And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear

Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
The Duke of Burgundy butterfly is one of the most rapidly declining and threatened species of butterfly in the UK. Numbers have crashed by over 50 per cent since the 1970s and only about 100 colonies remain. In 2003, just eight Duke of Burgundy butterflies were recorded in the whole of Sussex. Over the next two years, Neil Hulme and Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers will be planting cowslip to encourage the Duke of Burgundy back to the chalk grasslands of the Steyning Downland. Neil has already been successful in seeing the Duke of Burgundy return to Chantry Hill, about nine miles west of the Steyning Downland. There will be opportunities for local people to work with Wakehurst Place/Kew; to collect cowslip seed and grow cowslip plants; to learn how to identify and monitor the butterflies; and to conserve their habitat. Anyone who is interested should go to the free launch event at the Steyning Centre at 7:00pm on Monday 8th December to find out more. More here.

St. Botolph’s reopens

St._Botolph's
A special re-opening event is to be held at St Botolph’s Church, in Annington Road, Botolphs, on Saturday 6th December 6, at 2:00pm (followed by a carol service at 3:00pm), to allow people to see the results of the year-long first phase of the £380,000 restoration project. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served. The charge is £3 per head, children under 16 free with an adult. More here.

Our earlier posts on this project were Churches Conservation Trust takes over St. Botolph’s (April 2013) and The restoration of St. Botolph’s (April 2014).

Cold call burglaries

Cold-callers linked to 26 burglaries in the region
Sussex Police report:

Since August there have been 26 break-ins at towns and villages across the Horsham district that detectives believe have been committed by the same people. The offences began in August in Storrington but have spread to Coolham, Henfield, Steyning, Horsham, Pulborough, Bramber, Billingshurst, Kirdford, West Chiltington and Ashurst as well as Petworth in the Chichester district. The thieves have escaped with jewellery, cash and unusual household ornaments.

Katy Wood, from the Operation Magpie team, said: “We believe the offenders could be cold-calling at homes to try to work out who is in and whether they are likely to have valuables. We think they are then returning when no one is home — perhaps because the residents have told them they won’t be there — and breaking in”.

The victims closest to Fulking were located at Broomfield Road in Henfield, Kings Barn Lane in Steyning, Maudlyn Park in Bramber, and School Lane in Ashurst.

Handel’s Messiah

Chanctonbury Chorus in front of St. Andrew's Steyning
Chanctonbury Chorus are performing at St Andrew’s Church in Steyning on November 15th at 7:30pm. Come and hear this wonderful piece — Jen Green and I are in the choir and Lesley, our local professional violinist, will be singing and playing. Tickets are £12 — contact Jen or me on 01273 857552, or buy on the door.

Chris Gildersleeve