On Saturday at 9.00am QECP experienced its first Park Run, along with 139 runners and many helpers.  Park Run is the name given to a collection of 5km runs that take place every week in many differ countries around the world.

They are free to enter and welcome runners of any ability. Entrants are required to register on-line for a unique number and to print their own bar code before taking part. Individual results are then uploaded on-line by volunteers.

Saturdays event was well rehearsed and went without a hitch. As it was the first race the winners now have the course record for at least one week!

Peter. J Collins, recently moved to these parts from Wales, was the male winner in a time of 18 minutes 45 seconds. And Elizabeth Hedley was the female winner in 20.33.

may13 162A total of 37 clubs were represented on the day and one individual was presented with an award for completing 50 different Park Runs. After the race was over the majority of runners retired to the café for tea and cakes.

For more information about this weekly event at QECP, or Park Runs in general go too www.parkrun.org.uk/queenelizabeth

 

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

 

 

Butser Hill in the Spring is covered in the flowers of the Common cowslip, particularly on the northern and western slopes but also along the A3 verges and the South Downs Way.

The Cowslip’s name is thought to originate from the old English for cow dung as its flowers were commonly seen in grazing meadows. Traditionally the flowers were used to flavour wine and vinegar.

This semi-evergreen perennial is found throughout Europe and Asia although in this country it has been threatened by the agricultural improvement of grasslands.

 

The slopes on Butser have not now been disturbed for 50 years and  as a consequence numbers of Cowslip are growing every year.

Additional benefit from the large numbers comes from the fact that the leaves are a key food plant for the larval stage of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly.

This extremely scarce butterfly is found over much of Butser Hill and we are lucky enough to have what is probably its largest stronghold in the UK.

Over a 24 hour period from 4pm on Saturday the 10th August through to the same time on the 11th, there will be a BioBlitz event at the Country Park. This is open to the public with the simple aim to find as many species as possible across the Park. Last year over 600 were identified. More information at www.hants.gov.uk/qecp

On Bank Holiday Monday the Park was close to its capacity with some 3,000 visitors enjoying the sunny weather.

All 11 family and four group bbq sites were fully booked and the two kiosks, on Butser Hill and at Juniper in the forest, both ran out of ice-creams before the end of the day.

Despite the large numbers there were no real problems for the staff to deal with apart from large quantities of rubbish and the inevitable blocked toilets.

Tuesday has been a clear up day and once again the Park is looking neat and tidy. The next bank holiday will take place on Monday the 27th May. Fingers crossed for the weather.

 

 

The A3 Cycle Project continues to make progress. The feasibility study has shown that the route would work well, although the costs seem  much higher than envisaged. Negotiations continue to reduce these where possible so that we are in the right ball park figure to submit the necessary grant application.

The A3 Cycle Route petition will continue for another three weeks until after the QECP Cycle Festival. At this point we hope to have close to 5,000 signatures which is a fantastic total. The petition has been organised by local members from the Cyclist Touring Club (CTC) who are also doing great work analyzing all the data to help make a strong case. If you have not yet signed the petition the link is below.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/cycle-route-through-a3-butser-cutting.html

This 4km route which finishes at the Park Centre begins in a lay-by located on what is known as the Causeway to the south of Petersfield.

A separate cycle route has just been completed and this takes riders out of Petersfield and as far as the same lay-by. At this point the new route will hopefully take over. And finally from the same lay-by there in an existing cycle route which uses Bollinge Farm Lane to go directly to the village of Buriton.

The image below shows the new route and lay-by with Butser Hill in the background.

 

The QECP Cyclefest takes place over the weekend on the 18th/19th May. Many different manufacturers will be present to show off their new models, parts and accessories and the The highlight of the event will be a 4 hour enduro on the Saturday evening.

For more information go to http://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk