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January to July 2011
in reverse chronological order.

6 July 2011

GUIDES WORK SESSION - report by Jennifer Rye

We were delighted to welcome around two dozen guides and their 4 adult leaders to the Meadow on Wednesday July 6th for an evening work session as part of their Service to the community. Ignoring the light rain that was trying to fall, they got stuck into a variety of jobs: weeding and watering all the newly planted trees and hedgerows in the north meadow; creating 3 new meter squares of bare earth on the south east bund in the south meadow to encourage solitary bees to nest; a very thorough liter pick in Palmers Road copse.

When the work was done, several of them enjoyed a Nature hunt around the whole meadow. They all seemed to have a thoroughly good time, and we were delighted to have such helpful and focussed workers along side. In fact they want to come again, and even make it a twice yearly fixture, which would suit us fine.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Work Session Sunday - report by Jennifer Rye and photos by Brian Fellows

7 volunteers turned up on a sunny morning with Brook Meadow looking at its best, with tall grasses waving, masses of butterflies and other insects and lots of people walking through to enjoy it.

We took the power sythe to the north meadow and cut most of the occasional paths with a new one to reach the newly planted cherries. Girl Guides are expected on Wednesday working towards their conservation badges. We plan to set them to work nurturing the new trees. The sides of the paths were trimmed and the arisings taken to the dumping site. Some paths on the south meadow were given similar treatment to make them easier to walk along on wet and dewy days.

After welcome refreshments taken in the shade (thanks to Pam) we cut a straight path into the Seagull Lane patch to enable our wildlife recorders access. The new hedgerows were also given some care and attention. We knocked off early in deference to the heat. An organised party of cyclists going along the causeway were reminded that it was a permissive path only and asked to wheel their bikes.

Sunday 5 June 2011

WORK SESSION - Report by Frances Jannaway and photos by Brian Fellows

A rather overcast and windy morning greeted the 8 volunteers who turned up for the first work session in June.

Despite the relatively low number of volunteers, we managed to carry out a large number of tasks. The first task was to cut back stinging nettles and brambles overhanging the riverside path in Palmers Road copse as well as do a litterpick in this area. Another task which badly needed doing was to clean the window of the Watervole signcase which had become virtually unreadable because of all the sticky 'droppings' from the nearby Sycamore tree. All the other signcases were given a clean as well.

Brambles and nettles were also cut back from the paths in the South Meadow and all the paths were cut with the power scythe. The windy, dry weather had caused the large Butterbur leaves to wilt and droop over the raised path at the Lumely entrance and also near the central seat. These large leaves were cut back to make access along these paths easier.

After welcome refreshment provided as usual by Pam, the team proceeded to tackle the recently created western path in the North Meadow. First of all, the power scythe was used to widen the path which goes behind the wishing tree and then a wider arc was cut to reach the recently planted Wild Cherry trees on the western edge of the meadow. The trees were released from the undergrowth of mainly stinging nettles and watered. The remaining Wild Cherries planted in the northern part of the Meadow were also given a bit of tlc. Unfortunately, this was a bit late for one, which was dead. All arisings were raked and removed to nearby dumps. Finally, Brambles and Stinging Nettles overhanging the main riverbank paths as well as the extreme NE corner of the Meadow were cut back. Many thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard today.

HAVANT GOES GREENER FAIR - 28 May 2011 - Report by Frances Jannaway

Despite a bit of a difficult start and a cold SW wind, I think it was a very good day.

There was a lot of interest in the displays and information. In addition, Rachel (BTCV) provided badge making, second hand nature books for sale and feely boxes. BMCG provided the wishing tree and making bird boxes (materials and tools kindly provided by Pete Hodges) as well as FSC ID guides for sale (selling 12 including my stock of bees id guides to the local bee keepers).

Many thanks to Rachel, John Bond, Colin, Jim and Richard for helping to set up under very difficult windy conditions and to doing a stint on the combined stall.

Thanks also to Pete Burton and his wife Carol (HITW) for manning the TW section and to John Sawtell for help with Havant Conservation Forum. John can you pass on my thanks to Mick Mills for helping later on in the afternoon as I don't have his email address. Thanks also to Ann Jolly and Brian Fellows for helping out. Brian can you let me have the photos you took please?

Special thanks to Jill Meeson for manning the wishing tree section all day - it was well worth doing as there were not many activities for children at the event. It was a pity we had to take down all the butterflies and stars decorating the Horse Chestnut tree. Jill commented that a lot of the children were quite young and so were unable to write a wish. A number of older children wrote wishes including: more butterflies in gardens, stop animals from becoming extinct, and people should never cut down trees. There needs to be more people who care about the world, more flowers, more bird sanctuaries for protected birds and people should pick up litter. Oh and no one should ever smoke! There were about 40 children and a few adults who hung a wish on the tree.

Making bird boxes got off to a slow start but by the end of the afternoon, Jim and Richard had made (and helped make) 9 bird boxes but we did not think they were going to stop when everybody else wanted to pack up!

Donations to the joint stall have enabled me to pay the Emsworth Community Association for hiring 4 tables and pay towards the costs of having two stall spaces.

Thanks to Jim, Richard, Mick and especially John Bond for coming back at the end of the day to help us pack up.

A very good community effort with a number of conservation groups coming together to pool resources.

Photos by Brian Fellows





Work Session - Thursday 19 May - report by Wally Osborne

A perfect spring morning brought out 12 volunteers and on this occasion, we were joined by Rachel Moroney of BTCV, to make the annual inspection of our risk assessment and health & safety procedures and briefing' processes. Rachel was satisfied and our public liability insurance will now be paid by HBC.

The primary task was to remove the brushwood barriers & hazard tape erected around the North Meadow 'wildflower area' before the spring growth began. This tactic has been successful in discouraging random paths being made by visitors across this most important area. It was decided that the time was right to remove the various branches & logs so that later grass cutting would not be compromised. A few small new barriers were made at the main path edges and all four information notices were renewed and/or replaced (a few days later). The brushwood barriers will no doubt need replenishing and rebuilding over the course of the summer.

We then split into smaller teams who proceeded to carry out the following tasks: 'Weeded' the new hedgerow plants along the western boundary of the Seagull Lane patch. It was noted that very few of the saplings had died which is very good out of a total of the more than 200 planted. Removed the flower heads from many Hemlock Water-dropwort plants in the Central Meadow in the Lumley wet area and from the edge of the path to the west. Finally, litter picked Palmers Road copse and the River Ems.

All of these important tasks were successfully completed and at the halfway stage, Pam Phillips provided us all with tea, coffee and biscuits. Thanks to all for your dedication and energy.

Forthcoming work sessions: Sunday 5 & Thursday 16 June.

Photos by Brian Fellows


Work Session - Thursday 21 April 2011

Ten volunteers gathered on a lovely, warm, spring day with a pleasant breeze.

The first task was to use the power scythe to cut the western edge of the 'bramble path' in the South Meadow, avoiding plants of interest such the Cuckoo Flowers which had recently come into bloom, and then rake it clear. A team of three cleared rubbish and low branches from the Ems, starting just south of the South bridge and eventually reaching the sluice upstream. Their 'prize find' was an enamelled chamber pot sans derriere! Some of the Willow branches were used to block the adventitious paths over the bramble bank.

The 'cut and rake' team moved on to remove early luxuriant growth of Goosegrass and nettles from a lower section of the South Meadow.

Having enjoyed Pam's refreshments by the central seat, the teams resumed their earlier tasks. The 'cut and rake' team finally cut and cleared an extra path to the west side of the North Meadow, to encourage an alternative route as in 2010, before stumps were drawn in time for the Easter weekend.

Photos by Brian Fellows

Hey, ho, hey, ho and off to work we go

Clearing the bramble path

. . . but raking up is hard work!

Work Session - Sunday 3 April 2011 - Photo by Brian fellows

Twelve volunteers turned up for the first work session in April. It was cloudy at first but the sun came out later. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the power scythe as planned as the cutting blades had seized up over the winter period. Mike will give the machine a service hopefully in time for the next work session.

This was perhaps fortuitous as a more urgent task was flagged up by several of the volunteers. This was to restrict access to the central wildflower area in the North Meadow. Over the winter period, footfall had not been restricted to the paths. This area has vulnerable wildflowers, such as 4 types of Orchid as well as Yellow Rattle. A dead hedge was created around the whole area using branches and brushwood, finishing off with a length of red and white hazard tape. Later the same day, I returned with 4 notices explaining why access to this area was being restricted.

Meanwhile another group of volunteers tidied up debris in the river especially along the northern section where a raft had been made some days earlier. In addition, a 'tree house' was dismantled near the north bridge. The den included a fitted carpet nailed onto pallets and a seat taken from an old office chair. It is a shame to have to remove the den as the young people who constructed it had obviously put a lot of effort into it but Brook Meadow is first and foremost a Nature Reserve and is too small to be able to support this kind of activity. More below.

Another task was to cut back Brambles encroaching over the paths in the North Meadow and add to the dead hedge to block access to Gooseberry Cottage from Brook Meadow.

Finally, new notices were put on the 3 notice boards explaining what practical work is going on in Brook Meadow as well as renewing the dedicated Water Vole notice near the sluice.

As always thanks to Pam for providing much needed refreshments. Many thanks to all the volunteers for their enthusiasm and hard work.

Orchid protection

The main job was to create a barrier around the orchid area on the north meadow, which has been invaded over the past few months by people exercising their dogs. Leaves of both Common Spotted Orchid and Southern Marsh Orchid are already showing and Pyramidal and Bee Orchids will soon follow and these delicate plants clearly need protection.

A dead hedge barrier was created around the area using fallen branches

This photo shows the extent of the protection area on the north meadow surrounded by red tape

Bee Fly

Before the work session began Dave Lee showed us a Bee Fly (Bombylius major) that he had captured in a jam jar. It is so called for its furry appearance and is common around flowers in spring, sucking nectar through its long and rather fearsome looking proboscis. But it is quite harmless. Dave released it near the Butterbur flowers on the causeway.

Work session - Sunday 6 March 2011 - Report by Jennifer Rye

A chilly wind did nothing to put off our volunteers, and 14 of us, including one new volunteer, achieved a good deal. First tasks were to tidy up the tree plantation by the Seagull Lane gate; cut down (and in some cases pull up, so soft was the soil) another clump of brambles straying on to the north meadow; and prune the young self-sown Ash trees by the seat on the central causeway, using the trimmings to block up some paths leading on to the meadow and reinforce the hurdles along the riverbank.

The sun came out to warm us while we took our coffee break by the north bridge (thanks Pam). Some hardy volunteers braved the strongly flowing Ems to tidy up a blockage/dam which was obstructing the flow of water, and later disposed of the fence posts, branches and car tyre which had accumulated there.

Tree planting after coffee, saw some flowering cherries put in by the raised path on the North Meadow and by the bramble border on the north-eastern side. Ten more rowans were added to the existing rowan plantation behind the seat. Conditions were ideal for planting with nice damp soil, and we watered everything in well with river water, as well as staking and protecting the young whips with tree spirals.

While carrying out the tree planting, it was noticed that the bark of one of the existing Rowans had been damaged. Volunteers put a tree guard round the damaged area to protect the tree from further attack. See below for more details of Rowan damage.

 Photos by Brian Fellows







Roe Deer damage to Rowan

Ralph Hollins is fairly sure that the damage to the bark of the Rowan tree in Brook Meadow discovered on Mar 6, was in fact the work of a Roe buck deer 'fraying' the tree to clean the 'velvet' off its antlers and not due to a Grey Squirrel, as we at first thought. The damage was too low down on the trunk for a Squirrel. Roe deer have been seen on Brook Meadow in the past, though not, as far as I am aware, for several years. However, Ralph indicates that Roe are increasing in numbers locally and spreading to new sites. He has seen at least ten on Southleigh Farm fields on the northern border of Emsworth over recent years. Has anyone seen one in Emsworth recently?

Pollution in the River Ems

It was also noticed that some white precipitate was escaping into the River Ems from the pipe just below the north bridge. This was presumably coming from the anodising factory in Seagull Lane where a white residue could be seen running down the lane. I believe the factory owners have been previously warned about allowing this pollution to get into the river.

The precipitate running into the river by the north bridge

Precipitate running down Seagull lane from the anodising factory

Work session - Thursday 17 February 2011 - report by Wally Osborne

A rather murky morning brought out 10 volunteers, plus Brian Fellows with his trusty camera also on hand. The primary task for the day was to litterpick Palmers Road Copse, which was in a dreadful state, together with the footpaths leading towards Peter Pond and the A259 underpass. Additionally, some dumped timber debris was shifted from the Seagull Lane patch and the remainder of the meadow was litter picked. An amazing stack of Litter was collected, including a pair of good heavy boots which Jennifer will dry off and pass on to a worthy cause. This task occupied all of us for about an hour.

After a well deserved coffee / tea break provided by Pam, we set about the second task which was to 'block off' the unauthorised track out of Gooseberry Cottage grounds onto the South Meadow. This was accomplished by creating a 'prickly' dead hedge up on top of the bramble bank, using prunings from some nearby Crack Willow trees and also Brambles collected near the south gate and by clearing around the Alder Buckthorn plantation on the central bund. The overall effect looked quite formidable but we remain unsure whether it will stand for very long, given the persistence of the teenage boy thought to be responsible.

Many thanks to all of the volunteers who did such a great job and also generated some personal warmth. On the next workday which is scheduled for Sunday 6th March, we will probably continue our work clearing the various ravages of winter and possibly also plant a few tree saplings round the edges of the grassland.

 Photos by Brian Fellows

The merry band all prepared for a work session on the meadow

Pam and Jenny keeping the car park tidy

There was lots of litter to collect this morning

What's in the bottle, Tony. A dead frog?

and three Wood Pigeons looking out for Water Voles from the observation fence?

Work session - Sunday 6 February 2011 - report by Mike

Ten volunteers gathered under overcast skies and in windy conditions. Mike welcomed a visitor, Nina Sperinck from BTCV (SE England Community Project Officer), who had travelled all the way from Banbury to see the Group at work; to introduce the 'Wellbeing Comes Naturally' scheme which will assist people with mental health problems through their participation in outdoor community tasks; and to answer any questions members might have. Nina participated fully in the morning's tasks.

The first task was to spread the wood chips arising from recent tree work in Palmers Road copse along the main path there which had been made even muddier by the tree surgeons. This was completed to a high standard by tea break using three wheelbarrows and teams of rakers and barrow fillers. A large estate agents' sign was also removed from the sluice area to the car park bins for collection.

The group then enjoyed Pam's refreshments at the central seat before moving to the top of the North Meadow to trim the edge of the large bramble patch and use the trimmings to block adventitious paths down from the causeway. This provoked some discussion and it was noted that in general bramble provided a valuable habitat on the Meadow. A couple of fresh surveying posts were found in the ground in this area.

Pat completed a litter pick of Palmers Road copse and 'time' was called on the morning's tasks. However, Tony B had noticed a small, dead Willow leaning precariously near the south bridge and so with the help of his ropes he and Mike safely removed it in a successful finale to an enjoyable session.

 Photos by Brian Fellows

 Volunteers collecting wood chippings from the tree cutting in Palmer's Road Copse

Debi arrives with a barrow full of chippings for Patrick, Pat and Nina (from BTCV)

They get to work spreading the chippings as Richard comes with a fresh load

Volunteers cutting back some of the Brambles on the north meadow