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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.







Preparation for Hedge Planting at Widley Gardens

On Sunday 11th October we cleared the ground ready to plant another section of hedge on the edge of the woodland next to Widley Gardens.   We left some small trees (mainly hawthorn with some dogwood, blackthorn and holly) that were already growing in the right place to form part of the new hedge. 

The new hedge site before clearance.

Cleared ready for the new hedge.


Lockdown Photos

If you see any interesting trees during your daily exercise, please send us a photo.

Bird Cherry, St John’s Avenue, Purbrook. Sunday 26th April 2020. Photo: Terry Smith

Crab apple blossom in Timber Lane, Purbrook. Sunday 26th April 2020.  Photo: Terry Smith

Wild garlic in Gundymoor Wood.       Wednesday 22nd April 2020.                         Photo: Terry Smith

Wood spurge in Johnston’s Coppice. Tuesday 21st April 2020.
Photo: Terry Smith

Cherry in blossom.
Timber Lane, Purbrook.
Monday 20th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

Crab apple tree in blossom.
Sovereign Lane, Purbrook.
Sunday 19th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

Yellow archangel, Johnston’s Coppice.
Saturday 18th April 2020.
Photo: Terry Smith

Cherry Blossom in Timber Lane, Purbrook.
Tuesday 14th April 2020.
Photo: Terry Smith

Wayfaring tree in flower.
College Road, Purbrook.
Tuesday 14th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

Wayfaring tree in flower.
College Road, Purbrook.
Tuesday 14th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

Cramp Ball fungus (King Alfred’s Cake) Daldinia concentrica is found almost exclusively on ash, as in this case.
Gundymoor Wood. Saturday 11th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

This unidentified fungus was found on silver birch. Gundymoor Wood. Saturday 11th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

Cherry in blossom.
Fielder’s Park, Purbrook. Thursday 9th April.
Photo: Terry Smith

I took this photo of a notable oak during one of my daily walks. From the line at bench height, it looks as though it was constrained at some point; perhaps there was a bench around the trunk. Does anyone know the history of this tree or have earlier photos?
I would need assistance to measure the trunk, so that will have to wait until the rules on social distancing are relaxed.
Elizabeth Road, Purbrook. Tuesday 24th March
Photo: Terry Smith

This albino grey squirrel on a different oak was seen during the same walk.
Elizabeth Road, Purbrook. Tuesday 24th March
Photo: Terry Smith

Albino grey squirrel and wood pigeon.
Elizabeth Road, Purbrook. Tuesday 24th March
Photo: Terry Smith


In line with advice from the Government, we have cancelled all work parties until further notice. We may have some additional litter picks when it will be easy to stay at least six feet apart in the open air.

For the most accurate, up-to-date health guidance, please follow only official government advice.

Litter Pick in Purbrook

This morning eight volunteers collected 27 bags of litter, taking care to  practice social distancing.  We started at the junction of Purbrook Heath Road with Newlands Lane and worked our way to the London Road, clearing both sides of Purbrook Heath Road, the tennis courts and the Heath.  We then cleared behind Penjar Bridge and along the western side of London Road into Marrelswood Gardens and the woodland on either side.  

Last Sunday five volunteers collected 17 bags from Stakes.


Hedge Planting at Widley Gardens

In January, PAWARA Environment Group planted another hedge in Purbrook.  This time it was on the edge of a small wood at Widley Gardens.  A mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood and hazel was planted in three rows with alternating hazel on the woodland side and alternating dogwood facing the road.  Other species will be added when available.  The majority of the whips were supplied by OVO Energy through The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) ‘I Dig Trees’ scheme with some hazel saplings from The Woodland Trust.  TCV were originally offering guelder rose as a component of the Wildlife & Shrubs packs, but were not satisfied with the quality of plants available.

Preparing the ground.

Whips planted.

As for the hedges at Purbrook Gardens, the aim is to create a dense hedge with nesting potential, nectar, fruit and visual amenity.  A total of 74 whips were planted at 15” centres with rows 12” apart.  This is closer than the whips at Purbrook Gardens which were planted at 18” centres with rows 15” apart, so it will be interesting to compare the results.

Applying the wood chips.

Job done.

The planting area was thoroughly cleared of ivy and brambles and the whips were planted forward of the mature trees to maximise light.  Wood chips were supplied by a local tree surgeon.  We did not need to use protective tubes because there are no rabbits or deer in the area.  There is space for more hedging further along the road and that will be a job for the next planting season.

Hedge Planting in Purbrook

In December PAWARA Environment Group planted hedging on the corner of Purbrook Gardens.  The site had been neglected and overgrown for several years and had started to be used for dumping.  Two work parties in the spring and summer dug out brambles and some not so small horse chestnut saplings, cut back sycamore branches to allow more light onto the ground and removed bricks and other rubbish.  A further session in November cleared the ground in preparation for hedges to be planted next to the road, opposite Purbrook House, and in front of the wall next to The Co-op (formerly The Leopard public house).  

Spreading woodchips around the newly-planted whips.








The aim is to turn the site into a wildlife garden and create dense hedges with nesting potential and protection from cats, squirrels, magpies, etc, nectar, fruit and visual amenity, so the hedge will have to work hard. 

100 whips were planted, a mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood and beech in three rows with the intention of adding other species when available.  The majority of the whips were supplied by OVO Energy through The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) with half a dozen beech saplings from my garden.  The wood chips came from a local tree surgeon.  There are no rabbits or deer, so no need for protective tubes.  We cleared (and cleaned) the planting areas thoroughly, so there should be no need for markers either.

We will sow wild flower seeds (from Growing Wild) and thicken up the hedging on the other two sides in March.  And all without spending a penny!

Purbrook Gardens

The ground has been prepared ready for hedge planting next month.


The team at work.

Ready for the new hedge.

Photos:  Terry Smith

Grass Cutting at Privett Road








This morning we cut the grass around the trees at Privett Road to give the wild flowers a chance to flourish.


The badger is back and has excavated a large heap of sand from a fresh set.


Litter Pick in Johnston’s Coppice

The litter pick went ahead yesterday, despite the rain.

There had been a record number of likes and shares on the PAWARA Facebook account.  In the event, we had ten volunteers; the others must have been put off by the weather and the earlier start.

The latest haul from Johnston’s Coppice.  Photo: Terry Smith

We collected 33 bags of litter (see photo).  That makes a total of 229 bags from Johnston’s Coppice altogether, 63 from the first session.

We also attached a notice to the fence, encouraging people to take their litter home.  This one was reinforced, so we will see how long it lasts.

Penjar Pond

There was a slight change of plans for today’s work party.  Wood chips from reduction of the two willow trees had been deposited in the pond, so instead of digging out sedges we moved them next to the hedge so they can be used as mulch.

Digging out the wood chips.

Moving the wood chips next to the hedge.

We also removed some of the low branches hanging over the pavement, cut back the brambles and other vegetation growing over the path alongside the pond, cut the verge in front of the pond and trimmed the edge of the verge growing over the kerb on both sides of the pavement.

Cutting low branches

The verge cut back from the pavement.

The path alongside the pond (before).

The path alongside the pond (after).

Photos:  Terry Smith