This year’s Members Weekend was hosted by the Fylingdales Moor team on the 4th and 5th of October and was held at the Sneaton Castle Centre in Whitby. This is adjacent to St. Hilda’s Priory, the Mother House of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, an Anglican religious community.
After Registration and coffee Members and Trustees were welcomed by local Trustee John McEachen who gave a brief history of Whitby. This was followed by ‘Fylingdales Moor – A Special Place’ a presentation given by the Wildlife Ranger Chris Hansell who covered 140 million years of the moor’s history, archaeology, flora and fauna in 40 minutes!! A short break was then taken to recover from this hectic ride before Professor John Edwards, a former Fylingdales Trustee, gave his talk on the 10 years of the Fylingdales Moor Bird Survey, of which he is the co-ordinator. He mentioned how the number of species recorded on the Moor, both in the survey and otherwise, now stands at 129 then showed a table with the top bird species recorded and how some species fluctuated according to the weather. He also mentioned how he would like the survey work to continue.
This was followed by a presentation from Wilf Norman of the North York Moors Raptor Group on Merlins of the North York Moors during which he showed the distribution of Merlins and talked about how climate and moorland management could affect breeding.
In the afternoon Chris, assisted by Outreach and Education Officer Tanya Eyre along with John, showed Members and Trustees two areas of the moor so they could get an idea of the size of the moor, the logistical problems and some of it’s many wonders. Firstly they went up to Stoupe Brow to enjoy views over the moor and out to sea as well as Robin Hood’s Bay, then they moved on to Jugger Howe for a walk on this section. At the top of the steps the group split into two and whilst Chris led a small party along the escarpment of Jugger Slack Tanya took the remainder into the Slack and along the Nature Trail Boardwalk.
Later this was followed by an Evening Meal back at Sneaton Castle where everybody had a chance to mingle and discuss the day and various other topics.
The following day Philip Merricks, Chairman of the Trust, welcomed Members to the AGM Day. After which a round-up of the regions was given by representatives of the 3 Moors and included updates from Local Member’s Groups and the Bath and Norwich Urban Peregrine Projects who told those present that the Norwich Cathedral webcam on Facebook had received over 3 million hits!! A break was held for tea, coffee and registration for the AGM before the meeting started in earnest.
We are delighted to welcome Henry Shaw and Martin Reader to the Board of Trustees – both bringing a suite of business and organisational skills that will be of great benefit to the Trust. We are also very pleased to welcome back – long standing Trustee, and internationally renowned expert on birds of prey, Jemima Parry Jones. Last but by no means least, we are very privileged to have Professor Ian Newton join us as Vice President. Professor Newton is a world authority on birds of prey and will help us increase our research programmes.
There was a positive feeling in the room that the AGM had been one of the most open and inclusive ones the Trust has held, hopefully encouraging members to feel they have much to contribute. Many thoughts and suggestions were aired and discussed over the weekend with some being acted on immediately.
Prior to departure Members had another chance to taste the excellent food which had been provided all weekend by the Centre’s Staff.
A big thank you from the Staff on Fylingdales Moor to everyone who attended, we enjoyed your company and we hope you enjoyed your time here and will visit us again.