2008 Diary

  • Sunday 12th and 26th October: Working parties at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Saturday 11th October: The group was represented at the Greening Oliver’s Battery Campaign launch event at Oliver’s Battery Primary School.
  • Sunday 28th September: Working party at the Wildlife Conservation Area. Clearing up unwanted areas of bramble and burdock.
  • Friday 20th June: Ben Spraggens again brought his specialised mowing machine to the Wildlife Conservation Area to mow the meadow. A gang of four laboured to rake the hay clear. Near disaster with a bottle.
  • Friday 13th June: The group did a Bat Walk along the River Itchen, with a couple of bat detectors. We met at the Durngate entrance to Winnall Moors at 8pm and first walked around the public part of the nature reserve, where assorted wildlife was spotted including a water vole and a pair of Orange Backed Community Support Officers. Tremendous bat activity was seen on the river at the back of the Ship Inn as the light faded. We then followed the river through the town as far as Wharf Hill before adjourning to the Black Boy. The party then split into two, with a small contingent following the river and Badger Farm by moonlight, though by now cats and milkmen were more evident than bats.
  • Sunday 8th June: A working party at the Wildlife Conservation Area concentrated on pulling brambles and ragwort.
  • Monday 19th May: AGM held at the Wildlife Conservation Area. A deer was spotted in the field across the bridleway.  2008 Minutes (pdf)

2007 Diary

  • Saturday 1st December: A working party to plant some replacement trees at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Sunday 16th September: “Nature’s Harvest” event, a picnic followed by a treasure hunt for autumn fruits for children.
  • Thursday 6th September: Another 3-hour bonfire session disposed of the remains of the hay pile. The ashes were spread on the bramble patch.
  • Thursday 30th August: In view of the large quantity and need to prevent build-up of nutrients it was decided to burn the hay which is not of any use for fodder due to the presence of ragwort etc. A two-hour bonfire session cleared around a third of the pile.
  • Friday 10th August: The meadow area of the CA was mown. This resulted in a pile of hay around 40 feet long by 3 feet wide and 2-3 feet high.
  • Thursday 9th August: Moth Evening at the CA.
  • Friday 3rd August: A species recording session at the CA. Red bartsia was noted.
  • Saturday 7th July: Tree Identification session during a brief break in the wettest May to July since records began.
  • Thursday 21st June: An informal Bat Walk at St Cross. Between showers, members of the group sat in the garden of the Bell for long enough to ensure that darkness had fallen, before venturing along the river with a bat detector. Home by torchlight via Whiteshute Ridge.
  • Monday 18th June: Evening bramble pulling session at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Monday 11th June: Evening plant identification session at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Saturday 9th June: Site meeting at the Wildlife Conservation Area with a consultant ecologist over future management and species recording.
  • Friday 25th May: A morning session at the Wildlife Conservation Area pulling brambles and clearing sowthistles around the young trees. In the afternoon an oak bench was installed.
  • Monday 21st May: AGM was followed by a ‘sundown stroll’ to the Wildlife Conservation Area. Campions and yellow rattle in abundance, with sowthistles and poppies.
  • Thursday 17th May: OBCG Committee meeting to discuss forthcoming events and the possibility of a website.
  • April: With the driest April and the warmest 12 months (April-April) since records began, OBCG bought some water bowsers. Members of the group made sorties to the Wildlife Conservation Area to water the young trees and shrubs.
  • Tuesday 13th March: OBCG Committee meeting to discuss the implications of the winding up of the Hanson Environment Trust following the last Budget.
  • March: OBCG consulted an ecologist about future management plans. Very dry for much of the month. Some replacement trees planted.

Nature’s Harvest Afternoon 2007

Photos by: Peter Land

On 16th September we had a picnic lunch at the Conservation Area, followed by a ‘treasure hunt’ mainly for children, to look for ‘autumn fruit’.

Nuts and berries? Yuck! (© Y. Bear, c. 1964).

Hay Burning Autumn 2007

Photos by: Peter Land

Following mowing we had quite a pile of hay to dispose of, unsuitable for horses. It is important to remove cut material for the time being to assist in returning the soil to the unenriched state favouring chalk downland plants. We reluctantly decided that a bonfire was the only practical way to deal with this.

Moth Evening August 2007

Photos by: Peter Land

On 9th August we held a moths evening at the Conservation Area. Strips of cloth soaked in sugary liquid were laid out and left while group members walked to Yew Hill and back before inspecting what had been attracted.

2006 Diary

  • Friday 15th December: Christmas dinner at the Dolphin, Hursley.
  • Thursday 28th November: OBCG Committee meeting.
  • October: Wildflower and grass seed planting at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Sunday 17th September: Working party preparing ground for seed planting.
  • Monday 11th September: Bonfire, just in time before rain arrived.
  • Saturday 9th September: Wildlife Conservation Area progress display at the OB 50 fête at the Battery.
  • Friday 8th September: Wildlife Conservation Area hay mown. This needed volunteers following the cutter and raking away the cut hay as fast as they could so that the cutter could see where he had been. The hay was then raked into rows to dry.
  • Sunday 3rd September: The Official Opening of the Wildlife Conservation Area by Parish Council Chairman Geoff Sharman was followed by a walk up to Yew Hill for joint picnic with Butterfly Conservation, to consume butterfly cakes, elderflower and blackcurant juice etc.
  • Sunday 27th, Bank Holiday Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th August: Weeding, watering, mowing working parties.
  • Thursday 17th August: OBCG Committee meeting to plan for the official opening day of the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Wednesday 16th August: Another watering session at the Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Wednesday 26th July: In the morning a second round of selective spraying of surviving brambles by contractors. In the evening a working party met to do more emergency watering of young shurbs during what proved to be the hottest month in Britain since records began. More weeding and part of the meadow was hand-mown with shears to encourage lower plants.
  • Sunday 23rd July: A planned emergency watering party was called off after torrential rain yesterday, but the message did not get through due to disruption of Broadband by the lightning and some plants got some extra help anyway. Jusdt as well, as the effects of the rain proved to be minimal.
  • Monday 19th and Thursday 22nd June: More formal and informal work parties, watering and systematic weeding around young trees to reduce competition. Slow worms spotted. Drought threatens trees.
  • Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th June: Evening weed bashing sessions on the Wildlife Conservation Area. Masses of nettles to pull.
  • Wednesday 24th May: Spraying by contractors to suppress unwanted nettles and brambles.
  • Monday 22nd May: AGM at St Mark’s Hall.
  • Tuesday 16th May: OBCG Committee meeting. At the CA the trees were doing well with just a couple of casualties but the area looked terrible as nettles were growing fast and quite a lot of brambles, and profuse growth of cleavers. A mixture of hand pulling and spraying was used to get matters under control. New field gate installed to provide access for mowing etc. 2006 Minutes (pdf)
  • Tuesday 18th April: 20 local Brownies planted a hawthorn hedge. Reported in the Hampshire Chronicle of 27th April.
  • Saturday 15th April: More bramble clearing and a bonfire.
  • Wednesday 12th April: More bramble clearing. OBCG received a grant from Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Villages Initiative.
  • Sunday 12th March: Working party raking out roots in Wildlife Conservation Area meadow area
  • Thursday 9th February: The Hampshire Chronicle ran an article about the Wildlife Conservation Area project.
  • Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd January: More community planting.
  • Friday 13th January: More raking out of roots on Wildlife Conservation Area.
  • Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th January: Community Planting Days at the Wildlife Conservation Area. Over 30 local people joined in, planting shrubs and trees including hazel, hornbeam, whitebeam, field maple, spindle, guelder rose, crab apple, blackthorn and alder buckthorn.
  • Monday 2nd January: Work party on the Wildlife Conservation Area raked and burned bramble roots.