The Fernhurst Society
Newsletter no 17, October
Exhibition time for the Fernhurst Society - 25th / 26th
This summer has been not only been hard work keeping our gardens alive
thorough the drought, but also a period for the Biodiversity teams to
gird their loins for a major exhibition of their work. We are at the end
of our 4-year Local Heritage Initiative grant of about £6,000. The
village hall is booked for the whole weekend and we are now all beavering
away (forgive the pun!) to create an interesting and fun Fernhurst Wildlife
Exhibition. Please do come along and see the fascinating displays. There
is something for everyone, including quizzes (with prizes) for the children,
and refreshments and a place to sit for those of greater years. Displays
- A 3D model of the parish, illustrating the landscape as it is now
- The computerised land use survey. See how much of our parish is woodland
- A display of what the verges and hedgerows teams have found, and
a chance to see, in the flesh, the variety of local ferns, grasses and
mosses, including our own Hard Fern
- An insight into the Fernhurst “micro-climate” from recent
observations and Syngenta’s long-term records. After this long
hot summer are we suffering from global warming?
- The bat boxes are all up around the parish – find out which
species are zooming around, how we identify them and where they are
- The hugely popular Garden Birdwatch, exploring some of the fascinating
insights which Arnold Madgwick has, in his delightful way, shared with
us lesser mortals
- Displays on other species such as butterflies, amphibians and mammals
- Barn owl project – again boxes have gone up and there will
be a fascinating computer CD on owls for you to find out more about
these magnificent, but threatened, birds
- Archives and Historic landscapes – see how the landscape gives
us clues to how local ancestors used the land and learn about the history
of the people and houses in the parish
- The Photographic Competition “Grass Roots of Fernhurst”.
See the entries and find out the winner on Sunday afternoon. As usual
the standard is high – we don’t expect less!
- What next with the Biodiversity project – it does not stop
In parallel there is ARTS & CRAFTS EXHIBITION. We invited local people
who enjoy arts and crafts as a profession or hobby to exhibit their work
in the Village Hall Community Room. It promises to be a glorious show,
with work from artists, wood-turners, potters, model makers, embroiderers,
knitters, patchwork makers, spinners … it seems there is a wealth
of creative talent in our community. Some work will be for sale, so come
prepared to be tempted!
Both exhibitions are open from 11am – 5pm on Saturday 25th and
10am – 5pm on Sunday 26th October. Free admission and everyone is
South Downs National Park
At the end of last year the Countryside Agency made a South Downs Designation
Order, which was placed on deposit for public inspection from 27th January
to 28th February 2003. There were some 5,735 representations made, of
which nearly three quarters were, in principle, in favour of the park,
and nearly 90% of the boundary objections were arguing for more land to
be included. Only six of the fifteen local authorities affected are objecting
but include Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council.
On 10th April 2003 Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the
Environment announced that a public inquiry would be held to hear the
objections and representations made to the South Downs National Park Designation
Order, and that the inquiry will address the issues about land within
the proposed boundary of the National Park and the separate and related
issue of the establishment and operation of a South Downs National Park
Authority. In addition the Inquiry will also hear the objections to the
consequent Revocation Orders for the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Inquiry opens on Monday 10 November 2003 in Worthing. The inspector
appointed to conduct the inquiry is Mr Robert Parry, BA DipTP MRTPI.
The Inquiry programme is to have two phases:
- To consider objections ‘in principle’ to the creation
of the National Park.
- To consider objections to specific parts of the boundary.
- To consider the proposed administrative arrangements.
- To consider the proposed revocation of the AONB’s.
Format of Inquiry: The inquiry will be held in two different ways:
- Formal Inquiry Session: Where the objector and Countryside Agency
will present their case through advocates (barristers).
- Informal Inquiry Session: For more straightforward objections where
objectors represent themselves or are represented by a single agent.
The published timetable indicates that the inquiry will be hearing from
the objectors through until the end of July 2004, so it is unlikely that
the Park, if given the go ahead, will exist until 2007 at the earliest.
Fernhurst Parish Council is making informal representations regarding
the split of the parish, which leaves part outside the National Park boundary,
whilst Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council are
both objecting to the Park on principle.
Fernhurst Village Archive
The summer saw a variety of visitors to the Archive and activity for
the team. The Cubs came for a presentation in order to quality for their
local knowledge badge, and Camelsdale School enquired about material for
display at their centenary next year. There were also visitors enquiring
about family history and for maps and information on a local farm for
a degree project.
Ralph Lines presented a model of the WW2 Beaufighter to go with that of
the Dornier already donated. It is hoped that a display of the two models,
along with photos and written information, will be mounted in due course.
Alan Bloomfield donated a map drawn up by the Field Survey Squadron in
1967 and also loaned his copy of the Blackdown House Sale particulars
and map, 1941, for photocopying. The Archive has also been given several
books, including John Magilton’s book ‘Fernhurst Furnace’.
Ted Liddle also donated a sizeable collection of material on Verdley and
Finally, Helen Ouin and Christine Maynard visited The Millhanger to meet
the owner and were allowed to borrow an interesting file on the history
of the house and its notable owner, Bertrand Russell.
Fernhurst Biodiversity Projects
The long hot summer has seen the Biodiversity teams out and about, recording
plants in verges and, following a training session from Bruce Middleton
of the South Downs Conservation Board, making a start on dating the hedges
around the parish by recording the number of species. The verges group
had a very successful outing in July, spotting an exotic giant Elecampane
with large bright yellow flowers and four species of orchid along Whites
The Garden Birdwatch group grows in numbers and is now has some 70 watchers,
reporting in excess of 40 species each week, creating a wealth of data
over the past 4 years. This summer the usual suspects have been spotted
across the parish, with good broods of robins and wrens but not so many
blue tits this year. Swifts, house martins and swallows have all been
seen but not in the numbers we all remember from our childhoods. Nesting
boxes are easy to fit if you would like to encourage these lovely migrants.
Contact Arnold on 653486 if you need advice.
The bat group has made good progress with siting boxes and surveying
local populations. Two members reported a roost of over 140 bats!
Similarly the owl boxes are up and we hope that barn owls will be tempted
to take up residence in the next breeding season.
The main activity though for the Biodiversity teams this summer has been
working towards the Exhibition (see front page). Please do come along
and share our excitement with the wildlife in our parish.
Village History Stroll
On a Sunday afternoon in May some 45 people gathered for a stroll from
the Post Office along Church Road to the Village Green in two groups guided
by Helen Ouin and Christine Maynard. They were there to enjoy the history
of the village and were not disappointed by our two guides, who gave wonderful
narratives on the history of the various buildings and tombstones in the
cemetery and an insight into the social history of the village.
What was most remarkable was that these 45 people stood in the pouring
rain for this event. They did not slink away, but were transfixed by the
absorbing stories being told. The history was truly brought alive when
several of those there were reminiscing about the buildings such as going
to school in the house next to the Recreation Ground and buying milk from
the side of a house along Church Road.
We plan to publish a short leaflet capturing the essence of this walk
for sale through the Post Office, so that others can enjoy this treat,
and avoid the rain! Further history strolls are planned for next year,
so keep an eye out for notices.
Tilford Rural Life Centre
In September a group made their way to the Tilford Rural Life Centre,
all arriving late as a consequence of the unpredictable Hindhead junction.
However the guide patiently waited for us and it turned out to be well
worth the sit in traffic. An engrossing tour of the Centre provided a
worthwhile background to the exhibits on display. After lunch we all enjoyed
strolling at leisure around the Centre in glorious sunshine on a quiet
Saturday afternoon. Highly recommended for those who could not make the
Fernhurst Community Orchard
The Orchard Committee is pleased to confirm a site has finally been confirmed
with the Parish Council. The location is on the southwest corner of Van
Common, near Vann Road. More details will be available at the Biodiversity
Exhibition on 25/26th October.
If you are interested in helping to develop and maintain the Orchard,
or would like to offer a donation (several trees will need sponsoring),
then please contact Emma Poole via the website.
Archaeology at the Ironworks
The middle of May saw the first archaeology at the ironworks for ten
years. The ironworkers lived somewhere and we had hoped to find their
shantytown, but no such luck. We found definitely where it was not!! Various
useful pieces of circumstantial information were turned up but not what
we hoped for.
At the beginning of May the Cubs visited us one evening as part of their
local knowledge badge, which was good as some were obviously interested.
The Society came for a gentle stroll on 10th August, which was all we
could do as it turned out to be the hottest day of the year at 33.8 degrees
C. We had a reasonable turnout so it was appropriate to announce that
we were approaching the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us with work at
And now all the previous excavations and history can be found in a book
called “Fernhurst Furnace” written by John Magilton, who was
in charge of the excavations in 1989, Carla Barnes and Jeremy Hodgkinson,
chairman of Wealden Iron Research Group. The book is on sale at the Fernhurst
Centre priced £12.00
Anyone wanting information or guided walks please contact Robin or Carla
Barnes via the website.
Junior Fernhurst Society
This initiative is having a long gestation but we now have a better idea
of what we want to do. The plan is to have a session once a month on a
Saturday morning for children under 10 at the school premises. These will
involve the children in the same sort of subjects as the main society
– local wildlife, history, building and the environment in a way
complementary to the school curriculum. If you are interested in contributing
in any way whatsoever, please contact Julia Roxan via the website.
The Oral history project has made great steps forward this summer with
the recruitment of several new interviewers. With training funded and
provided by the Sussex Record Office the six strong group is now expanding
its’ horizons to capture the memories of a wider range of people
in the village, seeking to build an oral picture of living in the parish
during the last 100 years, by talking to different generations from all
walks of life, including those that moved here more recently.
We are fortunate also to have recruited two people to transcribe the
existing tapes and they are making good headway on this task. With the
transcriptions on computer we are now looking at the possibility of publishing
a book based on these oral histories, so everyone can share the rich heritage
this project is capturing. If you would like to know more contact John
Clark on 654632.
The Oral History group is planning to share some of these delightful
memories at an evening talk next year (See Dates for your Diary).
The Fernhurst Society is involved in two new initiatives for the parish.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC), Parish Council and Fernhurst Society
are exploring the idea of a free village-wide monthly newsletter. A steering
group is currently looking at funding, print and distribution issues.
If the project gets of the ground it’s hoped the first issue will
be launched in the New Year. This will not supplant this newsletter to
our members but rather complement it, allowing us to tell the whole community
about our activities.
Second we have been invited to participate in a Parish Council led project
to develop a strategy for the community and its environment. This is variously
called a “Vital Villages” project or and “Village Action
Plan” and will involve wide consultation with many different groups
in the village, including trying to reach those who often do not have
a voice in such endeavours.
Watch this space for more information – we may well be asking you
for your views too over the next year or so on a range of issues. If you
would like to be involved I am sure the Parish Council would welcome further
input. Please contact Sue Ogilvy on 651593.
Tales from the Wildside
The Louisiana State Department Wildlife is advising
hikers, hunters, fishermen, and golfers to take extra precautions and
keep alert for alligators while in St. Tammany, Jefferson & Orleans
They advise people to wear noise-producing devices such
as "little bells" on their clothing to alert, but not startle
the alligators, unexpectedly. They also advise carrying "pepper spray"
in case of an encounter with an alligator.
It's also a good idea to watch for fresh signs of alligator
activity and be able to recognize the difference between young alligator
and adult alligator droppings.
Young alligator droppings are small, contain fish bones
and possibly bird feathers.
Adult alligators droppings have little bells in them
and smell like pepper.
Dates for your Diaries
All these events are free to Fernhurst Society members (except the Christmas
Party). Non-members are also very welcome, so please bring guests and
tell your friends.
Sunday 9th November – 2pm-3:30pm Walking the Parish Boundary
Following the success of the parish boundary walk at Easter we
plan to walk the next (shorter) leg between Bell Vale Lane and Vale Wood.
The route is 3 miles round trip and is easy going. Transport back to the
start point will be available for those who only want to the outward walk
of 1.5 miles. Meet at the junction of Bell Vale Lane and the Haslemere
Road at 2pm. Suggested car parking in the lay-by on west side of Haslemere
Road in front of previous Shrimptons Restaurant.
Monday 17th November – 7:30pm for 8pm AGM and Evening Talk
Following the (brief!) AGM at the Village Hall there will be
a fascinating talk about Recycling by Julie Wilkinson of WSCC and Renewable
Energy by Linda Glynn. Both will focus on initiatives at a local level.
Members free, Non-members £1 on the door. Teas and Coffees served.
Saturday 13th December – 7:30pm – Society Christmas
A Christmas sit-down fork buffet in the Village Hall, with live
entertainment provided by the Petworth Edwardians, followed by music for
old-time dancing. Free glass of punch on arrival. Bring your own bottle.
Tickets at £12.50 per person will be on sale at the AGM or from
Elsie Waitt (via the website). Last reservations Saturday 29th November
so we can finalise the catering.
Donations of Raffle Prizes will be much appreciated. Please contact Julia
Roxan via the website if you can help.
Weds 18th February 2004, 3pm- 4pm
An Afternoon with a Hawk
Local resident Nikki Hamburger will bring along Ginger, her hawk,
to the Village Hall for a discussion on falconry. Please do not wear white
tops as this frightens the hawk. Arnold Madgwick, leader of the Fernhurst
Garden Birdwatch group, may also be persuaded to contribute to the afternoon’s
Thurs. 18th March 2004 – 7:30pm for 8pm
Oral History Group
An evening of village memories at the Village Hall based on the
Village Archives and the recordings from the Oral History Project.
Thurs 22nd April 2004 – 7:30pm for 8pm Sussex at War
Talk at the Village Hall given by Alan Redman of the West Sussex
Chichester District Council’s Planning Committee are scheduled to
discuss the proposed developments and planning applications for KEVII
and South Leys on Wednesday 15th October. Members of the public are welcome
to attend. Contact CDC for further information on the meeting.
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