Reg d Charity No 1118153 For wildlife and community

Reg D Charity No 1118153 For Wildlife And Community-Free PDF

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Chairman s Corner, We ve now rather regretfully reached the end of summer but what a glorious summer it s. been and what a welcome change that was from the previous water logged twelve. Now with the Autumn Equinox behind us the nights are growing longer as the weeks. hurtle ever faster towards yet another Christmas, However the rhythm of the seasons cannot be gainsaid so the best we can do is make the. most of each of them We may yet enjoy some more warm sunny days during early. On the morning of 12th August Burgess Hill Children s Library was full of eager. youngsters and parents attending the Creepy Creatures initiative aimed at encouraging younger children to enjoy. reading books on a regular basis, FoBHGCN collaborated enthusiastically with library staff in staging this event co ordinating several live exhibits by. some of our local members, The session began with Frances Trimming the Children s Librarian reading a story while the children sat cross legged. around her on the floor, Library staff handed out spider mobiles and showed them how to make flapping owl cut outs from black card.
Live minibeasts from Bedelands included grasshoppers crickets shield bugs beetles and spiders as well as. dragonfly larvae water beetles water boatmen and smooth newt tadpoles. Amanda Millar had brought along several bats including a recently rescued long eared bat all of which were the focus. of wide eyed and eager attention, Janice Henwood s collection of large dried East African insects including a rhinoceros beetle and a large cicada were. the subject of cautious fascination together with a variety of skulls. Teresa French brought along a different selection of creatures some more creepy than others such as giant. cockroaches and stick insects a millipede a scorpion and a couple of tarantulas. Many children took turns to hold a small python a bearded dragon lizard and other exotic reptiles which never fail to. fascinate them, The short morning ended with another story and was clearly a hit with children and parents All in all the event was a. great success so much so that library staff suggested we might team up with them again to provide a similar event. perhaps for adults, On September 12th Rupert Browning and I attended the re launching of the Pond Conservation charity as the. Freshwater Trust This took place during a trip along the River Thames from Westminster Pier to Greenwich and back. with an excellent cold buffet and a good supply of wine This opportunity to network inspired us to see whether we. can do more to improve our local bodies of freshwater Plans are already being considered. Following a suggestion from Janice Henwood and Kathy Dumbovi to plant a small community orchard on Batchelors. Farm I managed to obtain the necessary grant from the Tree Council in July In partnership with the Town Council. who own the site we expect to plant ten apple and two pear half standard trees as well as a crab apple to attract. additional pollinating insects, Planting will take place during National Tree Week the last week of November The trees will be spaced throughout the. small wildflower meadow at the southern end of the first field across the railway bridge. On Saturday 28th September ten of us including three new lads doing their Duke of Edinburgh bronze medal award. courses hand cut the long grasses and dead flower stalks marked out and strimmed the planting areas for the trees As. you can see from the,photo of the lads,enjoying themselves.
at the end with the,pile of cut hay,conservation can. indeed be fun BHTC,contractors will dig,the holes and the. Monday Group will,be installing an,access gate with lock. for which the Friends,and the Town,Council will pay half. The Learning Mentor,Group from,Community College,will then plant the.
trees helped and, supervised by us They are a group of children who have barriers to learning and who thrive from being in an outdoor. environment They will be shown how to look after the trees as well as ultimately harvesting the fruit We hope this. project will continue to involve them each year though we will of course be ensuring that the fruit trees and. wildflowers will be properly maintained, With their springtime blossoms early autumn fruit plus the fact that they ll eventually reach some seven metres in. height these trees should become a beautiful and eye catching addition to this corner of Batchelors Farm for the whole. community to enjoy, Meanwhile our project to build the memorial bench during the summer on a sturdy platform at the edge of the pond in. Nightingale Meadows has been delayed, The Monday Group who are collaborating with us on this are retired volunteers who give up their Mondays to repair. stiles build gates and benches as well as similar skilled outdoor carpentry Due to last year s appalling weather they. had such a backlog of work to catch up on that they haven t yet managed to complete all their earlier commitments. However we hope that the Nightingale Meadows work will be completed this autumn weather permitting. As always we d be glad to hear from any of you who d like to volunteer to help with our important conservation. During the early evening of Sunday 22nd September at Clare Hall in Haywards Heath I was very pleased to be. presented by Fred Dinenage with the Mid Sussex Times Community Award for Friends of the Environment on behalf. of our group,So far as I know this is,the first time.
FoBHGCN have been,given a similar award,Not only does it. represent an important,recognition of the,increasingly active part. the Friends now play in,the community but it,appears to clearly. endorse the direction in,which I ve been,attempting to lead the. group during the past,May we continue,from strength to.
Our ever popular Children s Safari took place this year on Wednesday 31 st July. Despite some brief morning showers the afternoon remained dry with light cloud cover and was. pleasantly warm, Over 200 children with mums dads and grandparents gathered at the football pitches off Maple Drive where they were. divided into three groups each taking different routes across the reserve to the small meadow near the dipping pond the focal. point of most of the afternoon s activities, They were able to catch and observe crickets and grasshoppers butterflies and many other minibeasts which were all. released unharmed at the end of the day by sweeping nets through the long grasses. They took turns to crowd the dipping platform and fish for dragonfly nymphs newt tadpoles and other freshwater denizens to. look at before returning them to the pond, They were able to stroke a variety of owls some of which perched on their arms for photo opportunities. Many sat with snakes or lizards on their laps fascinated by the close proximity of these exotic creatures. After having their attention caught by some basic bushcraft techniques especially by fire making they enjoyed a. variety of organised games, The afternoon was clearly a great success with everyone as they were smiling all the time and most stayed till the very. end Parents could relax on the grass and chat while their children were fully occupied nearby and safe from boredom. Of course children love this sort of thing which helps develop their natural interest in wildlife and enjoyment of the. countryside We hope this will encourage them to protect both for their own children in the years to come. On Saturday 3rd August our Bat Glowworm and Moth Walk. attracted over thirty of assorted ages keen to seek these. creatures out in the darkness Frances Gilbert from Hassocks. led the bat section She really knows her bats and was pleased. by the interest shown and the intelligent questions she was. The glowworms put on quite a good display considering that these once common beetles seem to be becoming. increasingly rare, Our moth trap attracted many varieties including an elephant hawk moth and two rather less welcome hornets.
Fortunately nobody was stung, In August the Bedelands meadows were mowed by a first rate new professional contractor who did the whole job on. time and removed all the toppings in the form of large circular bales for composting Young grass is sprouting after. recent rain ready for Shane Sargent s Welsh cobs to begin some winter grazing later this month. Now conservation work on the,reserve begins to move towards. autumn and winter tasks,These are usually jobs that would. prove disruptive to wildlife during,spring and summer when birds and. animals are breeding and raising their,young Now there s no risk of serious.
disturbance to them we can begin,tree coppicing and the selective. felling of small trees where they are,too densely crowded to permit their. healthy growth,It s also the time for cleaning out our. many bird boxes ready for next,spring Any volunteers please. One work in progress is the gradual,thinning out of the dense growth of.
holly trees in two of our Bedelands, woods These have proliferated to such an extent in places that the higher canopy of oaks hornbeams birches and other. trees is invisible from ground level while the woodland floor remains in almost perpetual twilight due to the dense. layer of evergreen holly leaves, This means that due to the lack of light throughout the year there are no spring flowers here indeed very few. wildflowers at all The hollies also compete with one another producing long straggly stems with no berries all striving. towards the distant light, By fairly drastic thinning out we are gradually revealing the deciduous trees high above opening up small glades that. admit sunlight, When those trees shed their leaves each year enough light will reach the woodland floor to encourage spring flowers to. grow again These in turn will attract other wildlife. This sort of work proves popular with all ages including youngsters doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award courses. While we save some wood to provide refuge piles for all kinds of small creatures and use longer trunks to line the paths. the bulk of smaller branches have to be burned Everybody seems to enjoy a fire. Why not join us sometimes and help us improve the reserve for the whole community. Dominic Moore,Coronation Meadow on Bedelands, Since the 1930s the UK has lost 97 of its meadows and grasslands and these areas are still being destroyed HRH.
Prince Charles has backed a project to save these areas to mark the 60 th Anniversary of his mother Queen Elizabeth II s. coronation For this project a meadow is defined as grassland that has been maintained by traditional. farming practices since the 1950s Valebridge Common Field was part of Valebridge Common until enclosure in. 1828 For years it was grazed common land rather than a hay meadow and never fertilised or ploughed. Valebridge Common Field was submitted for the project and we were delighted that it was accepted as the Coronation. Meadow for West Sussex Representatives from the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst have collected seed from. there which will be donated to create new meadows elsewhere in the county They will do this each year. This field was part of the University of Sussex Meadow Research Project headed by Dr Margaret Pilkington where an. annual cut and an un grazed area was compared with grazed sections in the fenced off area. Unfortunately this came to an end when a sheep died as a result of being chased by dogs it panicked and ran its head. into a square of stock fencing wire and broke its neck Understandably no farmer was prepared to lend us any sheep. after that incident During the year before last Shane Sargent from the Caravan Park let two of his Welsh cobs graze. the same area during the day with encouraging results Last winter was far too wet for them but another two cobs. should be there during October, From late June to early August the field virtually turns bright yellow with dyer s greenweed which is associated with. old commons This is almost a shrub and grows in clumps sometimes one metre in diameter The pea like flowers. were important and collected to be used for making a dye this yellow mixed with the blue of the woad plant produced. a popular green dye in times past, Each year we are always pleased to see the common spotted orchids Numbers do vary from year to year The pink. flowers with purple streaks and spots on the bottom lip form a dense spike Sometimes the flowers are pure white. The leaves are a grey green with many transverse elongated purple blotches but can be unspotted. We search each year for the grass vetchling With its grass like leaves and even though it has a bright red pea. flower it is difficult to find, Another inconspicuous plant is the little adder s tongue fern In 1999 there were a large number but in recent years. there have been very few This again is an indicator of an old meadow. This nomination adds yet further value to Bedelands as an important conservation site. Shirley Siems,Dormice at last, Ever since we discovered the presence of dormice on Bedelands three years ago we ve been carrying out regular. surveys in order to monitor the heath of the resident population. The first two years were very encouraging and showed an increase in numbers found as well as establishing that they. were breeding successfully, Last year numbers were noticeably down perhaps due to the extremely wet and cool conditions.
This year however we were really disappointed to find not only no dormice but not even the much commoner wood. Teresa French brought along a different selection of creatures some more creepy than others such as giant cockroaches and stick insects a millipede a scorpion and a couple of tarantulas Many children took turns to hold a small python a bearded dragon lizard and other exotic reptiles which never fail to fascinate them

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