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 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


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.”

Posted by: lhct | December 17, 2020

Current cattle location

While the British White cattle are grazing the farm over the winter/spring, we will keep this post pinned to the top. To help visitors we will add notes or change the location map/photo accordingly.

Picture of one of the cattle, taken in March 2021 by Philip Broggio

One of the cattle in March. Picture: Philip Broggio

The cattle are now in Back Field (enclosed, no public access). They are likely to stay there until approximately end of March, depending on ground conditions and so forth. Their next location will be offsite, at another HDC countryside site (most likely Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington). The mini herd of goats, llamas and sheep are now in Tip Field.

When in public access fields, the HDC countryside 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. On a separate note, we have had a number of reports of people feeding and stroking the cattle. Please don’t feed there they are well looked after by the warden team and checked everyday. We strongly advise against stroking the cattle, as cute as they may seem!”

Posted by: lhct | December 2, 2020

Barn Owls breed successfully this year at Chesworth


As winter approaches it is time to cheer owlselves up with an eagerly awaited Chesworth event from the summer… Here two female Barn Owl owlets are being checked over at their nest by the HDC countryside warden team. They’re around 40 days old in the picture, give or take a few days between them. So by now they should be stretching their wings around the district, already giving lucky locals who spot them that ‘wow’ moment and in the coming years will find a territory of their own.

As a Schedule 1 licenced species, it is an offence for anyone to disturb, or damage or destroy their breeding habitat. They were handled under licence by bird ringers trained by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The data recorded is fed back to an international database to help in monitoring species populations.

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

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