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Blackdown Hills Transition Group

Could Beavers save Britain from flooding?

The notion of ‘Re-Wilding’ can raise strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Locally this currently focuses on the Beaver. There is however national interest (the information below is from the Guardian newspaper) in their potential to reduce ‘downstream’ flooding.
The experimental site in Devon is vivid proof of how beavers create a wildlife paradise, re-engineering small valleys with amphibian- and insect-friendly ponds. Scientific studies show that their dams remove pollutants from water – they are particularly effective at filtering out harmful phosphates – and reduce floodwater peaks. Enthusiasts proclaim these large herbivores could become 21st-century water engineers, protecting towns from flooding. But some farmers hate beavers because their dams can also flood productive land.
But it’s the beavers’ water works that have really struck those studying the Devon site. During heavy rain, the volume of water flow increases rapidly above the site, creating a dramatic spike in the graph. But when the floodwater is measured again below the site, there is a gentle curve. In other words, the beavers dramatically reduce the peak flow of floodwater on this stream.
So, it appears that Beavers are good for wildlife & they could reduce the flooding in river valleys after heavy rainfall. However, they can also flood farm land so would need to be managed. As home owners we don’t want to be flooded, but neither do we want to lose significant farm land. I wonder what next year will bring for this famous West Country resident?

- Tim Clewer, Blackdown Hills Transition Group

Don't chuck it - see if the Repair Café can fix it

A vacuum cleaner was amongst the 19 electrical items brought into the Blackdown Hills Repair Café recently which, apparently, hadn’t been working properly for some time.  On close inspection, one of our five electrical volunteers was able to pinpoint the problem – the dustbag was blocked!  So it’s not always a major problem that confronts our electrical team, sometimes it can be a simple one which could, perhaps, save an item from being discarded to landfill as “broken”. 

Our team of 36 volunteer repairers now includes a clock and watch specialist who was kept pretty busy at his first event.  Another new feature was our table of unwanted tools.  One of our tool repairers had been given a couple of boxes of them only days beforehand, and we put them on show for people to help themselves, for a small donation.  So, if you have any unwanted tools, please let us know – we can collect them in advance, ensure they are “roadworthy” and offer them at our next Repair Café. 

And a group of the seamstresses (no seamsters, yet!) are “plotting” to introduce a re-purposing/upcycling section where items which have passed their sell-by date for their original use can be given a new lease of life as something else.  For example, part of an old tent was turned into a waterproof dog jacket!  All ideas – and materials – gratefully received, so let’s get creative….. 

Bacon butties will again be joining the array of delicious home-made cakes and scones at our next Repair Café on Saturday, 26th January, 2019, from 10am – 12 noon-ish, at Hemyock Parish Hall, so do pop in, if not with something that needs fixing then just to find out more about how the Repair Café works……and for a spot of breakfast!  For more information, please contact, or 01823 602 908 or find us on Facebook at RepairCafeBlackdowns.