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 Johnston’s Coppice

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

The application by Terena Plowright of The Greening Campaign for a change of use of Johnston’s Coppice, the nature reserve behind Crookhorn Technology College, to ‘mixed use of woodland and natural pet cemetery’ was refused on 18th March 2014.  The intention was for the pet cemetery to finance management of the woodland. 

There were a number of objections and the application was refused because ‘In the absence of adequate information the Local Planning Authority is not satisfied that the proposal will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the populations of protected species concerned at a favourable conservation status.’

The principal species of concern is the Hazel Dormouse although, according to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, eleven different species of bats have also been recorded in the area, including the very rare Bechstein’s bat.

An eight-year management plan has been prepared and the first section of hazel was coppiced early in 2013.  The PAWARA Environment Group has assisted with clearance work.  Woodland management activities ceased last year when volunteer work parties were cancelled due to a lack of numbers and Hampshire County Council withdrew the support of a Countryside Warden, who had been able to assist with a chainsaw, due to budget constraints.  Terena still intends to manage the coppice and is waiting for the lease to be finalised.


Tuesday 1st April 2014

Hundreds of tadpoles (there could be thousands; I didn’t count them) are in the shallow edges of Penjar Pond and movement of the water can be seen from several yards away.







Removing Invasive Trees

PAWARA Environment Group started the year by digging out invasive laurel and holly from the woodland at Widley Gardens, Purbrook.

The Bog

In December we continued our programme of maintenance by spreading two large heaps of wood chips around the fruiting hedge at the Bog in Purbrook to suppress undergrowth.  Our previous hard work had paid off and there was very little vegetation to clear.  The hedge was planted in December 2014 with trees supplied by The Tree Council.

Fruiting Hedge Maintenance at Sandy Brow

Six residents were at Sandy Brow for our November session to clear vegetation from around the fruiting hedge and spread wood chips as a mulch to suppress undergrowth.  We were joined by four scouts, three scout leaders and a tree warden.

Members of 72nd Portsmouth Scouts helping to clear undergrowth.

Spot the Tree Warden.

Our previous efforts are showing results and the additional help enabled us to do a more thorough job.



We also took the opportunity to clear the hawthorn tree that had fallen across the steps into Sandy Dell.





Fungi in Sandy Dell

This fungus was seen in Sandy Dell on Sunday. 

Trooping funnel fungus seen in Sandy Dell 18th November 2018.

It appears to be a larger example of the species seen next to the pavement at the Privett Road end in November 2012.

Seen near to Privett Road in November 2012.

Research indicates it is Infundibulicybe geotropa, also known as the trooping funnel or monk’s head, a funnel-shaped fungus widely found in Europe and (less commonly) in North America.  A large sturdy cream or buff-coloured funnel-shaped mushroom, it grows in mixed woodlands, often in troops or fairy rings and the cap  may reach 20 cm (8 in) in diameter.


The largest known fairy ring in Belfort, eastern France, has been reported at over half a mile in diameter and estimated at 800 years of age.



Pond and Car Park Maintenance

We had eight volunteers this morning and we were able to tackle several jobs.  We started by digging some of the sedges out from the centre of Penjar Pond to create a clear area, filling twelve bags, while another group planted some woodland flower plugs next to Marrelswood Gardens. 

We then joined forces to litter pick the small car park next to the glass shop on London Road and cut back vegetation growing over parking spaces.



Himalayan Balsam Work Parties

Eight volunteers from PAWARA, Havant Borough Tree Wardens and The Ramblers joined Groundwork for this morning’s work party.  There was considerably less Himalayan balsam than last year.  We are making an impression on the Potwell and that is much appreciated.  Thank you to everyone who assisted this morning. 

We have done such a good job over the last two years that there is not enough Himalayan balsam left in the area to justify another work party and the session scheduled for next Thursday has been cancelled.

If Ian finds some more he will let us know.

Himalayan Balsam

The photo gives an idea of what happens if Himalayan balsam is not controlled.  Although a very attractive plant when in flower, the dense coverage kills off all other plants, reducing habitat for invertebrates and exposing the river banks, making then prone to erosion and increasing sediment into the river.  Pulling it out reduces the impact of the plant and reduces the chances of it spreading by getting into the water course.

This Morning’s Work Party

A big thank you to the eight volunteers who dug out Spanish bluebells and hybrids this morning.  We filled 19 bags with bluebells, mostly from the small woodland area next to Widley Gardens, and one bag with litter.  This was the first work party at Widley Gardens and we will need several more sessions to clear the remainder.

After this morning’s session there are very few Spanish bluebells left at Sandy Dell. 

Great British Litter Pick

This morning 22 people turned out for a litter pick around Purbrook filling 51 bags and collecting other assorted rubbish including a radiator, half a scooter, road signs and a 5ft long 10” diameter heavy duty plastic pipe!

We were joined by our local MP, Alan Mak, who ‘mucked in’ with everyone else. Special thanks to Tom Mackinnon, who organized the event as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  Finally a really big ‘thank you’ to the Village Bakery in Purbrook who opened up especially on a Sunday morning to serve a full English breakfast on completion.

A really successful morning; the weather helped, perfect conditions. 

61 bags of litter have been collected so far this year and the total since records began in November 2011 is 636 bags.

The photograph shows some of the rubbish collected.

Another productive morning at Sandy Dell

With ten volunteers we were able to tackle several jobs.  We dug out a well-established laurel and several other shrubs, removed some of the ground elder from around the English bluebells we planted and cleared soil from part of the tarmac path which turned out to be a lot wider than it first appeared.

Pre-Christmas Litter Pick

This morning five volunteers collected 20 bags of litter plus other rubbish including a car seat from Purbrook Heath Road and Purbrook village.  84 bags have been collected in 2017 making a total of 575 bags since records began in November 2011.