Posted by: lhct | November 25, 2020

Field signs aid farm navigating


The last and perhaps the most exciting stage of our ‘field signs’ project is underway. Look out for the new field identification signs as we roll them out carefully across the farm, fixing them to gates and fences.

The Friends of Chesworth Farm (FCF) are very grateful to a local charity for its generous funding of this project. As well as teamwork by the FCF committee, thanks also to Horsham District Council for guidance on the design and Norbury Park Wood Products for production.

The names are the ones most commonly used now, however we are not forgetting their history either. So we have asked a couple of FCF members to research the background of the field names as several of them go back centuries and reflect the rich local heritage of the area and the people who have farmed it and visited it. We will share their findings in the future.

Posted by: lhct | November 17, 2020

Horses on Muggeridge Field

The horses grazing on the farm itself

If you walk or ride along the ‘Arun Way’ bridleway from this week, the view over Muggeridge Field will be even more rural, as you are likely to encounter the sight of four horses contently grazing. Here the horses’ owners explain:

“We want to introduce ourselves as the new tenants of Muggeridge Field next to the main Chesworth Farm. We live locally on Chesworth Farm with our two young children. We have rented the field from West Sussex County Council to graze our four horses for short periods throughout the year, but primarily in the winter. Our main priority is managing the field for biodiversity as well as for the horses and to complement the rest of the farm as a local nature site.

“You may have already seen them helping out with conservation grazing on the farm recently. The horses are used to living out year round and are checked daily. Their ages range from two to 22 years old! Falco (dun) and Raven (black) are hardy native breeds and can live out all year without rugs but Brannon (bay) and Lunar (strawberry roan) are Thoroughbred crosses and will have rugs on in bad weather.

“We have left the vegetation long intentionally in the field this summer rather than cutting it for hay because there is evidence that ‘standing hay’ and access to hedgerow plants is better for horses nutritionally. This is also beneficial for the small mammals, invertebrates and other species that live in the grasses.

“We ask you not to stroke, or feed them any additional food or anything at all as this can be bad for them and cause them to start biting or be aggressive to each other.” Rina and Ryan

Posted by: lhct | November 16, 2020

Cattle move to public fields Mon 16 Nov

The British White cattle begin their tour of public fields on Chesworth Farm, starting in adjoining Gravel Pit and Spring Barn fields. The HDC warden team say: “Please keep dogs on leads and stick to the footpaths and bridleways wherever possible. Grazing the fields on rotation is an essential part of our meadow habitat management.”

Photos by Steve Knight (cattle in Riverside fields) and Chris Taylor (B/W close up).

Posted by: lhct | October 5, 2020

River task for volunteers

Hardy volunteers worked together in a section of the River Arun beyond the boardwalk, their aim to remove Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides).

From the 1990s onwards, this invasive aquatic plant has found its way into English and Welsh waterways from domestic ponds. If not removed, it can clog waterways and shade out native species. It was first spotted on Chesworth Farm in 2019.

The clearance task was co-ordinated by HDC wardens (who will continue to monitor its success) with team members from the Environment Agency, Arun & Rother Rivers Trust, Horsham Green Gym and Friends of Chesworth Farm. Thank you all!

Posted by: lhct | September 22, 2020

Boost to farm’s autumn task list by UK Power Networks

Challenges included rock-hard ground, a persistent water leak and a mini-September heatwave for our team of UK Power Networks (UKPN) volunteers as they tackled a “shopping list” of tasks on Chesworth Farm at the invitation of Horsham District Council and Friends of Chesworth Farm this week.

This two-day company involvement project saw the UKPN team start clearing the volunteer centre garden of brambles and overgrowth, repair fences and gates, site bird feeding hoppers in the winter-seeded fields, repaint the farm sightings blackboard and add a new mini-drinker to the popular existing water station in the centre of the farm.

With many thanks to UK Power Networks for again lending us engineers from Sussex and Surrey: great teamwork, plenty of fresh air and a huge boost to the farm’s autumn task list.

And introducing the new mini-drinker


Posted by: lhct | September 15, 2020

Friends join the Great British September Clean

The Friends regular litter-picking group cleared the farm’s hedges, benches and ditches of unwanted debris this month, adding a tractor lamp (!) to their usual trove of bottles, cans, cigarette ends, food wrappers and discarded (often bagged) dog waste. This month their five-bag total will be registered as part of the Great British September Clean by Keep Britain Tidy.

We thank our enthusiastic team as all this volunteering helps to keep the farm looking as it should and free of litter. So much healthier for local people and wildlife. We are also grateful  to our resourceful visitors who back-up our team by informally litter-picking as part of their regular visits.

If you would like to know more about volunteering for our monthly litter picks (following current local Covid-19 guidelines) please contact us or email



Posted by: lhct | August 10, 2020

Friends AGM tonight

Buttercups in Gravel Pit field by Steve Knight

Our AGM is tonight, Mon 10 Aug at 7.30pm via Zoom. Non-members welcome: please use comments or email us for a Zoom invite.

Posted by: lhct | August 4, 2020

Annual hay cut due

Photo: baling in Gravel Pit field 2019 by Stuart Brierley

Posted by: lhct | July 16, 2020

BioBlitz at Rookwood Sat 15 Aug

Here is an invitation to try out your wildlife explorer skills at Rookwood (Boldings Brook) on the west side of Horsham this August. Please use the link below to find out everything you need to know about this free BioBlitz and how to book your places.

Event details

Pictures: Peter Simpson





Posted by: lhct | July 2, 2020

Green space surveys need your views

Many of you will appreciate that Chesworth Farm has been positively buzzing with extra visitors taking more local exercise than previously during lockdown. So while you already know the benefits – physical and mental – of Chesworth and of all Horsham’s local green spaces, new visitors have been perhaps discovering them for the first time.

This news update will be relatively brief and concentrate on the theme of protecting our district’s open spaces. First, you most likely have read or seen that there is a short-term “Horsham District Open Spaces” online survey (as background to the HDC draft Local Plan) on what you think of the district’s green spaces. If you haven’t done so yet, please make your voices heard by filling this in, by Monday 6 July. It only takes minutes to complete and here is a link to it.

Next, many local people have banded together to oppose the proposal from Horsham District Council to build on Rookwood Golf Course as an option in the draft Local Plan. Opposition is focused on its proximity to Warnham Local Nature Reserve which will be severely impacted by the plan though the effects would be felt throughout the town . Those who wish to oppose this plan can find out much more from the campaigning group, the Keep Rookwood Green alliance. Here is a link to the group’s website By taking part in their survey, you can record what you value about Rookwood as well as contribute your own ideas on future uses for the site.


Skylarks have nested in Spring Barn and Gravel Pit this summer, helped by a joint FCF/HDC project to give them some protected field-space.

Reference photos: Peter Merchant Poster: Lisa White


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