Posted by: lhct | December 17, 2020

Current cattle location

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

Friday 19 Feb: the cattle have moved “next door”, from Parlour Mead to Tip Field (enclosed) that is.

To give you an idea of their next movements: depending on ground conditions, they will finish their farm stay with short grazing stops in Gravel Pit/Spring Barn fields (public access), Wheat Rick/New Town Nine Acres fields (enclosed) or the Riverside fields (enclosed). Around the beginning of April, the HDC warden team will be gearing up to transport them to Owlbeech woods.

 

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 | 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 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

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 chesworthfarm@hotmail.co.uk

 

 

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