Late Summer Update

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.

Best wishes

Helen (Chair OBCG)

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