Crowhurst Wildlife Verges & Projects
Throughout Crowhurst we have a number of designated wildlife verges in an early stage of recovery. Here you will see regular updates on these sites, as well as many other projects of which we organise or participate in.
New Year Update -
Crowhurst Environment Group (CEG) – Update for February 2023
Happy New Year! - Looking Back at 2022
In case you have ever wondered what it is that Crowhurst Environment Group actually does, here is a round up of our activities over the last twelve months. Please consider joining us if you are interested! For the first few weeks of last year, while the days were still short, a group of us went out after dark to take light meter readings at various locations around the parish. The results were then collated by High Weald AONB and now form part of their Dark Skies map. Some parts of Crowhurst fared better than others in terms of light pollution - the station being a particular hotspot of light pollution, but Network Rail have at least agreed not to leave lights on all night long. The moths, owls and bats will benefit as a result.
We have continued to survey and look after several village verges, although we were disheartened that there were so many places where vehicles churned up areas where we had worked so hard. Anybody who has seen the state of the triangle at the bottom of Ballards Hill will appreciate the problem. As well as undoing our hard work, it makes life much harder and less safe for pedestrians when their path is restricted or impassable due to deep ruts and erosion of the verges.
The hedge we planted alongside the stream by the Recreation Ground is growing well, and has survived the onslaught of drought and flood, as well as the football and cricket seasons.
The orchard which we planted in March and watered daily throughout the summer and autumn is also doing well, although we lost one tree due to disease, and another was damaged by vandalism, but is recovering. The trees were expertly pruned recently by Ian Donovan. Ian has also been our guiding light in maintaining Muriel’s Meadow in Breadsell Lane. Following grazing by two sheep to keep down the sward, the spring brought a plethora of wild flowers, which in turn attracted butterflies in good numbers. These were surveyed by Sophie Streeter and Terry Anderson, from RSPB Forewood. We had a good turnout for the scything of the meadow in September. The sheep are now grazing again, and so the cycle continues.
There have been guided walks to Combe Haven and Marline Wood, led by Cliff Dean and John Feltwell. John, who is Tree Warden for the village, has also updated the Crowhurst Biodiversity Audit, which he compiled for the Parish Council, and it makes very interesting reading. There are many maps and photographs in there too.
We have had several Litterpicks over the year, amassing all kinds and sizes of rubbish from roadsides. Please help by carrying gloves and a bag to pick up litter as you go. It tends to be mainly cans, bottles and wrappers, probably thrown from cars.
Our most recent achievement was planting a mixed hedge alongside the footpath to the school, in order to make it safer and more stable for pedestrians. We were given a lot of help by RSPB Forewood and High Weald AONB, as well as John Goddard - for which many thanks. (Miraculously, only one of the plants was washed out in the recent flooding.) The same group cleared undergrowth and overhanging branches to widen the walkway from the bottom of Ballards Hill towards the bridge. This is still to be completed. Bramble and footpath clearing has been taking place at several other sites, including the Wildlife Garden and Combe Haven. This is harder than you might think, as every area has to be checked for evidence of Dormice and Harvest Mice, which are both protected species, and could be nesting or hibernating among brambles. Nashes verge is next in line for this. Please let us know if you would like to be included in this, or any of our activities in 2023.
We also have regular meetings at Mantel Farm (Henley Down) and occasional social evenings in The Plough.
Please contact Sonia if you’d like to join our Wild about Crowhurst WhatsApp Group or be added to our CEG contact list for information and updates.
Crowhurst Environment Group