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It is with great sadness that the North Somerset Hawk and Owl Trust group have decided to step down. Currently, there is nobody available to step into the shoes of the committee and group activities in North Somerset have come to an end, marking the end of an era for the Hawk and Owl Trust North Somerset Group.  

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Image: Long-standing members of Hawk and Owl Trust north somerset on a bench around the year 2000
Left to right: Sally Lee, Keith Lapham, Barbera Handley, Roger Mosses and Mike Lee.

The group was started by former Trust chairman Barbara Handley and dates back more than 30 years with many of the present members and committee having been actively involved for most of that time. Their annual series of summer walks and winter talks have been well attended and have helped greatly to promote the work of the Trust in the region. Together with recruiting many members,  they have always represented the Trust valiantly at local public events such as the annual Bristol Festival of Nature and Bath & West shows.  


Image: Former Trust chairman Barbara Handley

Their monthly newsletter has kept HOT members well informed of local and national activities together with numerous interesting snippets of information about conservation in the area. They have also worked hard monitoring Kestrel boxes and acted as a ‘first point of call’ for numerous queries from the public over the years.

In 1990 Peregrine Falcons (then a very rare species) started nesting in the Avon Gorge near Bristol. Local group members joined the Bristol Ornithological Club to organise a watch group and following that, a watch group for ‘their own’ falcons was started at Portishead.  They held one of the Trust’s first members' meetings at Barbara Handley’s home at Clifton Wood – members still recounting the tale of how a Peregrine flew overhead just as she started to speak to members. The members’ insistence of turning out whatever the weather was noted by long-standing member Barry (Baz) Gray. He recalled retreating to a pub during a trip to the Chilterns to observe Kites. The pub had a wonderful roaring fire whilst outside there was driving sleet. After two hours he stood up and said “If we want to see kites, we need to leave now…” Evidently nobody moved. “Nice pub,” said someone “Shame about the Kites”.

The group has long supported the Hawk and Owl Trust’s developments at Shapwick Moor both financially and physically. We send all the group members in North Somerset and beyond our very much appreciated thanks for all their efforts over the long years that they have been associated with the Trust. Hopefully, they will continue to support our activities near and as the lockdown restrictions of Covid slowly end.  A huge thank you goes out from everyone at the Trust for the incalculable number of hours put into supporting our aims.

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