The third sunday in January means that it must be sheep poo collecting day on Bevendean Down. This is one of our annual rituals to help manage the chalk grass land in Hogtrough Bottom. The 150 or so sheep which were on the Reserve before christmas have eaten off a lot of the taller vegetation leaving a short sward so plenty of light can get to the new growth of many of the chalk loving plant species such as horseshoe vetch and pink centuary. After all that eating they did quite a lot of pooing but they helpfully do this mainly in one area. A group of us raked up and collected as much of this as possible and then Garry-the-ranger drove it down the valley in the council truck where we unloaded it onto the compost heaps of the Bevendean Community Garden. Hopefully this all adds to our aim of removing soil nutrients from the chalk grass land areas and adding to the soil nutrients in the community garden vegetable beds. A most enjoyable morning out on the downs, good company, fresh air and exercise and the satisfaction of a job well done.Muck RakingHappy Poo Pickers

On Sunday 16th November we will be working on the green at the end of Knepp Close clearing srcub and long grass. Meet on the site from 10.30 am.  Knepp Close is the first turning on the right up Norwich Drive.

On Sunday 21st December on the same site we will be doing some more clearing and then having a bonfire with baked potatoes, sausages, cakes, tea, coffee and biscuits etc.

The event will go ahead unless there is deep snow or torrential rain! Last year it rained quite hard but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. Most years it has been dry and sunny for this event. Sheltering from the rainRainingPotatoes and sausages

We will be joining Garry the ranger with a group of volunteers to help clear scrub from Cardboard Hill in preparation for the area to be grazed by sheep for a few weeks.

Over recent  years this once prime wild life site has become overgrown with scrub and course grasses so that it has have lost many of its species of insects and downland flowers.

Sheep grazing for short periods in autumn or winter should improve this steep south facing chalk grass land.

Meet at the corner of Heath Hill Avenue and Norwich Drive at 10am or see us on Cardboard Hill. On the arial picture Cardboard Hill is below the BBC Mast marked Bevendean.Cardboard Hill

 

 

 

 

On Saturday 19th July 2014 FoBD hosted a walk for Sussex Butterfly Conservation. Despite the wet weather forecast 8 people turned up and had a good butterfly day as the weather improved. The long grass area of the sheep enclosure was full of flowers and butterflies and day flying moths and grasshoppers and crickets. Of the butterflies there were good numbers of marbled whites meadow browns, ringlets, gatekeepers, Small and Essex skippers, common blues, brown argus. The youngest member of the group Joseph found a Roesels Cricket. In the shorter grass areas there were numerous chalkhill blues amongst the round head rampion autumn gentian and other downland flowers. Thanks to Colleen Slater for the photographs.View fom HogtroughLong Grass AreaSimmonds PondSimmonds Pond 6 spot burnet moth

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