BBC’s Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury has recently visited the Defence School of Transport, Leconfield. Despite DST being the world’s largest residential military driving school, there is a great deal of conservation work taking place within Normandy Barracks and like many other MOD establishments, DST has a dedicated conservation team. The award winning team known locally as ‘Leconfield Carrs’ was formed in 1996 and is manned by volunteers from both military and civilian staff.
The 700 acre site at Normandy Barracks boasts forestry consisting of 166,000 mixed woodland trees planted in the late 1990’s, which at the time was the last single planting in modern history within the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The BBC 1 programme which is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday 26 May, will show the MOD’s bird netting and ringing team gathering essential information to gain a better understanding of migration habits and species data. Op TURTLE DOVE, a conservation initiative being promoted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is also featured in the show. The Turtle Dove is becoming increasingly scarce in the UK, however Turtle Doves have been observed at DST and, although there is no evidence of breeding, the birds have been seen to form pairs on the training area.
DST’s deer population was surveyed both from the ground using night vision technology, and from the air in the Sea King helicopter by 202 Sqn, E Flight SAR . The Search and Rescue team, a lodger unit at the Defence School of Transport, assisted the DST conservation team by filming deer through their thermal imaging technology. Squadron Leader Stu Gwinnutt said “In addition to assisting our military colleagues at DST, this is also part of our essential training when searching for a real target through foliage cover, so we were more than happy to help.”
The programme will also show the important and essential work completed by the conservation team whilst also filming footage of operational vehicles manoeuvring through some of the 26 km of cross country circuit, water crossings, sand tracks and simulated urban village.
DST’s Chief of Staff, Lt Col Carol Prosser said “We are delighted that the BBC chose us to be included in their Countryfile programme, it has given us the chance to demonstrate the essential work undertaken by our conservation team volunteers whilst showcasing the abundance of activity which takes place on the DST training area.”
Countryfile director Rowan Crawford said “It was amazing to get a glimpse of what goes on at DST Leconfield. I was particularly impressed with the new urban village – it gave a real sense of what trainees might face in the battlefield, and it really brought home the very real dangers they will face. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and made a tough shoot a whole lot more bearable!”