Posted by: lhct | September 26, 2021

Restoring Nature: key speakers at free talk Mon 27 Sept

Restoring Nature: free local talk Monday 27 Sept at 7.30pm

Posted by: lhct | September 8, 2021

Look out for bridleway works

Attention! The works on the “Arun Way” bridleway 1670 could start from Wednesday 8 September, and are scheduled to last up to three weeks, it was formally announced on 7 September. See details below.

These West Sussex County Council contracted works, to re-align the bridleway closer to its “legal line” and surface it, will be closely monitored by Forest Neighbourhood Council, as reported by them after their August meeting. Look out for closures, diversions and machinery of course.

Posted by: lhct | August 6, 2021

Horsham Green Gym tackle summer tasks

Our friends at Horsham Green Gym (HGG) have again proved they are ready for any wet, muddy and downright awkward task on the farm. Recently it was invasive balsam-pulling and removing aging chicken-wire from the wetland boardwalk.

Team member Matthew Garner reports: “We were pulling up the staples from the boardwalk where it had got a bit dangerous. A never-ending job… It was very sticky and damp this morning and luckily we stopped when we did as it poured down out of nowhere for a good 20 minutes! I was soaked through when I returned home.”

Brilliant work and hopefully worth the drenching. We know Chesworth visitors will appreciate it and join us in thanking you all!

With thanks to members of HGG for the pictures (from top left, clockwise): orange balsam, team at work on boardwalk (Ryan Allison), Luke and Mike “checking out” the observation hide (David Casey), in the wetland (Matthew Garner), wetland nest (David Casey) and orange balsam root (Matthew Garner).

Posted by: lhct | June 8, 2021

Join our volunteers

We have some brilliant volunteers who help us run the Friends group. So, to boost their efforts, we’d like to fill some key vacancies.

Chairperson: a dynamic and outgoing individual, ideally who knows and values Chesworth Farm, to head up the group

Secretary: can you organise and minute our formal meetings, monitor our actions and generally keep volunteer communications flowing?

Events co-ordinator: help us set up our conservation tasks and our educational events

To find out more, contact us via or tel 07512 966174 (answer machine) or via Horsham District Council Volunteer Sector Support.

Female orange tip butterfly on garlic mustard, by David Verrall, May 2021

Posted by: lhct | June 7, 2021

Thank you to our volunteers

As the district celebrates its volunteers through #volunteer week, the Friends of Chesworth Farm are so grateful to everyone who helps maintain the farm – whether you do this on organised tasks, on administration or informally on your own visits.
This can be by sending in your wildlife sightings and fabulous photos or by reporting items lost or in need of repair, or litter-picking.

Whatever you do, the natural fabric and beauty of the farm benefits from every moment of your enthusiasm, care and time!

Thank you to our volunteers

Posted by: lhct | April 21, 2021

HDC shares news of Local Wildlife Site status

Great Horsham Hill by David Tombling

The Friends of Chesworth Farm are delighted that HDC has published the following news release today:

Chesworth Farm receives Local Wildlife Site accolade (21 April 2021)

Horsham District Council has recently received the very exciting news that Chesworth Farm has been awarded Local Wildlife Site status for nature conservation in the Horsham District.

Chesworth Farm has officially been designated as a Local Wildlife Site, joining other council owned sites such as Leechpool & Owlbeech Woods, Monkmead Woods and Southwater Country Park.

Local Wildlife Sites are non-statutory sites that contain features of substantive nature conservation value. In Chesworth Farm’s case these are the extensive high quality hedgerows and wildflower meadows.

Local Wildlife Sites such as Chesworth Farm play a critical role in the conservation of the UK’s natural heritage. They each provide essential wildlife refuges in their own right as well as acting as stepping stones, corridors and buffer zones to link and protect other site networks and the open spaces of our towns and countryside.

The Parks & Countryside team at the Council, in partnership with the Friends of Chesworth Farm and Horsham Green Gym, have been putting in many hours of practical conservation management, as well as wildlife recording, which have all contributed to achieving conservation protection for the Farm.

Careful management of the hedgerows and grasslands, provision of sacrificial crops for farmland birds, regular dormouse monitoring, wildflower surveys and breeding bird surveys have all proved how important the Farm is for wildlife.

For media queries please email

Posted by: lhct | April 19, 2021

AGM by Zoom Mon 26 April 7.30pm

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.

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