Posted by: lhct | January 5, 2023

Planting sees the old year out

On one of the last blustery days of 2022, a band of FCF volunteers put down the first roots – literally – of an imaginative project which should enrich the tree and hedge stock of the farm for years to come.

Project volunteers here (left) Tim Thomas, Tony Cook, Gary James (and far right) Andy Bateson
Photos: Andy Bateson and Dave Verrall (not pictured)

“A total of five 4m-tall native Wych Elm trees were planted in or alongside Parlour Mead, Wheat Rick and Chambers fields,” explains volunteer Tony Cook. “In time it’s hoped these trees will provide food for a number of moth and butterfly caterpillars, in particular the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly, the numbers of which have declined since many trees were lost to Dutch elm disease (DED). Wych Elms, particularly young trees, are viewed as having a resistance, although not immunity, to DED.”

More species will be planted in future months.This exciting project has been funded by money kindly donated to the Friends in a local legacy. If you would like to know more, or volunteer to help with planting, please contact the Friends.

A view of the task from Gary James
“I first got involved with volunteering with Friends of Chesworth Farm through helping in the creation of the Wildlife Garden, back in the spring of ’22. So, I thought I would branch out a bit (pardon the pun) and try my hand at helping plant some trees. We managed to get a relatively dry day in between the December rain. As expected, the ground was claggy with heavy wet clay, but all five trees were planted by early afternoon, even managing to squeeze in a tea break between the planting.”

“I admit that previously I was unaware of the Wych Elm but have since found out that it is the only elm regarded as being truly native to the UK. And that the name relates to the pliant nature of the wood, rather than to witches, who were said to shun elms. Let’s hope that all five trees successful take as The Woodland Trust informs us that many birds eat elm seeds and the leaves provide food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the Peppered, Light Emerald and White-spotted Pinion, as well as the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly mentioned by Tony.”

More elm history
Elms were common hedgerow trees and in the past it is likely that Chesworth had many. It was often considered the village craftsman’s “go-to” timber. Strong, but cheaper than oak and often more durable, it was particularly favoured for the seats of wheelback chairs or for structures where water resistance was needed. So it would be used for anything from chairs to drainpipes, wagon-wheel hubs to ships’ keels, washing dollies to water wheels. Wych Elm is far more resistant to disease that English Elm as it reproduces by seed rather than suckers. It is still found in numbers in the north and is now becoming more common in the English lowlands as more are planted. It tolerates damp soils and “poor air” well.
Tim Thomas

Chambers fence line, open to the elements

Posted by: lhct | November 9, 2022

What is new in the Wildlife Garden?

Since work began on a Wildlife Garden on a damp weekend in March, it is proving almost impossible to keep up with its transformation.The initial proposal for a dedicated, educational wildlife haven in the garden next to the Volunteer Centre was presented to the committee in early 2022 by local conservation volunteer Tony Cook.

Since then, the enthusiastic volunteers from the Friends of Chesworth Farm and from Horsham Green Gym have clocked up well over 500 ‘volunteer hours’, creating and tending wildlife-friendly features – and they show no signs of letting up.

It’s proved a a real community effort too, with people kindly donating local native seeds and plants to boost the biodiversity of the area. Their efforts are all available to view by visitors passing by, with plenty of ideas to adapt or copy at home, in a community group or a school. An information board on the Volunteer Centre picks out the current features and will help you navigate your way around, feel free to have a look.

We recommend that you catch up with the latest developments on the Wildlife Garden webpage or email us direct if you are interested in volunteering and are not already on our contact list. There are a range of gardening tasks on offer most months.

With many thanks to the volunteers for their work and their pictures.

Posted by: lhct | November 5, 2022

Autumn-winter news and events

Please use our Contact page if you would like to know more

Posted by: lhct | August 11, 2022

British White cattle grazing update

The cattle are now grazing Great Horsham Hill and Jenny Bare Legs fields for a stay of about two weeks here (and in Chambers Field adjoining). Then they are likely off to Chennells Brook Castle, Lemmington Way around the beginning of September. Visitors are as usual asked to keep in mind all animal welfare issues and have dogs under control please in the public fields being used by the cattle. Thank you!

Cattle herded to different fields
Cattle heading for Jenny Bare Legs and Great Horsham Hill fields, August 2022 (Picture Ryan Allison/HDC)
Posted by: lhct | June 27, 2022

British White cattle relocate on farm

The roving British White cattle are now in Parlour Mead for a couple of weeks or so from Monday 27 June. This field is open to the public and gives access to part of the Riverside Walk.

Posted by: lhct | April 1, 2022

Friends AGM Mon 25 April

Details of AGM
Posted by: lhct | March 21, 2022

Cattle in Riverside fields

Cattle now in enclosed Riverside fields for a while (from Mon 21 March, no public access). Llamas, pygmy goats and sheep are currently in Wheat Rick and New Town Nine Acres fields (also no public access though plenty of viewing points!)

Cattle arrive in Riverside (Picture: Ryan Allison/HDC)
Posted by: lhct | March 3, 2022

Cattle & Kinder Living Home Show

Cattle in Tip Field (Ryan Allison)

The cattle are now grazing in Tip Field, (on the right, entering from Queensway entrance). This is enclosed, with no public access, though there are plenty of opportunities to spot the cattle, as this field is bordered by the Riverside Walk and also by the main access track.

Kinder Living Home Show this weekend Sat 5 and Sun 6 March at Parkside, Chart Way RH12 1XH. Free entry. Lots of stalls about local environmentally-friendly initiatives and companies. There are also free workshops on sustainability and wellbeing related topics. For more details or to book remaining places go to Eventbrite.

Posted by: lhct | February 15, 2022

New cattle location

Picture: Jenni de Burgh

The cattle are now grazing in Parlour Mead field (open to public and one end of the Riverside Walk ‘wet loop’). Meanwhile the llamas, goats and sheep mini-herd are in Wheat Rick field (enclosed, no public access). Please look out for the animals and signage.

Posted by: lhct | February 15, 2022

Kinder Living Home Show ’22

The Friends of Chesworth Farm will be at the show on Saturday 5 March. For both Saturday and Sunday, look at the poster below for times, topics and how to book workshops . We’re looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new!

If you would like to help us on our information stand on the day, please use our contact page to get in touch.

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