRAY The rendezvous was at Wennington Station, in Lancashire. There was Barney the dog, Simon the Leader, and five women. We walked under the umbrella of Friends of Nature, Lancashire, although no real umbrellas were needed on that glorious Thursday in May. Our destination was Wray, and its Scarecrow festival, via footpaths which took us through a picture postcard landscape of bluebell woods, fields and country lanes bursting with spring flowers,including violets. Sheila, one of the walkers, thought for a moment she`d been transported back to her native Devon, and the sweet smelling violets that were picked, along with primroses, in those far off days. Anne, visiting from New Zealand, was captivated by the `real` bluebells, and not the pale Spanish apologies that seem to be taking over. We played  “spot  the  signposts”,  which  took  us  through  working  farms,  until  we  finally  arrived  at   the outskirts of Wray, where our first sighting of a Scarecrow indicated the right direction to follow. We eschewed the low road, and ascended a higher path, through yet more bluebell woods and some superb views across the valley below. Finally arriving in Wray, we were greeted by a splendid array of Scarecrows, representing assorted themes. The Diamond Jubilee, of course, with the Queen and her accompanying corgis, the Titanic, it being 100 years since its tragic sinking, even a tableau of Oliver Twist, asking for more food, in recognition of the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. At one end of the village we found Wray Women`s Institute, where we partook of an excellent lunch, and then some of us progressed to Wray Primary School, and joined an audience of parents, grandparents, and visitors, awaiting an entertainment by the children. There were songs, with actions, and some nifty skipping around the Maypole, as the children kept a tight grip on their allocated ribbons. Without ever putting a foot wrong (well, hardly ever!) they spun and wove intricate patterns to represent the Barber`s Pole, and other traditional dances, each time unwinding their ribbons ready to start again. Needless to say, to great applause! Then it was time to wend our way back to Wennington Railway Station. Walks always seem shorter and look different when done `backwards`, and so it was. Back to our assorted transport, with a welcome cuppa from Kath`s trusty thermos and a treat to eat. Then, time to go our separate ways. Well done Wray. The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook, aka Worzel Gummidge, and ever in the memory as portrayed by Jon Pertwee, would have been proud. Perhaps he was keeping a beady eye on the proceedings from Ten Acre Field, with his”heart  of  gold,  and  a  nest  of  robins  in  his  pocket”.

Thanks go to Simon, for organising the day, and leading an excellent walk, with only occasional interference from the other walkers. And Barney the dog wagged his tail in agreement. Sheila Goodman.

Friends of Nature Kirk Yetholm Birthday Party Sunday 16th September – Neighbours and well-wishers gathered in the newly opened Friends of Nature House to celebrate 70 years of offering accommodation to hikers in Kirk Yetholm - and to look forward to another era in the hostel's history. A new National Trail from Kirk Yetholm to Cape Wrath is to be opened on 30th October, so our village's prominence in the world of long distance hiking will be underlined. Hopefully the new trail will bring extra business to the much-loved hostel.

Guests were welcomed by the new warden, Simon Neal (far right) before tucking in to party food and taking the opportunity to look around the hostel. Local MP Michael Moore was due to launch the event, but business in Edinburgh prevented him from attending. Instead our very own David Hutchinson (right), chairman of the Community Council, gave a celebratory speech (see below) “When something functions well for years and years we nearly always fall into the habit of well, just taking it for granted. When we are young we don't think about walking and running we just do it - until of course something goes wrong and we can no longer walk. This is rather like we felt here in Yetholm when we heard at the end of last year that this Youth Hostel was closing: impossible! - It’s always been part of us. Yetholm without a Youth Hostel would be like an amputation. Well, we scrabbled around for doctors and surgeons and it seemed to be a terminal case. Thankfully however, it wasn't - thanks to 'Dr' Simon Neal and the Friends of Nature House who came to the rescue and amputation was avoided. As a village community we cannot express sufficiently our thanks to Simon for his immense belief in the Youth Hostel movement and the untiring effort that he has made to bring this Hostel back to life. These days Yetholm has to look to its assets to survive and our best asset is our location amidst some of the finest hill scenery in Britain - not great mountains, but hills that are eminently ‘walkable’, yet still challenging and with a solitude and beauty all of their own. Add to that, the fact that we are the terminus of that great national Walk -the Pennine Way we are the halfway point of the St. Cuthbert's Way Walk and from October 30 the starting point of a new national walk - the Gore-Tex National Trail - which ends at Cape Wrath. What a place this is to be!! I am sure that all these walkers need us - and we of course need them: they are to a large extent our future. So this is an inspirational day and on behalf of Yetholm Community Council and all the people of Yetholm we wish this Youth Hostel every success. We bestow on Simon our heartfelt gratitude for his energy, enthusiasm and foresight and we look to the future with optimism and indeed excite

Spotlight on West Africa: CASE Togo and protection of biodiversity Ever since their foundation, protecting the biodiversity has been a key issue to the Togolese Friends of Nature (CASE Togo-Amis de la Nature). Togo is situated in the humid zone of Western Africa, a region that is characterised by rich biodiversity threatened by human activities. According to the United Nations, this is one of the regions that should be protected as priority as more than half of the existing species are already extinct. Togo’s humid   regions   are   real   “biodiversity   refuges”,   largely   due to palaeogeographical and palaeoecological factors as well as the special ecological conditions that led to the development of heterogeneous forests that alternate with the Guinea-Savanna type vegetation. However, these forests have been impaired by agriculture for several decades now. In the 1980s, a large part was converted to coffee and cocoa plantations. From 1990 on, when the global price for coffee and cocoa fell sharply, the situation became aggravated again due to massive pressure from charcoal production, intensive logging of the forests for building timber, bush fires, hunting and overexploitation of soils. Against this background, CASE Togo implements reforestation programmes. In the organisation’s  own  tree  nursery  as  well  as  in  school  and  village  tree  nurseries,  thousands  of  young   plants are grown and then planted out. The focus is on three categories of trees: •  Those that are threatened to become extinct because of overexploitation, e.g. ebony, iroko trees and mahogany; •   quickly growing species such as the Terminalia surperba (Limba), Terminalia ivorensis (black afara), Cordia alliodora (Spanish elm) und Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar); they are planted to quickly provide the local population with firewood and building timber and thus alleviate the pressure on the forests and the species becoming extinct; •  species with a fertilising effect in order to support agriculture without chemical fertilisers. The key project on the subject of reforestation is called “Planting Trees – Saving  Rivers” and is supported by International Friends of Nature. The aims of the project are the protection and renaturalisation of gallery forests and forests along streams, both of which play a vital role in protecting biodiversity. Additionally, their ecosystems interact with the ecological cycles of streams, improve water quality, help to fix the banksides, lessen the effects of waste water and chemical waste that are discharged into the river upstream, reduce the water temperature and thus contribute to a better dissolution of oxygen in the water, which is beneficial for the water fauna and flora. All reforestation projects involve the local population as the Togolese Friends of Nature are especially  concerned  with  raising  the  villagers’  awareness  for  sensible  use  of  the  tree  populations.   As more than 40 % of the Togolese population are pupils and students, a special focus is on environmental education and biodiversity protection in schools. In Friends of Nature environment clubs, pupils are taught the methods and techniques of producing plants and planting out. Furthermore, the adolescents are introduced to environmentally friendly behaviour and trained to initiate their own projects to improve their living environment. The practical work at schools is

complemented by  discussion  events  with  illustrative  photos  on  topics  such  as  “The   importance  of  trees”,  “Togolese  plant  and  animal  species   threatened  with  extinction”  and “The   importance  of  protecting  biodiversity”.   By reforestation projects and raising awareness, Friends of Nature Togo do everything in their power to work against those processes that are destructive to the fauna and flora of the country Pablo Victor Agbogan,

President of CASE Togo-Amis de la Nature

A VERY LONG WALK IN SPAIN: - walking the El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) Friends of Nature member Bill Goodman has recently completed his second Camino, walking from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, across the Pyrenees, and then along the scallop-shell-way-marked footpath to Santiago de Compostela, and its magnificent Cathedral, where Pilgrims may give thanks, and be greeted on the successful completion of their Camino. The first time for Bill was in 2009, when he completed the 500 mile walk, journey, pilgrimage, in 27 days. The second time, with John, his Good Companion, they took slightly longer and finished in 33 days. In a nutshell, (or maybe a scallop shell!) here are a few of the bare facts... First and foremost, the Confraternity of Saint James produces an annual, up-to-date Pilgrims Guide to the Camino. It`s a source of essential and invaluable information, with details of items of interest along the way, and, most important of all, distances between the hostels or albergues where pilgrims will find a bed for the night. Some people set off, and take each day as it comes! For others, and this included Bill and John there was no substitute for meticulous planning, failing to plan being planning to fail! The planning process being part of their preparation and familiarisation with the Camino, in the light of Bill`s previous experience, but also in recognition, that, three years older, a slower approach might be needed. Plans of course can always be modified, but it`s always advisable to have a `backup` plan, just in case. Walkers might not reach their chosen hostel for any number of reasons, on the other hand, they may be so energised that they decide to walk on, and head for the next albergue down the line! Walkers quickly learn the tricks of the trek. Albergues cannot be pre-booked, that`s part of the spirit of the Camino. So, aim to arrive early in the afternoon, and choose a `bottom bunk`, unless you like to be on the top tier of three! Have an early shower, too, before a long queue forms. A good motto for Pilgrims is - Early to bed, Early to rise, makes a man (and woman too) healthy, wealthy and wise, especially wise! Be up and away before the break of day. Then, walk, until you find the first cafĂŠ that is open, where the first, and then the second, cup of coffee hits the spot, getting the adrenalin going and the leg muscles working. Arrive early at your next destination, where a cold beer may await you in the village square. There`s no substitute for preparation and training, mental and physical. Walking to build up fitness and confidence prior to departure, packing nothing but bare essentials, and then leaving some behind! Remember that everything must be carried, or worn, and your10 kilo backpack, including a Camelbak to carry three litres of essential water, stays with you, whatever the weather and whatever the temperature. Attention to feet and footwear prevents blisters, the bane of a Pilgrim`s life. Having set the scene that Bill and John followed, there are other ways of completing the Camino, and being rewarded with the Compostela or Certificate, which is issued at Santiago de Compostela after you present your Carnet de Pelerine de Saint Jacques, or Passport, which is stamped at every Albergue en route. Some people choose to walk the Camino in stages, for example, for two weeks every year; others may use a courier service to transport their backpacks ahead to the next albergue, some cycle, or go on horseback, or catch a bus, there are many variations on the theme. Some people build in `rest days`, to linger awhile and explore any of the small cities, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, and at the end Santiago. Some go even further to Finisterre, or the end of the earth and of the known world, as it seemed to folk in the Middle Ages. But the true and genuine pilgrim will walk, and experience all the feelings that result from carrying all your worldly possessions on your back, with a trusty stick or two walking poles to propel you along. Cont: over

Bill and John experienced the full gamut of weather, from knee deep snow as they crossed the Pyrenees, through rain, hail, sleet and, and temperatures of 35 degrees centigrade. They walked through the Basque lands, the barren and soulless areas of the Meseta, and the lush green fields and pastures of Galicia in the west. All across Europe there are other Camino ways to Santiago de Compostela. Some start in the UK. The Camino Francaise is one. A friend visiting from New Zealand has recently completed the Camino Portuguesa.”  This  is  a  shorter  and  possibly  lovelier  walk.   Most people start this in Porto, (famous for its port wine). From here it takes about ten days to walk to Santiago, staying in albergues, (a bunk bed and a shower for only 5 Euros) or pensions. It is a gentle amble of 20 to 25 kilometres each day through a Portuguese landscape of fields, vineyards and woods. A most pleasurable way to spend 10 days or more with the added bonus of meeting people from all over Europe and further afield. There are as many reasons for walking as there are walkers. For some it is a lifelong dream, arising from a religious faith. Others seek a break from daily routines. Others want to return to a simpler way of living, or to become immersed in Spanish history and culture, or to test themselves physically. Each person has a tale to tell, and to share with other walkers, either along the way, or, in the albergues at the end of the day. There`s also something for everyone in terms of language, history, geography, food, flora and fauna, culture, history, churches, music, and the rich tapestry that life has to offer. As for Bill and John, their impressions and memories include the following: “A  daily  cuckoo  serenading  us  almost  every  morning,  as  if  it  were  accompanying  us  every  step  of   the way; the regular routine of packing, putting on, and carrying a 20lb rucksack; the degree of subsistence farming in hamlet and village; hostel toilets minus their seats; queues in the larger towns and cities for the Euro Lottery tickets; the heavy and prolonged snoring of some fellow pilgrims;;  conversations  with  the  people  we  met  along  the  way...”   And no doubt others will have their own memories and impressions after meeting Bill and John! Bill Goodman

Start of the Pilgrimage St. Jean Pied de Port, French Pyrenees

The Final Destination Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain

Cont: over

NATURFREUNDE MOVEMENT The Friends of Nature movement started in 1895 from Vienna, Austria by the working middle class, who wanted to give value to their own life and their family. They wanted to link their activities and leisure with their friends and family to nature. The movement went several ups and downs in this long span and at present Friends of Nature are one of the largest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide and a member of the Green 10, the platform of the ten largest European environmental organizations. We have more than 500000 members spread all over the world and more than 1000 houses / huts to live in spread in Europe alone with more than 50 full-fledged offices under the umbrella. The members are active in local groups and are represented in regional, national and federal associations. Friends of Nature NEPAL In Nepal, with the above mentioned views, our organization was formed in 1994 by some enthusiastic young people. Our members come from various walks of life. In 1995 we got the status of Partner Organization from International Friends of Nature. Now we do various small projects / activities related to the conservation of environment. You are always welcome to see and know more from our website and if you are interested in our activities, in participation, etc. you are welcome to contact us and to get our newsletters join our yahoo e-group (naturetour), by sending your valid email address in: . To give sustainability to our various activities, we organize eco-treks in different parts of Nepal - Everest Region, Annapurna Region, Langtang Region & Other Areas. Our eco-treks are basically done by our own members, who have a good experience both in the conservation as well as handling nature-lover trekkers. We also organize educational and cultural walks in and around Kathmandu. If you are planning to come over to Nepal, and want to interact and trek with us, please see our trekking page or you can contact us at: FRIENDS OF NATURE – NEPAL Prakriti Ka Sathiharu 1557 Ram Shah Path GPO Box 10544 Kathmandu, NEPAL E mail:

Friends of Nature Houses in the UK 1 - Court Hill Court Hill, Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 9NE (0)1235 760253 2 - Earby 9-11 Birch Hall Lane, Earby, Lancashire BB18 6JX (0)1282 842349

8 - Lawrenny Millennium Hostel, Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, Wales SA68 0PN (0)1646 651270

3 - Jack's Place Kessingland Beach, Kessingland, Norfolk (0)1603 409884

9 - Kirk Yetholm Friends of Nature House, Waukford, Kirk Yetholm, Kelso, Roxburghshire. TD5 8PG Tel/Fax: (0)1573 420639

4 - Trefin The Old School Hostel, Ffordd-yr-Afon, Trefin, Pembrokeshire SA62 5AU (0)1348 831 800

For full details see the Friends of Nature Houses Guide or: For the 800+ houses in Europe and the rest of the world see: IFN details:

5 - Skiddaw Bassenthwaite, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4QX (0)7747 174293 6 - Wetherdown The Sustainability Centre, Droxford Road, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 1HR (0)1730 823 549 7 - Dervaig Dervaig Village Hall, Dervaig, Isle of Mull, Scotland PA75 6QW (0)1688 400491

FoN UK Bulletin 2012  

News and details of past and forthcoming events of Friends of Nature UK

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you