UPDATE – JANUARY 2019 by Ian Bushell

Background. The following programme of actions was taken as an outcome of the review of the park on 27th January 2013 by the Wiltshire Countryside Team and Friends of Southwick Country Park .
This is an update of works carried out during 2018, a review of the park in general, and suggestions for possible future progress in 2019.

The overall priorities of the Countryside Team and FoSCP are:
Health & Safety of the volunteers working in, and public using the park
Ecology increasing biodiversity and gaining Local Nature Reserve status.
Providing public access for all groups and abilities.
Maintaining the park so that its appearance and ambience attracts the public.

Countryside Team. The Countryside Team is under great pressure. Leo has not been replaced, and in July a daughter was born to Vicky and Rich, thus for much of the year Ali has had to shoulder all responsibilities. We are most grateful that despite this pressure, with Ali’s enthusiasm and support of the FoSCP, the efforts to enhance and increase the biodiversity within the park continues.

Tenant Farmer. Due to the ‘Beast from the East’, cold spring and hot dry summer only one hay/silage crop was taken, this in July. As agreed Des made two cuttings about a week apart thus allowing, particularly invertebrates, some sanctuary. The Ragwort problem remains [particularly in Sleeper, Corn and Kestrel Fields plus Lambrok Meadow] and a low dose spraying was made by Des on these fields in April. Additionally hand pulling by the FoSCP ‘cleared’ Village Green, Sheep and the Race, Allotment area and the bottom of Corn Fields prior to the cut. This programme of spraying and Ragwort pulling, together with patchwork harvesting has provisionally been agreed for 2019. It is encouraging that biodiversity within the fields is again increasing.

Ancient & Veteran Oaks.
A survey of all veteran trees within the park has been conducted, a prioritised programme made, and work has started to halo these trees and construct protective barriers around them. This is a long term programme. Ancient Oak [5458] is already showing the benefit of this action.
Bracing of vulnerable branches of Oak [5465] was carried out in April.
Haloing of Oaks [5517 & 5518] in Triangular Field, and Oaks [5505, 5506,5507 & 5508] near the Picnic area was conducted during February to April, and of Oaks [5551 & 5552] in the corner of Sleeper Field in October and November.
Oak [5481] by the pond suffered storm damage in April losing two major limbs but did not require further surgery.
Three Parkland Oaks planted in Sleeper field.

Benches & Kissing Gate.
Four benches were installed during the year. Two, from donations by ASDA, were replacements for old seats in the Allotment area and the top of The Race, a third was a replacement for a vandalised seat near the Decorated Bridge. The Guides funded a bench now at the top of Simpsons Field.
A new larger metal Kissing Gate, funded from the Trowbridge Area Board, was installed by the Rambler Volunteers in October as a replacement for the damage one at the Allotment entrance.

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