March 2012

Trails start point outside the visitor centre

Tomorrow being the 1st of April, the visitor centre, cafe and main facilities will remain open until 5.30pm, adding 1 hour to  our opening times. Each morning the cafe will continue to open at 9.00am and the visitor centre at 10.00am.

Additionally, the gate at the end of the Forest Drive which gives access to the main facility areas within Queen Elizabeth Forest, and the gate at the entrance to the Butser car park, will both be closed at 8.00pm, giving an additional 2 hours before lock up. Both gates are opened at 8.00am daily.

For more information about the Park’s facilities go to 


The Forest Drive

Holt Down conifer plantation


Male Polecat

A large male Polecat has just been found on the A3, where it passes through the Park. The only other specimen that we have seen was a female found last October (see blog 16/10/11). whereas she weighed 858 grammes and was 500mm in length this male was a monster 1678 grammes and 600mm. The nearest sighting of another Polecat in this area was at the Meon Hut further west along the A272.

Widely persecuted in the past Polecats are staging a remarkable recovery, moving south and east from their strongholds in the north of England and Wales. Unfortunately this solitary weasel like animal is predominately nocturnal and often only found, as in this case, as road kill. During the cold weather they develop a long thick Winter coat.

For diet and shelter the humble rabbit provides most of what a Polecat needs and the landscape of Butser Hill has plenty. If you see anything that might look like a Polecat, and they can sometimes be confused with an escaped domestic ferret, then please do report to the Park so that we can monitor this fascinating creatures spread across Hampshire.

For more information about the Polecat go to 


Winter coat


The end of the Orange Trail


The Trail Building Group met up over the weekend as they do every month. Both days saw over 20 individuals hard at work with a variety of hand tools and wheel barrows. The Group split in to four teams to work on trail maintenance and the new finish for the Orange Trail.

 Helpers are always welcome and  can make contact via the Group’s site at


The deadline to complete the re-vamp of this trail is the weekend of the 19th/20th May when the Park will be hosting a cycle festival put on by Hargroves Cycles. More information at






Tree planting

Tree planting

   On the 17th March about 70 individuals from the Petersfield, Sheet and Liss Guides and Senior Section, Drummer Explorers and the Petersfield Scouts took part in hedge and tree planting at the Country Park.This was part of the Diamond Jubilee Community Project which will continue through the year with a return to the Park in the Autumn to plant Royal apple trees. 

The main tree being planted on Saturday was a 4 metre Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple  Fountain’.  An upright form of the ‘Beech’ which will maintain an attractive shape reaching 10 metres in height. This was supplied by the nearby Griffins Nurseries, who are considered to be one of the best specimen plant producers in the UK. More information on the nursery can be found at 

  Additionally, about 150 hedging trees were put in close to the entrance of Bottom Field where there are two large Beech trees which were planted for the Queen’s Coronation back in 1953. These stand on either side of the Forest Drive marking the entrance to Queen Elizabeth Forest. To celebrate the occasion both the Coronation trees and the new  Jubilee tree will have plaques in place so that all our visitors will know why they are there.    

On the 4th June there will be a Jubilee Beacon lighting on top of Butser Hill as part of a National chain totalling 2012 in number. Her Majesty will light the first one and the rest will follow. The actual lighting time has yet to be set. Full details will appear in due course on the beacon web-site at    

  There are many badge groups which operate in the area, and use the Park for their outdoor activities.Further details at or

SOC event HQ in Bottom Field

SOC event HQ in Bottom Field

   On Sunday the Southampton Orienteering Club held a competition event in QE Forest. 150 people took part, ranging from families who enjoy a ramble around a wayfaring course, to athletes who can hold their own at international competition.  The toughest course was 8.2 km long with 320 metres of climb and this was completed by the winner in a time of 52 minutes. Thanks to a clever time keeping system called EMIT all the entrants carried an electronic tag and could receive a print out as soon as they finished with a breakdown of times and placings.  The support team in the back office

  The SOC have just surveyed the QE Forest and are currently upgrading the Park’s permanent course. This should be available from the Visitor Centre for public use in April.    For more information about the club and forthcoming events go to   EMIT ticket

Mothers Day flier



On Saturday the Caterpillar Crafts ran an activity day in the Park. The fun activities included cake decorating, making a Mother’s Day card and a themed woodland walk.

Caterpillar Crafts put on activities that are creative, accessible, inclusive and fun. They work with carers and parents to provide a fun and supportive environment with activities throughout the year at QE.  


Cakes for Mother's Day
Cakes for Mother’s Day


Caterpillar Crafts also do themed birthday parties in the Park. For more information  go to


More details about other events taking place at QE can be found on the main web-site at


Card making

Card making




Buriton work party

Buriton work party

  The Buriton volunteers met recently for their penultimate practical work session before the end of the Winter programme. From now on they will be getting ready for the annual Open Day which takes place on Saturday April the  28th. For more information about joining this group contact the site ranger Abi Peett at   

New notice board

 Other developments include a new notice board for the Halls Hill car park. This will be used to provide information about the Chalk Pits and to promote Buriton events and businesses.  

New kissing gate at Halls Hill

 Additionally, the stile on the Hangers Way leading from the Halls Hill car park has been replaced with a kissing gate. This will make access to the footpath much easier for the general public whilst still allowing livestock to be grazed in the adjoining fields.

  The team from Bursledon Brickworks

 And finally, a team from the Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum has just restored and installed an old quarry skip. This is the type of vehicle that would have been used, with horse power, to extract the chalk from the old quarry. This will become a permanent fixture in the Chalk Pits and is visible from the Hangers Way as it passes through the site. 

More information about the museum can be found at  

The team from BB

  For more details about the Parish of Buriton go to their Community Web-site at

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