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 https://www.kinderliving.co.uk/kinder-spring-2021/

 

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

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!

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