August 2011


August the 31st is BlogDay…why the 31st? Well if written out correctly 3108 should read something like Blog. The day was created as a way of raising awareness of all the many and varied Blogs around the world, or Blogosphere.

The idea is for everyone to recommend 5 new sites and pass them on. So on the day blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new sites and new people.  

http://snippetsfromaportsmouthpast.blogspot.com

This blog is about Portsmouth, its extraordinary past, and role in national and international history. Information from this blog is currently featured in an exhibition in the City Museum called ‘No Place Like Pompey’.

http://woodlandantics.wordpress.com

All about greenwood working by Mark Allery a craftsman from the West Sussex Hampshire border. Mark attended the QECP based South Downs Wood Fair in July this year along with the Hampshire Coppice Craftsmen group.

http://goingwiththegrain.org

The final word in greenwood chair making by Mike Abbott,  craftsman and prolific author. The best place to go for that training course.  

http://environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com

 This  ‘Learn From Nature’ blog is run by Henricus Peters an environmental writer looking to explore sustainability, promote an understanding of the world in which we live and appreciate its connections. 

http://blog.arkive.org   

This blog promotes the conservation of the world’s threatened species through the power of wildlife imagery.

For further information go to http://www.blogday.org

The Green Flag Award Scheme has been running now for just over 10 years and has 1,290 judged and accredited sites across the UK. The scheme recognises well-managed parks and green space which are open for all to enjoy.  Pilot schemes are also  currently operating in the Netherlands and Germany.

All participating sites are judged against 8 criteria; a welcoming place, healthy safe and secure, clean and well maintained, sustainability, conservation and heritage, marketing, community involvement and management.

QECP has been in the scheme for 6 years now and has been fortunate to be awarded the Green Flag every time. Each year as soon as the awards have been announced the Tidy Britain Group, who run the scheme, operate a public vote to establish the top site across the UK. A voting page on the Green Flag web-site will run until midday on the 12th of September and we hope that as many of our visitors as possible will cast their votes.

A direct link is available from the QECP web-site home page www.hants.gov.uk/countryside/qecp

Den building at QECP

Den building at QECP

 This week the education team have been busy running a variety of holiday activities. These included ‘den building’ on the 24th august which involved making shelters from the natural materials found in the woods. Refreshments came in the form of hot chocolate made out on site in the Kelly Kettle.

 

Den building-refreshments

Den building-refreshments

 On the 25th it was ‘teddy bears adventures’ where the lucky teddy was brought to the Park to be involved in craft activities, games and a treasure hunt. 

And finally, with the holidays fast disappearing, on the 30th August we have the last activity called ‘krafty kites’. Create your own kite and then walk over to Butser Hill, the highest point on the South Downs, to see how well it will fly.

This is a turn up and take part activity suitable for all ages. Cost; £2 per child.

A bbq chef!

A bbq chef!

                                                                                                                                                      

August is the busiest month for the Park’s 11 family and 4 group bbq sites which are in constant use. If they are all booked in the same day then over 400 people will be scattered across the different areas.  

Whether on holiday of for a special occasion everyone does it their own way. The bbq food ranges from excellent to inedible!

A real chef

A real chef

 Outside caterers are used by many of the larger events and Lime Cafe, who run the cafe and kiosks here in the Park,  can help with any requirements. Further information at www.limecafe.co.uk

Paella chef
Paella chef

Additionally, hog roasts and supplies of bbq meat can be provided by Rother Valley Organics who look after the Park’s sheep flock on Butser Hill.

Further information at www.rothervalleyorganics.com
Bookings are already being taken for  next year for two of the Group bbq sites, Juniper (40 person capacity) and Benhams (100 person capacity). The other two group sites, Cannonball and Coneyacres will not start booking until January 2012.
Images of all these sites are available on the web-site www.hants.gov.uk/countryside/qecp    
Injured ewe

Injured ewe

Unlike many previous posts, which have been celebrating the summer from the perspective of our visitors and wildlife, this one is of a much more serious nature. Twice now in the last month a dog or dogs have attacked the ewes and lambs that are grazing the lower slopes of Butser Hill. The images show an adult ewe which had been chased in to a corner, suffering extensive bites to the neck and rear. The true extent of the damage is masked by the wool and this animal is lucky to be alive today.

Injured ewe

Injured ewe

 It is widely acknowledged that even though our dogs have been domesticated for years, they have not lost their basic instincts. These can be triggered by a sudden movement, a scent or sound and for this reason all dogs must be kept on a lead in a field or compartment where livestock are present. Where we have cattle or sheep grazing a series of A3 signs are posted at all the entrance/exit points so that dog owners can be warned in advance. These simply read ‘cattle/sheep are grazing this area your dog must be on a lead’.

Unfortunately there are a small minority of irresponsible dog owners whose actions lead to these type of injures (see earlier blog about dogs and deer). The daily duty ranger is always out and about in the Park and we welcome any information from visitors which will help tackle this issue.   

The current legislation covers livestock worrying fairly well and the Police and District Council Dog Warden are always involved in cases at QECP. To class as ‘worrying’ one or more of the following needs to be relevant; attacking livestock, chasing them where they may be reasonably expected suffer injury or stress, and being at large (not on a lead) in a field in which there is livestock.  

Dog training

Dog training

   For those owners wishing to train or socialize their pets there are many dog clubs in the area which organise  regular meetings and events. The image was taken at a recent dog show held at the Park (see earlier blog) where as part of the Dog Citizen training the owners, and their pets, had to walk up to a pen of sheep, sit and then leave without any fuss. For many people it was a valuable chance to see how their animals react to meeting livestock for the first time.

If in any doubt however, for the sake of our sheep and wildlife, please keep your dog on a lead.

 

Silver-spotted Skipper by Mike Wearing

Silver-spotted Skipper by Mike Wearing

The last blog about butterflies covered some generalists which you can find on Butser, in the forest or along the rights of way hedge rows. This section begins with some of the habitat specialists which are linked to the downland of Butser, and the larger areas of open space in the forest such as the Brow Barrows picnic area. 
The Silver-spotted Skipper is restricted to chalk downland sites in southern England. Despite being scarce it is one of the few species which is actually increasing in its range. Easy to identify with the distinctive white spots found on the underside of the hind wings. The SSS is one of the latest butterflies to emerge and is not present until July or early August, remaining on the wing in to September.
 
Small Skipper
 
The Small Skipper is widespread in southern England living in colonies which can be large in size. Adults are on the wing in late June through August. They have a distinctive short buzzing flight among the tall grass stems and can be found in huge numbers among the Hawkbit and Red Clover in Rake Field. Please be aware that there are cattle in one half of this field.
Dark-green Fritillary by Mike Wearing

Dark-green Fritillary by Mike Wearing

This is the most widespread fritillary in the British Isles preferring grassland habitats. It gets its name from the green sheen on the underside of the hind wings. Adults emerge in the middle of June and are present through August. It can be found across Butser Hill.

 
Small Copper by Mike Wearing

Small Copper by Mike Wearing

 This is a fast flying butterfly with bright copper fore wings is easily remembered once seen. It is widespread throughout the summer months and occurs in small colonies across Butser. The last adults can be seen in middle October.

With 2-3 weeks of school holidays left and some good summer weather expected now is the time to get out and about in the Park and find some butterflies. Identification guides can be purchased from the visitor centre shop.

 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The RSPB Love Nature stand

The RSPB Love Nature stand

All this week  a team from the RSPB has been in the Park. Based close to the visitor centre the aim is to provide visitors information about bird life in particular and wildlife in general, with specific reference to the RSPB. They will be in every day including Friday.

Known to many people this UK charity works ‘to secure a healthy environment for birds and all wildlife, helping to create a better world for everyone’.

On Wednesday and Friday this week there will be a link with another group, this time the Denmead based Caterpillar Crafts who are putting on two days of fun filled days for children with disabilities, special needs and their families. This is a great chance to gain new experiences including bird spotting, bug hunting and pond dipping.

Prebooking is required. Further information can be obtained at www.caterpillar-crafts.com

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