I thought you might like an update on OBCG activities, especially those of you who haven’t been able to be so involved lately.
Firstly, on three evenings in July, we went looking for glow worms on Whiteshute Ridge above Sainsbury’s. . On each occasion we found a good number of glowing females, which was very exciting! In fact, over the three visits, we found at least 33 different individuals. On the third evening we were joined by an ecologist with WCC. It is good that WCC is aware and should consider the glow worms when they plan any future management of the area. Next summer I hope we can involve more local residents, especially from Badger Farm, in monitoring the glow worm. Earlier this month, we had two work parties on the Wildlife Area when we strimmed and raked the wildflower meadow in order to remove the unripe seed heads of the oh- too- invasive Hogweed plants. In doing so, we also dispersed the ripe seeds of the Good- Guy Yellow Rattle. ( See first attached photo) I am hopeful that next year we’ll have less Hogweed, more Yellow Rattle, and a greater diversity of Wildflowers in that area. This summer, a few Pyramidal orchids appeared on the site; it would be lovely to see more.
Last week, Martin (Treasurer and website editor) and I hosted a nature event in the Wildlife Area for members of Winchester GoLD (Group for adults with learning disabilities). Unfortunately, for confidentiality reasons, I can’t include photos of the Members, but I am attaching two photos taken just before the group of 35 Members, support workers and leaders descended on the site. Activities we provided were a sweep net and magnifier boxes for looking at minibeasts, a scavenger hunt (thanks Clare for proving the cards ) ID charts, and materials for leaf rubbing. Other activities they also enjoyed were picking blackberries, exploring the wildlife area and simply being outdoors. I was so pleased OBCG was able to provide a safe and welcoming venue for what turned out to be a very successful event.
Currently, there are lots of wild fruits: blackberries, crab apples, guelder rose berries, sloes, elderberries, and hazel nuts in the wildlife area. Peter Land’s memorial crab apple tree is doing very well, with lots of fruit.
This autumn/winter I am sure we’ll need to do more coppicing of the hazel trees. I think it would also be a good idea to clear the Welcome Plot (area A on our map ) to the left of the entrance gate, and re-sow with wildflower seeds. I’ll start suggesting some work party dates in a month or so .
Talking of sowing wildflower seeds, as you will probably be aware, in the past, we created some small wildflower patches on the Battery Green. Earlier this year, Teresa Hull and Jan Wood tried to reinvigorate a couple of these areas. Unfortunately, they suffered setbacks from over- zealous men on mowers cutting the areas without permission! However, they are undeterred, and will soon be putting up signage to mark out the designated areas. If anyone has collected wildflower seeds and would like to donate them, either to create wildflower meadows on the Battery Green, or in the Wildlife Area, please do get in touch with Teresa or me, so we can coordinate their distribution to best effect.
In the meantime, I have just accepted an invitation for OBCG to join OB Sus and St Marks in celebrating Winchester Green Week with an event on the Battery /St Mark’s church on Saturday 1st October, 2 -4pm.
There will be apple tasting, information on the benefits of hedges to wildlife, and a book sale. Please do come along!
And finally, for those with a creative, imaginative and humorous bent, don’t forget the annual OB Scarecrow Week launches on Friday 16th September. Is OBCG going to enter this year??
Thank you all for your continued support with OBCG. I look forward to seeing you all again before too long. Meanwhile, I’d welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions for the Group’s activities.
Helen (Chair OBCG)