June 2011


Marathon finish area

Marathon finish area

 On the 11th June over 1,000 brave people took part in the South Downs Marathon and relay marathon. Run by 2:09 Events, who are based in Farnborough, this key event in the Trail Running calendar covers 26 miles from Slindon College along the South Downs Way to QECP.

After the race

After the race

 With a 5k fun run for the youngsters this is becoming a popular family event supporting a serious distance race.

The first male runner, from the Brighton and Hove AC, finished in 2 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds.

The first female runner, from the City of Salisbury Athletic & Running Club,    finished in 3 hours 34 minutes and 59 seconds.

Cyclists booking in for test rides

Cyclists booking in for test rides

 Every year Hargroves Cycles run a ‘dealer day’ where their customers and local riders can get to grips with the best mountain bikes available.  These include Scott, Specialised and Cube.
 
This year the appeal of the event was broadened with the addition of children’s bikes and adapted bikes.
The Park has a number of trikes, tandems and hand powered machines which are available for pre-booked use every Monday morning. The CTC run these sessions and all the models were on display for the event.
 
During the day over 350 people took a bike out on to the trails as part of guided rides. The event was so successful that it will be run over two days for 2012. 
Filming in progress

Filming in progress

 
Two film crews have been working on site over the last month. Firstly, Wildfire TV were in the forest with Tony Robinson of Time Team fame, filming a docudrama about ancient rituals. Druids were central to the plot and this involved felling a small pine tree and some strange rituals that can only be viewed after the 9 o’clock watershed.
 
Also Garden Productions visited Butser Hill for a second time filming a documentary called ‘The Seven Dwarves’. This features seven individuals and key places and influences in their lives. 
 
Fox cub

Fox cub

 
At this time of year fox cubs can be seen throughout the Park. They are normally born in March and by April will be leaving the den for short periods. By late April/May the colour of their fur changes from chocolate-brown to the more familiar red.
In June the breeding earth will be abandoned and the cubs will lie above ground. By July the adults will be bringing less food and in August they will be self-sufficient. Finally, from October the young foxes will leave the area to set up their own territories.
Fox cub

Fox cub

   

Please do not interfere with fox cubs unless they are injured or in genuine need. The first action should be to contact the Park centre if you have any concerns.
We have had several queries regarding Parvovirus, and the likelihood of foxes passing this on to dogs through indirect contact within the Park. Whilst foxes can carry the condition dogs should not be brought on site without receiving the correct vaccination programme.
 
The reception team at QECP
The reception team at QECP

Interviews will take place this week for a new part-time senior receptionist, following the retirement of both Penny and Keith from the team of 5 ( seen on the right of the picture). Despite being a fixed term, part-time post the response to the job advertisement has been huge.

The  visitor centre is open 24/7 and as well as shop sales the reception team carry out first aid on the walking wounded, take  bbq bookings for about 40,000 people each year,  event bookings for about 10,000 visitors, and operate as a  Tourist Information Centre for the local area.
In addition QECP provides reception and office facilities for one of the South Downs National Park area teams, a Rights of Way team and two staff from Butterfly Conservation.       
New play equipment under construction
New play equipment under construction

The Juniper Adventure Play Trail is getting two new pieces of equipment for the Summer. One has already been installed by the ranger team and the other will soon follow. This item proved to be quite a challenge with 4 main uprights which all needed to be set 5 degrees off vertical to ensure that the net would end up at the correct height. A temporary frame needed to be set up to hold them in place until the concrete had set.

Foundation work
Foundation work

There are over 20 pieces of play equipment at Juniper which are aimed at children aged 8 and above. For the younger ones there is a Tots Play Area close to the visitor centre which has a smaller range of animal based items.