Summer work party

Words and pictures by DKG:

A few photos from Wednesday’s morning in the park. Work included clearing grass around the fruit trees, taking up the mats, and checking the guards and stakes. We removed the fruit to ensure stronger growth next season.

Overgrown grass and nettles adjacent to the path from the allotments’ main gate were cleared. We also cleared small areas of ragwort on the allotment boundary and the plantation at the top of Sheep Field. We bagged it and put it into the back of the little Wiltshire Council van to be taken away. Click for more

Sarah’s Report to the Village Newsletter

By Sarah Marsh .  .   .

This month’s report is all about our volunteers and the work they do. Without the Friends, the Park would be in a sorry state as the Countryside Team gets ever smaller and funding is limited. We are all unpaid and give our time willingly to keep the Park looking lovely and preserve it for future generations. But working in the Park is just one part of the Friends commitments.

Continue reading “Sarah’s Report to the Village Newsletter”

Slow worm survey

The Friends,  on a wet and squelchy day last week, prepared to survey the park’s slow worm population. Here is DKG’s report:

 

 

“Mats were cut and numbered for the slow worm survey with 40 mats laid in 4 areas (10 per area). These will be monitored in the coming weeks once we have some warmth and hopefully some dry weather. Areas covered included Brunts Field, Kestrel Field and Ash copse in Sheep field. The Village Green mats will be laid out during the next work party as the area was too sodden to reach.”

 

 

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Photographs: DKG

If you are a slow worm fan, you might like this:

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Slow worms

 

Wheels For All

On Thursday, Rob Paget, Disability Sports Development Officer for Wiltshire Council, and Chris Revill, from Wheels For All  in Bath, came to Southwick Country Park to carry out a trial run on disability bikes to see if the park would be a suitable venue to hold events. Rob and Chris recently developed an adapted cycling programme in Salisbury for people of all ages with disabilities  to take part in cycling on adapted bikes in a safe environment.

Rob is working in partnership with Bath Wheels for All to develop an adapted cycling session in West Wiltshire and has highlighted Southwick Country Park as a potential location. The Friends came along to help; they loved it!

 

This picture from left to right: Chris, Ali and Joan. Title picture: Vicky, Ian and Andy.

 

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by Vicky

Pictures: DKG on his phone.

WINTER NOTES

BY SARAH MARSH


The winter weather has not been kind to the Friends and all over the Park the ground has been very boggy and waterlogged. When it has stopped raining, we had to endure bitter icy cold winds blowing from the east. However, we are a hardy bunch and only missed one session of volunteer work and that was due to Countryside Team staff illness!

Surprisingly, once we find a sheltered spot we can work well and keep warm. Again, we have been tidying around our magnificent oak trees clearing away scrub and bramble and already the signs of Spring can be seen. Snowdrops in particular have been seen all around the Park and the daffodils are appearing and beginning to bloom.

 

The volunteers joined the annual Great British Spring Clean this year and we gathered on Saturday, 10th March. The weather was poor and the Friends were joined by Councillor Horace Prickett.

10 rubbish bags
Ten sacks of rubbish and a lorry tyre.

We managed to collect 10 bags of rubbish including a worn out rubber tyre. The depressing thing about collecting litter is that a week later it all needs doing again and it is very hard to understand why people throw litter, doggy poo bags etc. in an area they like to use for leisure. As I have mentioned before our volunteers regularly pick up litter and are very grateful to the many members of the public who also collect rubbish when they are using the Park. It is good to know there are many “FRIENDS” of the Park who feel like we do and want to keep this amenity clean for all.

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This article has also been published in Southwick Village News.

Photographs: DKG

Pop goes the Weasel

Hats and scarves was the order of the day for Wednesday’s work party, and hedges and ditches, out of the east wind, were the best places to spend the morning. The park, however, was getting on with spring to an accompaniment of birdsong.

Trish saw a weasel hunting through the hedge; it ran across the picnic place and the track and into the brambles. Low down in the  brambles, beyond the reach of Dave’s camera, we found a long-tailed tits’ nest, half-built: a ball of moss, hair and lichen, lined with downy feathers.  A weasel is dangerous company for breeding birds; it will take eggs and nestlings, particularly if it is feeding its own nestful of young.

 

 

While we drank coffee and ate home made cakes, a pair of blue tits were trying out nest holes in the very highest branches of the ash tree at Fiveways. In the oaks, above us, robins and great tits shouted loud territorial challenges at each other.

A great spotted woodpecker worked its way up the trunk of an oak tree in the hedge between Cornfield and Sleeper Field, and three green woodpeckers flew overhead towards the copse in Sheep Field. The blackthorn is in flower, primroses seem to be ignoring the arctic start to their growing season, and leaf buds are swelling on the trees. Ian says there is frogspawn in the little pond!

 

 

It’s such a pleasure to work in the park on a spring day.

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Pictures: Google Images

 

 

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