Basingstoke Conservation Volunteers
Hands-on help for local wildlife

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News - October 2010

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BCV now on Facebook.
BCV now has a "group page" on Facebook. We hope that this will lead to a more interactive feel to the group, rather than all events and activities coming from your revered committee!
So, whether it's a piece of news that you think is of interest, an event that you'd like to publicize, an issue that you'd like to discuss, or anything else that has relevance for BCV, then you now have the opportunity to take part.
The BCV group is not publicly accessible - you have to receive an invitation to join. This is our way of trying to keep the content relevant and to prevent the page from being hijacked by "noise" from general web users. So, if you'd like to gain access, please contact either or , giving them the email address that you use on Facebook; they will then arrange for an invitation to join the group to be sent to you.

New policy for "using gloves on a task".
We've decided on a new policy for providing volunteers with gloves for use on work parties. The new plan is that you will now be issued with a brand new pair of gloves when you attend a task. You should then label the gloves with your name and bring them along to any subsequent tasks for your personal use. If/when they become worn-out through use, then we will issue a replacement pair for you.
We hope that this will result in a "better glove experience" for everyone.

Safety Equipment.
A reminder to all regular volunteers, that you are entitled to spend up to £40 on personal safey-gear that you use while on BCV tasks. The group will continue to provide gloves, but if there is any other clothing that you think is required (e.g. strong boots or goggles), hand the receipt for the goods to Dave, and he will arrange for you to receive the first £40 of the expense.



These now appear in reverse-chronological order - in other words, the most recent reports are just below while the older ones are at the bottom of the page.

25 October 2009 Ecchinswell Pond maintenance

Maybe it was something to do with the offer of free food (soup and hot-dogs), but a goodly crowd of BCV volunteers came to Ecchinswell to help in the annual pond clearance day. The pond is of good wildlife quality, playing host, amongst other things, to a colony of Great Crested Newts. Some work is done annually by the Parish Council to prevent marginal vegetation encroaching too far into the open water. The time of year is chosen to cause least disturbance to the newts.
Owing to the dry weather in September, the pond level was particularly low, making a muddy time for all concerned.
Some pictures of the day's activities are below.

Steve, Martin, Dave, Dave and Barry enjoying the mud ... Martin and Anna on wheelbarrow duty
Steve, Martin, Dave, Dave and Barry enjoying the mud exposed by the low water level. Martin and Anna on wheelbarrow duty
Getting stuck into the last bits The end result
Getting stuck into the last bits. The end result!

Postscript: By December, the pond was full once more and looking really good!

13 & 20 Sep 2009 Pamber Forest Coppicing

What a start we've had to the coppicing season at Pamber Forest!
After an excellent turn on Sunday 13th, even better was to follow on Sunday 20th, when 20 keen workers were on site during the day to tackle the coppicing task in Heath Copse alongside Bowmont's Brook.
Perhaps the fine late summer weather has helped, but whatever the reason, with such great support from our volunteers, the coppicing programme is well ahead of schedule and thoughts are already turning to what extra work we can squeeze later in the season.
Below are some pictures from the task on September 13th, lead by Martin Heath. Pictures are courtesy of Dave Jewsbury. The trip to the pub after the task was well deserved!

Elizabeth and Tina cutting a hazel stool Graham loading the bonfire
Elizabeth and Tina work together to remove a hazel stool. It's hot work as Graham loads more brash onto the bonfire.
Workers in action A well earned drink!
Everyone is hard at work, clearing back the hazel and alder under-storey. Time for a well earned drink and a chance that Jason, Graham, Keith, Martin and Dave were not going to miss!
15 Feb 2009 Pamber Forest Coppicing

After all the cold weather and the cancellation of the Noar Hill task due to the snow, the BCVers were obviously desperate to get out into the fresh air today, as 18 volunteers assembled at the Honeymill Brook entrance to the forest.
We were very pleased to welcome some new volunteers, so we spent some time introducing everyone, talking a little about the forest and then why we were coppicing.
The plan was to continue the coppicing on the same plot that we'd started in January. With 18 eager volunteers, we made great progress. In fact, the day was so successful that Graham (the forest warden) changed his goals for the area so that an additional area of the plot will now be coppiced this winter.
Here are a few pictures of a really successful, enjoyable day ...

Elizabeth cutting a hazel stool Lynn and Dave in action
Elizabeth cutting a hazel stool next to the brook. Lynn cutting up a felled birch (to stack in a habitat pile) and Dave with some smaller branches destined for the bonfire.
Jason adds to the bonfire The team!
Jason adds to the bonfire. The volunteer team!
25 Jan 2009 Fleet Pond Scrub clearance

Despite a dismal weather forecast and unpromising conditions first thing in the morning, five BCV volunteers made it out to the Countryside Workshop for 10 am. As conditions were looking up, we turned down the offer of work under cover and headed out to Fugelmere Marsh accompanied by Colin Gray and David Buckler. The original plan to brushcut Bog Myrtle had already been abandoned due to high water levels, so the work was to continue extending the 'scallop' in the marsh-side woodland to let in more light. Due to the relatively small numbers, we concentrated on the smaller trees and underbrush (chiefly holly), mostly leaving the larger trees for chainsaws. Defying the wet, we managed to light a bonfire to burn most of the brash, while stacking the larger timbers. By mid afternoon we had cleared a good section of the marsh edge of saplings and brush and, having ensured the bonfire was fully extinguished, were able to head off home for a nice warm bath!

Working in the wet BCV volunteers enjoyed the day despite the soggy conditions
Cutting underbrush to put on the bonfire The workers may be wet, but they're still smiling!
4 Jan 2009 Ecchinswell and Burghclere Winter Walk

10 people braved the cold weather to join Mike's walk on January 4th. We met up at Mike's house at 10am, and then headed off into the fields to the north-west of Ecchinswell. The countryside looked wonderful, with a white sheen from the hard frost and some watery sunshine picking out the winter colours.

winter scene the walkers
The view across the fields as we headed off The walkers

A highlight along the way for those interested in birds, was the sighting of a female/immature hen harrier, quartering in the air above the old railway line near Burghclere, very close to the area where we hold tasks. After a couple of hours or so, having barely seen another person, we fetched up at the Carpenter's Arms in Burghclere for a very welcome Sunday lunch, followed by some old-fashioned hot-puds to fuel us up for the walk back.
The return journey was once again through fine, gently-rolling countryside, with a mixture of arable, pasture and woodland. All too soon we were back at Mike's house, with the healthy glow that only a walk in the cold can bring.

21 Dec 2008 Pamber Forest Coppicing

The last task of the year brought out the volunteers in force for a day of coppicing at Pamber Forest. Perhaps it was the promise of free Christmas trees (in the form of cut-your-own-Scots-pine) or perhaps the fine weather? Whatever the cause, it was great to see so many hands to get stuck into this project near the north-western boundary of the forest.
Below are some pictures of the day's work ...

Dave at work Ray
Dave goes to work with his bow-saw. Ray with some hazel.
Afternoon tea! The fence is up
A relaxed afternoon tea break! It's the end of the day - time for a group photograph!
26-28 Sep 2008 Roydon Woods, New Forest Coppicing
Read all about the Roydon Woods Residential task here.
6 July 2008 Old Down, Basingstoke Rabbit fencing
The job today was to put up a rabbit exclosure at Old Down. The volunteer group there, led by Paul Beevers, are running some experiments to find the best way to re-seed wild flowers onto the site. Despite heavy rain almost the whole day, five people from BCV turned out - Mike our leader for the day, Stuart, Dave and new volunteers Shane, and Natalie from the south of France, who is studying to be a wildlife professional. The Old Down Conservation Group also turned up in force helping out with the fence, pulling ragwort and most importantly keeping our energy levels and spirits up with lots of cakes. Here are a few pics ...
Dave and Shane Stuart
Dave and Shane get to work on one of the fence posts. Stuart points up a fence post
Wet but smiling The fence is up
They may be wet, but they're still smiling! The end of the day, and the fence is in place.
8 June 2008 Old Burghclere Lime Pits Scrub removal
This disused lime quarry would naturally be taken over by hawthorn and dogwood scrub unless action is taken. The scrub can be repeatedly cut back, but a more permanent solution is to remove the plants completely. Hot work for Pete, Dave and Mike on what seemed like the only fine Sunday of the whole summer! Pete, Dave and Mike
11 May 2008 Pamber Forest Deer fencing
Terry and Mike Coppicing is an important part of the wildlife management programme at Pamber Forest. In order to protect the regrowth of hazel coppiced during the winter season, the cut areas must be fenced-in the following spring to exclude deer. Terry and Mike are rolling out a 50m run of wire fencing. Two runs of fencing will be placed one above the other to produce a 2m high barrier.
27 April 2008 Noar Hill, Selbourne Stock fencing
At Noar Hill, grazing by cattle has been established over part of the site. To extend grazing over the rest means that a number of Yew trees need to be fenced to stop the animals eating the poisonous foliage. Dave, Stuart and Dave celebrate a job well done with a nice cup of tea! Dave J, Stuart and Dave L
30 March 2008 Old Burghclere Railway Scrub bash
Volunteers cutting back scrub from cutting-side Stretches of the disused Newbury to Winchester railway near Burghclere are now havens for wildlife. The cutting slope seen here holds a good range of chalk grassland plants. On this task, we cut back the encroaching dogwood and other scrub, allowing more light to reach the ground surface.
9 March 2008 Ancell's Farm, Fleet Reed bash
A small but dedicated group turned out on 9th March for a spot of Juncus-bashing at Ancells Farm near Fleet. The aim of the work was to cut back the rushes (Juncus) dominating an area of one field to allow better access for grazing cattle, which would result in a more broken-up vegetation structure and increased biodiversity. Despite the small team, the designated area was successfully cleared and the cut material piled in two monster heaps near the entrance to the field.
Dave Stuart and Dave
Dave makes a start with the brushcutter. Stuart rakes up while Dave makes steady progress.
Stuart Last bits
Stuart lugging the cut rushes to the corner of the field (looks like hard work!) Raking up the last bits.