Conservation Work – Current News

Conservation work on Brook Meadow
Management of Brook Meadow is essential to maintain an appropriate habitat for wildlife and to enhance the biodiversity of the site. To achieve this, the conservation group works in co-operation with the local Council and other agencies to keep the meadow in good order both for wildlife and for public use. It holds regular conservation work sessions to manage grassland, scrub and woodland and, generally, to keep the meadow clean and tidy. The rivers are primarily managed by the Environment Agency to maintain a good flow of water, avoid flooding, and to create a good habitat for fish, Water Voles and other riparian wildlife.

Volunteer work sessions
Conservation work sessions on Brook Meadow take place from 10am to 12 noon on the 1st Sunday and the 3rd Thursday of each month throughout the year. Everyone is welcome and tools are provided. We meet at the new tool store HQ at the end of Seagull Lane. Safety for all volunteers is a priority and risk assessments by trained members are given at each session. There is a break when refreshments are served.
The main tasks include cutting and clearing of the grassland and scrub, removing broken tree branches and keeping pedestrian paths open and clear of obstacles. Clearing litter is a priority. Children and students from local schools and colleges are welcome to join in for work experience.
For details of specific work sessions call Jennifer Rye – 01243 376926


Conservation Work session – Thursday 21 September 2017
Report by Mike Probert. Photos by Brian Fellows.
A very good turnout of twelve volunteers gathered on a dull and cloudy morning to hear about the tasks planned and listen to the associated ‘tools talk’.
The main tasks comprised raking up and clearing areas of the Meadow that had been cut some time earlier – to reduce the nutrient load, improve the sward and promote wild flower growth. The larger team tackled the wild flower and orchid area and a smaller team the Seagull Lane patch.


In parallel, Maurice led a small team to remove the extensive lower branches from the large multi-stemmed Willow near Beryl’s seat which were beginning to shade the wild flower area.


It was hard work raking up the semi-dried grass from the Meadow and Pam’s refreshments were most welcome at half-time. Here is Pam bringing her much appreciated refreshments to the seat
and all the volunteers enjoying the coffee and biscuits

The Seagull lane team had completed their task and joined the main team so that the clearance of the wild flower area was achieved in good time. Most of the lower branches had also been removed from the large Willow.  A very good result after a hard morning’s work.

The next scheduled workdays are on Sunday 1st October and Thursday 19th October.
Meet as usual at HQ, located between the north bridge and The Seagull Lane gate, at 09.50, for a prompt start at 10.00. All volunteers, both regular and anyone else, will be warmly welcomed. Trained First Aiders will be on hand. Refreshments will be available. All necessary tools are provided and, where necessary training will be given.

Conservation Work session – Sunday 3 September 2017
Report by Dan Mortimer and Brian Fellows. Photos by Brian Fellows.
Rain was forecast which kept numbers down to 9 volunteers. We were delighted to welcome three new members – John and Laura Brind and Terry Lay. The session was led by Dan.
The main task of the morning was to cut and clear the orchid area on the north meadow.   Maurice, Jennifer and Phil took it in turns to use the power scythe to cut the area. They left clumps of still flowering plants as nectar sources for late flying insects.

The hard work of raking, clearing and hauling to the dump was done by the rest of the team, Tony, John Laura and Terry.

This involved bagging the arisings and and hauling them to the tip


Meanwhile, Phil attended to the wheelbarrow

In Pam’s absence we thank Jennifer for providing the half time tea, coffee and biscuits
ably assisted by Laura.

Jennifer and Colin put up a ‘Dog Splash Zone’ sign on the North Bridge. Thanks to all the team for their hard work in difficult conditions.

The next scheduled workday is Thursday 21 September. Meeting at HQ, located between the north bridge and The Seagull Lane gate, at 09.50, for a prompt start at 10.00. All volunteers, both regular and anyone else, will be warmly welcomed. Trained First Aiders will be on hand. Refreshments will be available. All necessary tools are provided and, where necessary training will be given.

Wildlife observations – by Brian Fellows
Two ecologists were carrying out a reptile survey during the work session, checking the black mats for reptiles. Apparently, they found 1 male and 3 female Slow-worms and one baby, but no Common Lizards. Here is a female Slow-worm identified by a dark stripe down its back – not clearly visible in the photo.


During the cutting of the orchid area, Maurice pointed out a solitary seed spike of a Common Spotted Orchid. We had a good showing of orchids this year, so let’s hope for more next year.

Conservation Work session – Thursday 17 August 2017
Report by Maurice Lillie.  Photos by Brian Fellows
An uncertain morning, weather-wise, but encouragingly, forecast not to rain and despite being in the middle of the holiday season, 7 volunteers gathered at HQ for the day’s briefing.

Maurice, today’s leader, welcomed everyone and explained what the tasks were and the purpose behind them. He identified the tools to be used and the care that needed to be taken to avoid accidents. The ground was firming up after recent wet periods so considerably less of a hazard than often experienced. Everyone was pleased and relieved that the resurfacing of the north bridge had been completed and passable.
The tasks were listed as follows:
1, to remove overhanging branches from the west side of the stock-fenced copse in readiness for the expected grass cutting shortly. This was ably carried out by a hard-hatted Gordon, with saws and loppers in hand, assisted by Maurice, until Reg and Phil became available after break. A total of seven branches were cut off.
2, Reg and Kathy raked, bagged and dumped the grass cuttings from an area between the gravel path the first oak tree, following an earlier scything by Maurice, in Seagull Lane Patch.

Reg and Kathy later, transferred their affections to another overgrown area of the Patch after Mike had power scythed it (an area between two oak trees).
3, Colin mastered the strimmer and set about removing the overhanging vegetation on both sides of the northern cross path in the south meadow, thus making it passable. He was helped by Pam armed with her favourite shears.
4, Mike cut two ‘circles’ in the south meadow – areas SM1b and 2a. These areas will be regularly cut (similar to those in the north meadow) to encourage new flora.
Pam provided welcome refreshments at 11. At noon, we gathered together the tools, cleaned and stored them back in HQ. Wally arrived to collect the Gazebo and sundry necessities for the Emsworth Show pitch. Well done everyone, a great effort.

The next scheduled workday is Sunday 3 September. Meeting at HQ, located between the north bridge and The Seagull Lane gate, at 09.50, for a prompt start at 10.00. All volunteers, both regular and anyone else, will be warmly welcomed. Trained First Aiders will be on hand. Refreshments will be available. All necessary tools are provided and, where necessary training will be given.

The Brook Meadow Conservation Group will have its usual stand at the Emsworth Show on Monday 28 August on the Horndean Road Recreation Ground. Please come along and say Hello!

Brian’s observations
The resurfacing of the north bridge is now complete and looks very good. I checked on the south bridge where work is ongoing. Here are the two Norse workers on the site, both named Lee. They said the bridge should be finished in a couple of days.
Gordon showed me a Song Thrush nest that he and Maurice had discovered on top of a fence post as they were clearing some overhanging branches on the north west plantation. Close up, the nest is an impressive structure – a woven circle of small twigs, leaves, grass, roots, moss and bits of string surrounds a smooth inner cup of papier-mâché made from rotten wood-pulp. Song Thrushes are fairly common around the meadow, but it’s good to have confirmation of their nesting.

Jean and I have been looking after two of our granddaughters (Lily and Iris, aged 11 and 9), so I thought it would be nice to take them over to the meadow to catch the end of the work session. They loved it. The workday was just finishing so I introduced them to some of the volunteers. They had a mock try with the power scythe which Mike was in the process of cleaning at the time!
More photos of the grandchildren’s visit to the meadow are on my blog at . . .

Conservation Work session – Sunday 6 August 2017
Report by Ian Newman.  Photos by Brian Fellows
Warm sunny weather greeted the 9 volunteers that gathered at HQ for their ‘Green Gym’ work out.

The group was briefed by Ian Newman on the tasks for the day. Nigel took control of the power scythe to mow the wildflower circles and newly developed ‘play area’ in the North Meadow before moving on to the paths in the South Meadow.Phil, Bob and Pam followed behind Nigel to clear away the arisings.

Kathy, Brenda and Dan cleared the arisings from the Seagull Lane Patch where Maurice had mowed the paths the previous day.
Meanwhile Debi set about laying wood chippings in the play area.
A great deal of effort was been put in by everyone and it soon became time for a well deserved cup of coffee dispensed by Pam with her usual cheerful efficiency. We were joined by Jennifer and two of her grandchildren.
After coffee Phil took over on the power scythe and cleared the major paths in the North Meadow, with Nigel taking over his raking duties.
Kathy and Brenda, having cleared the arisings in the Seagull Lane Patch, were joined by Bob to trim round the oak trees.
Dan embarked on removing the last of the twig debris from beside the South Path and Debi continued her one woman assault on the pile of wood chippings.
By the time it came to call a halt all the paths were clear, the Seagull Lane Patch was once again accessible and the pile of wood chippings had been significantly reduced by its contents having been moved to create an eco-friendly play area.
Although it was a relatively small work party, a great deal was achieved and many thanks go to all the volunteers who took part.

For wildlife notes from Brian
Go to . . .

For earlier conservation news reports . . .

for 2017 . . .

for 2016 . . .

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