Posted by: laurahct | 18/04/2018

New sacrificial crop areas to benefit wildlife

This week (probably starting Wednesday 18 April) a contractor will flail and then plough borders in New Town Nine Acres and Wheat Rick fields (to the left of the photo below). The fields will be accessed by the contractor via the Kerves Lane main gate.

This task is to use these fields for a sacrificial crop, to encourage wild summer flowers and later seeds for wintering migrant birds.

Wheat Rick on left over fence, with New Town Nine Acres beyond. Photo by Wendy Petersen

Posted by: laurahct | 08/04/2018

“Hedge Detectives” on the farm

Most of Chesworth Farm’s hedges have been here for a very long time – how do we know this? By using historical maps and information from written records.

Can we show this “on-the-ground”? Recently our “Hedge Detectives” task group set off to age the hedge running alongside Occupation Road- featuring the Llama Lookout half way along and bordering enclosed Back Field.

They identified and counted trees and shrubs along a specified length and used a simple sum to estimate age. Their sums and the records approximately matched at about 1000 years old (give or take 300 years either side).

Many of our longer-established hedges are also beginning to show their age by the some of the flowering plants at their bases. For instance, we can find Dog’s Mercury – it loves shady conditions, making it an indicator of ancient woods and hedges.

Another couple of things the group found on their “rummage”: discarded hazelnut kernels gave an indicator of their predator by the way they had been opened and nibbled. A useful clue to mammal species on the farm. The detectives also found the microscopic eggs of rare Brown Hairstreak butterflies in the crook of Blackthorn twigs – the favourite food source for the caterpillars later in the year. And once spotted it became easier to see more.

There is a plan for a summer trip to look deeper into what our hedges have to offer in terms of flowering plants.

Posted by: laurahct | 17/03/2018

Easter Monday Eggstra children’s event 2 April


A big thanks to all who joined in our Easter Eggstra trail and refreshments this morning. It may have been wet and windy outside but we hope everyone enjoyed farm nature trail and the warm and entertaining welcome we gave our visitors in the Volunteer Centre.

Posted by: laurahct | 13/03/2018

Key findings of HDC Farm User Survey

Over 400 farm visitors took part in an Horsham District Council (HDC) Farm User Survey towards the end of 2017. The results are summarised in a report, available via a link on the Chesworth Farm page of the HDC website. Alternatively, you are welcome to look at the summary here.
The Friends of Chesworth Farm are now working with HDC countryside staff on looking at these results in relation to the forthcoming farm Management Plan. More news of the Management Plan later in the year.
Posted by: laurahct | 05/03/2018

Next event “Be a hedge detective!” booking now

Posted by: laurahct | 16/02/2018

Seeking a hidden gem for HDYOC19

Can you think of a local “Hidden Gem“?

Please follow the link above to help the team at Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 (HDYOC19) to choose attractive, sometimes “unsung”, local features or places of interest to promote the district next year.

A tiny selection from our Friends of Chesworth Farm photo library, with thanks to our many enthusiastic and talented photographers, including Ryan Allison,  Stuart Card, Jacob Everitt, Mark Jarvis, Mick Jones, Steve Knight, Liza Lockyer, Peter Merchant, Wendy Petersen,  David Verrall and Nik Walker.

Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) events for children at Chesworth Farm this spring

Nature Tots: starting Monday 5 March
For accompanied 3 to 5-year-olds, Monday mornings term time. Fun themes including frogs, stickmen, making nature crowns, cooking wild toast on the campfire and crafting daffodils to celebrate “Mothering Monday”.

Wildlife Watch: starting  Saturday 10 March
A new group on the second Saturday of the month, 10.30am-12.30pm. For 5 to 8-year-olds with accompanying adults.

Wild Woodies: Monday 9 April, 10.00am–3.00pm
Spring Holiday Club in the Easter holidays. A day of fantastic outdoor activities for unaccompanied children, aged 6-11 years. [Also in summer holidays: Wednesdays 22 and 29 August 10am-3.00pm.

The Butterfly Ball and Grasshoppers Feast: Thursday 31 May
A day of family fun. Including moth and small mammal trapping, sweep netting and pond dipping.

More details and bookings for all the above events via the SWT website  or cut and paste this link into your browser

Or contact Tamara Jewell: 01293 550 730 / 07771 375 254. Email:

Posted by: laurahct | 02/02/2018

It’s world wetlands day

Celebrating #WorldWetlandsDay gives us an excuse to feature again Peter Merchant’s fascinating picture of our wetland

Posted by: laurahct | 02/02/2018

Following in her footsteps

Debbie, also known as our “poo-bag lady”, had to take some time off from her regular patrols of Chesworth Farm and we missed her!

Yes, it is Debbie who regularly removes the dog-poo bags lobbed in some gateways and hedges. What a chore she has taken on and what a friend of the farm! Thankfully she reports there is less to pick up these days.

To back up her work, the hardy Spring Farm Tidy volunteers will be clearing up all types of litter (plus spring cleaning the Volunteer Centre and hedge trimming) this coming Saturday afternoon 2-4pm. You are very welcome to join them, if you tell us you are coming, we will have the kettle on!

Debbie at work, from winter 2016


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