South Downs News, August issue

South Downs Newsletter August 2020
Younger readers may recall Pan’s People. This issue leads with a page and a half on PANN (People and Nature Network). There’s a report, of course (reports are what the SDNPA does), and a plan to extend “green infrastructure” into the seedy urban areas — aka “coastal communities” — that straggle along the Hampshire and Sussex coast. A cute picture of a baby sand lizard advertises a family event in Petersfield. There are a couple of surveys and a couple of reports of institutional beneficiaries of John Major’s cunning plan to transfer resources from the poor to the not-so-poor (the National Lottery). The cultural material includes an interesting biographical item on the writer Eleanor Farjeon; an advert for a set of rather competent-looking wildlife art postcards by children (if you want a set, you’ll just have to drive to the South Downs Centre in Midhurst); notice of a September exhibition by Gordon Rushmer in Petworth; and news of a downloadable audio version of Sara Clifford’s Cherry Soup. Fewer virtual events but altogether too much material about Petersfield.

Bobservation No. 71: Summer At Furzefield

The months of June and July have brought a quite exceptional display of growth in our garden at Furzefield.

We have, over the years, planted with bees and butterflies in mind and so far this summer we have recorded butterflies as follows: Brimstone, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Orange Tip, Painted Lady,  Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small Tort, Small White, Speckled wood, Silver washed Fritillary, and Wall Brown.

As for birds we average about 29 species each week and I expect many of you will have joined us in getting exciting views of the Red Kite which is fast becoming a regular.

We have found that our insect visitors have greatly increased as a result of letting lawn grow longer to encourage clover etc. It has been a great summer in the ‘veg patch’ but it was quite an effort to keep watering adequately. The downside is a very annoying Roe Deer that keeps eating our rose buds!

HDC Open Spaces Survey 2020

Field Paths and Green Lanes
The parish of Fulking falls within Mid Sussex District — but only just. The local territory to our West is all part of Horsham District. Even Edburton falls within Horsham District. Fulking residents know that useful parking discs (i.e., Henfield, Steyning) have to be purchased from HDC, not MSDC. But HDC’s relevant responsibilities extend beyond village car parks. They also look after public open spaces (Henfield Common, for example) and rural trails (a large section of the Downslink, for example) that Fulking residents are as likely to make use of as those living in Edburton. So you may feel inclined to complete their current survey.

Raw wool on offer

wool
Are there any keen felt makers and spinners who would like some raw fleece, or anybody considering insulating an outbuilding with cheap wool? Wool is also a great weed (and slug!) barrier and helps maintain soil moisture in the garden/allotment.

Our flock needs to be shorn every year for welfare reasons, the global market for wool has been shut since February and remains closed at time of writing. February to May is normally the busiest selling period of the year for the British Wool Marketing Board – as a result there is circa 9 million kgs of last years wool still unsold.

We will soon have over 1300kg of wool needing a home – if you or anyone you know would like some wool please send an email to camillaandroly@gmail.com with an approx. weight you would like and we will let you know when you can come and collect, with your own bags. We would just ask for a donation.

Camilla and Roly

South Downs News, May issue

May 2020 South Downs Newsletter
There’s another plug for the food map that we were impolite about last month. It has improved very slightly: food is now reported to be obtainable in Steyning (from Sussex Produce and Truffles); and nutrition has also come to Small Dole (The Raw Chocolate Company and Truffles, again). There’s a cute picture of an “ecosystem engineer” (a water vole) who is celebrating a small grant for new livestock fencing. There’s a report from Rolls Royce (Chichester) who, thanks to an SDNPA grant worth less than 10% of the cost of one of their vehicles, has been able to move from car production to honey production. And there’s news of “a net zero carbon emissions” housing development near Fernhurst with emissions to be tackled by “photovoltaic panels and wood burning stoves”. Wood burning stoves??

South Downs News, April issue

April 2020 South Downs Newsletter
SDNPA Chief Executive Trevor Beattie claims that “there are already signs that the lock-down has reinvigorated many people’s love of nature”, presumably analogous to the way in which going on the wagon reinvigorates a love of alcohol. He will surely be lobbying for regular lock-downs in future years. There’s a link (to a link (to a link ..)) to “a detailed map [that] has been created for people to find food, drink and other support services close to where they live” which turns out to be every bit as dire as earlier food-related cartographic efforts by the SDNPA (The South Downs Sahara in 2015, and The South Downs Sahara (update) in 2017). Food is unobtainable in Steyning, apparently.

On the positive side, page 10 features a photo of David Ellin and Annie Brown, though they are not quoted or identified, and page 12 advertises a 3-part Facebook video instruction series by an ‘animal behaviourist’ on walking the dog (the animal, not the Rufus Thomas song).