Ragwort update from Wiltshire Council:

Wiltshire Council is asking the public to avoid using Southwick Country Park on 5th/6th May due to the spraying of Magneto herbicide to control ragwort. The work will take place on Thursday 5 May and possibly extend into Friday 6 May, depending upon the weather. There will be notices posted in the reserve to keep you updated.

Ragwort can cause serious liver damage to livestock if ingested, so landowners/occupiers have a responsibility to prevent it from spreading to neighbouring farmland. For the last few years it has been controlled in the Park by hand pulling, but this year it is clear there will be too much to pull out by hand with the resources we have.

We ask that the public avoid the Park on 5th/6th May while the spraying is taking place, and apologise for the inconvenience that these works cause.

Access to Hope Nature Centre is unaffected by the works.

Buzz

by David Feather

Donations power The Friends

On Wednesday mornings in the Nature Reserve you might be hearing some new sounds. The Friends of Southwick Country Park Nature Reserve have moved fully into the 21st century by purchasing battery powered hedge cutters and a brush cutter. We have managed to do this with financial help from Wiltshire Council Central Area Board and some thoughtful and generous donations. On Wednesday of last week, we had the opportunity to meet and thank the local couple who have paid for the training of five volunteers in the use of our new power tools.

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Wednesday’s work party task for the Friends was to cut back the tussocks in the set-aside at the top of Kestrel Field and to slow down the advance of the brambles from the hedge between the set-aside and The Arboretum. 

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Work Party

words by Ian Bushell
pictures by Gemma Thorpe

Contrary to dire weather forecasts, the morning was warm with blue skies – most pleasant.  We met up as usual in the car park and we were joined by Countryside Officers Ali and Gemma.  

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Wet Work Party

by Ian Bushell

We had a particularly wet and foul day for Wednesday’s work party. It didn’t stop raining the whole morning. That is two weeks on the trot now and most unusual for the Friends, normally we have good weather days between the bad.

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A short, damp work party report

by Ian Bushell

A miserable morning, cold and very wet, with just the “Three Musketeers” turning up, Frank, Clive and myself.

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Three storms

There have been three named storms in a week, Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, and the reserve has taken a battering. Here are some of the pictures we have been sent.

Storm damage cleared

Mail from friendsofscp@outlook.com to Ian Bushell 19.02.2022:

Good morning,
Julie Newblé has sent me pictures of a conifer blown down near the main entrance on the Lambrok Meadow side. She says that’s the only damage on the main path. Over to you!

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Please: no motorbikes

There have been reports of motorbikes being ridden in the reserve’s fields. The tyre tracks are mostly in Corn Field and Village Green and seem to show that the bikes enter and leave by the bridge into Lambrok Close. The only motorised vehicles allowed in the park are those maintenance vehicles authorised by Wiltshire Council, and mobility vehicles.

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Great Crested Newt Pond

by Ian Bushell

The original intention was to do the work on the Iris Pond on Friday 21st January, but the Water Team’s Connor Goddard contacted me on the Tuesday afternoon to say that they were ahead of schedule and could begin on Wednesday 19th. I let the digger in through the Allotment gate right away so that it would be there and ready to start work by 8.30am the next morning. The work would be carried out by Max and James of Ecolibrium Environmental Contracting based at Melksham.

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Lambrok Stream by numbers

David Feather’s post yesterday highlighted the problems that planning application 20/00379/OUT will create for Lambrok Stream. The access road for the planned development will have to cross the stream and, no matter how many changes are made to the design of the bridge, we do not see how that can be done without damage to the Lambrok’s biodiversity.

Here are some relevant numbers:

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Occasionally, while we are clearing the undergrowth in the reserve’s copses, we find the secret places, among the ivy and blackthorn, where somebody has hidden their plastic bags full of dog poop.

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Wednesday work party

by Ian Bushell

The weather was again kind to the working party: dry but not too hot.  Another good turn out, just missing Sarah and Alan who are on holiday. 

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Plastic free park

The Friends have planted hundreds of trees in the reserve over the years but a new study has concluded that we should be planting our trees without plastic tree guards. Research has shown that there are significant carbon emissions from the manufacture of plastic guards, they are not always collected after use and, left in the environment, they break down into damaging microplastics.

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