In our last Blog we mentioned that the River Teme is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), protected by law to conserve the wildlife or geology and we talked of bats, kingfishers, dormice and otters. Two local people who hail from families resident in the Teme Valley for several generations have shared their memories, including a possible explanation for the former plight of the otter and of another ecological marvel.

In the following audio clips David Spilsbury of Eastham Park Farm celebrates the return of the otters to the Teme and Roger Morris relates that, in 1819, Edward Whitehead, a botanist and son of the Reverend Christopher Whitehead (who commissioned the first construction of Eastham Bridge in the early 1790s) discovered three rather rare species of orchid in woodland waterside banks of the Spout Brook at Death’s Dingle: the Ophrys Insectifera (fly), the Ophrys Apifera (bee) and the Orchis Morio (green-winged).

Fly Orchid
Bee Orchid
Green winged orchid



In the third clip David (whose family have farmed in Eastham Parish since the 1680s) describes, in relation to Eastham Bridge, how, for over 200 years, the resident smallholders would cross it to transport fruit to the former Newnham railway station in order for their produce to be sold at markets in the Midlands and beyond.


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