Now that the snow has all gone we can catch up with the Winter work tasks. To date two fencing contracts have been completed on Butser and in addition contractors will soon be starting on a third and then replacing 10 stiles with kissing gates.

Two scrub control contracts have just been finished. The first carried out in Target Valley on the southern slopes of Butser, and the second on Little Butser to the north. Both the fencing and the scrub work have been covered by previous blogs.

Half of the Hill Top has now been topped with tractor and flail. The remainder will be dealt with when the ground dries out a little more.

There are only two months left to get everything finished so more dry weather will be crucial.

As a brief interlude from life at the Park the County Council owns 32 acres of SSSI chalk grassland located 5 miles to the south.  This site is called Catherington Down and is managed on a lease by Horndean Parish Council who have their own ranger team and look after other local sites such as Hazleton Common Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Yoell’s Copse LNR.

The Park however retains responsibility for capital projects such as the site’s water supply and the replacement of fencing. As a consequence the QECP rangers are currently in the middle of re-doing the Catherington Down fencing.

The site is grazed by cattle which would normally only need barbed wire to keep them in the right place but due to large number of dogs which visit daily sheep netting has to be used. Once the fencing has been completed then it is back to Butser for the team.

For more information about Catherington Down or other sites managed by Horndean Parish Council go to www.horndeanpc-hants.gov.uk

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