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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.
Fruiting Hedge Maintenance – The Bog
In December 2014 we planted a fruiting hedge around an island of established trees on The Bog (Ladybridge Road) with plants supplied by The Tree Council. The Bog is aptly named and we were unable to have any woodchips delivered at the time of planting to suppress weeds because the truck wheels would have sunk into the soft ground. We had not had an opportunity to work on the hedge since it was planted and it had become overgrown although some trees could be seen and they appeared to be thriving.
We have had two work parties in July and September to carefully remove undergrowth by hand so that we could locate the trees and avoid damage to them. We then dug out the more persistent of the weeds and laid a thick mulch of wood chips to slow down re-growth.
During the July session we uncovered a cherry tree and an apple tree, both with a small amount of fruit forming. By September the cherries had disappeared, probably taken by birds, and the apples had enlarged although they were not yet ripe. Apart from an unexplained gap in the second row all the trees had survived.
Although the hedge will need periodic maintenance to continue to remove perennial weeds it is well on the way to becoming an attractive and productive feature.
Penjar Pond – August 2016
We took advantage of a dry pond to remove debris, mainly branches that had been cut from nearby trees.
The native species hedge we planted from whips in February 2013 was thriving and we cut the top level with the nearby fence to allow it to bush up. We also cut the sides to control a dog rose which was taking over the grass area and allow access to the fence for maintenance and removed the spiral tree guards.
The verge was trimmed to reveal the kerb.
There was no litter in the area around the pond although three bags full were collected in the car park next to the shops.
Litter Picking at Johnston’s Coppice
We had seven volunteers, including three new recruits, at Johnston’s Coppice this morning for the third litter pick. We collected thirty bags of litter between us making 143 bags in total plus an assortment of other rubbish. We are now close to the end of the initial deep clean of litter that had accumulated over many years and we hope to finish the job in the autumn / winter. We have had some signs made to state that the area has been cleared by PAWARA and asking people to take their litter home. As they appear to be having some effect on Purbrook Heath Road we have placed two signs alongside Purbrook Way which runs past Johnston’s Coppice. We have also received confirmation that a large litter bin will be placed near the bus stop and emptied daily.
Clearing Brambles at Privett Road
Six volunteers cleared brambles at Privett Road in Purbrook last month. We made good progress although we will probably need at least another two work parties in the autumn / winter to finish the task. We have bought another four pairs of shears to help speed the job up. We cleared a small amount of garden rubbish which had been dumped at the top of the slope and there was no sign of fresh dumping this week.
Clean for The Queen
Twelve volunteers carried out a litter pick at Johnston’s Coppice this morning as part of the Clean for The Queen campaign. We collected fifty bags of litter, a kitchen sink, a car bumper and assorted other rubbish.
We made a return visit to Woodsedge on Sunday 9th August to remove as much rubbish from the pond as possible and repair the hedge we laid in January and February. This time we wired the branches onto the hedge to avoid them being thrown back into the pond. We also raked weed off the pond, carried out a litter pick around the area, cleared the ditch and cut the overgrowth back from the path.
Nine volunteers gave up their Sunday morning, including three local councillors and a new recruit who heard about our activities via Streetlife.
Bird and Bat Boxes
Five bird nest boxes and three bat boxes have been installed in Sandy Dell. Thanks to Gary for supplying the ladder and climbing up it to fit the boxes.
Enormous heap of ivy cleared from Marrelsmoor Coppice
Another successful work party with an enormous heap of ivy cleared from Marrelsmoor Coppice by six enthusiastic volunteers. The bodies standing behind the heap give an idea of the scale. The English bluebells planted in November 2013 were in flower and we made several new clearings as shown in the photos to allow some more wild flower planting.
Spanish Bluebells Vanquished
Four volunteers spent a successful morning removing the remainder of the Spanish bluebells from Sandy Dell. After the eighteen bags filled last year there was a noticeable difference this time and we took out a further four bags full together with a small amount of litter. While we were there we also cut some of the brambles back from the path.
We left anything that could be English bluebells, so there is a possibility that some hybrids will need to come out at a later stage when the flowers will help with identification.
We are now ready to replant with English bluebells; if we can locate a source of free bulbs or funding to buy them that could be a job for this autumn.