Deer Leap Wednesday November 10th When we arrived at the site it was busy with vehicles coming and going. There were walkers across the field; a couple sitting on one of the benches and two people with binoculars. A beautiful crisp and cold day with bright sunshine and blue skies had brought many out to admire the views which were breathtaking in the clear light. Walking across the field to the far stile allowed us to enjoy the views whilst checking the site. We could see helicopters on manoeuvres and even a hot air balloon. Whilst cleaning the picnic site we were congratulated by a lady (with a dog and a camera) for picking up litter, even the dog waste. We also found many spent fireworks and a monstrous carved pumpkin that someone had tossed into the brambles. Hopefully this may provide a source of food for some wildlife. The wall edging the car park had been demolished in several places and the stones scattered. As Rangers we had taken part in a collective wall rebuild at the beginning of the year. It looks as though we need to repeat the exercise. We always feel very satisfied when we have cleaned up a site knowing that we have helped to add to the enjoyment of those who come here. Beneath one of the trees, with a commemoration plaque, a single wild poppy bloomed. The surname on the plaque was ‘Churchill’ - very apt for the eve of Remembrance Day. Burrington Ham Friday November 19th The car park at the bottom of Burrington Combe was busy with two Activity Groups preparing to set off to climb and explore nearby swallets. A couple donning walking boots applauded our efforts in litter picking and showed great indignation at the thoughtlessness of members of the public who discard rubbish. The day was cold but bright after some heavy rain during the previous week. As a result areas of the car park were flooded and very muddy. At first glance there was not much evidence of litter, however. As we covered the area of car park and grass, we did discover bottles, cartons and sandwich containers amongst other things. Some people had tried to be responsible by cramming their rubbish into the waste bin by the toilet block. This was completely full to overflowing and clearing it is necessary if the public are expected to be disposing of rubbish on the site. There was a wonderful smell of earthiness and wet woodland as we climbed onto the Ham where it was sunny and warm. No evidence of litter made our site visit there pleasurable and very satisfactory. Blackmoor Reserve Wednesday November 24th A dog walkers’ paradise or so it would seem considering the amount of dog waste on the site today. When enjoying a stroll here with your dog - PLEASE bring the necessary litter bags to clear up after it. This would certainly ensure that the rest of the public can enjoy the Reserve including the large number of children who come here from Charterhouse for bush craft and to visit the historical parts of the site. Walking up the beech avenue where the leaves were thick and crisp underfoot, we saw large creamy coloured fungi at the base of the trees. The woodland beneath the path level was quite flooded and the pond has filled with the autumn rains. The temperature fell rapidly as we walked, although there was little wind. Retracing our steps back to the car park a beautiful sunset greeted us from the west - Another satisfactory site visit accomplished!