|Basingstoke Conservation Volunteers|
|Hands-on help for local wildlife|
News - July 2017
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2017 Spring Programme Retrospective
The BCV Spring Programme was very varied starting out with scrub bashing, then rush cutting, fencing, boardwalk repairs and finishing with Bracken Bashing. A birdwatching trip and a very successful trip to the Isle of Wight were held resulting in watching of some of the Islands specialist wildlife. Mike's report from the fencing task at College Copse follows
A strong group of 12 BCV’ers turned out at Hampshire Wildlife Trust’s College Copse Farm near Rotherwick on May 7th to help clear Rhododendron and Cherry Laurel from one of the Farm’s copses. Due to the good efforts made by previous groups, we only had some isolated patches to clear up and burn to complete the job. This took us until shortly after lunch. Fortuitously, in the afternoon the Farm was also hosting a volunteer event to celebrate those who have given their spare time to the Trust’s Grazing Project over the years and to say farewell to Elliott and Laura who have been very much involved and are moving on to new things down in Devon. A number of us stayed on for refreshments and to enjoy a rare chance to visit parts of the Farm that are not normally accessible. College copse in particular was putting on a fine display of spring flowers
Dave also reported from Millfield.
Six volunteers turned up for the lovely weather today at The Millfield LNR to lay a mini boardwalk. One minor injury and 14 sleepers laid. Well done BCV More photos on the group FB page.
News - March 2017
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2016-17 Autumn-Winter Programme Retrospective
Between November and February BCV went on 7 official tasks with the bulk of the habitat improvement being coppicing in Pamber Forest. The group also supported the annual Ecchinswell pond task, took a trip to Burnham beeches, went bird watching on the south coast and rounded things off with a trip to Whitchurch Silk Mill. David's report of coppicing in Pamber Forest is below.
A Good turnout of 23 for this task with 5 new adults and 2 new young people. Best news is we didn't run out of biccies, the fig biscuits being v popular with the young peeps. The task was to coppice within a deer proof compound and by the end of the afternoon we had made a huge dent in the hazel, with a massive assist from HCV who were out working alongside (not included in the numbers count). After Graham's explanation of the conservation reasons for the task we set-to and had solid am and pm sessions with new people all receiving tree felling tips from experienced hands. The rain held off until quite late and only became heavy after we left. Thanks to all for the hard work and to the regulars who proved invaluable as advisors especially with the high numbers and new starters.
Paul also reported on a task from Millfield.
The weather gods were firmly against us on this task, with steady rain falling and the forecast not leaving much doubt that things were not going to improve a whole lot through the day.
That didn't deter 4 intrepid BCV volunteers turning up to help me with a task which we had described as coppicing at Millfield in Basingstoke.
It transpired that the task was actually grassland restoration, and our job was to cut down some fairly sizeable scrub (i.e. trees) to a pollarded state, so that a chain-saw could be used at a later date to fell them to the ground. All the cut material was to be laid along the main path, so that a shredder could then be used by Basingstoke & Deane BC to turn them into wood chippings.
The rain persisted throughout the morning and we all got thoroughly wet, with no luxury of a bonfire to stand around at tea-break (fires not permitted on this reserve), but we made good progress, though a few wellies (and the feet within!) fell victim to hawthorn spines.
Just when we were beginning to think that we'd call it a day around lunch-time, the rain eased off and we were able to enjoy our lunch break in the dry.
Soon afterwards, the rain returned, but we pushed on nonetheless and by afternoon tea-break time we had completed the vast majority of the planned work and could enjoy our tea-break with a feeling of a successful day despite the weather.
So, a massive thank you from me to the fab, fortitudinous four of David F, David J, Mike and Stuart.
A few photos of the results of our labours are below.
News - November 2016
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2016 Summer Programme Retrospective
Between July and October BCV headed out on 7 official habitat improving tasks visitng Pamber Forest and Wigmore Heath in Tadley, Sherbourne St John, near Basingstoke, Headley gravel pit and next door Aldersbrook close to Newbury.
The group also went looking for Glow worms, moths and a BBQ supper during the summer months.
Several BCV members also boosted BBOWT volunteer numbers at Audrey's Meadow community hay cut near Newbury so that they could sharpen their scything skills. Mike reports back on the day below.
|Audrey's Meadow: David B, Dave J and Guy doing their impression of “three men went to mow....”.|
|Audrey's Meadow: Local visitors take a look at the hay drying and baling|
Mike also reported on an official task from Aldersbrook. Sunday 9th October: BCV returned to the private site of Aldersbrook near Headley to continue working on an area of acid grassland that is designated a SINC (Site of Interest for Nature Conservation) and has had management advice provided by HWT. Most of the team coppiced Holly in an adjacent area of woodland, while Dave J used the brushcutter to cut back bramble regrowth in the parts of the field we previously cleared of scrub.
|Aldersbrook: Dave L and Barry tackling the scrub.|
|Aldersbrook: David F tending the fire|
|Aldersbrook: Dave J brushcutting bramble.|
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.
|13 November 2011||Ecchinswell||Hedge planting|
Some pictures of the day's activities are below.
|10 April 2011||Pamber Forest||Photos from Neil|
Here are some photographs from Neil taken during this fencing task.
|Various||Around||Photos from Tina|
Here are some photographs from Tina taken on various events.
|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.
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!
|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.
|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!
|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.
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.