July 2011


Team photo

Team photo

13 metering staff and meter training colleagues from the SSE depot in Petersfield came to the Park recently to spend a day volunteering. Every year the company gives staff the opportunity to take a day out of the office to help an organisation of their choice.

With bow saw and loppers

With bow saw and loppers

 The day involved using hand tools to cut back ash saplings and open up areas of dense regeneration to allow the sunlight through the canopy to the forest floor. The group was given a safety talk,  a briefing on the use of tools and then the highlight of the day, a chance to get up close and personal with the beneficiaries of all this hard work…the local reptiles in the form of adders, grass snakes and slow worms.

PPE

PPE

 As the weather proved cool and damp, then sunny in the afternoon, lunch was undecided, with a chilli served inside the cafe, and a bbq outside.  After all their exertions most of the group ended up having both!

Park Ranger Steve shows the group a slow worm

Park Ranger Steve shows the group a slow worm

 

 

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New models on test

New models on test

 The latest 2012 mountain bikes from Specialised have recently been on test at QECP. The day was aimed at dealers rather than individual customers, and attracted staff from shops as far afield as Yeovil, Bournemouth and Swindon.

Test bikes

Test bikes

  The 29 inch wheel is  key to the new models and the Park’s two 3 mile mountain bike trails gave them a good chance to show off their potential.

Trailwalker-one of four start times

Trailwalker-one of four start times

Last weekend saw the biggest and most challenging of the many events that take place each year along the South Downs Way.

Trailwalker Uk started out over 30 years ago as a training event for military personnel. In 2002 the Gurkha Welfare Trust teamed up with Oxfam and the event was opened up to the public. Starting at QECP, 520 teams of four have 30 hours to walk, 100 km or 63 miles, east to the end of the National Trail.

The record is an incredible 9 hours and 50 minutes however this year torrential rain early in the event slowed the finish time down to 10 hours 42. The first civilian mens team came in after 12 hours and 39 minutes, and the first female team in 18 hours 12.

Army transport

Army transport

 250 soldiers from the Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment ensure that everything goes smoothly supported by staff from Oxfam.

 This year only 53% complete teams finished after a total of 392 individuals retired proving just how tough this event is. On one team’s blog the scene at the last checkpoint was likened to a clip from the film Platoon!   

Event HQ-Butser Hill

Event-Butser Hill

 £1,000,000 has already been committed as sponsorship and this makes Trailwalker the biggest annual fundraiser for the Gurkha Welfare Trust. 

Food tent

Food tent

Carved wooden animals

Carved wooden animals

 The development of this site continues with the addition of a small menagerie of wooden animals which  have been placed along the trails. These have been carved by a Sussex company called Woodland Products Ltd. Following a competition among local crafts people the winning contractors have completed a large bench, a rabbit, a fox and an owl. In addition there are a number of smaller creatures which have been carved on to dead tree branches along the trail.

Rabbit

Rabbit

 On Friday the 15th July a ‘Chalk and Cheese’ walk led by Dr June Chatfield proved popular, looking for the rare Cheese  snail and other molluscs. In the end the Cheese snail did show up along with both Glass and Garlic snails.

For more information about this site please ask for one of the two new trail leaflets at the QECP visitor centre reception or look on the Buriton Parish web-site http://buriton.info/news/chalkpits  
 
Mtb volunteer work party

Mtb volunteer work party

‘If you go down to the woods today’…no really you are likely to meet a new group of volunteers who are getting to grips with the Park’s two mountain bike trails. A friendly bunch, not a club but a group of individuals who e-mail, and who are prepared to leave the bikes at home and come and work on the trails.

It takes a lot of experience to design a section of trail, to make it technical enough without compromising safety, and we are benefiting from this groups collective experience of sites such as Afan or Aston Hill.

Feeding time
Feeding time

If you enjoy mountain biking at any level and would like to get involved in this type of activity then please get in touch for dates and details of the next session. 

Fawn

Fawn

 Roe are one of the four types of deer that are found in the Park. These include Fallow, Muntjac and occasionally Sika. Unlike the Fallow they are not herd animals living singly or in twos and threes in open woodland and scrub on both sides of the A3. The young are born in May. Beautifully camouflaged they wait for their mothers return without moving.

The rut or breeding season takes place from mid-July through to August and although mating occurs in late summer, the embryo does not start to develop immediately. This contrasts with the timings for the Parks sheep flock where the rams arrive (tupping) in November on fireworks night for  March/April lambs. 

At this stage in their growth the fawns are very vulnerable to disturbance, particularly by dogs, and if found they should be left well alone. The mother deer will return in due course.

Fawn

Fawn

 

 

Gillian, Bob and Jeannie

Gillian, Bob and Jeannie

Last Friday saw the preview of a new exhibition which runs until Sunday the 21st August. Three local artists, with diverse styles but a common love of painting, have got together using the Park’s Pumfrett room.
The artists work on location and in the studio, and the end result reflects this with local landscapes, street scenes and studies of butterflies .
Every six weeks another exhibition is held at the Park. If you are interested in exhibiting please contact us.

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