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After 300 posts, written over two years and covering some of the fascinating goings on at the Country Park, the blog will now close.

Future happenings will continue to be reported via the site’s Facebook and twitter accounts which can be accessed via the main web-site on www.hants.gov.uk/qecp

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On Monday the 17th May BBC South Today and BBC Radio Solent came to the Park to see ‘adder tagging’.

This is not some traditional countryside pastime of old but rather an innovative way of monitoring this scarce and fascinating reptile, and only the second time that this project has been carried out in England.

The Park has a very healthy population of adders which happily co-exists with the many recreational users. This project will hopefully inform and improve the management of both the snake’s habitat and also the way our visitors use the site.

Ten adders have now been radio tagged and for the next 6 months the rangers and volunteers at QECP will be following their every move. 

The tags are attached using clear porous tape and need to be found and retrieved should the adder shed its skin.

This project is supported by the QECP Volunteers and the South Downs National Park.

For more information about the adder tagging there will be a reptile walk as part of the 24 hour BioBlitz on Sunday the 11th August. Pre-booking is required. For more information go to www.hants.gov.uk/qecp

Recently the Four Wheel Drive Club paid a visit to the Country Park to bbq and camp after a day spent on the County’s byways and green-lanes.

The club is based in the South East but membership is open to anyone anywhere.

The aim of the club is to provide a fun and friendly place to exchange knowledge, advice and adventures with all owners, whether they have never before taken their tyres off-road or are serious mud-pluggers.

As well as using the bbq and camping facilities at the Park they have an annual ‘trial’ which takes place in Head Down adjacent to QE Forest.

The idea behind the event is to test a drivers skill and control of their vehicle as they try to navigate a series of obstacles at slow speed. 

For more information about the club go to http://www.fourwheeldriveclub.com  

Details about the bbq sites can be found on the Park’s web-site at http://www.hants.gov.uk/qecp   

The Raven Field Archery Club ran a two-day open competition this weekend. On Saturday some 94 archers attended and on Sunday another 96 were booked in.

The event attracted a quality field including Naomi Folkard who was in the Great Britain Olympic team for the 2012 Games. Details about the club can be found at http://www.ravenfieldarchers.org

Archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK providing a good balance between fun and fitness, and is able to be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.

Members can use the traditional longbow with wooden arrows and feather flights or the high-tech pulley assisted, telescopic sighted composite bows which resemble something from a science fiction set.

Archery GB is the National Governing Body which incorporates the Grand National Archery Society founded in 1861. For more information about local clubs and events go to http://www.archerygb.org

The event is one of a number held in Head Down, which is located on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth Forest and used for club run pre-booked events including 4WD training, motorbike trials and mountain boarding. Prospective event enquiries to tim.speller@hants.gov.uk

 

 

The Park has 11 family bbq hearths which can be hired for two-hour sessions through the day from 11.00am.  There are also 4 group bbq sites where groups for up to 120 people can enjoy their own private space for a whole day with a shelter and picnic tables. Additionally the visitor centre shop can provide charcoal, and organic meat and venison to order.

The group bbq sites are used for everything from corporate parties to wedding receptions. These large spaces allow people to bring in marquees, caterers and even entertainment.

For those wishing to do something on a much bigger scale the two largest bbq sites, called Cannonball and Coneyacres, can be joined together with the camping area to create an 8 acre space that will be used for many unusual events during 2013.

These include the South Downs Wood Fair in July and ButserFest, a teenage music festival in September. For more information about these or other events, or to book a bbq site on-line see the Parks web-site on http://www.hants.gov.uk/qecp

The Park’s ranger team has been spending time getting the group bbq sites ready for the Summer season. This has involved replacing some of the fencing and repairing picnic tables. In addition the events field needs to be chain harrowed, fertilized and when the grass finally starts growing, to be cut.

There are 4 full-time rangers and a part timer. Each day one will work as the duty ranger, with duties which include opening the Butser gates and toilets, cleaning and getting ready all the bbq sites and then dealing with whatever the days visitors may bring. All are well-trained with subjects as diverse as first aid or issuing fixed penalty tickets.

A small work party has just finished clearing the ‘small quarry’ at the Burton Chalk Pits Local Nature Reserve. This same area was first cleared of undergrowth last year with the intention of establishing some valuable open space in the quarry.

20 years ago the older residents of Buriton can remember the presence of snakes and butterflies,  both now sadly lacking. With each clearance the task becomes easier and it is already possible to see the changing nature of the vegetation.

The site is owned by East Hants District Council and run in partnership with Buriton Parish and the Country Park. We are coming to the end of three years of Heritage Lottery Funding and at that point the site will have to rely even more on volunteer help.

Many improvements have been made during this time period and the one major project yet to be realized is the restoration of the pond at the top of the site (see earlier posts). The relevant grant application has been submitted so fingers crossed that it will be successful.

New volunteers are always welcome to these regular work parties. For more information go to the Parish web-site at http://www.buriton.info

There will be a guided walk looking at the bird life and bird song in the Chalk Pits which will take place on Wednesday the 8th May, starting from the Buriton Pond at 6.30pm. Stout shoes or boots are required and steep gradients are to be expected.

Last Friday an evening preview marked the start of a 6 week exhibition at the Country Park. Titled ‘A journey through the landscape’ it has been put together by three local artists to display their complimentary styles.

George W Gascoigne teaches as well as paints, and has exhibited several times before at the Country Park. More information at www.gascoigne-art.co.uk

Trevor Glover works in oils and watercolour an also runs painting courses a Liss and Selbourne. For more details ring 01730 894397

And last but by no means least Sharon Hurst whose inspiration comes from Tolkein’s Lord of the rings and captures a fantasy world of landscape and character figures. Sharon  runs courses on fantasy painting and first exhibited here in 2002. Further information at www.sharonhurst.co.uk

There is a second exhibition  displayed in the theatre which has been designed by the County’s own archivists. This covers last years Jubilee celebrations and reflects on Her Majesty’s reign with specific references to Hampshire. As well as printed panels there are video clips and mention is made of the occasion back in 1976 when the Queen opened  the Country Park. This exhibition also runs for 6 weeks.

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