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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wed 24th Aug 2011 - Watershoot Bay, Niton.

Carrie's Photographs.

Mark's Photographs.

The IW Green Gym conservation group held their weekly session last week on Watershoot Bay, 29 volunteers took part on this, the group's adopted beach. This is the fourth successive year in which the group has cleaned the shore of debris, the majority of which had been washed in on the tide. Over that period more than 100 bags have been removed from the beach. Again this year's beach clean was possible with thanks to help from The National Trust and the CPRE.

In total, the following items were collected :-

13 full bags of rubbish

1 large acetylene type gas canister

1 25lt oil drum

2 large tangles of rope

4 x 1m sq pieces of plastic

A large rudder

"I would like to thank everyone who joined us on the day. Amongst a wide variety of things we found polystyrene, plastic bottles and segments of fishing net of varying sizes, just some examples of the many hundreds of items recovered, all potentially harmful to marine life or sea-birds and now safely removed. The information we gather all goes towards the ongoing campaign for cleaner seas."

Mark Russell, IW Green Gym chairman

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

An unusual find this week in the location of Watershoot Bay, of a plant that is becoming rare in Britain - Atropa Belladonna or more commonly Deadly Nightshade. The bell-shaped flowers are tyrian purple with green tinges and faintly scented, and its fruits are berries which are green ripening to a shiny black. It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages it was used as an anaesthetic for surgery, and the ancient Romans used it as a poison; predating this it was used to make poison tipped arrows. It is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere, and all parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. It was used in traditional treatments for centuries for an assortment of conditions including headache, menstrual symptoms, peptic ulcer disease, histaminic reaction, inflammation, and motion sickness.
It is said that Macbeth of Scotland, when still one of the lieutenants of King Duncan I of Scotland, used it during a truce to poison the troops of the invading Harold Harefoot, King of England, to the point that the English troops were unable to stand their ground and had to retreat to their ships.

Many thanks to Carrie & Mark for this week's contributions.

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