Posted by: lhct | June 8, 2021

Join our volunteers

We have some brilliant volunteers who help us run the Friends group. So, to boost their efforts, we’d like to fill some key vacancies.

Chairperson: a dynamic and outgoing individual, ideally who knows and values Chesworth Farm, to head up the group

Secretary: can you organise and minute our formal meetings, monitor our actions and generally keep volunteer communications flowing?

Events co-ordinator: help us set up our conservation tasks and our educational events

To find out more, contact us via chesworthfarm@hotmail.co.uk or tel 07512 966174 (answer machine) or via Horsham District Council Volunteer Sector Support.

Female orange tip butterfly on garlic mustard, by David Verrall, May 2021

Posted by: lhct | June 7, 2021

Thank you to our volunteers

As the district celebrates its volunteers through #volunteer week, the Friends of Chesworth Farm are so grateful to everyone who helps maintain the farm – whether you do this on organised tasks, on administration or informally on your own visits.
This can be by sending in your wildlife sightings and fabulous photos or by reporting items lost or in need of repair, or litter-picking.

Whatever you do, the natural fabric and beauty of the farm benefits from every moment of your enthusiasm, care and time!

Thank you to our volunteers

Posted by: lhct | April 21, 2021

HDC shares news of Local Wildlife Site status

Great Horsham Hill by David Tombling

The Friends of Chesworth Farm are delighted that HDC has published the following news release today:


Chesworth Farm receives Local Wildlife Site accolade (21 April 2021)

Horsham District Council has recently received the very exciting news that Chesworth Farm has been awarded Local Wildlife Site status for nature conservation in the Horsham District.

Chesworth Farm has officially been designated as a Local Wildlife Site, joining other council owned sites such as Leechpool & Owlbeech Woods, Monkmead Woods and Southwater Country Park.

Local Wildlife Sites are non-statutory sites that contain features of substantive nature conservation value. In Chesworth Farm’s case these are the extensive high quality hedgerows and wildflower meadows.

Local Wildlife Sites such as Chesworth Farm play a critical role in the conservation of the UK’s natural heritage. They each provide essential wildlife refuges in their own right as well as acting as stepping stones, corridors and buffer zones to link and protect other site networks and the open spaces of our towns and countryside.

The Parks & Countryside team at the Council, in partnership with the Friends of Chesworth Farm and Horsham Green Gym, have been putting in many hours of practical conservation management, as well as wildlife recording, which have all contributed to achieving conservation protection for the Farm.

Careful management of the hedgerows and grasslands, provision of sacrificial crops for farmland birds, regular dormouse monitoring, wildflower surveys and breeding bird surveys have all proved how important the Farm is for wildlife.

For media queries please email press@horsham.gov.uk

Posted by: lhct | April 19, 2021

AGM by Zoom Mon 26 April 7.30pm

Posted by: lhct | April 16, 2021

Surveyor at work Sat 17 Apr

Surveying underway on the farm, Saturday 17 April. In the first of three surveys this year, local entomologist, ecologist and botanist, Graeme Lyons, will be taking samples from several fields.


The species Graeme locates and records will form the site’s first comprehensive survey of invertebrates (animals without a backbone or bony skeleton) and a lot more besides.


Funded by the Friends of Chesworth Farm, we hope the results will create a fascinating record and be a benchmark for the future. If you spot Graeme at work in public fields, please give him some working space.

Picture by Tony Cook, April 2021

Readers of our social media know that the Friends of Chesworth Farm have followed the debate on including Rookwood in the draft Local Plan – and the Friends are against any development on the area.  So we’re taking the chance to share news of two public events hosted, by The Horsham District Older Peoples Forum (HDOPF) on this Thursday morning and also on the evening of Thursday 8 April. To quote from the HDOPF website:

Rookwood Development – public meeting

“Concerns were raised at the Horsham District Older Peoples Forum public zoom meeting on the 3rd March about the proposed sale of land at Rookwood, with its public golf course and situated next to Warnham Nature Reserve, for housing development.

“The public disquiet is illustrated by the number of letters published in the West Sussex County Times over the past weeks. A proposal was made and voted for, that the Forum should hold a public zoom meeting to hear both ‘for and against’ sides as to the publicly owned green space being sold and built on.

Pineapple Mayweed at Rookwood

“Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Leisure & Culture (Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead Parishes) has been active in explaining the HDC proposed development and has agreed to attend to explain the proposed development and answer questions from the public. Sally Sanderson, Chairman of Friends of Horsham Park, and part of the alliance of Horsham Green Spaces and Keep Rookwood Green, has agreed and will be attending along with other alliance representatives to give a short presentation as to why they are against the development and also answer points and questions.

“There will be 2 public zoom meetings, each with up to 100 spaces. The first, 10am–12noon on Thursday 25th March mainly aimed at older people living in the Horsham District and the second 7pm–9pm Thursday 8th April mainly aimed at residents living in the 3 unparished areas of Horsham town represented by Horsham Denne, Horsham Forest and Horsham Trafalgar Neighbourhood Councils.

“If you would like to attend, please email hdopforum@gmail.com and if sufficient space, the zoom joining information will be sent. Spaces will be, as far as possible allotted on a ‘first come first served’ basis. More than one person in a household can attend. It would help if you state which meeting you would like to attend, where in the District you live, if aged 60+ or live in the unparished area.

“We will of course, be flexible as far as possible. It is hoped that the level of feeling either way, on this proposed development will be shown by the numbers attending. Questions and / or short points that you wish to put should ideally be sent in with your request to attend, prior to the meeting to ensure the meeting can go ahead smoothly. There will be a Chat room facility, for further questions if time allows and to make comments, during the meeting. All participants other than speakers will be on mute with video switched off except when asking a question. The meeting will be recorded.”

 

The Horsham District Older Peoples Forum (HDOPF) is an independent, non-political, voluntary group that is free to attend and take part in.  It acts as the ‘ears’ and gives a ‘voice’ for people aged 60 and over who reside in the Horsham District Council area or who cares for someone who is.

 

Posted by: lhct | March 16, 2021

Nesting skylarks alert

We are protecting and encouraging Chesworth skylarks to nest and rear young in Gravel Pit and Spring Barn fields.

It always lifts the spirits to hear skylarks over Chesworth Farm’s pastures as the weather improves, and this spring more than most of course. Sadly over 75 per cent of the skylark population has been lost over the last 50 years, mainly through changes to farming practices. So we are doing our best to protect and encourage them.

They are drawn to open spaces such as arable fields and moorland, and so their scientific name is very apt: Alauda arvensis or “Lark of the fields”. Their song, with its fluting melodies, is delivered during a soaring flight. This has evolved from the skylarks’ preference for open, largely tree-less, habitats, with few natural song-posts to sing from. As ground-nesting species, their nests are vulnerable to being trampled, especially when in the short sward of grassland.

An advantage is that the time taken from incubation to fledging is comparatively short, around 14 days in total. So the adult birds may raise two or three broods if the conditions are favourable. Chesworth Farm’s traditional management of cutting late in the season and removing the cuttings keeps pastures attractive for these iconic birds.

The  enthusiastic and green-minded organisers of the Kinder Living Show, together with the experienced Seedy Saturday team, have taken themselves online this coming March weekend to run free popular and new topics for this annual event. For 2021 it’s called Kinder Spring. For more details of each day’s free programme (bookable via EventBrite) see the details below. Those marked * are particularly intended for children.

Friday March 5th
10am Spring Clean your Tech –Cliff explains eg how to deal with slow running computers

12 am Are You Sitting Comfortably​? – Kirsty’s tips for backs

2pm Make up for marvellous March – natural, no fuss make up tips from Emma

3pm Wildlife Eco Warriors *- Carrie explains upcycling/reuse for food and wildlife

6pm Costa Rica – Katrina in the UK and Ariel in South America take us across the country

7pm Ecochurch inspiring churches on their eco-journey

 

Saturday March 6th
10am Spring Clean your Tech – as Friday

11am Seedy Saturday – Launch of Transition’s Horsham District Seed Circle

12pm Seedy Saturday – as 11am (repeat event)

 

1pm Spring skincare secrets – Emma’s tips for glowing skin

2pm Climate Cafe–Worthing & Adur Council – lessons learned from their Climate Assembly

2pm Flower making tutorial – Ramiya shows us how to make small paper flowers

4pm Creation Care–Ecochurch explain support for households on their creation care journey

 

Sunday March 7th
10am Bee Kind this Spring * Friends of Horsham Park – fun facts about nature in spring

10.30am Hug a tree – Friends of Horsham Park take us on a discovery walk in the park

11.30am Healthy hands – Kirsty on caring for your hands, how and why?

12pm Spring Clean your Tech – as Friday

1pm Sandals at the ready – Emma explains how to get your feet ready in under a week

5pm Rest and relaxation yoga – very special gentle yoga with Tracy to end this busy event

To book go to https://www.kinderliving.co.uk/kinder-spring-2021/

 

Posted by: lhct | February 5, 2021

Kestrel newly-spotted in dedicated nest box

 

female kestrel in nest box at chesworth farm

Female Kestrel in the Chesworth nest box

 

A female Kestrel was recently spotted inside our specially designed nest box for the first time, to the excitement of the Chesworth community. The sighting was during a pair’s display close to the box in the same afternoon.

We are hoping for many more sightings and successful nest-building to come. The electric pole supporting the box was generously supplied and installed by a team from UK Power Networks, back in Autumn 2019.

Picture: Kestrel, February 2021, Tony Cook

 

Please note, tree surgery will stop access via the main track, the bridleway 1670 Pedlars Way, at the farm’s centre – from the Arun bridge to the Volunteer Centre – this coming Monday 4 Jan-Tuesday 5 Jan.

Horsham District Council’s parks and countryside team explain: “…The (tree safety) works are being carried out to combat Ash dieback on our neighbour’s land along the boundary of Chesworth House. Please use the alternative bridleways and footpaths if visiting the site.”

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