Overgrown fence line in Rake Field
Overgrown fence line in Rake Field

The Parks rangers spend alot of the winter working in the western half of the Country Park on Butser Hill. Three key tasks form the bulk of this work. These are, scrub control on the downland, woodland manangement and fencing.  The winter weather on Butser, the highest point on the South Downs at 270 metres, can be severe and when wet access can be problematic,  so the  recent dry weather has been welcome. All this work must be completed by the end of March before the start of the bird nesting season.

Cutting back prior to fencing

Cutting back prior to fencing

Fencing if put up properly will last for at least 25 years. With treated posts, livestock netting and two strands of barbed wire to keep both cattle and sheep in the right place. The fence line must first be cut back, the brash burnt and sufficient deadwood left to protect any coppice stools from deer browsing, and as habitat piles. Next the large straining posts are put in to the ground at the ends of every straight stretch, and finally the wire is put in place.

Strainer and intermediate posts  
Rake Field where this work had been taking place is a large twenty acre meadow situated to the north, and below, the  steep scarp slope of Butser Hill. Unlike the majority of the hill this field is not designated a SSSI, it  does however have a fantastic range of flora. The sheep flock have just left Rake to have their lambs. This early grazing reduces the coarse grasses allowing the more important meadow species to thrive. Grazing will not resume until after flowering in late summer. 
 
 
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