Archive

nesting pond

Nesting ‘Ponds’ will encourage denser cover on heathland for ground nesting birds and reptiles

This archive records the many tasks which have occupied members of Horsham Green Gym each week for several years and will bring back many happy memories.

If any members have appropriate photos which could be added to the Archive or to the flickr pages, please use the contact details.

Photos of past tasks and times

Look at our flickr pages 

26 June 2017 at Monkmead Wood
Balsam Pulling 10am-4pm & 6pm-8pm

MONDAY  - Daytime and evening time slots. Please let Ryan know if you are planning on attending via ryan.allison@horsham.gov.uk or on 01403 256890. Hot drink refreshments and all equipment needed will be supplied – long sleeves and trousers are recommended as there are some stinging nettles! (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult). Please let Ryan know by the morning of Friday 23rd June if you intend to come along.  

Himalayan Balsam is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

Meet at Monkmead Wood Car Park, Monkmead Lane, West Chiltington, RH20 2PG  


25 June 2017 at Warnham LNR
Creepy Crawly day

Creepy Crawly Day poster


22 June 2017 at Southwater Country Park
The Great Orchid Count: Episode I

THURSDAY  - It’s that time of year again; we will be on our hands and knees hunting for every last orchid – we will begin this year on the Sloping Meadows between Worthing Road and the Dinosaur Island Play Area.

Meet Worthing Road Car Park (Mill Straight). Postcode is RH13 9EU
A fee is now charged for parking at Southwater CP but free parking permits for the morning will be handed out to HGG members on arrival, make sure you get yours and display it in your car.


20 June 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Balsam Pulling, Skunk Cabbage Digging & Fence Staking

TUESDAY - Balsam Pulling, Skunk Cabbage Digging, & Fence Steaking We will be working at the Hampers Lane end of the woodland. Himalayan Balsam is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

American Skunk Cabbage disperses in a similar manner; it is low growing but its leaves can spread about 3 feet wide, shading out native flora. The long leek-like root requires careful digging out. It’s a muddy job but very satisfying.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


19 June 2017 at Warnham LNR
Balsam Pulling 10am-4pm & 6pm-8pm

MONDAY - EVENTS POSTPONED - KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE NEXT DATE 

Daytime and evening time slots. Please let Ryan know if you are planning on attending via ryan.allison@horsham.gov.uk or on 01403 256890. Hot drink refreshments and all equipment needed will be supplied – long sleeves and trousers are recommended as there are some stinging nettles! (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

Himalayan Balsam is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


15 June 2017 at Monkmead Wood
Balsam Pulling *Extended Task* 10:15am-3pm

THURSDAY  - Himalayan Balsam Pulling along the banks of the river Chilt. We have hit this site hard in the past couple of years and there is much less Balsam this year as a result... but just enough left for us to have a couple of outings to this lovely woodland.

I'm afraid we are unable to provide organised transport this time so ask that people car share where ever possible as the rural site isn't easy to reach from public transport.

There will be a port a loo on site and the usual hot drinks. Please bring lunch if you're able to stay on until 3pm

Meet at Monkmead Wood Car Park, Monkmead Lane, West Chiltington, RH20 2PG


13 June 2017 at Warnham LNR
Balsam Pulling *Extended Task* 10am-3pm

TUESDAY - We will be working along the brook to stop the invasive plant making its way to the Mill Pond.

Himalayan Balsam is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

*Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


08 June 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Tools MOT

THURSDAY  - We will give the tools a good bit of TLC – sharpening, cleaning, greasing, the works. There may also be some small fiddly jobs to complete on the farm.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


06 June 2017 at Warnham LNR
Balsam Pulling

TUESDAY - As I’m writing this in mid-March there seems to be a lot of Himalayan Balsam seedlings coming up fast! Let’s hope it’s sizable enough for us to find by the first week in June (slightly earlier than we would usually set out on our first tour of the battle field for the season).

We will be working along the brook to stop the invasive plant making its way to the Mill Pond.

Himalayan Balsam is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


01 June 2017 at Warnham LNR
Half-Term Megabash: “The Path”

THURSDAY - Back by popular demand (or maybe I’m just going deaf). Help us extend the bark chip path that runs through the woodland on the reserve, to make the site more access friendly.

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

The task comprises of laying logs to create an edge along the path, hammering in wooden stakes to secure them and then wheel-barrowing bark chippings and spreading them to form an even surface. Materials are locally sourced – mostly from wood grown and processed on the reserve itself.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323
(Regular Green Gym members who are driving – those of you who are happy to it would be really helpful if you could park and meet us at the Gorringes Brook railway gate entrance, to save parking spaces in the main car park – we will have walked down to this point by 10:15am)


30 May 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Half-Term Megabash: Dock O’clock

TUESDAY - It has struck that time of year again and today we will be pulling up Dock plants from a number of the fields, with some Thistle topping in Tip Fields thrown in for good measure.

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

The Higher Level Stewardship scheme that the farm is under requires Dock and Thistle to be kept at low levels, so to allow the rarer flowering plants to stand a chance. Last year we collected 5-6 big bags and in 2015 is was at least 7 big bags full. We are heading in the right direction, let’s see if we can top that (or rather hopefully not if our hard work is beginning to pay off).

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


25 May 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland ‘Red’ Route Path Surfacing

THURSDAY  - We will be reinstating a very short flight of steps and resurfacing a section of the narrow path that turned in to a bog last winter. There will be some lighter vegetation trimming along the path too. There may also be some fencing work left from a previous task to finish off as well.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


23 May 2017 at Warnham LNR
“The Path”

TUESDAY - Help us extend the bark chip path that runs through the woodland on the reserve, to make the site more access friendly.

The task comprises of laying logs to create an edge along the path, hammering in wooden stakes to secure them and then wheel-barrowing bark chippings and spreading them to form an even surface. Materials are locally sourced – mostly from wood grown and processed on the reserve itself.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


18 May 2017 at Tower Hill Foot Path, Horsham
Tower Hill Footpath Work

THURSDAY  - We will be helping West Sussex County Council Rights of Way team on a section of footpath near The Boars Head pub; that runs between Longfield Road and Tower Hill.

The task will be some cutting back of vegetation and then dragging and stacking the material in a designated location, to keep the footpath clear. There may also be some gravel to fill in muddy sections of the surface.

This task is being overseen by a WSCC Ranger, who will meet everyone and provide all tools and tea break refreshments. Ryan will hopefully be soaking up the sun in the New Forest (possibly stuck in his campervan sheltering from the rain!) 

Meeting Point: by the footpath fingerpost, opposite Jockey Mead, on Longfield Road.

 RH12 1LQ will get you close.

Car parking will have to be on Longfield Road or Jockey Mead. Please park thoughtfully of local residents. A twitten between houses takes you to the bridge.



16 May 2017 at Warnham LNR
Reedbed Ponds & Ditches

TUESDAY - Extending the muddy edges to existing shallow ponds and adding a few shallow narrow ditches to bring water in to the drier areas to aid rewetting the reedbed.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


11 May 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Boardwalk TLC & Steps Repair

THURSDAY - Continuing from last week’s work: We will be using some of the Birch and Willow we have ripped out over the winter to reinforce sections of the river where the bank is being eroded by creating bundled faggots –this also provides underwater shelter for young fish and invertebrate life.

There is also a flight of steps to replace; they are between the blue arrowed ‘Wetland Boardwalk’ path and green arrowed ‘Woodland Walk’ in the west of the site.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


09 May 2017 at Southwater Country Park
Top Path Reclamation & Bench Installation

TUESDAY - We will be digging off mud that has begun closing up the path that runs from Worthing road car park to Dinosaur Island play area. There is also one of our now famous rustic log picnic benches to be installed too.

Meet Worthing Road Car Park (Mill Straight). Postcode is RH13 9EU

 location of Mill Straight car park

A fee is now charged for parking at Southwater CP but free parking permits for the morning will be handed out to HGG members on arrival, make sure you get yours and display it in your car.


04 May 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Riverbank Stabilisation & Boardwalk TLC

THURSDAY  - We will be using some of the Birch and Willow we have ripped out over the winter to reinforce sections of the river where the bank is being eroded by creating bundled faggots – this also provides underwater shelter for young fish and invertebrate life. There is also mud to scrape off the ends of the boardwalks and possibly some gravel to spread too.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


02 May 2017 at Warnham LNR
"The Path"

TUESDAY - Back by popular demand (or maybe I’m just going deaf).

Help us extend the bark chip path that runs through the woodland on the reserve, to make the site more access friendly.

The task comprises of laying logs to create an edge along the path, hammering in wooden stakes to secure them and then wheel-barrowing bark chippings and spreading them to form an even surface. Materials are locally sourced – mostly from wood grown and processed on the reserve itself.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


27 April 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Walnut Plantation Tidy-up & Fencing

THURSDAY  - We will be jazzing up the Forrest schools area in Walnut Plantation and creating a new fencing screen between Woodpecker Feeding Station bird hide and the golf course.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


25 April 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Wet scrape Edging & Pond Fiddling

TUESDAY - Extending the muddy edges to existing shallow ponds and adding a few shallow narrow ditches to bring water in to the drier areas to aid rewetting the reedbed.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


20 April 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Easter Holiday Megabash: Turf Stripping & Fencing

THURSDAY  - Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seed bank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

We will also be erecting new fencing to create a new livestock corral by the gate in to Middle Heath near the ponds.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


18 April 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Riverside Walk Path Repair

TUESDAY - We will be digging off mud that has begun closing up the path and laying some type-1 surfacing in the pedestrian entrance gateway. We will also re-trim the bramble regrowth around Parlour Mead Pond from where we had cut back over the winter to keep the area open for future access improvement works.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


13 April 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Easter Holiday Megabash: Turf Stripping & Fencing

THURSDAY  - Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seed bank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

We will also be erecting new fencing to create a new livestock corral by the gate in to Middle Heath near the ponds.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


11 April 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Pond Extension, Gate Stoning, & Sump Fiddling

TUESDAY - A Beaver Scout group had been in last month making a start on deepening a dried out pond in Back Field, if more needs doing we will continue this work before (hopefully) flooding the pond. There is also type-1 surfacing to lay in a gate way and small flight of steps. There are also a few sumps in ditches that could do with scraping out after a hard winter of catching sediment.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


06 April 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Riverbank Stabilisation & Ditch Digging

THURSDAY  - We will be using some of the Willow we have coppiced over the winter to reinforce sections of the river by creating bundled faggots – these strengthen the banks at vulnerable points; help channel flooding in favourable areas; and provide underwater shelter for young fish and invertebrate life.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


04 April 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland Tidy-up

TUESDAY -  We will start in Redwood heathland enclosure to sort and stack Sweet chestnut coppice that has already been felled.

Once this is completed we will all move down together to tidy up along the paling fence line of Pine Walk red route path by the board walk and possibly begin on construction of a new livestock corral by the gate in to Middle Heath near the ponds.

Not sure why a large log had to be rolled uphill. Probably a man-thing.

Not sure why a very large log had to be rolled uphill. Probably a man-thing.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317  


30 March 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
‘Oak Clearing’ Bridge Revamp & Holly Thinning

THURSDAY  - The river bank needs reinforcing with bundled Birch faggots; the approach needs type-1 surfacing; possibly a new hand rail; and there is a thick stand of Holly nearby to thin out.

wellies a good idea

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


28 March 2017 at Warnham LNR
Sandpiper Scrape Maintenance

TUESDAY - We need to dig off the edges of some areas around the shallow pool and rake up some reed and rush that the Wardens will strim off and likely some more to shear on the day.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


27 March 2017 at
Silver Birch and Hay Fever

Green Gym members have done their bit locally to reduce the numbers of silver birch - and how! - but apparently hay fever will strike this weekend, according to this cutting from the Independent. hay fever and silver birch


23 March 2017 at Warnham LNR
Willow wipe out

THURSDAY - Let’s hope for dry weather, we will continue with the thinning of the thick Willow Carr woodland, to aid in the rewetting of the reedbed. If the water is too high we will move to the shelter of the woodland further up the hill.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


21 March 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling *Extended Task*

TUESDAY - The last task of the season – there is a rumour that Ryan may bring marshmallows to celebrate another year’s hard slog at this ongoing project.

*Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


16 March 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Picnic area fence & Woodland Work

THURSDAY - The picnic area fence has had its day. We will be continuing to remove it section by section and replacing it with a new fence line made of Sweet chestnut felled and processed by the wardens in these very woods. This has been an ongoing task over the last few months.

There will also be some bramble and small tree thinning around the area.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


14 March 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling *Extended Task*

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping yet more birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

*Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm*

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


09 March 2017 at Sandgate Park, Storrington
Birch Pulling – Sandgate Park, Storrington **Extended Task

THURSDAY - Sandgate Park is a small Heathland and Woodland site owned by HDC, the site is aided in its management by a local community volunteer group Sandgate Conservation Society but recently their numbers have been low, so the Birch is growing quicker than they can pull! That’s where we come in – I have said we will help. My suggested plan for the day is as follows:

Meet at Sandgate Park* for 10:15am or at Warnham LNR at 9:40 for a FREE minibus

Work as usual with a tea break just after 11am

Stop at 1pm for hotdogs

Back to work until 2:30pm

Minibus back to Warnham LNR, arrive 3pm

This website has a (not very helpful) map and plenty of detail about the site.

Transport and sausages are now booked and paid for - you can of course still come along and work even if you've not said you're coming, there may even be a spare hotdog!

**Extended Task until 3pm, please see description above - there will be a port-a-loo on site!

Please park in Sullington Warren National Trust Car Park on: Water Lane, Storrington, West Sussex, RH20 3LY (Nearest Postcode)

One of the Wardens will come and meet you and take you on a  5 Min walk to the work site

note this task has been moved from its original date


07 March 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling *Extended Task*

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

We will work in Pine Heath enclosure and along Pine Walk red route, repairing some fencing too.

*Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317



04 March 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling MEGABASH 10am-12pm

SATURDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-18 must be accompanied by an adult)

drying gloves

Drying leather gloves too quickly can ruin them.
It's best to let them dry naturally

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317  


02 March 2017 at Nowhurst camp site
Letting in light and repairing steps

THURSDAY - We will be working at the Guides campsite at Nowhurst Lane, off the A281 Guildford Road.

Our tasks include letting in more light to the floor of the wood (i.e. cutting down already marked trees) and repairing some steps which lead to a camp fire circle.

We have worked here before, as a small group, doing some useful coppicing work which also produced firewood for the site.

Nowhust location  

Meet in the car park: Nowhurst Lane is the turning on the left (going towards Guildford on the A281)  just after a house with the nameboard 'Rivington' on the road side. There is also a triangular 'School' sign. About 500 yards along Nowhurst Lane, take the second turning on the left at the Guide Camp sign. Postcode is RH12 3PJ; the OS map ref is TQ13441 32567


28 February 2017 at Motte & Bailey
Scrub bash

TUESDAY - A good old fashioned scrub bash. Ensuring that the grassland that covers the mound of this ancient monument stays unhidden by bramble and thorn shrubs.

Meet: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG

Parking is on the road. If you are driving, please try to park on the left hand side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.


23 February 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Half Term MEGABASH 10am-1pm

THURSDAY - Birch pulling and "nesting pond" creation.

This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

Horsham District News Green Gym Volunteer

As seen in the last edition of Horsham District News!

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-18 must be accompanied by an adult)

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


21 February 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will also have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


16 February 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Picnic Area Fence

THURSDAY - The picnic area fence has had its day. We will be continuing to remove it section by section and replacing it with a new fence line made of Sweet Chestnut felled and processed by the wardens in these very woods. This has been an ongoing task over the last few months.

Is it tea time yet?
Blow the whistle, please, somebody!

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313

Please note this task has been moved from its original date


14 February 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Glade Creation, Dead-hedging & Birch Pulling

TUESDAY - We will be working beside Forest Walk and along the main path heading to the heathland. It could be another 'St Valentine's Day Massacre' but this time in Horsham, not Chicago and of trees not gangsters.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

BE AMAZED! We have a new tool rack, thanks to Ryan and Steve (and a local carpenter).

New rack for the rest of our tools

At last! Now, we don't have to fall over other tools to get to the one we need.


09 February 2017 at Chennels Brook Castle (Motte & Bailey)
Scrub bashing and a little TLC at Lower Barn Copse

THURSDAY  - Holly & Scrub Thinning

The plan is to carry on with scrub bashing at Chennels Brook Castle (Motte & Bailey) and have a splinter group of 5-6 people head up the road to Lower Barn Copse to trim back some pathways and do a quick litter pick - the copse is less than 10 min walk from the normal parking spot. It is a nice patch of woodland that just needs a little TLC.

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG
Parking is on the road. Please try to park on the left side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.


07 February 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Birch Glade Creation

TUESDAY - Carrying on from the weekends felling and clearance work adjacent to the Butterfly Ride and in Millpond Plantation.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


04 February 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Birch Felling & Bramble MEGABASH 10am-12pm

Saturday -Birch Felling & Bramble MEGABASH 10am-12pm

Today we will be creating some woodland glades in the thick Birch cover.

Warnham Nature Reserve Tree Felling Horsham Green Gym Family

Tree felling; bramble shearing; bonfire (Weather permitting!).

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-18 must be accompanied by an adult)

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


02 February 2017 at Southwater Country Park
Lakeside Revetment / Dog Swim Fix

THURSDAY - The timberwork of the unofficial dog swimming area has seen better days and needs taking out and putting back in straight. There will also be pathways to cut back and a few smaller jobs too.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

A fee is now charged for parking at Southwater CP but free parking permits for the morning will be handed out to HGG members on arrival. Make sure you get yours and display it in your car.


31 January 2017 at Broadbridge Heath
BBH Old Bike Jumps/New Butterfly Project

TUESDAY - Scrub clearance and bark path creation. The mud bike jumps that we have worked on in years gone by have been decommissioned and we will be helping to start a new conservation area at the same place. David Bridges of the Warnham Butterfly Fields Project, in the neighbouring village, is also involved with this one.

If anyone can spare an hour or so after the normal 1pm finish time, David B. would appreciate some extra help finishing off any loose ends from the task - bring a packed lunch if you are

Have a look at the 'Master Plan'

car parking at cricket ground

Plenty of room for our cars in the cricket club  car park, just opposite. The nearest Postcode: RH12 3PA; the OS map ref: TQ152 319

If you shop at Waitrose, please consider putting your Green Tokens in the 'Sussex Butterfly Conservation' box over the next week or two!


26 January 2017 at Warnham LNR
Walnut Plantation Bramble and Sycamore Removal

THURSDAY - The area of Hazel and fruiting shrubs planted by HGG a few years past needs freeing from choking bramble. The shrubs are in protective tree tubes, these want to stay on for another year, the brambles that have grown around them need to be carefully cut away and piled up. There will also be some marked-up Sycamore saplings to chop down – to create some open areas in the small patch of woodland.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323

If you shop at Waitrose, please consider putting your Green Tokens in the 'Sussex Butterfly Conservation' box over the next week or two!


24 January 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling

TUESDAY - Continuing our (methodical) rampage to remove Birch saplings from the heathland. We will be pulling out the saplings in designated strips and weather permitting there will be a fire to hide the evidence.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

If you shop at Waitrose, please consider putting your Green Tokens in the 'Sussex Butterfly Conservation' box over the next week or two!


19 January 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Picnic Fence & Continued Birch Felling

THURSDAY - Continuing our ongoing improvement of the picnic area fence line and carrying on from Tuesdays Birch thinning.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


17 January 2017 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Birch glade creation & Hazel Coppice TLC

TUESDAY - Felling Birch in the Mill Pond Plantation and adjacent to the Butterfly ride, to reduce the number of Birch, hopefully increasing the diversity of other things. The Hazel requires some protection from Deer now that we have coppiced some of the stools.

Please note this is a change of task location

hazel coppice protection idea

We will have a go at creating something like this, with the branch tops we removed…

SAFETY! - Please remember to consider those working around you when felling, even quite small trees. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that you drop the tree safely.

Please refresh your memory from these pages

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


16 January 2017 at Warnham LNR
More Wildlife Recorders needed

A message from Jake:

I am trying to encourage more people to note down the wildlife they are seeing on the Horsham Council sites so we can collate the data to send to the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre.

notice of meeting

The evening of MONDAY 16th JANUARY will be a get together for like-minded people and will include a short talk about the recording systems that are in place on the Horsham Council sites and show how the data you collect is used for day to day management of the reserves.

I am planning to run some training events through the year on recording dragonflies, butterflies, day-flying moths and plants so please do let me know if it is something that might interest you.

I will also be running surveys such as the Harvest Mouse Nest Survey at Warnham LNR, which anyone can come along to, so no matter what your experience level you can get involved.

Please could you either call 01403 256238 or email Jacob.Everitt@horsham.gov.uk so I can put your name on the list (and get the biscuit order in early!)

Also, if you think of anyone else who might be interested in attending then please do pass on the details.

Look forward to seeing you at the meeting,

Jacob Everitt - Senior Countryside Warden


12 January 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Parlour Mead Field Bramble Taming

THURSDAY - Today we will be clearing bramble in Parlour Mead field, where we are looking at re-routing the Riverside Walk path where it passes the ponds. Once clear we will hopefully be able to see where the best line will be for the new path. We will also be moving the cut reed from last month’s task to the compost pile in the depot.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


10 January 2017 at Leechpool Wood
Birch Thinning

TUESDAY - Glade creation to thin out some of the tightly packed young trees to improve the diversity and health of the woodland. There will also be some areas of bramble clearance and dead-hedging for those of us who don’t feel the need to show off our strength.

Please note this is a change of task location

Warnham Local Nature Reserve will be closed to visitors from Monday 9th Jan and will not reopen until Thursday 12th Jan due to the start of the Visitor Centre improvement. Unfortunately, there will be no access to any of the Reserve during this period.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


07 January 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling 10am-12pm

SATURDAY  - Birch Pulling MEGABASH 10am-12pm

Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

Birch Pulling Owlbeech Wood Horsham Green Gym

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

Jobs for all fitness levels. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Young people aged 6-18 must be accompanied by an adult)

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

Work site: Redwood Hill enclosure, off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’



05 January 2017 at Chesworth Farm
Riverside Field Bramble Taming

THURSDAY - Did anyone make a new year’s resolution to cut back . . . brambles? If so, take a bow. (But you'll find that hedging shears make a better job!)

We want to cut a number of small 'channels' in the thick bramble to allow easier access next year when pulling Himalayan Balsam, a few plants went to seed due to being out of reach last year.

This will also increase the surface area of the bramble, opening up more areas for nesting birds and fruit production next spring/summer, and possibly allow space for some interesting riparian plants to take hold along the bank. ("Please Sir, what does 'riparian' mean?")

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295

(Riparian = relating to, or situated on, the banks of a river. "Yer, well I knew that. Just testing."


This week's "You probably don't need reminding but . .  " spot:
Meet at The Stout House from 7 pm this evening then on to our dinner


03 January 2017 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling 10am-1pm*

TUESDAY - Let’s get back in at the deep end. Digging out birch saplings (and swapping terrible cracker jokes, Mike?).

This tree species out-competes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

There will also be nearby bramble to shear in to submission.

*Due to staff holidays this week the task will be the normal 10am-1pm and not the previously advertised extended task- sorry! 

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


29 December 2016 at
No task

THURSDAY - No task

 stop it


27 December 2016 at
No task

TUESDAY - No Task

QUESTION:What did the beaver say to the tree? beaver joke ANSWER:'been nice GNAWING you!


22 December 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Platt Pond Reed Clearance - and there's more!

THURSDAY - There is Reed to clear out of the pond. To make sure that there are some open areas of water, we may dig out a few sections to further slow some areas of regrowth.

Also - there is a surrounding hedge to trim back, some post & rail repairs, some tree stools to coppice back and some to lay behind the depot building.

And possibly, (if you have all been very good girls and boys this year), there may be some mince pies too - perhaps.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


20 December 2016 at Leechpool Wood
Holiday holly hacking

TUESDAY - Today, we will be thinning the thick Holly regrowth to allow daylight to reach the woodland floor which should allow other, smaller plants to grow and create a more diverse woodland

Stacking the cut material into “dead hedges” gives lots of nooks and crannies for all manner of things to hide away in, as well as slowing down the decomposition thereby locking in carbon.

You are very welcome to take home any particularly attractive fronds to decorate your homes for the upcoming festivities!

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty! Gloves, tools, hot drinks,mulled-apple juice and mince pies provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

Work site: We will be working along the Green “Woodland Walk” Rout; between the “Oak Clearing” and the play area

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


15 December 2016 at Granary Way
Scrub bash + litter collection

THURSDAY - Clearing brambles and Bind Weed from this lovely small patch of Alder Woodland. We may also plant a handful of small shrubs.

wellies a good idea

Meeting point: Granary Way. Park on the road near Granary Close and leave the small parking area for residents. It's not worth trying to find a parking place in the road called 'Alder Copse'.


13 December 2016 at Motte & Bailey
Scrub bash ***Extended task until 3 pm if you can***

TUESDAY - A good old fashioned scrub bash. Ensuring that the grassland that covers the mound of this ancient monument stays unhidden by bramble and thorn shrubs.

***Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.***

did the Motte & Bailey look something like this in the year 1100?

Did the Motte & Bailey look something like this in the year 100?

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG
Parking is on the road. Please try to park on the left side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.


10 December 2016 at Leechpool Wood
Holly thinning

SATURDAY - The task today is thinning the thick Holly regrowth, to allow daylight to hit the woodland floor which should create a more diverse woodland.

Stacking the cut material into “dead hedges” gives lots of nooks and crannies for all manner of things to hide away in, as well as slowing down the decomposition – locking in carbon.

holly thinning

You are more than welcome to take home any particularly attractive fronds to decorate your homes for the upcoming festivities.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


08 December 2016 at Leechpool Wood
Holly Thinning with Rhododendron & Laurel Clearance

THURSDAY - We will be thinning the thick Holly regrowth, to allow daylight to hit the woodland floor which should create a more diverse woodland.

Stacking the cut material into “dead hedges” gives lots of nooks and crannies for all manner of things to hide away in; as well as slowing down the decomposition – locking in carbon.

Members are more than welcome to take home any particularly attractive fronds to decorate their homes for the upcoming festivities.

There is quite a number of rhodi and laurel (both invasive plants) to cut down. They compete with native flora in the woodland.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


06 December 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling ***Extended task to 3 pm if you can***

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high. There will also be bramble to shear in to submission nearby.

***Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay with him on past the normal 1pm finishing time. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.***

wear gloves = safer

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


01 December 2016 at Warnham LNR
Walnut Plantation Pruning

THURSDAY - Areas of Hazel and fruiting shrubs planted by HGG in years past are in need of having the brambles cut away from them.

The path around this part of the woodland also needs hacking back and we will thin out some of the smaller Sycamore saplings, that are clogging up the undergrowth.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


29 November 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Forest Walk Glade Creation & Dead Hedging

TUESDAY - Creating glades in the thick Birch regrowth, to allow more daylight to hit the woodland floor can produce lots of flowers in the springs to come.

Stacking the cut material into “dead hedges” gives lots of nooks and crannies for all manner of things to hide away in; as well as slowing down the decomposition thereby locking in carbon.

There is also a single step to add to the top of the adjacent Orange “River Link” Route flight.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


24 November 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Glade Creation & Dead Hedging

THURSDAY - We will be creating glades in the thick Birch regrowth, to allow more daylight to hit the woodland floor which should result in lots of flowers in the springs to come.

Stacking the cut material into “dead hedges” gives lots of nooks and crannies for all manner of things to hide away in; as well as slowing down the decomposition – locking in carbon.

(Strictly speaking we will be working in Leechpool but right next to the Owlbeech carpark.)

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


22 November 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling ***Extended task until 3pm if you can***

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high. There will also be bramble to shear in to submission nearby.

***Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay with him on past the normal 1pm finishing time. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.***

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

And  . . .  a report of what you were doing last week at the Warnham Butterfly Fields can be seen on the Butterfly Conservation, Sussex News Page


17 November 2016 at Warnham LNR
Willow wipe out! (well, nearly)

THURSDAY - We will be aiming to coppice a good chunk of the Willow Carr in order to aid in the continued re-wetting of the reedbed. If it has been raining in the days before then we may have to move to higher ground and work in the woodland.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


15 November 2016 at Tillets Lane, Warnham
Scrub clearing for butterflies

TUESDAY - Today we will lend a hand to members of Butterfly Conservation’s Sussex branch providing suitable breeding habitat at the Warnham Butterfly Reserve.

Since it was established in 2010, 34 species of butterfly have been recorded on the 20-acre site on the edge of Warnham Village but it's rapidly scrubbing over and important grassland habitat is turning into woodland.

Work has been taking place this autumn to restore some large areas of good quality habitat for Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, and the other grassland species that are found here. The recent arrival of Purple Emperors on this site has added even more interest but it does mean we must ensure that blocks of regenerating sallow are retained among the newly created clearings and open meadow areas.

Parking is in Tillets Lane or nearby and rather tight. Be thoughtful.

And if you want to know how we got on, use this link to the Butterfly Conservation, Sussex branch News Page.


12 November 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Support the Riverside Walk project

Please support the latest project of the Riverside walk team

Your votes are VITAL to help get funding for this excellent project.

More information here


10 November 2016 at Broadbridge Heath
Bulb planting

THURSDAY - There are about 3,000 bulbs to be planted over two sites at Broadbridge Heath.

BBH - bulb planting

Parking - try Shelley Drive  (postcode RH12 3NT) or Newbridge Close. Do not park on Billingshurst Road as it it gets very busy at times.

Meet on the verge as shown by the red marking in the image.


08 November 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling ***Extended task***

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root.

This tree species over shadows the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high. There will also be bramble to shear in to submission nearby.

***Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task until around 3.0pm.***

Work site: We will be working in the new Pine Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

Information on Ian and Jen Winchester on this page



03 November 2016 at Horsham Park
Crocus planting - a major job

THURSDAY - We have been entrusted with planting 10,000 crocus corms at a site close to Park House in Horsham Park. The flowers will all be purple and here's the reason.

As you will see, Rotary clubs all over the country will be arranging similar planting events.

If 10,000 seems a lot, don't be discouraged as, back in 2010, we planted 5,000 in a morning with plenty of time to spare. Can we do it? YES, we can! Crocusus 2010

However, to make sure that the job gets done in the time, we could do with more members (and anyone else sufficiently interested) to help out.

This where we will be planting 10,000 crocus

This where we will plant 10,000 crocus

Parking: A few free permits have been supplied by HDC to allow parking in North Parade (the other side of the Park). Arrive at Park House early to collect a permit and to allow for walking back across the Park. Has to be first come, first served.

Meeting: Please meet at the front of Park House. After a short briefing, we will move to the site which is close by. If you park your car here, don't forget to pay the charge.

Information on Ian and Jen Winchester on this page



01 November 2016 at Warnham LNR
Willow wipe-out!

TUESDAY - Well, not quite wipe out but we will be aiming to coppice a good chunk of the Willow Carr in order to aid in the continued re-wetting of the reedbed.

If it has been raining in the days before then we may have to move to higher ground and work in the woodland.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


27 October 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Half-term ***MEGABASH*** Birch pulling

THURSDAY - The more the merrier (that’s people not birch).

Join Horsham Green Gym for a morning of hands on conservation management. Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species out-competes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

Smoky fire (later it was hotter with less smoke)

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

As seen in the Horsham District News Magazine!

This has been advertised, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

***Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task until around 3.0pm.***

Work site: We will be working in the new Pine Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


Also -
please support the latest project of the Riverside Walk team

Your votes are VITAL to help get funding.

More information here


25 October 2016 at Warnham LNR
Reedbed Rake-off

TUESDAY - We shall be raking off the vegetation from the boggy reedbed that the Wardens will have strimmed before the task, to allow for the less dominant plans to stand a chance next growing season.

There are also likely to be some willow trees to fell. If it has been raining in the days beforehand then we may have to move to higher ground and work in the woodland.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


Also -
please support the latest project of the Riverside Walk team

Your votes can help get funding.

More information here


20 October 2016 at Chesworth Farm
'Home Alone' kind of day!

THURSDAY - No Ryan and no other warden as they are all attending a training course. So, we are left to get on with it and run Horsham on our own!

There is a log bench to be installed in Back Field next to the dipping pond; as well as cut logs to be added to some existing log piles for school group creepy-crawly, slimy things hunting.

Also, the path that runs from the Chesworth Lane drive pedestrian gate down to the river is in need of cutting back the nettles and brambles, mainly on the north-west side of the path (we mustn’t cut out the hedge on the south-east side!)

It's a fact: HGG planted the hedge on the south-east side of the path in January 2011.

At the time, the programme read, "This was another opportunity for us to add something to the landscape for the future. Just think, in about ten years time, we may be called back to trim the hedge. Just hope the path won't be too muddy for our zimmer frames and wheelchairs."

hedgeplanting - Jan 2011

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


18 October 2016 at Warnham LNR
Willow wipe-out

TUESDAY - Well, not quite wipe out but we will be aiming to coppice a good chunk of the Willow Carr in order to aid in the continued re-wetting of the reedbed.

If it has been raining in the days before then we may have to move to higher ground and work in the woodland.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


16 October 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Weekend MEGABASH - FREE!

SUNDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species out-competes the more delicate heathland plants; it is our job to set the balance right.

poster Megabash

Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

There will be jobs for all fitness levels and abilities. Please wear sturdy footwear and (old) clothing appropriate for the expected weather. Gloves, tools and refreshments will be provided.

6-16 year olds must be accompanied by an adult

Meeting point: Owlbeech Way car park, RH13 6AW. Next to the play area; we will set off from here at 10:15am promptly. Work will finish at about 1.0 pm

Work site: We will be working in the Redwood Hill enclosure, off the purple ‘Heathland Route’.


13 October 2016 at Warnham LNR
Hazel Coppicing & Rhododendron Removal MEGABASH

THURSDAY - As shown in the Horsham District News Magazine(!), we will be coppicing some of the regrowth from the Hazel stools. The stakes and binders we produce will be used in hedge laying projects later in the winter, at Warnham and other sites around Horsham.

There are also some invasive Rhody and Laurel plants to cut down and incinerate.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


11 October 2016 at Southwater CP
Quarry slope rake off

TUESDAY - Raking off the vegetation from the steep slope that the Wardens have strimmed before the task, to allow spring flowering plants to stand a chance after the winter.

There will also be some fence stakes to hammer in; some vegetation to trim back and possibly some type-1 gravel to shovel. Plenty!

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

Note: A fee is now charged for parking at Southwater CP but free parking permits for the morning will be handed out to HGG members on arrival. make sure you get yours and display it in your car.


06 October 2016 at Leechpool Wood
Picnic Fencing

THURSDAY - The picnic area fence has had its day.

We are removing it section by section and replacing it with a new fence line made of sweet chestnut, felled and processed by the wardens in these very woods. This is an ongoing task over a couple of months.

the bird 'flew' after a short time

April 2010 - Unfortunately, this bird stayed at the picnic site only briefly.

entrance sign

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


04 October 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Silver birch removal

TUESDAY - It's bonfire season again . . . Silver birch thinning - nay, annihilation

bonfire

This year's 'Did You Know?' spot: James Dean Bradfield, the lead guitarist and lead vocalist of Manic Street Preachers, recorded 'Silver Birch Bonfire Blues (still burns between me and you)' in 2006.

The Preachers had already recorded 'Slash ’N’ Burn' in 1992 and 'Everything Must Go' in 1996.

All very apt for HGG. Perhaps we should play the tunes at our next BBQ.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


29 September 2016 at Holders Close, Billingshurst
Scrub Removal & Pond Digging

THURSDAY - We are winning on this small site, thanks to all your hard work over the last few years. But there is still a little more to do.

This is what it looked like on our first visit in September 2011:-

Holders Close

wellies a good idea

Meet at Holders Close, Billingshurst, RH14 9HL
Best approached from the roundabout off the A29. The turning is off another roundabout, opposite "Mole Country Stores”. Parking is usually a bit tight, so please be thoughtful of the residents.


27 September 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Old Heath Pond Digging

TUESDAY - There are a number of small ponds at the bottom end of Old Heath, uncovered by our Birch pulling last year. We are going to extend them and encourage the area to hold more water to create a wet heathland area.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


22 September 2016 at Leechpool Wood
Picnic Fencing

THURSDAY - The picnic area fence has had its day. We are removing it section by section and replacing it with a new fence line made of Sweet chestnut felled and processed by the wardens in these very woods. This will be an ongoing task over the next couple of months.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


20 September 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Vegetation Cut Back

TUESDAY - The main path through Forest Walk has been narrowed by drooping stinging nettles and bramble. There is another section of path that is suffering in the same way.

Guess what our job is!

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


15 September 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Spring Barn Gateway and Ditch

THURSDAY - Ryan wrote, on a sunny day back in June: It's hard to tell quite what will need doing to this area until we have a little rain and the drainage work we carried out back in May settles in. I can promise though there will be digging and vegetation to cut back

(Spring Barn is the name of a Chesworth field, through the gate at the end of Occupation Road. Check it out here.)

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


13 September 2016 at Motte & Bailey
Scrub Clearance and Gateway Stoning

TUESDAY - In the last couple of years we have cut out a big section of scrub on the monument mound itself. Some of this of course has grown back, so we will top the regrowth and aim to increase the area of exposed grassland.

The wheelchair access kissing gate we installed is working beautifully but there is just some type-1 surfacing to extend.

location map

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG
Parking is on the road. If you are driving, please try to park on the left hand side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.


08 September 2016 at Warnham LNR
Reedbed Pond

THURSDAY - The pond we started last year in the reedbed has settled in well. So of course we now want to disturb it by making it bigger and maybe deeper in a few areas too. This is likely to be a muddy one, so don’t wear your Sunday best but DO wear wellies.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


06 September 2016 at Southwater CP
Stone Quarry path and Vegetation Cut Back

TUESDAY - We will be working beside the Quarry Lake, laying type-1 surfacing to allow year round crossing of a boggy patch and trimming back some bushy vegetation. 

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

Parking at Southwater CP is now charged (£1.50 per day) but free parking permits for the morning will be handed to HGG members on arrival


01 September 2016 at Southwater CP
Fishing Lake Tidy-up

THURSDAY - The fishing swims need a cut back to allow anglers the best chance of bringing in the catch of the day. There are also fresh bark chippings to be laid.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

Parking at Southwater CP is now charged (£1.50 per day) but free parking permits for the morning will be handed to HGG members on arrival


30 August 2016 at Southwater CP
Top Path Reclamation and Cut Back

TUESDAY - Cutting back overgrowing vegetation and digging mud off a neglected path.

Meet in the large signposted car park off Worthing Road/Mill Straight (depending on your map/Sat Nav), RH13 9EU.  WE ARE NOT MEETING AT THE CAFÉ

Parking at Southwater CP is now charged (£1.50 per day) but free parking permits for the morning will be handed out to HGG members on arrival


25 August 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
“Turf Stripping” & “Nesting Pond” Creation

THURSDAY - Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seed bank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

Nesting Ponds are small areas fenced off from heavy grazing to encourage some denser cover in the heathland habitat, where ground nesting birds and reptiles can nest. We will be using the birch we have felled over the winter to create a rustic fence around some small areas.

a nesting 'pond' (Matthew's photo)

This is a big job and we are inviting everyone - yes, everyone! - to join us for the morning. There are jobs for all ages and fitness levels. (Children 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

Meeting point: Owlbeech Way car park, RH13 6AW - this is the car park near the play area. (The signposted car park on Harwood Road can be used if needed, but it is a 10 min walk to the meeting point). We will be setting off promptly at 10am as usual. Any latecomers will be able to find us in either Middle or Redwood Heath enclosures. There will be black and white arrow signs.


23 August 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Stone and Cut Back Gateways

TUESDAY - As ever, some of the gateways are wearing out underfoot and becoming over grown at the same time. We will lay some type-1 surface to fill any pot holes and cut back the worst offending overgrowth.There’s a fencepost or two to bang in.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


18 August 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Riverbank Stabilisation and Sleeper Bridge

THURSDAY - Rain water and dogs clambering in and out of the river has caused accentuated erosion in a few areas of the river along Forest Walk.

We will be packing birch bundle faggots against the bank to collect sediment – slowing down erosion and providing an underwater habitat for invertebrate and fish to lay their eggs. We completed a section of this successfully in April so we can have a look at how it has bedded in.

There will also be some cutting back along the path for those who don’t want to work near water and an opportunity for those who do, to jump in a pair of waders.

wellies a good idea

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


16 August 2016 at Warnham LNR
The Path *** MEGABASH ***

TUESDAY - Help us extend the bark chip path that runs through the woodland on the reserve, to make the site more access friendly.

School holiday jobs for all ages and fitness levels. Children 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult. Guaranteed to tire out helpers of all ages*

The task comprises of laying logs to create an edge along the path, hammering in wooden stakes to secure them and then wheel-barrowing bark chippings and spreading them to form an even surface. Materials are locally sourced – mostly from wood grown and processed on the reserve itself.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323

*HDC Countryside Wardens reserve the right to retract this statement at any time.


11 August 2016 at Warnham LNR
Picnic Area Post and Rail Fence and Scrape Digging

THURSDAY - There are a few more bays of post and rail fencing to install/renew around the café picnic area.

Also, the existing scrapes in front of the Tern Hide have silted up. They need digging slightly deeper to re-establish a nice muddy edge to the Millpond. This is an extension to last week's task.

wellies good idea

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


09 August 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
“Turf Stripping” and “Nesting Pond” Creation

TUESDAY - Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seed bank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

Nesting Ponds are small areas fenced off from heavy grazing to encourage some denser cover in the heathland habitat, where ground nesting birds and reptiles can nest. We will be using the birch we have felled over the winter to create a rustic fence around some small areas.

a nesting 'pond' (Matthew's photo)

This is a big job and we are inviting everyone - yes, everyone! - to join us for the morning. There are jobs for all ages and fitness levels. (Children 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

Meeting point: Owlbeech Way car park, RH13 6AW - this is the car park near the play area. (The signposted car park on Harwood Road can be used if needed, but it is a 10 min walk to the meeting point). We will be setting off promptly at 10am as usual. Any latecomers will be able to find us in either Middle or Redwood Heath enclosures. There will be black and white arrow signs.


04 August 2016 at Warnham LNR
Picnic Area Post and Rail Fence and Scrape Digging

THURSDAY - There are a few bays of post and rail fencing to install/renew around the café picnic area.

Also, the existing scrapes in front of the Tern Hide have silted up. They need digging slightly deeper to re-establish a nice muddy edge to the Millpond.

wellies good idea

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


02 August 2016 at Warnham LNR
Bird Hide Revamp

TUESDAY - Some fence posts to be dug in and a bark path to be laid through the feeding station area to jazz it up a bit.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


28 July 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Balsam Pulling & Tool Maintenance

THURSDAY - We will do a second sweep of the Riverside Field to pull any remaining Himalayan & Orange Balsam & Monkey Flower plants that may have been missed on the evening task on 21st June.

orange balsam

monkey flower

We will also give the tools a much needed session of TLC.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


26 July 2016 at Warnham LNR
The Path - Megabash

TUESDAY - Kick off the summer holiday at Warnham Nature Reserve – guaranteed to tire out helpers of all ages*

Help us extend the bark chip path that runs through the woodland on the reserve, to make the site more access friendly. The task comprises of laying logs to create an edge along the path, hammering in sharpened wooden stakes to secure them and then wheelbarrowing loads of bark chippings to form an even surface. Materials are locally sourced – mostly from wood grown and processed on the reserve itself.

*HDC Countryside Wardens reserve the right to retract this statement at any time.

Jobs for all ages and fitness levels. Children 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


21 July 2016 at Southwater CP
Bench Installation & Fencing on the Beach

THURSDAY - We will be erecting a couple of our now famous rustic log benches and a short stretch of post and rail fencing at the beach area.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


19 July 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Path Reclamation with Thistle Pulling

TUESDAY - The gravelled path that runs along the bank of the River Arun adjacent to Tip Field has become grassed and mudded over. We will be scraping it clean to make it look as good as new. We completed over half of the length back in April, so let’s see if we can make it all the way to the gate today.

There are also a few small clusters of Thistle to pull in nearby Jenny Bare Legs Field.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


18 July 2016 at Memorial gardens area
River clean up

MONDAY - For those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day, this extra job arranged by Arun & Rother Connections (ARC) (or Any River Cleaned), may be attractive. There will be ample scope for work in the water as well as on the dry banks.

Meet at the Memorial gardens, behind Sainsbury's and the Parish Church

wellies good idea

Kate, of ARC, would like people to contact her to confirm they are coming so she knows roughly how many volunteers there will be on site on the day. Her email: Kate.Whitton@rspb.org.uk


16 July 2016 at Rugby Club
Annual Riverside Walk

As part of our contribution to the success of the Annual Riverside Walk, the THURSDAY group will be attacking overhanging vegetation on part of the route during late June and early July. More information will arrive nearer the time when we see how much needs doing.

Areas could include: the usual thorny stretch beside the A264; near New House Farm; a twitten between Sandeman Way and the A281 Brighton Road; the path parallel to Ben's Acre and Grebe Crescent.

You are coming on The Walk, of course?

poster of Annual Riverside Walk


14 July 2016 at Sandeman Way
Vegetation clearance

THURSDAY - We will be working to clear excess vegetation from just two sites in preparation for the Horsham Riverside Walk which takes place this Saturday.

The original plan involved more sites but a nearby kindly householder has cleared one site and the other has been attended to by another person.

Sandeman Way location map

The sites:
1 - a twitten beside number 20, Sandeman Way connects with the Brighton Road and has been allowed to become very overgrown and narrow. It needs some careful work to cut it all from both sides of the pathway and to take the cuttings down to a suitable place for them to rot.
2 - across Brighton Road, nettles beside the footpath need levelling for about a metre back. The length of this section is about 100m.

Meet at Sandeman Way. Postcode RH13 6EL.


12 July 2016 at Warnham LNR
Pulling Himalayan Balsam

TUESDAY - We will be working along the brook to stop the invasive plant making its way to the Mill Pond.

HB is a problem for waterside habitats across the country; the seeds spread along watercourses and at times of flood, depositing seeds even wider. The plants grow over 6 feet tall in a few short months, shading out native plant species. The plants then fall over in the autumn leaving no root structure to hold the banks in place – leading to huge areas of rapid erosion. The good news is they are very easy to pull out by hand and it is satisfying to stand back at the end of the day and see the huge pile you have pulled up.

Thanks to our hard work over the past couple of years we really are winning; there is not as much as last year . . .

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


11 July 2016 at Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington
Himalayan Balsam pulling (cancelled)

MONDAY - This was to be a day of pulling up Himalayan Balsam for those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day.

The new, news is - DON'T GO to Monkmead Wood (as if you were!) as it has all been extracted. A magnificent achievement considering the size of the area affected.


07 July 2016 at Millennium Bridge off Merryfield Drive
Path surfacing and vegetation clearance

THURSDAY - There is some surfacing of the path to repair with the "old favourite" Type 1 and maybe a bit of concreting where it meets Millennium Bridge. It needs to be easier for wheelchairs and scooters like the one below, to access.

There is also some vegetation to cut back along the foot path in preparation for the Annual Riverside Walk which takes place on Saturday 16th July.

Millennium Bridge problem

Access from Merryfield Drive is alongside no. 93. The postcode is RH12 2AX

POST-TASK REPORT
Our magnificent team not only vastly improved the approach to the Millennium Bridge by laying a large amount of aggregate mixed with a small amount of cement powder to bind it together and tamping it all firmly down
BUT ALSO
cut over a hundred metres of severely overhanging vegetation along the path. Well done and thank you to all! Our disabled, scooter-riding friend tested the new ramp and pronounced it very satisfactory. He also supplied the information to the Disabled Ramblers website as you can see here --> http://disabledramblers.co.uk/2016/07/07/ramp-built-in-horsham-ready-for-the-2016-riverwalk-scooter-convoy/


05 July 2016 at Southwater Country Park
Fencing & summer spruce-up + AGM

TUESDAY - Yet more fence posts to be hammered in and sweet chestnut paling to be attached.

We will also undertake a litter pick and complete any odd jobs that have sprung up in the build-up to the school summer holidays!

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

The AGM of Horsham Green Gym will be held in the office above the café as soon as we can get ourselves there and organised. It is a requirement of our Constitution that we hold this meeting and, as usual, it is intended to be short. And it will be!


04 July 2016 at Ben's Acre
Skunk cabbage removal

MONDAY - For those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day, this extra job arranged by Arun & Rother Connections (ARC) (or Any River Cleaned), may be attractive.

Skunk cabbage removal. Another invasive weed.  Plenty of muddy digging and, oh!,  did I mention the smell?

Meet at Ben's Acre off Heron Way. This task may go on until 4 pm. Feel free to join in at any time!

wellies

Kate, of ARC, would like people to contact her to confirm they are coming so she knows roughly how many volunteers there will be on site on the day. Her email: Kate.Whitton@rspb.org.uk


30 June 2016 at Riverside Walk
Riverside Walk work

THURSDAY - We will be working to remove overhanging vegetation from the route of the Riverside Walk. The Annual Walk takes place on the 16th of next month and we need to make sure it is as easy as possible for the two hundred or so walkers.

 HGG members ready to start work

Meeting place is the car park at the very end of Bartholomew Way and as you can guess, we will be attacking the 850 feet length of the path on the other side of the A264. It's quite a big job as Mother Nature has been very busy just recently.


28 June 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Annual Barbecue

TUESDAY - No task today. Please arrive no earlier than 12.30 for 1.0 pm nosh.

 Five in search of an adventure

Meet at The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


27 June 2016 at along the Riverside Walk and Warnham LNR
River clean up

MONDAY - For those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day, this extra job arranged by Arun & Rother Connections (ARC) (or Any River Cleaned), may be attractive. There will be ample scope for work in the water as well as on the dry banks.

This is a bit complicated so pay attention at the back there!

The plan is to pull Himalayan Balsam at a site along the Riverside Walk between 10 am and 4 pm then --

Transfer to Warnham LNR to do more of the same between 5 pm and 8 pm then --

the Dog & Bacon should be the next stop

wellies

Kate, of ARC, would like people to contact her to confirm they are coming so she knows roughly how many volunteers there will be on site on the day. Her email: Kate.Whitton@rspb.org.uk


26 June 2016 at Warnham LNR
Creepy Crawly Day at Warnham

advert for Creepy Crawly Day at Warnham


23 June 2016 at Southwater Country Park
Orchid census (part 2)

THURSDAY - Today we will be carrying out a flora survey on the slopes of the country park with the aim to count the total number of orchids in a few select sections. Bring your spectacles.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


21 June 2016 at Southwater Country Park
Orchid census - and late night opening!

TUESDAY - It’s that time of year again; we will be on our hands and knees hunting for every last orchid at our usual spot by Quarry Lake.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

EXTRA! EXTRA! LATE NIGHT OPENING EVENT!

Therapeutic Himalayan Balsam pulling at Chesworth Farm - 5pm to 8 pm.

Yet another of those occasions for those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day. This extra job has been arranged by Arun & Rother Connections (ARC or Any River Cleaned) in conjunction with The Friends of Chesworth Farm, may be attractive. There should be ample scope for work in the water as well as on the dry banks.

Wellies recommended, if not essential

Meet at the site.

Kate, of ARC, would like people to contact her to confirm they are coming so she knows roughly how many volunteers there will be on site on the day. Her email: Kate.Whitton@rspb.org.uk  


16 June 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Path pruning (Part 2)

THURSDAY - Today, we will be taming some of the overgrown vegetation along the footpaths in the woods.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


14 June 2016 at Warnham LNR
Himalayan balsam time

TUESDAY - Working along Gorringes Brook to stop the invasive plant making its way to the Mill Pond.

himalayan balsam

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


09 June 2016 at Leechpool Woods
Path pruning (part 1)

THURSDAY - Today, we will be taming some of the overgrown vegetation along the footpaths in the woods.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


07 June 2016 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - Extending the bark path through the woodland to make the site more user friendly.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


02 June 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Turf stripping and Nesting Pond creation - Half term MEGABASH

THURSDAY - Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seedbank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

Nesting Ponds are small areas fenced off from heavy grazing to encourage some denser cover in the heathland habitat, where ground nesting birds and reptiles can nest. We will be using the birch we have felled over the winter to create a rustic fence around some small area.

MEGABASH - Jobs for all ages and fitness levels. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

You can also use the main signposted car park off Harwood Road. It's a 10 min walk to the meeting point. We will be setting off promptly at 10 am as usual. Any latecomers will be able to find us in either Middle or Redwood Heath enclosures.


31 May 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Turf stripping and Nesting Pond creation - Half term MEGABASH

TUESDAY - Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seedbank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but today we would like to select a few choice areas within the Middle and Redwood Heath enclosures and get our mattocks involved.

Nesting Ponds are small areas fenced off from heavy grazing to encourage some denser cover in the heathland habitat, where ground nesting birds and reptiles can nest. We will be using the birch we have felled over the winter to create a rustic fence around some small area.

MEGABASH - Jobs for all ages and fitness levels. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317

You can also use the main signposted car park off Harwood Road. It's a 10 min walk to the meeting point. We will be setting off promptly at 10 am as usual. Any latecomers will be able to find us in either Middle or Redwood Heath enclosures.


26 May 2016 at Warnham LNR
Ditch Maintenance & Pond Digging

THURSDAY - The water in the ditch alongside the golf course stayed contained for most of the winter thanks to our hard work last year, there are just a few slight tweaks needed to keep it in tip-top condition.

Whilst we are in the mood and have the spades out, we may as well dig a small pond to attract dragonflies, amongst other things, in the woodland.

We did all that (and more) but the day will probably be remembered best as the time we found 35 golf balls!

a lot of golf balls

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


24 May 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Dock o'clock

TUESDAY - It has struck that time of year again and today we will be pulling up Dock plants from a number of the fields.

The Higher Level Stewardship scheme that the farm is under requires Dock to be kept at low levels, so to allow the rarer flowering plants to stand a chance. Last year we collected at least 7 big bags full, let’s see if we can top that (or rather hopefully not if our hard work is beginning to pay off).

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


19 May 2016 at Leechpool Woods
Boardwalk TLC + Dam Busting

THURSDAY - The boardwalks get very muddy over the wetter months, we need to sweep them off to inspect them for any damage and lay type-1 aggregate at the ends of a few of the sections.

A tree has fallen in to the river; we have been asked to pull out some of the lumps and re-attach part of the neighbour’s barbed wire fence that it has brought down in its wake. The tree has been chain-sawed up a bit to make our job slightly easier.

wellies good idea

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313

Coincidently, the famous Dam Busters raid took place 73 years and 3 days ago today! Good planning, Ryan.


17 May 2016 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - Extending the bark path through the woodland to make the site more user friendly. What else are we to do with all the birch trees we keep felling?

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


12 May 2016 at Southwater Country Park
Top Path Pruning & Scraping

THURSDAY - It seems that some stretching and bending will be involved today. Sam or Jonny will be with us as Ryan has been allowed some leave.

NOTE: Meet at the large signposted car park on Worthing Road (or Mill Straight, depending on your map/ Sat Nav) RH13 9EU

Note change of meeting place!


10 May 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Stoning Gateways **Extended Task 10 am - 3 pm**

TUESDAY - There are a number of gateways that were very wet in the past winter. All going well there will have been a few piles of type-1 aggregate delivered for us to spread in the troublesome gateways and maybe even a petrol powered wacker plate to ease our efforts.

wacker plate

There's a lot to do today and as the gates are set a distance from each other, it means that some of us will have to work on after the usual finishing time. If you can stay until three pm, you may gain the undying gratitude of Ryan, Sam and Jonny (depends on how hard you work!) - but your chance of driving the wacker appears to have been withdrawn by the Risk Assessment.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


07 May 2016 at Pulborough Brooks RSPB
Pondemonium!

Pondemonium


05 May 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Ditch Clearance & Ground Preparation

THURSDAY - The culvert in the ditch that runs along Spring Barn Field, which feeds in to the Riverside Wetland, was blocked for most of the past winter. It has now been unblocked but we need to excavate it further to ensure that it continues to run next winter

There is also work to be done on a soggy gateway in Spring Barn field – digging a channel to direct the runoff and adding gravel.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


03 May 2016 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - We will be topping up the older sections of the path with fresh bark chippings and digging a shallow ditch alongside a section of the path to aid drainage. We will also start work on extending the path from where we left it last year. Now that Dick is back in our midst, he will ensure the path is straighter than ever.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323

taken on 31 March

Matthew’s photo of the activities on 31st March.
Not a lot to do with today's task but it is a nice picture.


28 April 2016 at Southwater Country Park
Bench Installation & Fencing

THURSDAY - We will be building rustic log benches by the beach area and hammering in a line of fence stakes to beef-up a tumbledown fence line. (Should that be 'steaks' if we are beefing it up? Or would that be a misteak?)

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


26 April 2016 at Warnham LNR
Wet Meadow Scrape Maintenance

TUESDAY - The cows have turned up their noses at Soft Rush which has begun to colonise in large clumps. So we have been tasked with digging some sections out.

There is also a small amount of landscaping around the edges of the scrape pools themselves and another couple of woven screen panels to be attached alongside the Sandpiper bird hide.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


22 April 2016 at North Heath Hall
Volunteers' Evening

Friday - starts at 7.30 pm

If you would like to attend the Horsham In Bloom volunteers' evening described in my email of 26th March, please let DJ know before Friday 15th April and I will let the organisers know the total number from HGG.


21 April 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Riverbank stabilisation

THURSDAY - Rain water and dogs (and others?) clambering in and out of the river have caused accentuated erosion in a few areas of the river along Forest Walk.

We will be packing birch bundle faggots in to the bank to collect sediment – slowing down erosion and providing an underwater habitat for invertebrate and fish to lay their eggs.

There will also be some cutting back along the path for those who don’t want to work near water and an opportunity for those who do, to struggle into a pair of waders and "splash about a bit".

wellies good idea

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


19 April 2016 at Warnham LNR
Walnut Plantation Tidy-up

TUESDAY - The outdoor education area is in need of jazzing up: log piles to stack; some fencing to repair and a new section to be erected. There is also plenty of cutting back to do along the paths, as ever.

wellies good idea

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


18 April 2016 at Bartholomew Way
River clean up

MONDAY - For those who like getting wet and muddy AND hot and sticky all on the same day, this extra job arranged by Arun & Rother Connections (ARC) (or Any River Cleaned), may be attractive. There will be ample scope for work in the water as well as on the dry banks.

wellies

Meet in the car park at Bartholomew Way for 10am.

The plan is to clean this area and then move onto Warnham Nature Reserve in the afternoon. People can either stay for the morning or volunteer for the whole day, in which case bring packed lunch.

Kate, of ARC, would like people to contact her to confirm they are coming so she knows roughly how many volunteers there will be on site on the day. Her email: Kate.Whitton@rspb.org.uk


14 April 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Bench installation and ditch clearance

THURSDAY - We will be installing two(!) of our world famous rustic log benches in Back Field, actually for use as tables when school groups are pond dipping. Whilst we are here we will also top-up the minibeast log and compost piles and dig out part of a ditch.

Another bench. Must be Thursday.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


12 April 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Riverside Walk Path Reclamation

TUESDAY - The gravelled path that runs along the bank of the river Arun adjacent to Tip Field has become grassed (and mudded) over. We will be scraping it clean to make it look as good as new. During the winter we cut the hedge along part of this section, so we will be able to appreciate the hedge blooming back into life as we work.

There is also a small section of sweet chestnut paling fence to patch up around one of the nearby ponds, where we coppiced some Alder and planted some Black Poplar last month.

wellies good idea

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


07 April 2016 at Warnham LNR
Hedge planting + fence and path repairs

THURSDAY - Today we planted a new hedgerow and filled in gaps in the newly laid hedge in the car park. We also replaced a short section of fencing at the entrance of the reserve and after preparing the sites, laid type-1 aggregate in a couple of muddy areas.

new hedge just planted

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


05 April 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Pine Heath Tidy-up & “Turf Stripping”

TUESDAY - With the combined effect of the bulldozer that went in to create the new fence line and the bulldozing effect of HGG birch pulling this winter, there are still some piled up birch carcasses that did not get burnt last programme. We will be cutting and burning if the weather permits.

Turf Stripping is a technique where the top layer of soil and vegetation is scraped off to expose fresh soil and the buried seedbank. We have successfully applied this to areas of the heath on a large scale with the help of a JCB in past years – but we would like to select a few choice areas within the new Pine Heath enclosure and get our mattocks involved.

We'll have another go at this at the end of May. This is the rehearsal.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


31 March 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Megabash **Extended Task 10am-3pm**

THURSDAY -  Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate ever dwindling heathland plants, it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

Pull!

The more the merrier (that’s people not birch). Come and join Horsham Green Gym on a morning of hands on conservation management.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Work site: we will be working in the Middle Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


29 March 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland MEGABASH **Extended task 10am-3pm**

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate ever dwindling heathland plants, it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

more pulling!

The more the merrier (that’s people not birch). Come and join Horsham Green Gym on a morning of hands on conservation management.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Work site: we will be working in the Middle Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


24 March 2016 at Leechpool Woods
Holly thinning

THURSDAY - We will be felling and pruning the thickest stands of holly to allow more light to reach the woodland floor – allowing smaller flowering plants to thrive.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


22 March 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Birch & Willow Management

TUESDAY - We will be working in Old Heath enclosure where we have very nearly finished pulling birch 'saplings' to form a number of open sections to allow herbicide spraying later in the year.

There is just a handful of birch left to mattock.

Now that we can get to the far end of the enclosure, there are a number of larger Birch and Willow trees to be felled in a wet area, allowing us to extend a collection of small heathland ponds in the late summer.

wellies

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


17 March 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge Cutting for New Bird Feeding Station Area

THURSDAY - We want to create a bird feeding station on the farm to draw in our feathered friends for visitors to see close-up. There is a hedge to be cut so that people can see over it and preparation for a screen bird hide to be put up. Stu will be felling some trees nearby so there are also going to be some logs to lump around.

leprechauns

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


15 March 2016 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the willows, bowsaws in the branches and boots in the bog

TUESDAY - Plan A: Felling Willow trees in a rather wet area of the reserve to create an open wetland space.

wellies

Plan B: If it has been very wet and the water level is high – don’t despair, we will move to higher ground and continue with woodland glade creation works.

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


10 March 2016 at Bartholomew Way
Woodland thinning

THURSDAY -All Saints school use a clearing in the nearby wood to run their outdoor forest school sessions. The area they are using is in need of sprucing-up (tree joke!) Perhaps they can't cedar wood for the trees. (another) Although it's plane if you ash me (last one) Oak?

We will be felling trees to thin out a section of the woodland and clearing bramble to open up a new clearing for the children to work in when their current area is too muddy.

Finally:- I shook my family tree and a bunch of nuts fell out

Meet in car park at Roffey Football Club at the end of Bartholomew Way. Postcode (not exact) is RH12 5JL and the OS map ref is TQ194 331

And if you haven't had enough of treemendous puns, click here.


08 March 2016 at Motte & Bailey
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY - In the last couple of years we cut out a big section of scrub on the monument mound itself. Some of this has grown back, so we will top the regrowth and aim to increase the area of exposed grassland.

Motte and Bailey

Did the Motte & Bailey look anything like this? The Motte is the mound of earth and the bailey is the area surrounded by the wooden palisade.

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG

Parking is on the road. Please can those who are driving try to park on the left hand side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops. Or you could try nearby roads and closes.


04 March 2016 at Horsham Park
Litter clearance

Not on our Green Gym programme (it's on a Friday) but just up our street as it involves being outside, some physical activity and shows a benefit for the local community.

location of HNG

Wear suitable clothes and shoes/boots, depending on the weather conditions. Refreshments promised!

Meet the Park Rangers at the stage of the Human Nature Garden in the Park for two hours of helping with a variety of jobs. Probably all light work so just about anyone could take part.

Finding a parking space is often a problem round the Park. Get there early - or use the bus (but still get there early!)

See you there?


03 March 2016 at Warnham LNR
Wet meadow scrape maintenance

THURSDAY - Today we will be cutting and raking vegetation around the edges of the wetland scrapes (shallow ponds); there may also be some digging and re-profiling of the earth.

If it has been very wet and the water level is high – don’t despair, we will move to higher ground and continue with woodland glade creation works.

wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


01 March 2016 at Warnham LNR
Rhododendron, Laurel & Willow Cull **Extended task 10am-3pm**

TUESDAY - We will be continuing work on the far side of the Millpond clearing a patch of the non-native shrubs growing on the waters edge and further into the woodland.

It's a bit of a trek to the work site so **Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm to make the trip worth our while.

 wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


29 February 2016 at Warnham LNR
River clean up

This is not specifically a Green Gym task (it's a Monday) but worth considering attending as it's at Warnham and sounds as if we could get very muddy and tired.

poster

wellies

Don't forget a packed lunch. Tea/coffee will be provided.


25 February 2016 at Alder Copse
Scrub and litter clearance plus Ditch Clearance

THURSDAY - The resident volunteer group for this area has dwindled to two members! We can offer them a neighbourly helping hand in clearing some vegetation and enlarging a storm run-off ditch. There may be some litter to collect but will be mainly found in the stream.

The wooded area called Alder Copse stretches from the railway line almost to Granary Way and has a small stream running through it. Clearing it could be challenging!

wellies probably a good idea

In fact, if you intend going in the stream, wellies are essential. They will also be useful on the rest of the site which is muddy and covered with brambles but small patches of bluebells are apparent.

Meeting Place: Granary Way. Park on the road and leave the small parking area for residents. It's not worth trying to find a parking place in the road called 'Alder Copse'. location map This task is one of our contributions to the Clean for the Queen project and features on their website - see pic below. copy of Clean for the Queen web page


23 February 2016 at Motte & Bailey
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY - In the last couple of years we have cut out a big section of scrub on the monument mound itself. Some of this has grown back of course, so we will top the regrowth and aim to increase the area of exposed grassland.

Read more about the Motte & Bailey

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG Parking is on the road. Please park on the left hand side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road; it's the northern side if that helps) and avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.  


18 February 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland MEGABASH **Extended Task 10am-3pm**

THURSDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate ever dwindling heathland plants, it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

The more the merrier (that’s people not birch). Come and join Horsham Green Gym on a morning of hands on conservation management.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)>

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Work site: we will be working in the new Pine Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


16 February 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland MEGABASH **Extended Task 10am-3pm**

TUESDAY - Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species outcompetes the more delicate ever dwindling heathland plants, it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

 Pull!

The more the merrier (that’s people not birch). Come and join Horsham Green Gym on a morning of hands on conservation management.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Gloves, tools, hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided. (Children aged 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Work site: we will be working in the new Pine Heath enclosure off the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


11 February 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Alder coppicing at Parlour Mead Pond

THURSDAY - Parlour Mead Pond Alder Coppicing

There is a clump of Alder trees to coppice around one of the ponds on the farm; there will also be some other pruning jobs to do too. We shouldn't need to get in the water but wearing wellies could be a very good idea.

wellies

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


09 February 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Forest Walk Glade Creation & Dead Hedging

TUESDAY - We will be continuing on from December's Birch felling efforts and cut out some of the brambles that are spreading into our lovely new glades.The dead hedge along Forest Walk will be topped-up with the cut material.

There will also be an abundance of logs if anyone would like to carry what they can home to put on their fire (if the temperature has dropped below 10 degrees C yet!)

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


04 February 2016 at Warnham LNR
Hedge Planting plus Post & Rail Fence Erection

THURSDAY - Today we will be planting a new hedgerow and erecting a short section of post and rail fencing at the entrance of the reserve.

post and rail fence

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


02 February 2016 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the willows **Extended task**

TUESDAY - Plan A: Felling Willow trees in a rather wet area of the reserve to create an open wetland space.

wellies

Plan B: If it has been very wet and the water level is high – don’t despair, we will move to higher ground and continue with woodland glade creation works.

**Ryan would love it** if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


28 January 2016 at Leechpool Woods
Rhododendron & Laurel Eradication

THURSDAY - These two non-native species are encroaching on the woodland, shading out the understory and ground layer of native species. Today’s task is to fell and lop the plants in to submission.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313

Rhododendron


26 January 2016 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge Cutting

TUESDAY - A number of the hedges around the farm that are too fiddly for a tractor to get to are in need of taming. We will work along the main drive and break off down paths as we get to them. There may also be some fencing repairs to do.

Meet at The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


21 January 2016 at Warnham LNR
Wet Meadow Scrape Maintenance

THURSDAY - Today we will be cutting and raking vegetation around the edges of the wetland scrapes (shallow ponds); there may also be some digging and re-profiling of the earth.

If it has been very wet and the water level is high – don’t despair, we will move to higher ground and continue with woodland glade creation works.

**WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Wellies

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


19 January 2016 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Birch & Willow Management *Extended Task 10-3pm*

TUESDAY - We will start the task in Old Heath enclosure; we have very nearly finished pulling birch “saplings” to form a number of open sections (this is to allow herbicide spraying later in the year), so there's some more mattocking to do today.

Now that we can get to the far end of the enclosure, there are a number of larger Birch and Willow tees to be felled in a wet area where we will be extending a collection of small heathland ponds later in the year.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

*Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


14 January 2016 at Leechpool Woods
Path & Fence repairs + some holly removal

THURSDAY - There are a few potholes in the main path that need filling with Type 1 aggregate (wheelbarrows and shovelling!) and a couple of small drainage channels that need scraping out. There is also a small section of post and rail fencing to extend the section we put in last year.

If we get through all this, there is more holly thinning to be done in the understory of the woodland.

girl power

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


12 January 2016 at Warnham LNR
Woodland Thinning - MEGABASH

TUESDAY - Join our merry band of volunteers for a morning of tree felling and scrub bashing in the Millpond Plantation. This is vital for allowing the woodland flowers to continue to flourish on the Reserve.

Invite your friends and family. This event has been advertised to the public, so hopefully we will have some extra helpers.

Please wear suitable footwear. Gloves, tools and refreshments are provided. No need to book, just turn up and enjoy! (children age 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult)

Times:10.00am to 1.00pm - FREE

Meet: outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323

Work site: we will be working in the Millpond Plantation, near the long stretch of steps shown on the visitor map


07 January 2016 at Warnham LNR
Walnut Plantation blitz

THURSDAY - The hedge planted a few years back by HGG is in desperate need of being saved from engulfment by bramble.

There is also a log bench to be installed and the log piles for the school groups to be restacked ready for the coming term.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323

You can't possibly have forgotten that this evening
we meet for the Annual HGG meal?


05 January 2016 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance

TUESDAY - Let’s start off the New Year as we mean to go on. Today's big event is the continuation of our major effort to clear yet more silver birch to bring back the heathland.

Some of us could probably do with stretching our legs and flexing our muscles after any 'over indulgence' during the festive period. And this is the place to do it! Today's location will be the area outside of Middle Heath enclosure to the north of the fence line, on the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Muscles and mattocks to the fore!

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


31 December 2015 at
No meeting

THURSDAY - Yet another day of leejoor (as our friends across The Pond would say)

Prepare for real work next week!

A HAPPY NEW YEAR

TO ALL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF

HORSHAM GREEN GYM



29 December 2015 at
No Meeting

TUESDAY - Sorry to disappoint but we thought it best to give work a miss today.


24 December 2015 at
No meeting

THURSDAY - Relax (as well as you can at Christmas) as there is no Green Gym today.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!



22 December 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance - extended task (if you are able to stay)

TUESDAY - Back to birch.

More pulling and digging. This session we will be in Old Heath enclosure.

Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


17 December 2015 at Warnham LNR
Tree Felling

THURSDAY - The emergency access path running from under the railway gate up to the beautiful bark path is in need of opening up to improve ease of access.

Meeting point: Gorringes Brook railway gate, RH12 5HH. (NOT THE VISITOR CENTRE)


15 December 2015 at Warnham LNR
Rhododendron & Laurel Eradication

TUESDAY - We will be working on the far side of the Millpond clearing a patch of the non-native shrubs growing on the waters edge and further into the woodland. It is a bit of a trek to the work site so Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him.

Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm to make the trip worth our while.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


10 December 2015 at Leechpool Wood
Holiday Holly Hacking MEGABASH

THURSDAY - Come and collect free Christmas decorations and help your local woodland at the same time. Every year we clear a section of the thick Holly understory in the wood, why not put it to good use. We will be creating a ‘deadhedge’ with the uglier cuttings and you can take away as much of the attractive berry-laden bits as you can carry.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Tea, Coffee, mulled apple juice and mince pies provided.

Work site: on the green arrowed ‘Woodland Walk’, near the northern intersect with the ‘Oak Clearing’.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


08 December 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Silver birch clearing

TUESDAY - Back to birch. More pulling and mattocking. This session will be in Old Heath enclosure.

a mattock

Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


03 December 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Platt Pond Reed Removal + Woodland Thinning

THURSDAY - The pond is due for its annual clear out and surrounding hedges are due a once over. There is also a small copse of trees with hazel which needs coppicing.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


01 December 2015 at Warnham LNR
Glade Creation (Tree Felling) & Stepped Path Cutback

TUESDAY - We will be continuing the birch thinning in the wood adjacent to the butterfly ride. Our aim is to create a series of glades in the woodland, to add to the diversity of habitats on site. The timber will be used next year in the continuing extension to the bark path, so don’t worry it won’t go to waste!

The steps up the hill also need a cut back and sweep off.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


26 November 2015 at Broadbridge Heath
BMX bike jumps reduction

THURSDAY - Our task at the BMX bike jumps on the site at the junction of Byfleets Lane and Broadbridge Heath Road was to reduce their height to make them less dangerous to inexperienced riders who may wish to try their luck. The soil and clay we removed was used to fill in some of the holes on the site.

Not a lot of room for car parking.  The nearest Postcode: RH12 3PA; the OS map ref: TQ152 319
before the work since the work
"You've got to have been there to appreciate these photos"


24 November 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Felling, Dead Hedging & Cutting Back

TUESDAY - We aim to be continuing the birch thinning alongside Forest Walk and restocking the dead hedges bordering the footpath. Our aim is to create a series of glades in the woodland, to add to the diversity of habitats on site.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


19 November 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Hazel Coppicing

THURSDAY - The Warren area which is the release site for the Harvest Mouse breeding programme run by the Wardens, is in need of thinning out and the Hazel is due to be coppiced. We need long, 'clean' Hazel cuttings for use in future projects.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


17 November 2015 at Southwater Country Park
Scrub bashing and a little fence moving

TUESDAY - Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Dog Rose are making a stronghold on the sloping meadow behind the play area. They need taming in order to give the more delicate plants a chance to flourish. There is also a chestnut paling fence line to be re-staked.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


12 November 2015 at Broadbridge Heath
Crocus bulb planting

THURSDAY - This is a change to the previously advertised task and site.

We will be planting 1,500 crocus bulbs in two grass verges at Broadbridge Heath. The method is to raise the turf with a spade and lightly dig over the ground then plant the bulbs ('pointy' end UP!) Smooth over and replace the turf.

BBH Parish councillor, Terry Oliver, will be with us to advise and assist.

Meet at St John's Church car park in Church Road, Broadbridge Heath. Please park neatly and be aware that other people will be using the car park. The post code is RH12 3LD and the OS map ref. TQ148 314. We will walk to the planting sites  - after all, we are supposed to be getting healthy exercise.

If the crocus flowers look good next spring, we may be invited to help plant even more next year. Remember: pointy end up!

The map below shows the location of the meeting place and the two planting sites

location map


10 November 2015 at Southwater Country Park
Revetment revamp

TUESDAY - In June, HGG put in reinforcements to the revetment along the edge of Cripplegate Lake and now its time to back fill the earth that was previously eroded.

The Cemeteries team are set to bring in their digger, to load earth from the car park on to the Toyota pickup truck and our job will be to get it off at the other end and landscape it beautifully. There is also plenty of cutting back tovegetation along the surrounding paths to be done.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


05 November 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Open up the gates!

THURSDAY - The original task for today has had to be postponed so we will meet at Chesworth instead

A number of gateways around the farm need our care and attention to open them up to allow access to visitors without being snagged by brambles, etc. A couple also require overhanging branches to be taken off to allow tractors or emergency vehicles to pass.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


03 November 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Removing more birch

TUESDAY - We will be working in the western corner of Middle Heath enclosure where we were last Thursday. Access is from the gate nearest the ‘snake bench’, on the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


29 October 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
MEGABASH - Birch clearance

THURSDAY - The more the merrier (that’s people not birch). Come and join us on a morning of hands on conservation management. Today we will be ripping birch saplings out by the root. This tree species out-competes the more delicate ever dwindling heathland plants, it is our job to set the balance right. Weather permitting, we will have a bonfire to keep spirits high.

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided.

Work site: we will be working in the western corner of Middle Heath enclosure, accessed from the gate nearest the ‘snake bench’, on the purple arrowed ‘Heathland Route’.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


27 October 2015 at Holders Close, Billingshurst
Scrub Bashing & a little Pond Digging

TUESDAY - The “pond” has dried out and scrubbed over - as it did last year - and the year before. We will be clearing the overgrowth within this small site and digging out some of the former pond, in the hope of collecting water once more. Wellies may be useful, it is amazingly a tinsy bit wet.

location of Holders Close, Billingshurst

NEW! UPDATE May '16 - A good result: Andy took his camera to Billingshurst, found water in the pond with plants growing and who knows what swimming?

Water in the pond - at last


22 October 2015 at Warnham LNR
Reed bed clearance

THURSDAY - The Wardens will have strimmed a section of the reed bed and our job is to rake up the cut material before it is swept down stream. The practice of cutting stands of reeds on rotation ensures a range of habitats are present to suit the maximum diversity of species possible.

We will be working on an uneven surface, by water so surefootedness is essential and **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


20 October 2015 at Warnham LNR
Willow Carr coppicing

TUESDAY - We will continue to thin the dense stand of willow from what should be a nice wet reed bed. The area is always a little muddy but if we have had heavy rain for a number of days beforehand, Ryan will find something a little less squelchy to occupy us. **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


15 October 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Bridge construction + birch clearance

THURSDAY - We will be constructing a bridge over the gyll to allow easy access for the cows all year round; a fairly simple, heavy duty sleeper design. Whilst we are up on the heath let’s try and grub out a few more birch saplings too. **WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


13 October 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch removal

TUESDAY - Ryan originally advertised this as 'Birch pulling' but as that could be misheard as 'bird pulling',  it was amended as we don't want to attract the wrong people or, indeed, give our wives cause for concern.

The mattocks are ready so let’s get going removing more birch. The area in Old Heath and compartment uphill of Middle Heath that we hit hard last season are looking brilliant and birch free but there is still a little way to go.

a mattock

(Above) Old Heath, the heather that we uncovered has been in flower all summer but you can see the wall of birch to the left needs pushing back.

Ryan would love it if anyone wants to stay on past the normal 1pm finishing time with him. Bring a packed lunch if you can and we will continue the task on until around 3pm.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


08 October 2015 at Southwater CP
Scrub Bashing along the disabled access route

THURSDAY - Todays job is to cut back the sloping path access route from the fishing lake car park to the main park; the perimeter of the car park could also do with a hack back.

N.B. Japanese Knotweed in this area needs to be cordoned off – DO NOT CUT

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


06 October 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Vegetation clearance

TUESDAY - This is a change to the previously advertised task.

Today's task is a continuation of the work started two weeks ago in the heaviest rainstorm experienced by HGG for months. We will be ensuring that Forest Walk (the main footpath) remains open by cutting back the lower growth back to a distance of about a metre.

The nearby steps are beginning to be covered by vegetation from the sides and if there are sufficient people, it would be nice to attack that area too.

Ryan can't be with us today but John Matthews and Team Cox (Helen and Peter) have all the details of what is to be done.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317  


01 October 2015 at Southwater Country Park
Scrub bashing on The Quarry slope

THURSDAY - We will be clearing the scrub off of the sloping meadow at the far side of the Quarry Lake to give the wildflower grassland a fighting chance.

We will be working on a steep slope so surefootedness is required.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258

First gravity lesson  


29 September 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch thinning in Redwood Hill enclosure

TUESDAY - Today we will aim to clear all the dead Birch that was sprayed last year. That will make it easier to spray the still living trees this year. Good news, any dead trees can be lopped rather than pulled out; we should whiz through this.

Sam will be with us today as Ryan is away on a training course. It was intended to be an extended work day but that is not now possible.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


24 September 2015 at Warnham LNR
Scrub bashing & bench installation

THURSDAY - There are willows to be felled and Aspen “suckers” to lopped-off, in Mill Meadow. We may also stray in to walnut plantation to pull some teeny tiny sycamore saplings before they take hold.

Oh, and did we mention the bench?

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


22 September 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Main footpath tidying

TUESDAY - The task today was to be increasing the area and depth of the two small ponds at the lower end of Old Heath enclosure but Mother Nature has had her way as usual and there is now a considerable amount of vegetation hiding them.

As a result, the task is now to be tidying the sides of the main footpath. Not so far to walk and still lots of work to get stuck into.

All the HDC wardens are busy with a major project at Warnham (diverting a stream) so cannot be with us. However, John Matthews and Team Cox (Helen and Peter) have all the details of what is to be done

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


17 September 2015 at Easteds Lane, Southwater
Site needs a BIG tidy

THURSDAY - There are stacks of material cut on previous tasks that need to be removed before they end up in the water. Once the dead wood is removed we will look to open up some areas on this small site.

We will be working along the waters edge so surefootedness is required.

Easteds Lane is off Cedar Drive - see map. We have been allowed to park in the car park at Easteds Barn, Easteds Lane as the roads are narrow and spaces scarce.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meeting point: Easteds Lane, Southwater

location map


15 September 2015 at Warnham LNR
Preparation for hedge laying + scrub clearance

TUESDAY - The hedge surrounding the car park is due to be laid this winter. We will be tidying the lower branches to speed things along when the time comes.

There are also a couple of large patches of scrub to be removed that are encroaching on parking spaces.

NOTE: Please drive slowly into the car park as part of it will be cordoned off for us to work.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


10 September 2015 at Southwater Country Park
Fishing 'swims' spruce up and hedge trim

THURSDAY - The swims around Lennoxwood Fishing Lake are due a cut back and fresh bark chipping are needed to spruce it all up.

Also, a nearby laid hedge is in need of taming in the form of a severe shearing.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


08 September 2015 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - We will be carrying on extending the bark chip path through the woodland. We will see how far the megabash lot got on last month. Can we double it?

Shovelling, barrowing, laying logs and much more – a job for everyone.

At about 11.45, we will be visited by a group of about 12 young people with learning disabilities who may or may not wish to give a hand with the manual jobs. Please show them what is going on and let them join in, safely.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


03 September 2015 at Motte & Bailey site
Scrub bashing and stoning* the new kissing gate

THURSDAY - Last year we cut out a big section of scrub on the monument mound itself. Some of this of course has grown back, so we will top the regrowth and aim to increase the area of exposed grassland.

Last time we were here, back in July, we put in a brilliant disabled-access, cow-proof kissing gate. Today, as well as scrub bashing, we will lay some type-1 ballast in the entrance of the gate to make it suitable for the winter. *Apparently that is what is meant by 'stoning'!

Meeting point: Lemmington Way, Horsham, RH12 5JG. Parking is on the road. If you are driving, please try to park on the left hand side of the road (assuming you've driven in from Rusper Road) and of course avoid blocking the two nearby bus stops.

location map


01 September 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Attention to Vegetation position

TUESDAY - The garden behind the Volunteer Centre (formerly known as The Studio) needs some of the brambles cut back and the picnic area and courtyard need weeding. We will also add to the rock and log habitat piles.

This may also give us a second chance to give any tools some attention that are looking worst for wear (sharpening the mattocks ready for next month up on the Heath maybe).

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


27 August 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Post and Rail fencing

THURSDAY - Strictly speaking we will be working in Leechpool but it's right next to the Owlbeech car park. You will be erecting a new section of fencing along the Leechpool-Play area boundary. Holes to be dug in a very neat line and at exact spacing with nice new posts to fill them.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


25 August 2015 at Warnham LNR
Pond digging

TUESDAY - Carrying on with the new Reedbed Pond. We made a cracking start to the new pond in June and it is bedding in well but . . . as always, the Wardens are very pushy. Bigger. Deeper. More - MORE - MORE! We have to get this completed before the rainy season starts. What? Oh, it's already raining. Well, we still have to get this completed.

We will be working along the waters edge so surefootedness is required.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323 23


20 August 2015 at Warnham LNR
MEGABASH on The Path

THURSDAY - Come one, come all; today we will be moving huge piles of bark chippings and logs to improve the path through the woodland.

megabash

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323. Any latecomers will be able to find us if they head for the “Butterfly Ride” marked on the map in the Warnham leaflet.


18 August 2015 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - We will be carrying on extending the bark chip path through the woodland. We will see how much work was complted by the Thursday Megabash lot on the 6th and make sure we have a huge stock pile of bark ready for the next megabash on Thursday. Shovelling, barrowing, laying logs and much more – a job for everyone.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


13 August 2015 at Warnham LNR
Himalayan Balsam pulling

THURSDAY - We have hit the Reserve hard this year in our mission to remove this invasive species. O.K. it will take a few years to complete but we have made a very good start.

The weather forecast was for lots of rain and it was correct. It started to rain hard at about 10.15 and didn't stop until well after we had left the site. Undeterred, the hardy (I mean waterlogged) and cheerful Green Gymmers set to and cleared a large 'stand' of HB in difficult long grass before a delayed coffee break. Most of us decided to call it a day after coffee and biscuits, taken in the shelter of the newest hide, but a few continued to work until 1.0 pm on the basis that they couldn't get any wetter.

Today we were going back over our tracks to seek out any plants we may have missed. Plants that were an inch high last month could now be 3 foot (nearly a metre). Any pulled out now means less seeds spread for next year.

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED ** Long trousers and long sleeves recommended **

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA; the OS map ref is TQ168 323


11 August 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Ragwort & Thistle pulling

TUESDAY - It has been noticed that HGG have done such a brilliant job of Dock pulling for the past two years that we have been tasked with the removal of the Ragwort and Thistle that is dominating in some areas of the farm. Gloves, trousers and long sleeves are recommended.

Meet outside The Volunteer Centre (aka The Studio), near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


06 August 2015 at Warnham LNR
MEGABASH on The Path

THURSDAY - Come one, come all; today we will be moving huge piles of bark chippings and logs to improve the path through the woodland.

megabash

This has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy! Hot drinks and lots of biscuits provided.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323. Any latecomers will be able to find us if they head for the “Butterfly Ride” marked on the map in the Warnham leaflet.


04 August 2015 at Leechpool Wood
Opening up the main track

TUESDAY - The main track at the entrance to Leechpool was in need of more than a little HGG TLC. We certainly gave it a haircut (number 1, I think) as bracken and brambles were making parts of the path impassable. Much easier to walk on now. Several kind comments on our work from walkers.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ193 313


30 July 2015 at Warnham LNR
Otter Holt construction

THURSDAY - We have been tasked with creating an artificial otter ‘holt’ on the Reserve. This will hopefully provide any passing otters a reason to stay; build it and they shall come? If we create a highly des res with private access to river, they can hardly resist it.

This is a guide to what we may create.

And this is one of the two which we eventually constructed. Otter holt under construction

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


28 July 2015 at Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington
Himalayan Balsam: Round Two!

TUESDAY - Himalayan Balsam is a nuisance anywhere and from Monkmead it is spreading to our downstream neighbours at RSPB Pulborough Brooks and further into the Arun River system. By pulling this plant out we can eradicate it with just a couple of years repeated effort.

Note that this is an extended task (until 2.30-ish or longer if you wish to stay and have transport) in order to get a lot done. Please bring sandwiches and extra cold drinks.

A minibus will pick us up from Warnham LNR at 9:30 am and bring us back for 3 pm. There are limited seats available, so it's first come first served. We will need to know of your attendance by the respective Thursday before.To book your seat please phone 01403 256890 or email ryan.allison@horsham.gov.uk

Volunteers from the staff of Southern Water will be working with us

Meet by 9.30 am outside the café at Warnham LNR if you have reserved a seat in the mini-bus. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ168 323.

Or --

(agree with Ryan first) travel direct to worksite: Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington RH20 2PF and the OS map ref is TQ078 169. Directions here


23 July 2015 at Station Road Gardens, Billingshurst
Plant maintenance and vegetation control

THURSDAY - This will be our second visit to this large site which is well looked after but by only very few volunteers. We should be able to carry out some much needed vegetation control.

Meet in Station Road RH14 9SE (plenty of parking spaces) near the gardens.

 location map


21 July 2015 at Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington
Himalayan Balsam pulling: Round One!

TUESDAY - Himalayan Balsam is a nuisance anywhere and from Monkmead it is spreading to our downstream neighbours at RSPB Pulborough Brooks and further into the Arun River system. By pulling this plant out we can eradicate it with just a couple of years repeated effort.

Note that this is an extended task (until 2.30-ish or longer if you wish to stay and have transport) in order to get a lot done. Please bring sandwiches and extra cold drinks.

A minibus will pick us up from Warnham LNR at 9:30 am and bring us back for 3 pm. There are limited seats available, so it's first come first served. We will need to know of your attendance by the respective Thursday before.To book your seat please phone 01403 256890 or email ryan.allison@horsham.gov.uk

Volunteers from the staff of Southern Water will be working with us

Meet by 9.30 am outside the café at Warnham LNR if you have reserved a seat in the mini-bus. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ168 323.

Or --

(agree with Ryan first) travel direct to worksite: Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington RH20 2PF and the OS map ref is TQ078 169. Directions here


16 July 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Guided walk, tool maintenance and possibility of some gentle HB pulling

THURSDAY - We will start the day by giving our tools a much needed MOT and assembling flat packed shelving to store the tools in a better manner than at present.|

After this Ryan will lead the group on a guided walk of the farm, pointing some of the brilliant past works carried out by HGG and others. If the Friends of Chesworth have left any Balsam growing along the banks of the Arun, we will help them out.

Meet outside The Studio, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


14 July 2015 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - We will be continuing to extend the bark chip path through the woodland. The task planned for June was called off due to forecast high winds (that missed us as it happened!) so we have lots to catch up on! Shovelling, barrowing, laying logs and much more – a job for everyone.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


09 July 2015 at Motte & Bailey
Himalayan balsam pulling that wasn't

THURSDAY - here was supposed to be plenty of the pretty but troublesome Himalayan Balsam to pull out but several people searched and only John found any - a solitary plant which he produced as proof.

However, there was a kissing gate to install and two benches - plus a large amount of excess vegetation to cut.

Removing the well dug in posts of the existing stile took us much longer than we had hoped. (Probably something to do with the very hot day!) Then we had to dig holes for the new posts of the gate and found that the ground was full of flints and pebbles. (Excuses, excuses, you may think.)

Meanwhile, others of a more adventurous disposition moved off to install two of our rustic benches - which they did very neatly and efficiently. Yet more members (17 attended on the day) were kept busy with shears and loppers and produced creditable piles of the green stuff ready to be stuffed in the builders bags.

A very successful morning.

digging holes for new gate posts


07 July 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Cutting back vegetation on the main track

TUESDAY - The main track around Owlbeech is in need of a little HGG TLC.

We will be cutting back the shrubbery that is encroaching on the path. A slightly 'gentle' approach is needed as there may still be some nesting birds lingering (don’t worry though, we will be back in the winter to flatten this area of willow and birch regrowth!).

We will also have a look at the Middle Heath Pond in all its summer glory, which was dug by HGG members. The area is strictly out of bounds to the public during the summer, so you are being given a one day only VIP pass.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park near the play area. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317


02 July 2015 at BMX bike jumps at Broadbridge Heath
Path creation

THURSDAY - Until the day before, we thought we were going to create a new path at the BMX bike jumps at Broadbridge Heath. But that had already been done and our job was to use the six wheelbarrows to transfer muck dumped for us by the road to fill in an enormous hole.

Marcus gave us an impressive demonstration of how he and his friends use the jumps.

Marcus jumps


30 June 2015 at Chesworth Farm
10 year Birthday Barbecue

TUESDAY - Ten years ago, Green Gym in Horsham was started with the aid of a grant from BIFFA.

Jeremy Bartle

Jeremy Bartle was a Project officer for BTCV (now TCV) and led the group on Tuesday mornings for two years, in conjunction with Steve Delahunt of HDC.

At the end of that time, the members took over the running of the group and eight years later, continue to appreciate the strong support of HDC. There are about sixty 'regular' members, although not all attend all tasks - probably a good thing as the bill for biscuits would be huge. A break for tea or coffee and biscuits is usually one of the most important events of the morning.

It's good to report that some of the members led by Jeremy in 2005/6, are still members today.

Today there may be some reminiscing about the 'old' days - and more recent events - while enjoying food and a drink.

Meet at the Studio. Postcode is RH13 0AA and the OS map ref is TQ 176 295


25 June 2015 at Warnham LNR
Himalayan balsam

THURSDAY - We will be pulling this invasive plant out by the root. If we do this before it spreads its seeds, there is a very good chance of fewer plants next year.

Himalayan balsam is a relative of the the innocuous Busy Lizzie, but can reach well over head height, and is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land. It can also invade gardens. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds. These are dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22ft) away but are also spread by water carrying them further down the stream until they find a suitable spot to grow.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


23 June 2015 at Southwater Country park
The Great Orchid Count

TUESDAY - It’s that time of year again; we will be using yards of string and in our usual calm, orderly fashion, hunting for every last orchid.

We will be working in the usual spot by Quarry Lake. Ryan says he will be on a much needed holiday but Sam will try to fill his shoes -- and eat his share of the biscuits.


counting orchids

For your interest the last few years totals are as follows:
2012 Grand total 6079
2013 Grand total 8434
2014 Grand total 6039
2015 Grand total ?????

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


18 June 2015 at Southwater Country park
Orchid count

THURSDAY - Today we carried out a flora survey on the slopes of the Country Park with the aim of counting the orchids in a few, select sections. Beryl found a rare Bee Orchid! but the rest of us had to be content with the more numerous Common Wild Orchid of which we found 2,459 examples. Come next Tuesday for a repeat performance but on a larger scale.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN; the OS map ref is TQ161 258


16 June 2015 at Warnham LNR
Ditch Clearance

TUESDAY - A section of the ditch between the Reserve and golf course is in need of digging out to stop flooding of the path during the winter months. **WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

P.S. You get to keep the golf balls or you could donate to a player in the group whose name may start with 'J'

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


11 June 2015 at Gorringes Brook
Himalayan balsam

THURSDAY - We will be pulling Himalayan Balsam along the banks of Chennells Brook. The aim is to stop the spread of this invasive weed by cutting it off at its source which is just outside the Nature Reserve.

This task will require surefootedness as the banks are quite slippery. **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**
location map

Meet at Gorringe Brook as shown above. Postcode is RH12 5HH; the OS map ref is TQ175 328


09 June 2015 at Southwater Country park
Tidy-up time + our AGM

TUESDAY - Several areas of the park are in need of some TLC. There will be some cutting back of vegetation, maintenance work and litter picking to be done – and a job for everyone.

After the work session our Annual General Meeting will be held in the Wardens' new office - above the café. It will be brief. It is hoped that many members will be able to stay for the 20 mins, or so, it takes to conduct the business. The Annual Report can be read here and has also been emailed to members. Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN and the OS map ref is TQ 161 258


04 June 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Viewing Platform Construction

THURSDAY - Last month we started building Steve’s new viewing platform; positioned to have a lovely view of the sunsets over Denne Hill. Today we will finish off the last bits.

viewing platform under construction

If we have time we may also resurface a teeny-tiny patch in a nearby gateway with type-1.

Meet outside The Studio, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


02 June 2015 at Warnham LNR
More work to The Path

TUESDAY - Now we can really get ahead with The Path. The finished job will be a great asset to the Reserve.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


28 May 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Reptilian refuges

THURSDAY - Today we will be creating hibernacula and basking spots for our resident reptile populations. It may look like digging holes and filling them with sticks and rocks but it provides warm places in the winter for reptiles and all manner of small creatures to hibernate.

This task has been advertised to the public, so you can bring along friends and family. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting torn and dirty! Hot and cold drinks and lots of biscuits provided.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. Postcode is RH13 6AW (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ199 317. This is the car park near the play area not the main signposted car park on Harwood Road; but this can be used if needed; it's a 10 min walk from the meeting point, through the woods. We will be setting off promptly at 10am as usual.

This map of the woods (loads in a new tab) is a copy of that on display in the woods.

Any latecomers will be able to find us by heading south from the meeting place, leaving the skate board ramp on your right and follow the track through the bushes. Cross the main track and going down the hill to cross the stream. Follow the boardwalk and path. Go up the steps, past the carved bench and we will be in either Broom Heath or Old Heath enclosure.


26 May 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Dock O’clock again

TUESDAY - Today we will be pulling Dock plants from a number of the fields. The Higher Level Stewardship scheme, which the farm follows, requires Dock to be kept at low levels to allow the rarer flowering plants to stand a chance. Last year we collected 5 big bags full, let’s see if we can top that -- or rather hopefully not.

Meet outside The Studio, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


21 May 2015 at Warnham LNR
Ditch clearance

THURSDAY - Due to that 'Tuesday lot' excelling even themselves and working so well on the scrapes that a visit by the 'Thursday crowd' is not needed, the plot for today is that we continue clearing the ditch.

M - U - D - D - Y Lots of digging and moving the muck. **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


19 May 2015 at Warnham LNR
Wetland scrape maintenence

TUESDAY - Elephants and rhinoceros are expected to want to bathe here so we will have to enlarge the pond. M - U - D - D - Y Lots of digging and moving the muck. **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


14 May 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Viewing Platform Construction & Orchard Maintenance

THURSDAY - Steve has set us the challenge of making a viewing platform to overlook Back Field and have a lovely view of the sunsets over Denne Hill – for some reason, this also means digging and shovelling lots of gravel. Can't think why.

Another job is to fix new tree guards to the apple trees in the orchard to stop deer and sheep stripping the bark. This task is particularly apt, as pruning the same apple trees was the task at the first meeting of Green Gym in Horsham on the 22nd March 2005.

Apple tree pruning

Many members will recognise Steve, Sarah, Evan and Adrian in this pic

Meet outside The Studio, near the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA; the OS map ref is TQ176 295


12 May 2015 at Warnham LNR
Ditch clearance and Bird Hide Painting

TUESDAY - The Ditch finally gets attention! It's alongside the golf course and collects water but doesn't drain - causing flooding over a path a little further into the Reserve. Wellies would be useful as the ditch is water logged and muddy. Lots of digging and chances to get very dirty!

For those who want a workout and painting the bird hides for those feeling more artistic.

Like this perhaps?

overpainted bird hide

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact); the OS map ref is TQ168 323


07 May 2015 at Leechpool Woods
Boardwalk Repairs

THURSDAY - Today we will be laying new planks to repair sections of the boardwalk on the Woodland Walk Green Route.

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ193 313


05 May 2015 at Warnham LNR
Bark-chip Path Extension

TUESDAY - More work on the path should produce another goodly length to impress visitors.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ168 323


30 April 2015 at Southwater Country park
Fishing lake steps

THURSDAY - We will continue the flight of steps further up the hill; there is plenty of other work to be getting on with around this area.

fishing lake steps


28 April 2015 at Leechpool Woods
Boardwalk Maintenance and Stream Clearance

TUESDAY - Earth is eroding where some of the boardwalks meet the land and our task is to put an end to this. There are also a couple of points in the stream that have become dammed and need busting. **WELLIES RECOMMENDED**

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ193 313


23 April 2015 at Southwater Country park
Bench planting and Steps maintenance

THURSDAY - In Ben's Field and beside Quarry Lake, we will install a bench and do a bit of work on the steps.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH13 9UN and the OS map ref is TQ161 258


21 April 2015 at Warnham LNR
The bark-chip path

TUESDAY - Today we will be continuing to work on the path to make the reserve more easily accessible to all. This means carefully laying the logs at the sides, laying Terram fabric and then spreading the bark chippings which slaves (read 'willing helpers') will have dragged, wheelbarrowed or otherwise brought to the site.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ 168 323


16 April 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Habitat pile creation

THURSDAY - We will be creating some log and stone piles to provide places of refuge for all manner of beings. Some heavy lifting required but well worth the effort. These piles will be used as observation points during the school workshops run by HDC.

Meet outside Niron House, opposite the depot compound. Postcode is RH13 0AA and the OS map ref is TQ 176 295


14 April 2015 at Warnham LNR
Wetland Scrape Maintenance

TUESDAY - The Scraped area at the far end of the Reserve, is holding water well and is attracting plenty of wildlife but it needs to be bigger (presumably to attract elephants)! Today will mainly involve digging and carting the soil (mud) away. **WELLIES ESSENTIAL**

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ 168 323


09 April 2015 at Warnham LNR
Woodchip Path extension

THURSDAY - Apparently Dick has insisted that we continue the amazing bark-chip path further around the woodland; we always do as requested! Today we will be moving huge piles of bark chippings and logs to commence improving a path through the woodland.
The path; so far

As it is Easter holidays, this has been advertised to the public, so bring along friends and family. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy footwear, bring gardening gloves and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or torn! Hot and cold drinks and lots of biscuits provided.

Meeting at the Visitor Centre. The postcode is RH12 2RA. We will be setting off promptly at 10.0 am as usual and latecomers will be able to find us if they head for the "Butterfly Ride" marked on the map in the Warnham leaflet which is on display outside the café.


07 April 2015 at Warnham LNR
Woodland thinning

TUESDAY - We will be working in the woodland adjacent to the Butterfly Ride, thinning Birch to create glades in the ever darkening wood. The timber will be extracted for use in extending the bark-chip path (see Thursday's task below . . .).

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2RA (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ 168 323


02 April 2015 at Bartholomew Way car park
Trimming the (h)edges

THURSDAY - HGG has 'adopted' a section of the Riverside Walk to keep free of brambles and other prickly things which annoy walkers trying to enjoy a their day. We will mainly use loppers today. There is also an amount of litter and some of those twirly tree guards to collect.

It is likely to be muddy in places. Wellies advised.

Meet at the car park at the end of Bartholomew Way. Postcode (not exact) is RH12 5HG and the OS map ref is TQ194 331
Bartholomew Way


31 March 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Last day of heathland management - or 'The Relief of Mattocking'

Relief of Mafeking
TUESDAY - Our last chance of the season to work on the heath due to ground nesting birds beginning to settle. A massive final push (well, pull) for the year and then we can sit back and watch the Nightjars, Woodlarks, Willow Warblers and a host of reptiles flood in.

Afterwards, we can clean and sharpen our mattocks ready for the next onslaught.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. Postcode (not exact) is RH13 6AW and the OS map ref is TQ199 317


26 March 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland Management

THURSDAY - The penultimate birch pull of the year – we have made a HUGE dent in the invasive birch this year and heath will look better than ever for it BUT we must carry on for the final stretch.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. Postcode (not exact) is RH13 6AW and the OS map ref is TQ199 317


24 March 2015 at Leechpool Woods
Rhododendron Clearance and Picnic Area Spruce-up

TUESDAY - The Rhody is ever encroaching the fringes of the woodland; today we will be trying to knock it back.

The living willow dome in the picnic area (HGG helped build it in 2010) is in need of re-weaving and bark chip laying inside.
living willow dome in 2010

Meet in the car park off Harwood Road. Postcode is RH13 6SG (not exact) and the OS map ref is TQ193 313


19 March 2015 at Warnham LNR
Felling and logging

THURSDAY - Plan 'B' was instigated today and instead of working to further reduce the willows, we went to the Chestnut Plantation and felled previously marked trees.

Several trees got the chop and the logs were added to the piles in the small 'OK Corral' for children to examine for creepy-crawlies in the holidays.

Meet outside the café. Postcode is RH12 2QU (not exact) and OS map ref is TQ168 323


17 March 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - We should have counted how many times we have visited this site and worked out how many man- and woman- hours we have contributed to its regeneration from a scrub filled hilltop to a lovely heathland. (Lovely heathland? It will be when the heather is in flower again later in the year.)

witches
When shall we three dozen meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hard work is done.
But before the biscuits are all gone.
Must make time to have some fun.

Where the place?

Upon Old Heath.
There to meet with - - - MacBirch!

(Cackles of hideous laughter. Exeunt)

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. Postcode (not exact) is RH13 6AW and the OS map ref is TQ199 317


12 March 2015 at Warnham LNR
Wetland Scrape Maintenance

THURSDAY - Ongoing works to maximise the habitat value of the Sandpiper Scrape. Wellies are a definite requirement for this task - unless it hasn't rained for weeks - as we have to cross the wet and uneven field beside the scape.

We will erect some more woven screens near the hide to prevent the birds being scared by humans moving towards the viewing point. There is a water trough to empty and resite and a large pile of the remains of a tree which needs cutting into sensible lengths and placing ready for burning (another day). Plenty of work for all.


10 March 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - Yet more silver birch will be put to the sword (mattock) today and the young consigned to the flames. ("I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!" "No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!")

OF NOTE: Today we saw an early butterfly (Brimstone?) which reminded us that last year we saw our first butterfly of the year at the same site.


05 March 2015 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the willows

THURSDAY - Continued willow coppicing in the Willow Carr. We need to remove more of the remains of the thirsty willows which have been contributing to the drying up of the reed bed. There is plenty of wood lying around which we will collect and burn today. **Wear Wellies**


03 March 2015 at Tilletts Lane butterfly reserve
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY - We are continuing to support the Warnham Butterfly Project in managing the habitat in a Lepidoptera-friendly way.

Have a look here for more information. site of Tilletts Lane


02 March 2015 at Capitol Theatre (Studio)
Talk on wildlife at Arundel Wetland Centre - Advance Notice

Talk-on-wildlife-at-Arundel-Wetland-Centre

Make a note in your diary for next Wednesday, the 11th, at 7.30pm


26 February 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Plug plant planting

THURSDAY - We need to plant out some plants that we had grown on in pots to see them through the winter. This will help boost the floral biodiversity of the field vegetation and in turn boost the number of insects feeding on their nectar, and so on and so forth.


24 February 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - Yet another opportunity to brush up your mattocking skills by decimating the 'few' silver birch daring to continue to live on what is fast becoming heathland. If we don't do this job properly, the place will revert to a dense birch 'forest'.


19 February 2015 at Warnham LNR
Family Woodland MEGABASH

THURSDAY - Woodland thinning – this event was also open to the public as it was half term. The extra emails, adverts and posters said that they could bring friends, children and grandchildren -- AND THEY DID! About 30 young people turned up with 15 adults.

For some reason, HGG members were 'conspicuous by their absence'. Only four attended; the lowest number recorded for a work day.

It turned out to a brilliant morning with just about everyone busy mastering sawing techniques and pulling and lifting logs plus, of course, adding fuel to the fire. The youngsters thought that wearing a helmet was 'cool' and although many trees were demolished and at times, loppers and saws were wielded in a less than efficient manner, there were no serious incidents.

Today's task was to make some clearings in the birch woodland alongside the Butterfly Ride and the children, their parents and grandparents helped us do just that. Suitable trees for felling had been marked beforehand and there weren't many left standing at the end of the morning.

When the whistle blew for refreshments, we found that we had only 17 cups but luckily, sufficient biscuits.

Thank you to all participants. The next Mega Bash is likely to be at half term in October.

Children & adults at the successful Mega Bash


17 February 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland restoration

TUESDAY - Plan for another productive morning uprooting silver birch -- and anything else that gets in our way!


12 February 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge planting

THURSDAY - Today's task was going to be:- "Cutting back the hedge along the bridleway next to Wheat Rick field and general tidying up to cater for our equine guests."

But . . . . .

Instead, because it's more urgent, we will plant the remainder of the 'whips' (very young trees or bushes) which were bought to provide more and thicker hedges at this and other sites. The ground may be a little drier than the last time we carried out this type of work.

We may also have the opportunity of struggling to plant the 2-Ton oak tree which has been awaiting attention for some weeks. The ball of soil alone must weigh 1.75 tons. Hope there is a big wheelbarrow! Must get a photo.

(The 'orses will have to wait)


10 February 2015 at Motte & bailey
Blackthorn clearance and some tree felling

TUESDAY - Scrub bashing and some tree felling on the ancient monument site. The woodland floor is shrouded in darkness and the grassland is covered in scrub – HGG to the rescue.

ye site of ye olde motte & bailey

Parking can be a problem as there is a bus stop right at the gate of the site and another one opposite. Be inventive.


05 February 2015 at
Pond clearance at Holders Close, Billingshurst

THURSDAY - The “pond” has dried out and scrubbed over; we will be clearing the overgrowth within this small site and digging out some of the former pond, in the hope of collecting water once more.

Wellies may be useful as it is a bit wet.
location of site
Best approached from the roundabout off the A29. Parking may be a bit tight.

If you have time, go to the Archive and scroll down to 27 September 2011 to see what we did last time at this site.


03 February 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Woodland thinning

TUESDAY - We shall continue the task started in December, thinning the trees adjacent to Forest Walk and renewing the dead hedge.


29 January 2015 at Southwater Country Park
Picnic Bench Planting

THURSDAY - As we are so 'hot' at planting rustic benches all over the place, Jake has taken it to the next level . . . rustic log PICNIC benches. The same but bigger. There are 2 sets to go in today.


27 January 2015 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - back to what we do well - getting rid of silver birch. Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area at the top of Owlbeech Way.


22 January 2015 at Warnham LNR
Willow Carr Thinning (but see note below)

THURSDAY - We will be coppicing in the Willow Carr along Boldings Brook, the aim is to create some open space and to reinvigorate some of the older willow.

**BRING WELLIES!**

Note: if the water level is too high to allow the work on the willow, then we will carry out some Birch and Sycamore thinning.


20 January 2015 at Warnham LNR
Path reclamation and repair

TUESDAY - The main path running from Woodpecker Hide all the way up to the boardwalks has become narrowed by grass and mud encroachment. Our job is to open it back up to vehicle width once more. There will also be some potholes needing type 1 surfacing.


15 January 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Ditch Clearance and Path Repair

THURSDAY - Some of the ditches around the farm are in need of a little TLC.

There is also a small amount of type 1 chippings to dig up and re-lay; there is a point to it!

**WELLIES RECOMMENDED**


13 January 2015 at Warnham LNR
Ditch clearance

TUESDAY - A section of the ditch between the reserve and the golf course is in need of digging out. Could this help stop the flooding further up the path?

wellies!

WELLIES RECOMMENDED!


08 January 2015 at Leechpool Woods
Holly clearance - and also our Annual Dinner

THURSDAY - We will be continuing previous efforts to reduce the volume of holly in this area to allow more light to reach the flowering plants of the woodland floor.

Meet in car park off Harwood Road.

This evening we will hold our Annual (informal) Dinner to be held at The Comodor - off West Street and seen from Black Horse Way.

Have you got your ticket? Cost is £10 per head and includes:

  • a free drink at the Stout House beforehand (meet soon after 7.0 pm in the bar)
  • two course meal at The Comodor (gather there at 8.0 pm)
Please note that further drinks - including bottled water - must be paid for at the time.


06 January 2015 at Chesworth Farm
Tree and hedge planting

TUESDAY - Digging holes and filling them with trees will help burn off all those mince pies. We will be planting a brand new hedge in New Town Nine Acres; it is the last of the fields with no hedge row.


01 January 2015 at wherever you find yourself
A Happy New Year to you all

THURSDAY - New Year's Day; no meeting


30 December 2014 at ???
No meeting

TUESDAY - No HGG meeting today.


25 December 2014 at a happy, warm place
Christmas Day

A Happy Christmas to all HGG members and friends

HGG Happy Christmas



23 December 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Pond restoration

TUESDAY - Today we will be sorting out Platt Pond.

This will involve cutting the phragmites reed to invigorate its growth for next year as well as thinning out some of the adjacent copse behind the Parks Depot.

For pond work, wellies will be essential.


18 December 2014 at Motte & Bailey
Blackthorn Bash

THURSDAY - Horsham town’s only Ancient Monument, at the Rusper Road end of Lemmington Way, is being taken over by Blackthorn (again!) and it's spreading from the established hedgerows.

Today’s task it so to get it trimmed back to the edges to keep the monument as visible as possible.

A visit from Santa Claus has been threatened. If you don't believe, he won't come. (He didn't!!)

location of Motte and Bailey

Parking can be a problem as there is a bus stop right at the gate of the site. Be inventive.


16 December 2014 at Southwater Country Park
Top Path steps

TUESDAY - Over the last couple of years we have extended the steps on the Top Path behind Lennoxwood Lake at the Country Park.

Today we will be adding to these and also clearing back vegetation and levelling some of the bumpy areas.


11 December 2014 at Warnham LNR
Willow Coppicing

THURSDAY - We are along the edge of Boldings Brook today again coppicing some of the Willow Carr area to open it up for a year and reinvigorate the willows which are starting to get to the end of their life cycle.

Wellies are essential.


09 December 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch bonanza

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal.

There will be a fire, weather permitting.


04 December 2014 at Leechpool Wood
Holly clearance

THURSDAY - Much of the Green Route at Leechpool Woods has been long been shaded out by large amounts of Holly.

This task will open up some of the previously dark woodland into a sun-dappled haven for wildflowers such as Bluebells and Primroses. (All together now: "Aaah!")


02 December 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Woodland thinning

TUESDAY - Felling trees. The destructive element creeps in again.

Today we will be continuing the birch thinning alongside Forest Walk and restocking the dwindling dead hedge bordering the path.


27 November 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

THURSDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal in the Old Heath Enclosure.

Weather permitting, all brash will be burnt to reduce rotting debris on this sensitive site.


25 November 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal in the Old Heath Enclosure.

Weather permitting, all brash will be burnt to reduce rotting debris on this sensitive site.


20 November 2014 at Southwater Country Park
The Quarry scrub clearance

THURSDAY - The sloping meadow is in need of it’s once a year scrub bash.

Today we will be ridding it of bramble and dog rose which is becoming a problem.

There will be a fire. Please bring your 'mountain goat' legs as the slope is steep.


18 November 2014 at Southwater Country Park
Fishing lake work - and our AGM

TUESDAY - The paths around Lennoxwood Lake need our attention as they are starting to get overgrown and bumpy.

Today we will be doing some type-1 surfacing as well as installing a couple of railway sleepers to shore up the fishing swims for the new season.

It is not intended that anyone should have to go into the water.

Annual General Meeting of Horsham Green Gym

After 'work' today, we will hold our AGM in the 'upper room' above the café. The meeting will be brief and is intended to confirm the minutes of last year's AGM, accept the Treasurers report and a bit of blurb from the chairman. Also, an election of committee members will be held. If anyone would like to join the committee, please contact David.

The 2014 Report is being emailed to members.

It should all be over in about 30 mins and it is hoped that all HGG members will be able to attend.


13 November 2014 at Warnham LNR
Willow planting

THURSDAY - The Sallows that the Tuesday group will have coppiced by now will be transported to the Sandpiper Scrape to turn into a living willow screen on the second boardwalk.

Today’s task is to plant the coppiced stems to start the process off.

Sounds like a job for HGG with wellies!


11 November 2014 at Warnham LNR
Willow coppicing

TUESDAY - The task today is to coppice some of the Sallow stand on the edge of the millpond adjacent to Mill Meadow.

This is part of the management plan to coppice the willows in rotation each autumn.


06 November 2014 at River Arun
River clean-up

THURSDAY - That little stream which is part of The River Arun and flows between the Memorial Garden and Millstream House was in need of a rubbish clearance and a good trim of the overgrown vegetation on the banks and a nearby hedge. The rubbish is both natural and 'man-made'. We retrieved a whole bike - flat back tyre - for instance. There were also plenty of glass and plastic bottles and drinks cans which all went for recycling.

The stream is not deep - but in places may have been a bit deeper than the height of the average wellie - so waders were needed.

The river clean-up group

Two people from the Environment Agency, wearing immersion suits zipped up the the neck, went into the deeper river beside Mill Stream House and took out five shopping trolleys, an office chair, tyres, parts of bikes and prams and a traffic cone.


04 November 2014 at Warnham LNR
Willow MEGABash

TUESDAY - Another festive assault on the invasive Willows at Warnham.

This time, a festive treat for the Bonfire season has been promised. I bet it's not Bonfire Toffee like we had when I was seven!

Wellies essential.


30 October 2014 at Slinfold Primary school
Stream clearance

THURSDAY - Today's task involved clearing the stream, which runs through the grounds of Slinfold Primary school, of natural debris and silt. The stream is not very deep but has a soft bottom (Oooh!) and there was lots of rubbish to be taken out. Thick vegetation on the banks was cleared and burnt. Also an area of the land belonging to the school but not seen for several years was accessed by cutting through brambles & etcs.

It was a very warm day, the work was tough and the refreshments very welcome.

The team did an excellent job in helping to prepare the site for the children to enjoy.

the stream after clearance


28 October 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal in the Old Heath Enclosure.

Weather permitting, all brash will be burnt to reduce rotting debris on this sensitive site.

As this is being advertised in the current Countryside Events booklet, we may be joined by a few other people attracted by the idea of committing mass murder on trees. Better get a few more packs of biscuits in.


23 October 2014 at Warnham LNR
Culvert creation

THURSDAY - There is a low-lying area of the path which Green Gym have tried to make good in previous years. (Not us Guv. We didn't fail; we ran out of time/just followed the (wrong) instructions/had the wrong tools/fog/would you believe low-flying golf balls?)

It's time to get serious now.

We dug up a section across the type-1 path and laid a length of pipe in a culvert. The intention is to divert water from the nearby overflowing ditch so that the path is not continually being flooded. The path was then covered with more Type-1 which was also used to fill in some nearby 'potholes' in the path.

We also dug a largish soakaway/pond/soggy area beside the path to help the water drain away. We'll check on progress after the next big rain.

the pipe in the ground


21 October 2014 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the willows

TUESDAY - The willows on the side of the millpond are encroaching the reedbed and must be stopped.

Our task is to fell, remove and burn as much of the willow as possible to try to stem the advancing horde. Wellies essential today.


16 October 2014 at Cootes Pond
Pond maintenance

THURSDAY - The task facing the Major Rivers, Reservoirs and Inland Seas Division of HGG was to repair the island in Cootes Pond, Merryfield Drive by transporting Type 1 ballast from shore in buckets by using two boats.

Well it would have been if the raw materials had been delivered! Frantic phoning found few favourable factors and in desperation we wheelbarrowed the clay and rubble from a nearby building site, loaded it into buckets and transported it to the island.

Actually, we agreed, this was a pretty good solution as the Type 1 will be laid on top of all that at a later date.

Residents of Fair View laid on ample refreshments during the time we were on site and made us very welcome.
the view from the shore


14 October 2014 at Warnham LNR
Work - but not amongst the willows

TUESDAY - We will need wellies today as the ground is going to be very wet after all that rain

The water around the willows is too deep to work in so the task has been changed. The new task will be explained when we meet.

Not sure if there will be a fire today.



09 October 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Flood water deflectors

THURSDAY - Most of the exciting Wetland Project has been finished in the Riverside Field and today we witnessed the final fixings to the new boardwalk.

wall of logs

Our job was to put some hefty logs in place to prevent, or at least reduce, erosion of the new bund; a new bank of soil made up of the scrapings from the bottom of the new pond we were working beside.

With plenty of manly heaving and hefting, the heavy logs were carried to the spot and lowered more or less gently between the stakes we had hammered in using the Drivall tool - or clanger as some call it.

Once the bund has grasses, plants and trees growing on it, it will be stable. Until then it needs this protection against high levels of water washing it back into the pond.

Watch for a trend involving water and mud from now until the end of October.


07 October 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Track reclamation

TUESDAY - Occupation Road which is the path adjacent to Steve’s house used to be wide enough for vehicle access.

In the past couple of years, as some HGG members have noticed, the vegetation has gradually encroached and it was time for us to open it back up again to its full width of two metres. The grass needed hacking, scraping and cutting away on both sides and some of the overhanging vegetation also got a good pre-winter cut.

Quite a big job but 34 members of HGG put their backs into it and the job was completed by 1.0 pm. Plenty of work for everyone here.

(For interest: In English law, an occupation road refers to a road with private rights for owners of adjacent land. The road may also have public rights.)


02 October 2014 at Warnham LNR
Aspen suckers removal

THURSDAY - The suckers of the large stand of Aspen on Mill Meadow need to be trimmed back to stop them encroaching into the wildflower meadow. Lots have come up this year and need removing.


30 September 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch removal

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal from Middle Heath.

We will have a fire today - weather permitting.

Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area.

Bring back the Birch
I just knew we had taken away too much birch.
Now, questions in the House!


25 September 2014 at Easteds Lane, Southwater
Stream maintenance

THURSDAY - Another general tidy up of the banks of the stream, combined with a couple of the local residents who are keen to get involved with the management.

easteds Lane is off Cedar Drive - see map. We have been allowed to park in the car park at Easteds Barn, Easteds Lane as the roads are narrow and spaces scarce.

Wellies just about essential.

Porchester location

Sorry that this map was misleading. Next time there will be a better map!


23 September 2014 at Warnham LNR
Trouble in t' willows

TUESDAY - The willow growing at the side of the millpond is encroaching upon the reed bed and must be stopped. Our task today and for a few more sessions, is to fell, remove and burn as much of the willow as possible to try to quell the uprising.

Wellies essential.


18 September 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Wildflower seeding

THURSDAY - Another Higher Level Stewardship task is to improve the areas of poor quality grassland at Chesworth Farm.

Today we will be raking off scarified material and then re-seeding the area with wildflower seeds.

We look forward to great results next year.

wild flowers
Part of this year's lovely display around the town. This was at the junction of the Old Crawley Road, near Moorhead Farm.


16 September 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch removal

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal from Middle Heath.

We had a fierce fire and got rid of much of the cut items from our previous visit.


Thirty people on the site but all too busy to be in the picture

We created this clearing on our first visit


11 September 2014 at Chesworth Farm
The Orchard Clear Up - that wasn't

THURSDAY - The apple trees needed protecting from the savage habits of the sheep. Also, apples to feed the thrushes through the winter at Warnham LNR, needed to be collected from the ground. Well that's what we thought until we arrived at the site.

Instead, we dug some holes to fill a bigger hole (or dip) beside the water trough in the field known as Little Horsham Hill. The 600mm deep hole/dip, created by cattle and general wear and tear, was preventing the sheep from using the trough as they are not high enough to reach over the lip. The Llamas, Rowena and Bridget, were in the same field but turned up their noses and ignored us.

The hole has disappeared

Matthew is seen here standing on our work. "Sheep may safely drink"

LATER THE SAME DAY:

With members of other local groups, many HGG members attended a very pleasant and appreciated Volunteers Barbecue, also at Chesworth Farm arranged by Horsham District Council and Horsham in Bloom. Both organisations wanted to show their appreciation for the efforts of other groups and HGG protecting and enhancing the environment.


09 September 2014 at Warnham LNR
Stop the willow invasion

TUESDAY - The willow growing at the side of the millpond is encroaching upon the reed bed and must be stopped. Our task today and for a few more sessions, is to fell, remove and burn as much of the willow as possible to try to quell the uprising.

Wellies essential.

THURSDAY EVENING:
With members of other local groups, we are invited to a Volunteers Barbecue at Chesworth Farm from 6.0 pm to 8.0 pm

Both Horsham District Council and Horsham in Bloom would like to show their appreciation for your efforts protecting and enhancing the environment.

There is limited parking space at the Farm so please walk, cycle or car share wherever possible.



07 September 2014 at
Pond Dipping

Pond dipping


04 September 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Search & Destroy the Rhodi

THURSDAY - Today will be spent as part of a search and destroy mission in Redwood Hill and Old Heath Enclosures.

There is not much Rhododendron in either enclosure but we must get on top of it while it is small!

Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area.


02 September 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch removal

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal from Middle Heath.

We will have a fire today - weather permitting.

Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area.

Can you smell the smoke?
You can almost smell the smoke


28 August 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Reptile Basking Spots & Hibernacula creation

THURSDAY - Today's task was to collect up logs, twigs and cut bracken fronds to create Adder basking spots and dark, secret paces for lizards and other tweeny weenies around the heathland.

When the sun arrived - after a threatening cloud had passed over - it was warm work digging the shallow 'scrape'. A few biting and annoying insects came around us but the best part (for those who saw it) was a fox, curled up asleep in the sun. We made too much noise for his/her liking though and it quickly decided to try elsewhere.

We completed five hibernacula during the morning and were quietly pleased with ourselves.

(For interest (or not): from a dictionary -
hibernaculum; noun (plural hibernacula)
1. A protective case, covering, or structure, such as a plant bud, in which an organism remains dormant for the winter.
2. The shelter of a hibernating animal.
)
a completed grave. Oops! no, sorry hibernaculum

It's meant to look like that; untidy and natural.


26 August 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Ditch maintenance

TUESDAY - After a 'side-show' of lumbering around in the rain retrieving lengths of chespale fence and semi-erecting them to guard a little bit of Chesworth from the mechanical diggers creating the wetlands, we went for coffee. Indoors!

Our main task today was to clear some of the bramble back from the ditch line and open up the existing ditch to feed the two ponds further down the drainage system. But the ditch needed finding first as it had become completely silted and overgrown.

Sterling work by the 'usual suspects' soon got this into shape, despite more rain. Loads of cut foliage from the hedge line were dragged to the depot yard for chipping. We felt we had earned our bread & butter today.


21 August 2014 at Warnham LNR
Fence Removal & screen erection

THURSDAY - We removed the wire and old fence posts which have long been redundant from the area near the new hide.

Two Willow Screens which were made earlier in the year were erected either side of the hide so that the birds using the scrapes won't be alarmed by visitors approaching the door.

a willow screen on the right hand side of the hide


19 August 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Meanwhile, down on the Farm . . .

TUESDAY - The wildflower patch behind the Studio has now been flailed and needs raking up to prevent nutrient leaching. There are also some log piles to be made.


14 August 2014 at Station Road Gardens, Billingshurst
Vegetation clearance and plant maintenence at Billingshurst

THURSDAY - Although our work was interrupted by rain during which we sheltered and had a coffee, we finished the task of making a circle clear of weeds round each of the forty or so photinia, japonica and other small bushes fighting for their lives against thistles and other tall weeds. Wood chip mulch was spread on the cleared circle to allow the plants a better chance of thriving.

photinia with wood chip mulch

A good turnout of HGG members was augmented by four hard workers from Sony who all managed to get 'stuck in' and got dirty hands to prove it.

The Friends of Station Road Gardens Facebook page can be seen here. It has pics of the gardens at their best.

.



12 August 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - We have finished THE PATH!!!!

The final section of THE PATH (a.k.a. Dick's Path as he was the keenest HGG member to work on it) was completed this morning. An extra good effort by all this morning in finding and laying the freshly felled tree trunks, cutting and sharpening stakes and fixing in the ground, followed by Terram cutting and laying in double-swift time and layers of wood chippings, tamped by the tired feet of wheelbarrowers and bag draggers.

Some facts:

  • started 21st May 2013 and completed 12th August 2014
  • 22 workdays (= 66 hours [less refreshment stops])
  • length of path = 260 metres
  • after the first hundred, we stopped counting the barrow and bag loads of wood chippings

The reason for the need for improvement to the existing track was that after rain, it became very muddy which made it unpopular to visitors. By adding a thick layer of wood chippings on top of the Terram, laid to provide a barrier and to allow water to seep into the ground, the path is now an attractive, appreciated amenity at Warnham. Well done HGG!

Some of THE PATH Team


10 August 2014 at Warnham LNR
I-Spy Nature

Nature event for children


07 August 2014 at Warnham LNR
Bridge Building

THURSDAY - Today, we helped put in a small bridge to allow the cattle to cross a tiny stream without breaking their legs or causing further erosion of the bank.

It was another very hot day and for the first time in living memory we started our refreshment break before 11.0 am and even before we had started work on the site.

The reason for this was that four extremely heavy new wooden sleepers and about a dozen long planks had to be carried to the site. With several stops and fatuous comments about clubbing together to buy a powered wheelbarrow, we managed to get the materials to the site, accompanied by the refreshment box.

As a sideshow, almost, there was the 'entertainment' and exercise offered by wheelbarrowing Type 1 aggregate from the vicinity of the new hide, along the new path and down to the railway gate.

(Come to think of it, the idea of a powered wheelbarrow isn't a bad one after all)

Main bearers in place; now to the decking
The four main bearers are in place and level; now to fix the decking


05 August 2014 at Warnham LNR
Scrape maintenance

TUESDAY - Yet more digging. This time another pool in conditions made difficult by the water, mud and cattle who had 'poached' the ground with their hooves. Visitors to the nearby hide may have been disappointed to see human waders!

Water and slippery clay made staying upright a challenge. A challenge which at least one person accepted - and failed! As you might imagine, we inadvertently took some of the mud back home with us.

Cheerful helpers

We were very glad of the assistance of two strong, young volunteers from Sony with digging and wheelbarrowing skills that many lesser mortals (well, me) envied.

Also, an overhanging oak was 'tidied up'. That's Green Gym-ese for cutting so many low branches from it that you'll have to use a telescope to find an acorn. Or was it our first attempt at topiary? The cuttings were used to make a barrier to the cattle.


31 July 2014 at Warnham LNR
Pulling Himalayan Balsam

THURSDAY - Help pull the Himalayan Balsam which is growing adjacent to Boldings Brook on the Wet Meadow, to try to lessen its effect next year. This is a never ending task as the invasive weed lives up to its reputation. It's not a difficult job but very satisfying to see the heap of dead and dying plants at the end of the morning.

Wear long trousers and possibly long-sleeved shirts today as there are nettles amongst the other plants.
ALSO: as the work is outside the Reserve, park in Gorringes Brook or Pondtail Road to save having to traipse through the Reserve.


29 July 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - Carry on with the now extensive pathway around the Millpond Plantation. It's all going downhill now. The Path I mean!

The Path

We will be here again on the 12th August and it should be the last time on this task, this year. Let's make it our own 'Glorious Twelfth' by finishing in style.



24 July 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Water trough maintenance

THURSDAY - The cattle will be arriving on the Farm soon and it is time to check that all the troughs are in good working order and the cattle have access to them. Some clearing and Type-1 surfacing will be required. That often means digging and shifting by wheelbarrows as you know.


22 July 2014 at Warnham LNR
Pulling Himalayan Balsam

TUESDAY - Today’s task is to pull up the Himalayan Balsam which runs adjacent to Bolding’s Brook on the Wet Meadow. There is also a small area south of the bridge which needs our attention.

Long sleeves and long trousers could be a good idea as there will be nettles in the long grass.


17 July 2014 at Gorringes Brook
Himalayan Balsam pulling

THURSDAY - A small crop of Himalayan Balsam has popped up on the section of Chennel’s Brook which feeds into the Millpond. Hopefully we can get on top of it here and hold a line before it gets onto the Reserve. This plant is invasive and easily spreads. If we pull it out of the ground before it spreads its seeds, there is a good chance of fewer plants next year.

Please park sensibly on Gorringes Brook.
Himalayan Balsam


15 July 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - Carry on with the now extensive pathway around the Millpond Plantation.

Jake says, "It's down to single track width now; so the last few hundred metres should be a doddle!"

At the same time, a very small team of superbly fit and able members (cough, cough) will meet in Kerves Lane to install a bench in a field. After that job is done, they will travel to Dutchells Copse to install another.

STOP PRESS: two benches and a finger post installed in one morning at different sites, and travelling in between, is a new World Record for HGG!.


10 July 2014 at Bartholomew Way
Vegetation trim

THURSDAY - We cut back the vegetation on this path last August but nature knows best and she has gone wild again this year. We were very active today and completed all 300m to the specification. The loppers and hedge shears probably need sharpening due to their use today.

It's a section of the Horsham Riverside Walk and will be used by about 100 people on the 26th July when the Celebration Walk takes place to mark the completion of phase one of the improvements which included better signage and seating. Our rustic benches are appreciated by walkers and even got a mention on the letters page of the local paper.
hedge cutting team


08 July 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Horsham Green Gym Barbecue

TUESDAY - No work today (for most of us) but report to Chesworth for the BBQ

If you haven't bought a ticket yet, see Dick very soon with your £5.

Our guests today will be all the staff of HDC's Parks and Countryside and, of course, the Countryside Wardens.

BBQ

On arrival, there will be soft drinks, beer and wine with nibbles. The BBQ will consist of beef burgers, sausages, garlic bread and a selection of salads. An assortment of deserts will be available. If you have special food and drink requirements, please bring your own.


03 July 2014 at Warnham LNR
Scrape improvements

THURSDAY - We will carry out some basic remedial works on the new Sandpiper Scrape on Warnham’s Wet Meadow by carrying on digging out the new pool on the scrape to hold more water. NOTE: Wellies would be a very good idea. Last week, some people showed the rest of us how to dig. All that clay was hard work but hopefully, their sore backs and other muscles are back in working order for this week's effort. digging the scrape Psst! A friendly spy has sent us a copy of the plans and, in the best traditions of those rats Snowden and Shayler, these are available on the internet for all to see under the cunningly devised name of the Warnham Wetland Project. Page five of the plans shows a hand drawn plan of the site but you will have to twist your neck to see it. You will note that the holes we have dug so far, bear no similarity to the plan. The plan must be wrong!


01 July 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Dock o'clock

TUESDAY - Now that we have entered into Higher Level Stewardship we have to manage our grasslands more effectively which has resulted in us having a new enemy - the Broad-leaved Dock whose leaves are traditionally used to soothe nettle stings. Broad leaved dock Today we will be working on as many fields as possible pulling up and bagging Broad-leaved Dock (which you will know as Rumex obtusifolius) before it goes to seed. What is High Level Stewardship? Aah, well . . . Paul or Jake will have to explain but the 'short' answer (from the Natural England website) is that "HLS aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in priority areas. It involves more complex environmental management requiring support and advice from our local advisers, to develop a comprehensive agreement that achieves a wide range of environmental benefits over a longer period of time. Advantages

  • To make sure land is well managed and keeps its traditional character.
  • To protect England's historic features and natural resources.
  • To look after wildlife, species and their habitats.
  • To ensure traditional livestock and crops are conserved for the future.
  • To provide opportunities for you to visit and learn about the countryside."
. . . and there you have it.


26 June 2014 at Warnham LNR
Sandpiper scrape

THURSDAY - A second visit to carry out remedial work on the new Sandpiper Scrape in the Wet Meadow. If you have a look at this link, you may see what Jake has in mind.

sandpiper

BUT . . . . this is what we had in mind -
that sinking feeling


24 June 2014 at Southwater CP
Orchid count

TUESDAY - With lots of hairy string and plenty of people, we should arrive at an approximate number of orchids in the meadow near the Quarry.

What's the string for? It's far to complicated to try to explain so you will just have to come along to find out. Meet at the café.
counting orchids


19 June 2014 at Warnham LNR
Helping to get rid of tree tubes

THURSDAY - Instead of the previously advertised operation of pulling up the Himalayan Balsam which breeds on the land adjacent to Boldings Brook in the Wet Meadow, we were doing something completely different.

Because some of the Himalayan Balsam plants are 'defended' by the Giant Hogweed which can cause nasty 'burns' on unprotected skin, the target for today was the untold number of plastic tree tubes which have been collected but not sent away for recycling - or whatever they do with them.

With the help of Pat, Caroline and Barry from Biffa we collected hundreds of old, unwanted tree tubes which had already been removed from young trees and a large lorry took them all away. We made the Reserve look a lot neater by our work today.
hundreds of unwanted tree tubes in the lorry
Hundreds of unwanted tree tubes in the lorry


17 June 2014 at Warnham LNR
THE PATH!

TUESDAY - Continue our path. It's so straight and must be more than a mile long (well, very approximately) so could be mistaken for the runway by a tired pilot going in to Gatwick.

We were due to fix another bench today but there has been a change of plan. The bench will be installed another day (when we have agreed which one) so all members can be involved with this major task at Warnham.

Wellies could be a good idea as it rained very hard during the thunderstorm the other night.


12 June 2014 at Bennetts Road allotments
Soil moving

THURSDAY - This task is at the Bennetts Road allotments where soil piled against a wall is said to be causing problems on the other side.

We dug out a trench about 18" wide and deep plus a lot of the large mound of soil and barrowed it to another part of the site.

soil against wall
The mound of soil before we began

 

elevenses
Don't get the wrong idea; we don't always have home-made
brownies and freshly picked strawberries with our coffees


10 June 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
The Pond - final day

TUESDAY - We will be putting the finishing touches to the second pond in Middle Heath. We need to have the whole thing dug out and finished by the end of this session!

Meet at car park near childrens' play area.

At the same time, a small group will meet at Grebe Crescent to install a bench in the woods, beside the stream. We had intended to install two benches today but we now realise that the sites are too far apart to easily manage this.


05 June 2014 at Warnham LNR
Sandpiper Scrape

THURSDAY - We have to carry out some basic remedial works on the new Sandpiper Scrape in the Wet Meadow. If you have a look at this link, you may see what Jake has in mind.

. . . at least that's what we thought . . . until we got to the site

It turned out that a small canal had to be dug to connect a stream and some marshy ground to create, well, more marshy ground.

I wish I could write that "The breaching of the wall caused a huge tidal wave", but truthfully, it was a gentle trickle of water which eventually filled the 'canal'. Jake said he was happy so we all went home.


03 June 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - Soon, very soon, we will get the hang of this and be able to add 'Path makers to the Nobility' to our list of credits. Perhaps we will be called upon to resurface the M1 or lay the new runway at Gatwick.

In a separate task, a bench is to be installed today, near the Millenium Bridge. The 'installation team' will be advised of details when we meet.

Below: Dragging the wood chippings up the slope. Some people make it look so easy!
dragging big bags of woodchip


29 May 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

THURSDAY - NOTE: Change of venue and task

Today we were going to continue our work to allow water to drain more freely from the golf course to the lake . . . but . . . there was too much water and it was deeper than the height of our wellies.

So, another change of plan and we toddled off to do more work on The Path.

Two days ago, the runny, slippery mud had ruined our plans to complete an impressive length of The Path. So today we started work where there is less mud. Cunning, eh? (Thank you, Helen.)

We found a new route to ferry the wood chips and completed a short length which will be joined with the rest of The Path when we can do so.


27 May 2014 at Warnham LNR
NOT Pulling up Himalayan Balsam BUT laying The Path

TUESDAY - On a sunny day this is a fun, fun job with large piles of wilting plants to show at the end of the morning. However, we're not going to do that!

Instead, The Path will have the undivided attention of the full group and nothing less than 500 metres completed will be acceptable. (An extra nought or two may have crept into that demand)

If it's a sunny day, it could be us who are wilting although the Beeb say we may have light rain.


22 May 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Bench planting

THURSDAY - We have two new benches to be installed in the Middle Heath enclosure. The first is by the new dragonfly pond and the second is on the brow of the hill overlooking the cleared birch area.

yet another new bench


20 May 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path

TUESDAY - The task is to continue the now extensive path in Millpond Plantation to ensure it is a useful feature of this part of Reserve - and that it continues to be visible from space.

In a separate task, two benches are to be installed today, in the field opposite the NR. The 'installation team' will be advised of details when we meet.



15 May 2014 at Warnham LNR
Drainage works

THURSDAY - There is more work to do on the drainage of the Reserve. Today, we will try to make a better arrangement for the run-off from the golf course.

Please wear wellies today as the going will be wet and muddy.
wellies


13 May 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Pond creation - yes, another

TUESDAY - Part II of the pond creation in Middle Heath. The second pond however, is going to be somewhat smaller than the first! And it will be positioned just below the HUGE one to collect any water which breaches our version of Ladybower!

In a separate task, two benches are to be installed today, along Forest Walk. The 'installation team' will be advised of details when we meet.

Meet in the car park near the children's play area.


08 May 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
Reptile basking spots

THURSDAY - The task today would have been to collect up logs, twigs and cut bracken fronds and put them on shallow scrapes to create Adder basking spots around the heathland.

We might have completed a few of these during the morning but heavy rain at 10 am and the forecast was for more of the same all morning, meant that we cancelled. Sorry, but it was the right decision at the time.

Yu-Ling arrived today to take back all the physical activity monitors.

croc basking on a hippo


06 May 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Pond creation

TUESDAY - Please note that although we are starting at the usual time of 10.0 am today, we will finish work by 12.30 pm to allow those members and Countryside Wardens who have expressed a wish to do so, to attend the funeral of Pat Harriss.

Our main job today is to continue work on a new pond in the Back Field at Chesworth Farm. This will enable more children to try pond dipping and also reduce the amount of flood water in the winter months.

Another task is the installation of the first bench in a series of ten and a small number of members will walk across the fields towards Kerves Lane and complete this.
Pond dipping


01 May 2014 at Warnham LNR
Drainage work

THURSDAY - Our task is to dig up a section of existing Type 1 path, to insert a culvert pipe and dig a small holding pool to retain flood water. Who needs Dyno-Rod while we are about?

It's quite muddy, so wellies would be a very good idea!


29 April 2014 at Southwater CP
The Play area needs our attention

TUESDAY - Work will include painting the wooden pods, adding even more wood chippings to the floor of the aerial runway and swings as well as pruning and there is a small section of fence to repair.

Meet outside the café.


24 April 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Create habitat piles

THURSDAY - Unless we completed this two weeks ago: Create a stone habitat pile for basking reptiles and amphibians next to the pond as well as set up several large log pile stacks to encourage deadwood invertebrates.

If we did, then the task is to dig the pond. Wellies could be useful.


22 April 2014 at Southwater CP
Drainage works

TUESDAY - Our task is to dig out the existing ditch to ensure that water can find its way down into the Cripplegate Lake. We will also look to put in a small drainage system which will feed into a newly dug pond adjacent to the dipping pond.

get stuck in
Some of our members get really stuck in to the work!

Yu-Ling is visiting us again today to hand out the monitors to those who have agreed to wear them. She will visit again on Thursday 8th May. We will have to arrange to collect them all to hand over on that day.


17 April 2014 at Warnham LNR
Drainage works

THURSDAY - We will clear an area of willow and dig a small holding pool to retain flood water from one of the seasonal ditches to reduce the amount of standing water on the paths.


15 April 2014 at Warnham LNR
THE Path - there is only one!

TUESDAY - We will carry on with the now extensive pathway in Millpond Plantation. Jake says that as the path is narrower than before the gate, we should get on twice as fast! It's up to us to prove him right.


10 April 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Pond restoration

THURSDAY - Pond restoration in preparation for the forthcoming school visits this summer, weather permitting. Wellies could be useful.

Alternative task if weather was not suitable for digging: Create a stone habitat pile for basking reptiles and amphibians next to the (not yet dug) pond as well as set up several large log pile stacks to encourage deadwood invertebrates.

The weather was sunny and warm so the alternative rask was set to one side and jackets came off as the heavy, wet, smelly weed was dragged from the pond and put on to what ended up as a large pile. The weed had created a floating island in the middle of the pond and we had to try to chop off bits and rake it to the side. Only a few people got wet socks through venturing too far into the water.

The pond clearing team
Some of the usual suspects


08 April 2014 at Warnham LNR
Birch felling

TUESDAY - Thinning the same area as last week’s task. This will be the last felling task this season.

The brash will be burnt and the logs used for the edging to the Millpond Path in future tasks.


03 April 2014 at Warnham LNR
Tree planting

THURSDAY - There are several large gaps in the boundary hedge between the Reserve and the golf course.

Our job today is to plant Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Elder to block these gaps and provide berries in the autumn.


01 April 2014 at Warnham LNR
Birch felling

TUESDAY - More birch will be consigned to the flames today.

The area to the east of the Millpond Path with be thinned to increase the light reaching the woodland floor, this will be the penultimate felling task this season. The brash will be burnt and the logs used for the edging to the Millpond Path in future tasks.


27 March 2014 at Warnham LNR
Willow screen weaving

THURSDAY - For some, this will be a new 'sport' but a few experienced members have reported that weaving willow is both fascinating and fun with a good product to show at the end.

Don't start counting your loose change yet, but a screen like this (which shows a bit of artistry) could sell for about £60. Those we make will be used on the Reserve.

willow screen


25 March 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland birch clearing

TUESDAY - Mattocks and spades; fall in! As just one of our jobs which can be seen from 'space', we will continue to take an interest in keeping this area birch free.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


20 March 2014 at Leechpool Woods
Rhododendron removal

THURSDAY - There are too many rhododendrons in and near the car park at Leechpool. By the time we finish, there won't be.

Meet in the car park, off Harwood Road.

Later . . .

details of BWC talk

This is not a HGG event.


18 March 2014 at Owlbeech Wood
The Heath!

TUESDAY - Today, we will continue working on the heath while we can. Soon we shall have to stop trespassing on the habitats of the birds and animals which live there. Then we can transfer our attentions to the path at Warnham.

We are sure you won't be (too) disappointed.

Meet near the children's paly area.



13 March 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland birch removal

THURSDAY - Help us with our aim of making the heathland a 'Birch Free State'. Down with birches! Long live heather!

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


11 March 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch removal

TUESDAY - It's important to keep on top of the little birch trees which will have started to spring up by now and today we have another opportunity to clear them out.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


06 March 2014 at off Hampers Lane
Woodland thinning

THURSDAY - Thinning the trees and bushes on this site will allow other plants to have a chance to flourish. Wellies could be a good idea.

Park at far end of Ben's Acre and walk to Hampers Lane and site.


04 March 2014 at Leechpool Woods
Holly Clearance

TUESDAY - Clearing the invasive and overgrown holly makes it easier for other plants to share the light and flourish.

Meet at Harwood Road car park.


27 February 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge trimming/planting

THURSDAY - Plenty of hedges at the farm but at present we are not sure which is to be our target for today.

Wellies could be useful but check nearer the time.


25 February 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch removal

TUESDAY - More birch will be consigned to the flames today.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.

Pond digging and birch clearing - April 2013

This pic taken April 2013


20 February 2014 at Southwater CP
Hedge planting and maintenance

THURSDAY - The task is over the road at the Quarry but meet at the Visitor Centre car park.

Please wear wellies today.


18 February 2014 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore and birch thinning

TUESDAY - This time, we must search for the sycamore which seemed to be a bit reclusive on our last visit. The birch is easier to spot.


13 February 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Tree/hedge planting

THURSDAY - There are a number of little - and slightly larger - trees to plant at Chesworth. Some will need a hole dug but the smaller ones can probably be 'posted' through the slot made in the wet ground with a spade.

Wellies would be a very good idea. Can anyone tell us when they weren't?


11 February 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch removal

TUESDAY - Still plenty of work needed at this site to achieve our goal of ridding the world of silver birch.

Did I say 'world'? I meant 'wood' of course.


08 February 2014 at Warnham LNR
Warnham Winter Wildlife - guided walk

Enjoy a guided walk around the Reserve, arranged by the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve and find out about the range of wildlife that can be found there during the winter months.

From resident mammals and birds to migrant visitors, many can be seen more easily while the trees are bare.

Faun seen at Warnham

Cost: £4.00 Adults/£2.00 Under 16s

To Book: Tel. 01403 259592

This is NOT a Horsham Green Gym meeting


06 February 2014 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge trimming

THURSDAY - Can't say much more than that. newly planted hedge at Chesworth in Feb 2008

This pic was taken in February 2008 after HGG had planted a hedge that now you can hardly see through - or over. It had a lot of good mulch to help it get started! (This is not the hedge we will be working on today.)


04 February 2014 at Tillets Lane, Warnham
Butterfly reserve maintenance

TUESDAY - We have worked at this site on several occasions. This time we will cut back vegetation to widen the bottom path and make clearings in the nearby fast developing woodland to create sunny glades for the butterflies.

Meet at the bottom access point to the site in Tilletts Lane instead of at the top of the hill. Park at the top. location of butterfly reserve


30 January 2014 at off Hampers Lane
Woodland thinning

THURSDAY - The site is to the right, off Hampers Lane and we were last there in November when a huge fire consumed all our cuttings. The task is to open up this area of woodland to allow other plants to flourish.

Park and meet in Ben's Acre, off Grebe Crescent and Heron Way. Wear wellies today, please.


28 January 2014 at Warnham LNR
The Path and willow clearance

TUESDAY - Continuing work on 'The Path' today could get us past the dip and further along the narrower section. Pythagoras' Theorem (or Boyle's Law) forecasts fewer bags of wood chippings per linear metre of path from now on but be aware that Murphy's Law could strike at any time!

The other planned task for the day is to collect the cut willow which is now dotted around the swampy area near the boardwalk due to recent flooding. This retrieval cannot take place if the water level is still too high. Wellies would be good as it will certainly be very squidgy underfoot.


23 January 2014 at Southwater CP
Tool maintenance and inventory + other tasks

THURSDAY - We need to review our stock of tools today.

  • To check the inventory and
  • to see if we need to buy more and
  • to replace broken and blunt saw blades and
  • to clean and sharpen spades, mattocks and loppers and
  • to give them all a good spray with WD-40 and
  • to dispose any tools which cannot be repaired and are no longer useful

There are other nearby tasks to be completed.


21 January 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Silver birch removal

TUESDAY - Just in case we missed the odd specimen a couple of weeks ago, we are returning to the site to give members the opportunity to aid the recovery of the heathland and show off their mattocking skills.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


16 January 2014 at Porchester Close, Southwater
Porchester Close

THURSDAY - A second visit to this hidden gem in Southwater. We need to trim scrub and get involved in some stream clearance.

Wellies just about essential but there may be a few 'dry' jobs.

Porchester Close is off Cedar Drive - see map. We have been asked to park in the car park at Easteds Barn, Easteds Lane as the roads are narrow and spaces scarce. location map of Porchester Close


14 January 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Woodland thinning & dead-hedging

TUESDAY - When walking on the way to other tasks, you may have noticed that the edging to Forest Way looks neglected and needs renewing. All being well today, we get our chance to remedy this.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.

The map of the woods (Adobe pdf 1MB – i.e. large file size and may take a moment to load – in a new tab) is a copy of that on display in the woods. Don't be confused that:

  • on this map, for ease of use (you better believe it), north is down and you are looking southwards.
  • where it says, “You are here” – you are more than likely sat in front of a computer.


09 January 2014 at Leechpool Woods
Holly thinning

THURSDAY - Holly is invasive and thick stands of it block light which can prevent other plants from taking root and growing. Our task is to reduce the amount of holly and increase the amount of natural light reaching the ground.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park, near the childrens' play area.

Jake says: "We are not trying to get rid of ALL the Holly.

Whilst it is invasive it also serves a very important role as part of the woodland understorey. As it is evergreen it provides protection and a roost site for many birds in the winter and due to it being evergreen it also stays a degree or two warmer than a bare branch thus giving roosting birds a slight advantage during cold snaps. Birds such as Firecrest's and Goldcrests rely upon it heavily during the coldest winters.

Holly also provide a feast of berries in most years for thrushes as well as providing a safe nest site due to the spiky nature of the beast!"


07 January 2014 at Owlbeech Woods
Silver Birch removal

TUESDAY - Another chance for us to wreak our terrible way with the local enemy- silver birch. Some junior versions think that they can avoid our mattocks by springing up at unlikely spots where they hope we will never look.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park and expect a muddy day. Wearing wellies may be sensible.


02 January 2014 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore thinning

THURSDAY - Come and burn off your festive plumpness with a session to help reduce the number of sycamore in Walnut Tree Plantation and then burn the material that has been cut.



01 January 2014 at Warnham LNR car park
New Year's Day walk

New Years Day walk information
This is not a Horsham Green Gym event


31 December 2013 at Warnham LNR
Clearing up after the bad weather

TUESDAY - There had to be a change of site for this day (although we expect a lower turnout than usual, due to the holiday) as there is work to do at Warnham where the recent strong winds changed things around a bit.

Meet at the Visitor Centre by 10 am. Wellies are essential because of puddles and very wet, soft ground - although we won't be working in water - and as it may rain all morning, a good set of wet weather gear is needed.

We may consider retiring to the cafe for our elevenses.

Come to enjoy being outdoors and ignore the rain!

Oh, and a Happy New Year!



26 December 2013 at
No meeting

THURSDAY -


25 December 2013 at with family & friends
Happy Christmas

A Happy Christmas to all HGG members and friends

HGG Happy Christmas


24 December 2013 at
No meeting

TUESDAY -


19 December 2013 at Chesworth Farm
Various tasks

THURSDAY - The triangle hedge opposite Platt Pond was to be the target for today but it has been seen to by others so we will find other useful things to do around the farm

Look out for a visit from Santa Claus! - (If he turns up, I may change my mind about him.) I think we will have to be content with a mince pie.

Afterwards:
Launch of the Green Space Strategy, a new document from HDC, outlining future plans to manage local green spaces and something we will be interested to read.

Members of HGG have been invited by the staff of Parks & Countryside of HDC to join them, some Councillors and members of other conservation groups in The Studio at Chesworth for mince pies, mulled wine, tea and coffee. At about 2.00pm, there will be a guided walk around the Farm looking for Winter wildlife and future management projects.

This has been the subject of an email to HGG members as an estimate of numbers attending is required.



17 December 2013 at Warnham LNR
Willow - the last act (NOTE: change of site and task)

TUESDAY - CHANGE OF SITE AND TASK - The willow clearance task at Warnham has gone very well and last week, the larger remaining trunks were felled by chain-saw.

Our task this week is to collect the remaining wood and form a log pile at a drier place. It involves piling it into the builders sacks and dragging them to the new site.

Wellies would be a very good idea!

Also, we will burn the brash on the site to complete the tidy-up. That will complete the work at this part of the Reserve and it can be left to return to nature.

Rumour has it that mince pies and other festive delicacies will be available which, if true, means the mid-morning break may be longer than usually allowed. We are sure that you will make up for this leniency by working a lot harder as going home time approaches!


12 December 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch bonanza

THURSDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal as well as a fire - weather permitting.


10 December 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Bonanza

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal, as well as a fire (weather permitting).


05 December 2013 at Leechpool Wood
Holly clearance

THURSDAY - Much of the Green Route at Leechpool Woods has been long been shaded out by large amounts of Holly.

This task is going to open up some of the previously dark woodland into a sun-dappled haven to encourage wildflowers such as Bluebells and Primroses.

Meet at the car park off Harwood Road (not Owlbeech car park)



03 December 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland restoration

TUESDAY - Another 'We make a difference Day' on the heathland will rid the world of another few hundred silver birch and make way for other heath-loving plants and birds.

Compare the two GoogleEarth pictures below. HGG can't pretend that we did all that work but we contributed to it.

Owlbeech heathland in 2005

- - - - - - Owlbeech heathland in 2005 - - - - - -

Owlbeech heathland in June 2013

- - - - - - Owlbeech heathland on 6th June 2013 - - - - - -


28 November 2013 at Warnham LNR
Stripping the willow

THURSDAY - Please note the change of venue and task.

Instead of working at and in the pond at Lower Beeding, we will continue the task of clearing the willow at Warnham.

There will be a fire today.

Please wear your wellies at is certainly squishy underfoot.



26 November 2013 at Broadbridge Heath
Path clearance

TUESDAY - The overgrown path which links the Old Guildford Road cul-de-sac and the recreation ground has to be made much more user friendly. It runs beside the Lawson Hunt Estate and is narrow with encroaching plants and needs a really good HGG hair-cut.

If it has rained recently the path will be wet, as a rainwater drain is leaking and water is running down the middle of the path. Please wear wellies.

Meet at the childrens' play area at the end of Charrington Way.

Parking could be a bore. Be early. Be inventive. Be considerate. Be careful. position of BBH path


21 November 2013 at Ben's Acre, off Grebe Crescent and Heron way
Woodland thinning

THURSDAY - We haven't worked here since 2008 (see pic below) and Mother Nature has been very busy since then but not made big changes to how some of us look. Ben's Acre - 2008 Today's task is to begin some woodland thinning which will be part of an ongoing program to increase the light levels at ground level to encourage ground flora. There may be a fire to burn brash.

Wellies will be a very good idea, as it is rather 'squidgy' underfoot.

Please park as far along Bens Acre as you can as most of the work is at that end.

We have invited local residents to join in today's work and if the rain doesn't deter them, please help them to enjoy Green Gym.



19 November 2013 at Warnham LNR
Lengthening the path

TUESDAY - Reaching the gate is an achievement. Thanks to everyone concerned. the gate and the path so far  

Now we can continue the path along the ride and soon make it only 1.2m wide. The bad news is that the chippings are still at the bottom of the hill and where we want them (on the path) is at the top!


14 November 2013 at Porchester Close, Southwater
Stream, pond and scrub clearance

THURSDAY - Trimming back scrub and a small amount of coppicing as well as some stream clearance to open up this hidden gem.

Wellies just about essential but there may be a few 'dry' jobs.

Porchester Close is off Cedar Drive - see map. We have been asked to park in the car park at Easted Barn, Easteds Lane as the roads are narrow and spaces scarce. Location map


12 November 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch bonanza

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal as well as a fire (weather permitting).


07 November 2013 at Broadbridge Heath
Triangle clearance

THURSDAY - At the village end of the underpass at Wickhurst Lane to Tesco, there is a triangular shaped weed bed. It started out as a flower bed! Our job is to clear the ground so that suitable planting can take place. There are a few other bushes around that spot which should receive our attention.

Parking is available in the adjacent Village Centre & Social Club.

location view


05 November 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Guy Fawkes Day Megabash

TUESDAY - Another festive assault on the invasive species at Owlbeech Woods. This time there will also be a treat for the Bonfire season!

Not sure there will be a fire though.


31 October 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Path clearance

THURSDAY - A general tidy up of the pathway between Broom Path and the Corral. There will be lots of trimming back and birch removal in this section as well as some bracken bashing.


29 October 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Digging and delving

TUESDAY - CHANGE OF VENUE AND TASK- It wasn't so much as the WIND in the Willows but the WATER! It's deeper after the rain and would have made our task almost impossible without wetsuits all round!

So, it's Plan 'B' and another morning at Owlbeech digging and delving into our pond and the silver birch.

Wellies weally would be a good idea. Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area. Spades optional.


24 October 2013 at Warnham LNR
Aspen removal

THURSDAY - The suckers of the large stand of Aspen on Mill Meadow need to be trimmed back to stop them encroaching into the wildflower meadow. Lots have come up this year and need our attention.

aspen ID

A beautiful and delicate tree which spreads by suckers off the root system, so creating entire groves of aspen. The latin name 'tremula' means to 'tremble' and refers to the way the leaves flutter and move in the slightest breeze.

Its brothers or sisters are Poplars but would you believe that it is in the Willow family?


22 October 2013 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the Willows

TUESDAY - The willow on the side of the millpond is encroaching into the reedbed and must be stopped at once! Our task is to fell, remove and burn as much of the willow as possible to try to quell the 'invasion'!

Wellies essential!


17 October 2013 at Warnham LNR
Wind in the Willows

THURSDAY - The willow on the side of the millpond is encroaching into the reedbed and must be stopped at once! Our task is to fell, remove and burn as much of the willow as possible to try to quell the storm!

Wellies essential!


15 October 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Management

TUESDAY - Ongoing heathland management works focussing on birch, holly and willow removal in the Middle Heath Enclosure.

All brash will be burnt - weather permitting - to reduce rotting debris on this sensitive site.


10 October 2013 at Warnham village
Private garden tidy (continuation)

THURSDAY - We want to clear the garden of ALL the rubbish today.

That means :-

  • lifting a few more stumps
  • putting the green waste in the skip
  • piling metal and plastic to go to the tip
  • collecting slabs, stones and bricks to go to tip
  • collecting other items from the garden which are not required

If we have time, we can cut more ivy from the top of the wall. the garden at present - - - - - This is how it looks at present - - - - -

Doc Martin from Oxford Uni is soon to give a talk to officials of the National Trust in London and emailed to say that he will use pictures of 'our' ivy to illustrate how it can take over if left unchecked.

He would like to know whether the ivy has, in fact, pushed out a brick near the top and grown right through the wall. On first examination, this seemed possible and today, perhaps, we can see exactly what has happened. Some of our photos


08 October 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Another chance to add 'a few hundred yards' to our path in the Millpond Plantation.

The target is to reach the gate by year end.

Bob the builder

Can we do it? Yes, we can!

Also - - - -

The butterfly ride we helped create has been a fluttering success!

Now it's time for some management of the ride and a few people will be digging out the Pendulous Sedge which is shading out the more delicate plants in the ride and nearby.

It's also known as Carex and some members may recall pulling it out at Southwater the first day that Matthew visited us in 2007.


03 October 2013 at Robert Way soccer pitches
Trimming the edges

THURSDAY - To help players retrieve the balls that they have enthusiastically kicked well into touch (actually into the hedge alongside the pitch), our job is to tackle some of the thorny bits and keep open the 'passageways' which we created last year.


01 October 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - By continuing the work on the long path in Millpond Plantation, we will be a little nearer the goal of reaching the gateway before the New Year.

Visitors have commented on the difference the new path makes to walking there.


26 September 2013 at Warnham village
Private garden tidy

THURSDAY - The task is to return a small, overgrown back garden of a house in Warnham village to a pleasant place where two children can play.

Access to the garden and the disposal of the huge amount of our cuttings has to be carefully managed. Cuttings have to come back over the wall and into a large skip. We have to be very careful not make a mess and leave everything clean and tidy before we go home.

There is no parking on site. Free parking is signposted from Church Street and appears to be at the village hall. Be aware that Church Street is narrow, a bus route and quite busy for such a small village.

We will have a visitor (Dr Martin Coombes) from Oxford University during the morning as he is interested in the very unusual amount of ivy growing on the wall and its effect on the structure.

there is a wall under that ivy

(above) This gives some idea of the size of the task

After a day of hard work

(above) And this shows what we achieved


24 September 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch thinning

TUESDAY - Another chance for us to continue our 'making a difference' task on the heath. If it's hot, remember to bring and use sun blocker as there is no shade where we work.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.

Today, we will be visited by the student (Yu-Ling Chen) from Loughborough University, who will explain about the activity monitoring and hand over the devices and questionnaires.


19 September 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Pond digging or birch pulling

THURSDAY - We can choose between one job or the other. Shall we take a vote? If it's digging, please wear wellies and bring a favourite spade.

Either way, meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


17 September 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearing or Pond digging

TUESDAY - It will be almost certainly be birch clearance today as the ground is still hard and digging in the clay would be back-breaking.

Just in case, we do continue to create the Sussex Lake District, will you please wear wellies and bring a spade, if possible?

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


12 September 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland clearance (birch pulling to you)

THURSDAY - A welcome return to the heath and a chance for us to exact our revenge on all the young birch that had the nerve to try to regenerate over the summer!


10 September 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

TUESDAY - A welcome return to the heath and a chance for us to exact our revenge on all the young birch that had the nerve to try to regenerate over the summer! With a large group today, we should be able to cover a lot of ground and have a large pile of 'arisings' to show.

We will pull 'em up or dig 'em out. We will not cut 'em off as that allows them the chance of regrowing.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.


05 September 2013 at Warnham LNR
Path construction

THURSDAY - We return to Warnham to continue work on the path in Millpond Plantation. Plenty of work for all.

(Not sure how Dick managed to get into this Jewson's commercial)

emptying another heavy bag of wood chippings


03 September 2013 at Warnham NR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Can we complete the footpath through Millpond Planation this year?


29 August 2013 at Warnham LNR
NOT pond digging (ground too hard) - ditch digging!

THURSDAY - The title only says part of it: Access improvements is the order of the day.

However it's the path across the meadow that is in need of a little bit of attention. There is a rudimentary ditch and 'bridge' and our task is to make sure it will do its job come the rainy season.

Meet outside the cafe.


27 August 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Plan 'B' slides smoothly into operation today as we had intended to continue to dig the ponds at Owlbeech. The ground on the heath is too hard to allow much progress and we are not allowed to use dynamite.

So, it's back to the big job at Warnham - The Path - to continue the excellent work of last Tuesday where we seemed to quickly settle into an efficient working system and made good progress.

This pic shows the path soon after we started, in May. That's Sally and Luke on their way home after a busy morning. Looking closely, it seems that Luke is carrying the sledge hammer that he is so handy with.

our path


22 August 2013 at Path at side of 2 Redford Avenue
Vegetation clearance

THURSDAY - Ivy, nettles and brambles are just some of the hazards faced daily by squads of highly trained operatives such as members of Horsham Green Gym.

The path from the road leading to the river bridge needs our attention.

Park in Redford Avenue, opposite number 2.


20 August 2013 at Warnham NR
Clearing canary grass

TUESDAY - Our task is to clear canary grass from the flush running through the wet meadow and planting a new phragmites reed bed in its place in order to create a more diverse habitat. Please wear wellies if you have them.

We had a good bash at reducing the hemlock water dropwort from the wet meadow over several very hot days last summer. This year, a contractor cut and collected the problem species, allowing HGG to do the much nicer job of habitat creation.


15 August 2013 at Bartholomew Way
Access improvements

THURSDAY - We will continue our self-appointed task of clearing a short section of the Horsham Riverside Walk of overhanging brambles, bushes and nettles.

Meet at the car park at the far end of Bartholomew Way. Wellies could be a good idea if it has recently rained.


13 August 2013 at Southwater CP
Make sure the children get sufficient chips

TUESDAY - Plenty of woodchip to be barrowed and spread around the site of the childrens' play area. Also, encroaching vegetation to be tamed.

We should get plenty of exercise today.

Meet outside the cafe.



11 August 2013 at Warnham LNR
Warnham Open Day

SUNDAY - We have been invited to add to the activities at the Open Day and will create a woven willow fence around a coppiced area in the Walnut Tree Plantation.

Can you please spare some time on that day to help? Even if you turn up only in time for tea and biccies because you got involved with all the other activities on offer, you will be welcomed.


08 August 2013 at Warnham NR
Tidying the willow ready for the Open Day

THURSDAY - We will continue to prepare for our exhibition at the Warnham Open Day on Sunday the 11th August

. . . and . . .

We will annihilate the Himalayan Balsam which has made a last stand near the river but is accessible from the wet meadow.



06 August 2013 at Warnham LNR
Coppicing willow

TUESDAY - Coppicing willow from the reserve to be used to create a woven fence around the coppice planted by HGG in Walnut Plantation.

The fence is to be built as an exhibition of HGG skills at the Warnham Local Nature Reserve Open Day on Sunday 11th August. If you are able to help on the open day, please see David J.


01 August 2013 at Warnham LNR
Removing Himalayan Balsam

THURSDAY - Along the edges of Boldings Brook, there grows a pretty pink plant with the unfortunate habit of popping its seed pods when ripe and scattering seeds - about 800 each time - up to seven metres. The following year, the seeds grow into adult plants and explode again - - - and in no time you have a very nice display of the plant but it shades out other vegetation, so gradually impoverishing habitats by killing off other plants.

Himalayan balsam

Our task is to pull up these plants and carefully dispose of them.

WELLIES will be useful today.

Note to self: Don't fall in (again)!


30 July 2013 at Pond Farm Ghyll, Southwater
Stream clearance

TUESDAY - Today, we cleared some large pieces of tree trunks which we hadn't been able to get at on a previous visit and which were effectively damming the stream.

It rained all morning, which meant deeper water in the stream and plenty of mud to plaster faces, hands and clothes. We successfully completed the tasks in a cheerful manner and left a tidy site. At the end of the morning, it was good to see the stream now flowing without interruption. The more difficult jobs, like today's, don't seem to deter members of Horsham Green Gym, but spur them on to ensure excellent results.

It was necessary for several members to wade into the stream to prise the blockage apart and fasten a rope round the large logs. These were then pulled up the steep bank to the path and from there, dragged to the trailer. Smaller debris was loaded into large builders bags and again dragged up to the path where most of it was 'lost' in the surrounding bushes where it will quickly rot down.

The paths nearby were widened by cutting the overhanging vegetation which will be helpful to walkers.

The blockage before we set to work

The blockage before we began work


25 July 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
More access improvements

THURSDAY - We will continue the work on the Red Route.

At this rate, we will have an 'access for all' route all the way round Owlbeech before summer is out.


23 July 2013 at Bartholomew Way soccer pitch
Vegetation clearance - but not at the previously advertised place

task locationTUESDAY - Meet at the car park at the far end of Bartholomew Way.

The task is to remove young trees and vegetation to create a two metre-wide gap from a fence. We must be very careful to avoid damaging the fence.

Approach the site from the soccer field.


18 July 2013 at Southwater CP
Another morning on the beach!

THURSDAY - Following on from Tuesday's task, we will tidy up the area of and near the beach and try to reduce erosion from the bank. There is a plan to regenerate this area in 2014.


16 July 2013 at Southwater CP
Tidying up the beach area

TUESDAY - We will help regenerate the Beach area before the school holidays. Jobs will include vegetation clearance, topping up and raking over the pea shingle and installing some steps and drainage to reduce erosion from the bank.

Wellies for a few of us could be useful.

Our work is a temporary measure as there is a plan to regenerate this area in 2014.


11 July 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
NOTE: Change of task and site

THURSDAY - The words 'Access improvements' give plenty of scope for todays task at Owlbeech. At present, I don't know what it is either!

Meet in the car park by the childrens' play area.

The task meant for today, at Warnham, has been postponed for a few days.


09 July 2013 at Chesworth farm
Annual BBQ

TUESDAY - No HGG task today as our annual BBQ will be held at The Studio at Chesworth Farm. We will be outside if suitable weather, otherwise undercover.

Tickets cost £5 to members and include food and drink. Please bring a folding chair if you can.

This has become THE BIG event of the HGG year. Don't dress up as Kate and William, Beyoncé and Amanda Holden are unable to attend -- so there will be plenty of room for you!


04 July 2013 at Chesworth Farm
Access improvements at Chesworth

THURSDAY - This twice delayed task is important so let's hope we can get on with it today. We have to improve the steps and access between Great Horsham Hill and Muggeridge Field.


02 July 2013 at Warnham NR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - We will continue work on the path and as before, there is plenty of work for everyone.


27 June 2013 at Pondtail Road
Stream clearance

THURSDAY - The little stream which runs through Pondtail Wood needs a little care and attention. There are a few blockages and possible some litter to clear.

stream clearance

When we last worked in this stream, in 2007, we saw fish and it will be interesting to see if any are still in residence.

Wellies a good idea but not essential as bankside jobs are available.


25 June 2013 at Southwater CP
Orchid count

TUESDAY - The Orchid count can only be done on one day by a big team (that's us) and each member can contribute to help get a true picture of how the little flowers are thriving.

Our AGM will be held directly after we finish work today. It will be brief and limited to business so it will be over in a short time.



20 June 2013 at Warnham NR
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Although ditches at other sites need clearing, our job is the more urgent one of continuing work on the path at Warnham. There is a large heap of wood chippings to be bagged and barrowed, laid and levelled. Of course, there is still path edging and smoothing to carry out.

p.s. I am sure that the ditches will crop up in a future list of work.


18 June 2013 at Warnham NR
CHANGE OF VENUE & TASK: Access Improvements

TUESDAY - Although the ditches at Chesworth need clearing, our job is the more urgent one of continuing work on the path at Warnham. There is a mound of wood chippings to be moved, laid and levelled. Of course, there is still path edging and smoothing to carry out.


13 June 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Continuing work on the path around the lower edge of Old Heath.


11 June 2013 at Southwater CP
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Get fit before you come to Green Gym as there will be wheelbarrow loads of Type 1 aggregate to shovel, shift and s(h)pread.

Meet at the Visitor Centre/Cafe.


06 June 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Access improvements

THURSDAY - We will improve access on the Red Route along the lower edge of Old Heath.


04 June 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - The path in Millpond Plantation today is a big, continuing job. So big, that it's the kind of task we can return to time and time again . . . and we will!

Laying the logs to act as edges and retain the wood chipping covering is the first part of the task. And of course you know that the line has to be straight and the logs butted just so and level and the pegs hammered in and the tops cut off to the correct angle and the path surface to be level.

One day, we will be able to enjoy ourselves fetching barrowloads of wood chippings (not heavy) to spread on the path. One day.



30 May 2013 at Bartholomew Way
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Today's task is to clear an overgrown path which is part of the Riverside Walk. In wet weather it is always very muddy and in summer is always difficult to walk due to overhanging brambles, bushes and etc. We can't do anything about the conditions underfoot (yet!) but we can give it a rather severe hair cut.

Meet at the car park at the far end of Bartholomew Way. Wellies could be a good idea.



28 May 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements [NOTE: change of site and task]

TUESDAY - We will continue our work on improving the route beside Millpond Plantation. So far, we have installed numerous logs to border some of the route but there's lots more to do. checking    - Checking for deviation and inclination. An important job out here in the woods -


23 May 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

THURSDAY - We will continue Tuesday's task of creating the footpath through Millpond Plantation.


21 May 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - We will start creating a new path through Millpond Plantation.


16 May 2013 at Southwater CP
Access improvements (Do you detect a trend, here?)

THURSDAY - If you got very muddy working at this site near the skate ramp on Thursday 21st March, you will be pleased to see that we are returning to do some resurfacing of the path to help water drain off it more efficiently i.e. downwards, rather than sideways. Gravity seems to have been disobeyed in this case.

We will also carry out fence repairs at the overflow car park.

April 2008 - same job

Today is just maintenence of a task we carried out in April 2008


14 May 2013 at Southwater CP
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Besides adding bark chippings to all the fishing 'swims', we will look at fencing and paths.

We will meet at the Fishing Lake car park but as it is small it would be helpful if at least some members would park at the usual car park and walk up. A loosening-up exercise. See map.

lxcation of car parks


09 May 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Our job is to continue and (hopefully) complete Tuesday's wide range of tasks.


07 May 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Improving access is an important part of maintaining sites and it doesn't disturb nesting birds. It is also a good time to learn new skills (and get lots of good exercise).

Tasks across the reserve include widening and clearing existing Type 1 paths, surfacing a small area for better access to the feeding station, improving surfacing to meadow gateways and creating new paths. Enough for everyone to be involved.


02 May 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Access improvements NOTE: CHANGE OF SITE

THURSDAY - Today's tasks include completing the improvements to the Orange Route, which is the surfaced footpath created by HGG last year, step building, surfacing and clearing encroaching vegetation.

The previously advertised job building steps at Muggeridge Field at Chesworth Farm will be carried out at a later date.

Park near the childrens' play area.

Measure twice; cut once

Measure twice; cut once


30 April 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Access improvements

TUESDAY - Today's tasks include further improvements to the Orange Route, which is the surfaced footpath created by HGG last year, step building, surfacing and clearing encroaching vegetation.

Get the hard work done by experts!

Get the hard work done by experts!


25 April 2013 at Southwater CP
Ditch work

THURSDAY - Wellie wear a good idea today as we will working in and around a ditch which needs severe attention. It borders the main car park and is not only overgrown but is silted and not acting as good ditch should.

Our work should improve drainage of the area and prevent overflows onto the parking areas.


23 April 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
More pond digging

TUESDAY - More pond digging. How big is this 'small lake' going to be?

If the weather is drier by now, this is going to be harder work than we first imagined.

Consider wearing wellies today.


18 April 2013 at Southwater CP
Alder clearance

THURSDAY - If there is any left after our visit to this site between Cripplegate Lake and Lennoxwood lake on 28th March, we are to fell the alder and make it accessible for chipping by a contractor. Fixing a short stretch of fence may also be part of this task.

Consider wearing wellies today.


16 April 2013 at Pond Farm Ghyll, Southwater
Stream clearance

TUESDAY - Our willing and keen members soon made a start on clearing debris from the stream in the steep-sided Pond Farm Ghyll (south) at Southwater. The main job was to unblock the tunnel under the main access path and this was achieved leaving a clear waterway. The rubbish had collected over the winter due to the continuous rain and it was necessary to clear it before flooding occurred.

Others soon found more challenges further downstream and with loads of sawing, shoving, pulling, puffing and blowing, large tree trunks were removed and carted away.

The tunnel after our clearance


11 April 2013 at Chesworth farm
Spring cleaning at The Studio

THURSDAY - The Studio at Chesworth is to be used to promote HDC's conservation and countryside sites. Also, a café will be on the site during these occasions.

First however it requires a good tidy up with the help of HGG. You will have been inside recently and seen its possibilities and now is our chance to help bring it back to life.

The Studio


09 April 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Enclosure fencing repairs

TUESDAY - Enclosure fencing monitoring and repairs on the heath, in readiness for arrival of new livestock (sheep).


04 April 2013 at Broadbridge Heath Bowls Club
General tidy of flower bed

THURSDAY - The outside of the Indoor Bowls Club at Broadbridge Heath is the site of this visit by HGG.

A weed infested cultivation strip needs digging over ready for re-planting (or concreting over). This doesn't get much sun so it is little wonder that it looks a mess.

The hedge alongside has a lot of wind-blown litter in it which we can collect.

Park in Bowls Club car park - not Tesco car park.


03 April 2013 at
Anniversary of Green Gym in Horsham

March saw the anniversary of the first meeting of Green Gym in Horsham in 2005.

On 3rd April 2007 the first meeting of the newly independent Horsham Green Gym was at Kingslea Pond, Harwood Road.

22nd March 2005 - the task was to learn about pruning fruit trees which were in the back garden of Steve Delahunt's house at Chesworth. First meeting of Green Gym in Horsham

3rd April 2007 - the picture below shows members of the new group attaching blue 'owner' tape to the new tools with which we had been supplied by BTCV. We had a good day on that occasion and the group continued to have good days for the following six years and many more to come, we trust. First meeting of Horsham Green Gym

  • With the suport of the Countryside Wardens of Horsham District Council and funding from BIFFA, Jeremy Bartle of BTCV, formed Horsham Green Gym in early 2005.
  • It was always the intention that the group would find a leader and elect a committee by spring 2007.
  • The newly independent HGG continued to have excellent support from HDC and membership began to increase after publicity and more visible tasks.

A Happy Birthday to Horsham Green Gym!


02 April 2013 at Owlbeech Wood
Pond dig continued

TUESDAY - We will continue to dig the pond in Middle Heath to encourage the Golden Ringed dragon fly. We can't all be digging as we don't have that many spades (bring your own if you can - it would be helpful) and other tasks will be available.

Golden ringed dragon fly (female)

Park at Owlbeech Way car park.


28 March 2013 at Southwater CP
Management of new reed beds

THURSDAY - Wellies will be essential today as we will be involved in the management and protection of the new reed beds in The Quarry.

Waders will be available to volunteers to enable them to get really stuck in!

Getting to the root of the matter


26 March 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Dead hedge maintenance

TUESDAY - We have been making a big difference to the scenery of the wood and helping wild life which utilises dead hedges for shelter and finding food.

Our dead hedges are famed in the Western World for their strength and quality of build.

Someone (who apparently lives in another world), has been testing to destruction parts of our recent hedge and unfortunately left it in a bit of a mess. We will execute the work to our usual high standards.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park, near the childrens' play area.


21 March 2013 at Southwater CP
Improving field drainage

THURSDAY - By digging a small pond in the correct position, we hope to enable better drainage of a path leading to The Quarry and the skate park. It has often been muddy and more feet tramping over it make it worse.

Wellie boots may be a good idea if it has recently rained.Hmm. Perhaps a little smaller?
Is this what you had in mind, Tom?


19 March 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Digging a pond

TUESDAY - Wellies will be needed for this task which is to dig a pond in the wet area of Middle Heath, to encourage Golden Ringed dragonflies.


14 March 2013 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge planting

THURSDAY - You may know that there are a lot of hedging plants to be put in the ground and little time to do it. This is our chance to add to the hedges of Chesworth.


12 March 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Cancelled task due to snow in Brighton!

TUESDAY - Sorry, it's a bit of story (details of which will be told for generations to come) but there will be no Green Gym today as Tom was stuck for 3 hours in a traffic queue and then had to walk 4 miles to his house. The Snow won after all.


07 March 2013 at Warnham LNR
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Widening the footpath at the far end of the reserve and repairing some gaps in the hedge to the golf course using willow/hazel hurdles (which it is hoped you will have had a hand in making).


05 March 2013 at Leechpool Woods
Birch clearance and dead hedge building along Forest Walk

TUESDAY - We are good at this so expect the usual high standard.

Meet at the car park off Harwood Road.


28 February 2013 at The Ducky at Broadbridge Heath
The Ducky

THURSDAY - This task was postponed from an earlier date when the mud and slippery banks would have made this task 'interesting' to say the least.

There will be the opportunity to don waders and help pull out the usual accumulation of rubbish.

If we haven't found a traffic cone, we will have to try again. It must be there somewhere, it always is.

Location of The Ducky


26 February 2013 at Leechpool Woods
Glade creation and holly clearance

TUESDAY - Creation and maintenance of Bluebell glades and possibly continue management of holly along the green route.

Meet at the car park off Harwood Road.


21 February 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Continuing last Thursday's task of footpath improvemnts around Old Heath.
Owlbeech and Leechpool


19 February 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Megabash

TUESDAY - Timed to coincide with half-term so that more people can attend, this is the chance to clear a huge area upon the heath. Bring your relatives, friends, neighbours because we need to get a large area cleared.

The work will continue until around 3.0pm and anyone who wants to stay after the usual finishing time will be most welcome. It is recommended you bring a light lunch if you're staying.


14 February 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Our task is to make the footpath around the lower end of Old Heath more user friendly.


12 February 2013 at Motte and Bailey
Scrub removal

TUESDAY - We have visited this important site several times, mainly to keep down the blackthorn. We may build a fire. Location map
Park in Lemmington Way, on the left as you drive from the roundabout. Avoid the bus stop.


07 February 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Management

THURSDAY - The site is on the Heathland and the task may have to be decided on the day as it depends on the availbility of a suitable 4x4 vehicle to transport a heavy load. Meet at the car park at the top of Owlbeech Way.


05 February 2013 at Warnham LNR
Coppicing, planting and path laying

TUESDAY - Further work in the Walnut Plantation and possibly planting new hazel but this depends on the availablity of whips (young plants).

Completion of the path.


31 January 2013 at Warnham LNR
CHANGE OF SITE AND TASK - Path Laying

THURSDAY - The area in which we were going to work at Chesworth is far too wet to work on and will become muddy.
Instead, we will be finishing off the newly laid path at Warnham LNR. It's pretty muddy just about everywhere so wellies will be a good idea - not essential, though.


29 January 2013 at Warnham LNR
Walnut plantation coppicing + path building

TUESDAY - Continuing the coppicing project in the Walnut Plantation and taking out more of the invasive sycamore will occupy most people but at the same time, a smaller group, will be preparing the ground for a path and bench installation near the car park.


24 January 2013 at Millais
SNOW CANCELLED THE JOB - Clear and tidy job

THURSDAY -

= = = DUE TO THE SNOW, THE WORK SCHEDULED FOR TODAY HAS HAD TO BE POSTPONED = = =

SORRY. LET'S HOPE FOR BETTER WEATHER NEXT WEEK.



22 January 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
SNOW CANCELLED THE JOB - Heathland management

TUESDAY

= = = DUE TO THE SNOW, THE WORK SCHEDULED FOR TODAY HAS HAD TO BE POSTPONED = = =

SORRY. LET'S HOPE FOR BETTER WEATHER NEXT WEEK.



17 January 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Management

THURSDAY - Depending on the number of people attending today, we may install a bridge on the red route around pinetops.

Meet at the Owlbeech Way car park near the childrens' play area and exit whistling 'Colonel Bogey'.

Building a bridge


15 January 2013 at Leechpool Wood
Holly and glade management

TUESDAY - Removing holly from the picnic area, continuing thinning holly along the green route and some further glade management.

Meet at Harwood Road car park.


10 January 2013 at Leechpool/Hampers Lane
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Access improvements on the Hampers Lane footpath is the task for today.

It's probably a wellies kind of day.

Meet at the car park off Harwood Road.


08 January 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY - We will be clearing scrubby copse in the bottom corner of old heath. Dejá vu?

Wellies will be needed as it is bound to be wet and muddy on the way to the site. All being well (i.e. not raining or snowing too hard) we will have a fire.


03 January 2013 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Management

THURSDAY - More of the same medicine!

Start the New Year as we mean to go on and make the heathland bloom with something other than Silver Birch!

Wellies will be needed as it is bound to be wet and muddy on the way to the site.

If we are very good, we may get the mince pies which we were denied on our last visit!



01 January 2013 at home or away
Wot! Another day off?

TUESDAY - Well it is New year's day so we have been given more time to relax and make New Year Resolutions. Example: Must be kinder to our Treasurer!


27 December 2012 at Home (possibly?)
A day off?

THURSDAY - We don't miss many Thursdays in the year but we can be forgiven for taking it easy today.

Rest today and be ready for more activities with Horsham Green Gym in 2013.

A happy New Year to all our members and friends



25 December 2012 at optional
Christmas Day

TUESDAY - not too much work to do today.

A Happy Christmas to all members and friends - new and old.

A card from our Treasurer
This card is from our Treasurer.
Not sure where he is as we haven't seen him for a few days.
Nice of him to think of us.


20 December 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Xmas Heathland Management

THURSDAY - 'Xmas Heathland Management' is very similar to 'Heathland Management' but this one has a fire and mince pies. We will be continuing the work of the Tuesday group.


18 December 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Xmas Heathland Management

TUESDAY - The work on Xmas Heathland Management is very similar to other days of Heathland Management but has a fire and the added attractions of mince pies.


13 December 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
NOT The Ducky - but Plan 'B' comes into play

THURSDAY - CHANGE OF PLAN.

Instead of working at 'The Ducky' which, given the very frosty mornings, could have given us very cold and wet hands, and may have provided us with slippery, wet dangerous working conditions, it has been decided to meet at Owlbeech Way today.

We will work upon the heath; there to meet with Tom.

Shakespeare was able to put it a little better but then, he had three witches to add to the excitement.



11 December 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Rhodi clearance

TUESDAY - the Redwood Hill enclosure will be the centre of our attentions today where loads of rhododendron await all unsuspecting. A Big Fire awaits them! Heh, heh, heh!


06 December 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland management

THURSDAY - Gird up the loins (whatever that means) and get to work on our favourite piece of West Sussex.


04 December 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch and Pine clearance

TUESDAY - Birch and Pine clearance sounds like a furniture sale. But it's not.

We'll have a fire today and try to keep it furnished with lots of stuff you cut down. More work towards a new heathland next year (or the year after . . . or the year after that).



29 November 2012 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore and Bramble clearance

THURSDAY - if the Tuesday group have kindly left anything for us to do today, we should be clearing even more sycamore and bramble from the Walnut Plantation.


27 November 2012 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore & Bramble clearance

TUESDAY - in the Walnut Plantation, there is any amount of sycamore and bramble which need teaching a sharp lesson. Who do we call?


22 November 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland management

THURSDAY - A nice part of West Sussex is calling us to visit and continue our work to change it out of all recognition. This work may sometimes seem repetitious (it is) but believe me, it is worth it!


20 November 2012 at Leechpool Woods
Holly Clearance

TUESDAY - we have to clear the holly but stack it neatly, ready for it to be shredded/chipped which means laying all the butts at the same end. As if you didn't know!


15 November 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Felling

THURSDAY - Tree felling on Middle Heath, a very suitable task for the smaller but skilled, Thursday, group. Meet at the car park near the childrens' play area at the top of Owlbeech Way.


13 November 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch and Pine clearance

TUESDAY - Another visit to this lovely spot but which can be very cold as it is an exposed position. Come prepared. The fire may help you get warm.


08 November 2012 at Cheswoth Farm
At last! - the steps

THURSDAY - our task is to build/repair the steps in Jenny Barelegs Field. This task has been muttered about for weeks.

Meet outside the HDC depot.



06 November 2012 at Leechpool Woods
Glade management

TUESDAY - meet in the Harwood Road car park for a task of clearing/maintaining glades.

A glade with bluebells
Here's one we did earlier


01 November 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Management

THURSDAY - Does anyone feel that they have been here before?

Continuing our work to improve the look of the heathland; from trees, trees, trees to heather and a few trees.



30 October 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland Megabash

TUESDAY - We are inviting loads of people to join us today to wade in to the silver birch and get to grips with it! Please bring your friends along too. It's Half Term, so we are hoping for some keen, fit, younger workers.

We want to make sure we get a lot done today because, as you know, it will make such a difference next year when there is less silver birch around and other plants are able to grow. There will be a fire to keep some people occupied.

Heather (or calluna vulgaris, if you prefer)
It would be good to see more heather appearing.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. If you come by car, try to be a bit early in order to get a parking space.



25 October 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Holly and Laurel clearance

THURSDAY - Yup!, there's more holly and laurel to clear near the picnic area.

to the woods!

Please meet in the car park off Harwood Road.



23 October 2012 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore clearance

TUESDAY - Today's task is to remove more of that pesky sycamore in the Walnut Tree Plantation.

Lovely tree, with intriguing little 'helicopters' which spread seeds very effectively. The trouble is that if left, there would be a small forest of sycamores, none of them doing very well as they would be competing with each other for light and food.

Meet outside the Visitor Centre.



18 October 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Heathland management

THURSDAY - On Thursdays, in autumn and winter, we will be carrying out tasks reflecting all aspects of heathland management. [That is a way of telling you that we don't yet know what we will be doing until we get there.]

Improving access at gate

This time, we were making efforts to improve access at a gateway which always becomes very muddy in wet weather. Boy, was it muddy? The logs don't look much at the moment but with the better drainage we created, they will make an easier and safer path.



16 October 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Birch and pine clearance

TUESDAY - We'll have a fire today to get rid of some of the stuff we will have cut and pulled.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park.



11 October 2012 at Robert Way soccer pitch
Making access points

THURSDAY - The task is to sensitively clear (that is, to remove only as much vegetation as is necessary) access points so that players can more easily retrieve the result of their misdirected kicks from the vegetation bordering the soccer pitch.

Robert Way meeting place

Parking is a bit of a problem. Be aware of not obstructing access to houses.



09 October 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Thinning alders

TUESDAY - Thinning and dead hedging at Alder Carr.

Wellies needed today as alders like it best when it's wet and soggy.

Meet at car park off Harwood Road.



04 October 2012 at Human Nature Garden
Autumn tidy in the HNG

THURSDAY - The Human Nature Garden in Horsham Park was in need of a tidy-up about now and we helped make it look neater and nearer to being ready for winter. Autumn tidy in the Human Nature Garden We removed old plants and dug over the ground, helped by four very willing volunteers from RSA insurance company and a warm, sunny day.


02 October 2012 at Butterfly reserve, Warnham
Reducing the brush

TUESDAY - Another welcome return and this time to the Butterfly Project at Tillets Lane, Warnham.

With all the rain we had in May, June and July, there has been a strong regrowth of small trees and saplings and these will need cutting back hard.

Location map

Please park beside road and bear in mind that we are expecting a large number of cars to try to park here.



27 September 2012 at Southwater CP
Felling

THURSDAY - Between Cripplegate Lane and Lennoxwood Lake, there are alder and willow to fell. Go to it!

Meet outside the Visitor Centre to collect tools etc.



25 September 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

TUESDAY - We had to sneak this task in at the end. Birch pulling

Someone said of this, " A welcome return to Birch Clearance after the summer's growth."

Someone else said something quite different!



18 September 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Holly clearance

TUESDAY - The Green Route won't be quite so green after we have had our evil way with it as there is a plan to rid it of much holly.

Meet at Harwood Road car park.



13 September 2012 at Wildwood
Tree tubes removal

THURSDAY - Today we were to remove the other fence but it is HUGE! and the trees it protects need attention too. So that task has been put off until more information has been obtained.

Instead, the main attraction today will be removing tree tubes from the area of the original fence, which we took out on our last visit. Are you with me so far?

There is long grass which is likely to be wet, so wellies or good shoes/boots will be a good idea.

If there is the opportunity, we hope to carefully cut back excess foliage from trees bordering the path.

The first fence

This task is at Wildwood, off Guildford Road and is the turning opposite the entrance to Tanbridge School. Plenty of parking at side of road.



11 September 2012 at Chesworth Farm
Major work

TUESDAY - Remove tree tubes, old fence wire and, oh!, while you are at it, please dig out the pond in Back Field.

Pond work could involve wellies -- but it probably depends on how much rain falls between now and then.



04 September 2012 at Chesworth Farm
Bunker busters

TUESDAY - the task was intended be clearance of the litter and lots of scrub in the area around the abandoned ROC monitoring post. This is/was a concrete underground bunker and although it is still there, it is hard to see due to nature's camouflage. However, the plan had to be changed as there was the matter of the key not fitting the lock of the gate in the surrounding fence! So we gave a severe top and tail to a few local hedges and cleared the odd ditch. Two of these were originally planted by members of HGG a few years ago and it was good to see how, with all the extra rain this year, they had grown tall and bushy.


30 August 2012 at Victory Road Rec
A variety of maintenance tasks

THURSDAY - Maintenance work at Victory Road Recreation Ground which can be accessed from Victory Road or Swindon Road. Meet near the fence, which is our first task. Parking is of the "Seek and ye shall find" variety.


28 August 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Car park area tasks

TUESDAY - Finish tidying the laurel, repair and spread woodchip in the willow dome and then tidy the picnic area.

Meet in Harwood Road car park.



21 August 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Can we finish the work on the footpath?

TUESDAY - The target for today is to complete the work on the Orange Route footpath. We're pretty pleased with ourselves

Meet at the Owlbeech Way car park near the childrens' play area.



16 August 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Access improvements

THURSDAY - Preparing for the next task to complete the Orange Route footpath.

Meet in the Owlbeech Way car park near the childrens' play area.



14 August 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Fire!

TUESDAY - Burning pre-cut vegetation on a large fire. And very hot it was too.

Meet at Harwood Road car park.



09 August 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Repairs and maintenance

THURSDAY - Meet at the Owlbeech Way car park.

Repairs and maintenance required to structures in this area.



07 August 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Burning laurel

TUESDAY - We are to work near Hampers Lane to burn previously cut laurel and possibly prepare more for a similar fate.

Meet at Harwood Road car park.



31 July 2012 at Warnham LNR
More Hemlock removal

TUESDAY - Continuing the task from last week, there is more Hemlock Water Dropwort to remove

Hemlock-water-dropwort
Hemlock-water-dropwort

. . . and just in case you think it's all over, there is plenty of the lovely Himalayan Balsam to pull and carefully put in a place where it isn't going to spread its seeds.



24 July 2012 at Warnham LNR
Meadow maintenance

TUESDAY - We are to rake up and remove the Hemlock Water Dropwort from the wet meadow.

Wikipedia says: 'This plant is the most-likely candidate for the "sardonic herb," which was a neurotoxic plant used for the ritual killing of elderly people in Phoenician Sardinia. When these people were unable to support themselves, they were intoxicated with this herb and then dropped from a high rock or beaten to death.' Hmmm.

I can see why we should be (a) clearing this stuff and (b) wearing gloves when we do it.



19 July 2012 at Owlbeech Woods
Footpath improvements

THURSDAY - Meet at Owlbeech Way car park, near the childrens' play area.

Our task is to improve the footpath near Hampers Lane end of the wood.



17 July 2012 at Southwater CP
Planting new reed bed

TUESDAY -

We will be involved in planting a new reed bed as a nesting area for the swans on the Quarry Lake and putting a fence round it.

Meet outside the Visitor Centre.


10 July 2012 at Chesworth Farm
BBQ

Heston & Jamie

Heston & Jamie.

TUESDAY - Our barbecue was held in the building known as The Studio at Chesworth. We hoped for fine weather but it was wet some of the time. No problem for us as we were under cover and the array of food and drink was the best ever. Thank you to all (especially 'signature' dessert providers) to helped create such a magnificent spread. If you brought a folding chair, did you go home with the same chair? Not someone else's!


05 July 2012 at Warnham LNR
Preparation for judging

THURSDAY - Please note: Meeting time is at 10.30 am to avoid the school group which will be also on the site.

Our tasks will include weeding the garden and trimming hedges, bramble and scrub in preparation for judging for 'S & SE in Bloom' judging next week.



03 July 2012 at Warnham LNR
Clearance and deadhedge building

TUESDAY -

Guide it down

The task is to clear an area for a childrens' campbuilding/bushcraft weekend and erect a deadhedge to surround it.

Local, well-known horticulturalist, Jean Griffin, will visit and assess HGG today for the It's Your Neighbourhood category of S&SE in Bloom.


26 June 2012 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge maintenance and access inprovements

TUESDAY - The title tells it all. Meet outside the depot at the farm.


21 June 2012 at Southwater Country Park
Orchid count - part two

THURSDAY - Change of task and site.

The new plan is to meet at Southwater CP to continue the count of the orchids.Hope they are easier to spot than the last time and that there are more of them.

Meet outside the Visitor Centre.



19 June 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Tree Safety Inspection

TUESDAY - Many of the trees are covered in ivy, making it difficult to tell if they are healthy and safe or need attention. Our job will be to remove the ivy and clear the surrounding area to make safe access for the inspection. Meet at Leechpool car park off Harwood Road.


12 June 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Footpath improvements

TUESDAY - We are to work on the footpath in Owlbeech Wood.

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park (near the childrens' play area).

As advised by email, this is a change to the originally advertised programme.



07 June 2012 at Hampers Lane
Footpath improvements

THURSDAY - The footpath off Hampers Lane needs our attention. Meet in Leechpool car park off Harwood Road. Don't try to find a parking place in Hampers Lane.


05 June 2012 at
Bank Holiday to mark Queen's Diamond Anniversary

HM The Queen

TUESDAY - No HGG task today.


29 May 2012 at Southwater Country Park
Orchid Survey --- followed by our AGM

TUESDAY - This is the HGG annual confusion and fun day at Southwater Country Park, involving lots of string, counting and lots of laughter. The purpose is to try to discover and count the tiny orchids growing in the turf at Southwater so that we will know if their numbers are increasing - or not. Hopefully, we have chosen the correct day and the correct weather to do this work. Our AGM will be held directly afterwards in the café and is guaranteed to be short with no frills. Your committee hope that you will be able to support the meeting. Meet outside the Visitor Centre.


24 May 2012 at Southwater CP
Improvements to steps

THURSDAY - There has been a change of plan. Our task today will be at Southwater CP where a set of steps leading to the fishing lake need improving. Time ran out on the Tuesday group which has done most of the work and it seemed a good idea to ask the Thursday group to complete the job. Can we do it? YES, WE CAN! It is forecast to be about 22 degrees at midday, so bring extra water to drink. Meet outside the Visitor Centre at the Country Park.


22 May 2012 at Southwater CP
Repairing steps

Constructing the steps - 2010 Constructing the steps - 2010

TUESDAY - Our task is to repair the fishing lake steps and then, the instructions say, "top up the fishing swims". Will we need a big bucket? Meet at the Southwater Country Park Visitor Centre.


15 May 2012 at off Lemmington Way
Clearing plastic tree tubes

TUESDAY - This could be a bigger job than it appears at first sight. The tree tubes are some distance from the parking and collecting place and getting to them may present a few difficulties (which we shall overcome). One of the difficulties is mud. Please wear wellies if you can. There will be no opportunity to clear items from the nearby ditch as it is too dangerous. The water is deep, swift and cold. Furthermore, it has debris beneath the surface which is difficult to spot but could cause problems for anyone in the water. site map Meet at the car park at the far end of Lemmington Way.


10 May 2012 at Wildwood
Fence removal and tree pruning

THURSDAY - This task is at Wildwood, off Guildford Road and is the turning opposite the entrance to Tanbridge School. Plenty of parking at side of road.


08 May 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Repairs and renovations

TUESDAY - This is the type of job we can really get out teeth into! There are new benches to install with brambles and scrub to cut back to give the picnic area a face lift. Meet at the car park off Harwood Road.


01 May 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Footpath building

TUESDAY - Loads of Type 1 aggregate to shovel, barrow, spread and tamp to make a super-path leading up to the heath. Meet in the Owlbeech Way car park.


26 April 2012 at Southwater CP
Repairing steps to play area

THURSDAY - The steps to the play area need attention and we are just the people to give it. Meet outside the Visitor Centre.


24 April 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Tree inspection

TUESDAY - Trunks of many trees in the wood are covered in ivy, making it difficult to tell if they are healthy and safe or need attention. Our job will be to remove the ivy and clear the surroundinmg area to make safe access for inspection. Park at Leechpool car park off Harwood Road.


19 April 2012 at Broadbridge Heath Village Centre
Ditch clearance

THURSDAY - NOTE: EXTRA WORK DAY! Postponed from last week, the task is to clear the ditch at the rear of the Broadbridge Heath Village Centre & Social Club, approached from Wickhurst Lane. There is parking on site. There may be no water in the ditch! Meet at the site. Plenty of parking space.


17 April 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Holly and laurel bash

TUESDAY - The holly and laurel on the footpath to Hampers Lane needs our attention. Seems like only last year we gave it a good bashing. Wait a minuute, it WAS last year. Meet in Leechpool car park off Harwood Road.


12 April 2012 at Warnham LNR
Completing clearance of butterfly ride

THURSDAY - NOTE: CHANGE OF SITE AND TASK Due to the need to complete this task before the weekend, we have changed today's task. We will drag all the rest of the cut material to the fire, burn it and make the site ready for the contractor to start his work on Monday. Those butterflies just don't appreciate how much we do for them! Meet at the Visitor Centre.


10 April 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Rhododendron clearance

TUESDAY - The rhodis near the car park are over-reaching themselves, getting too big for their roots and generally trying to take over. Our job is to cut them down to size (to the ground actually) and generally show who is boss. Meet in the car park off Harwood Road.


03 April 2012 at Warnham LNR
Completing the butterfly ride

TUESDAY - This is set to be the final effort to get the ride opened up so that butterflies can fly from one end to the other - if they are so inclined. And at this time of year, I understand that they are often so inclined. They don't like flying amongst trees, so we are removing the few that are left, in preparation for the further clearing of the ground. Then grass will grow, presenting an altogether different picture. Meet outside the Visitor Centre.


29 March 2012 at Easteds Lane, Southwater
Path clearance

THURSDAY - Easteds Lane is approached from Cedar Drive and is the old road that was in use before the by-pass cut it in two. Thereafter, it became a path for walkers and although the tarmac of the road is still there, it is overgrown with trees and bushes pushing through the road and encroaching at the sides. Our job is to increase the width of the path to give users an easier time. There are some parking places in nearby roads such as Porchester Close - see map - but be careful not to obstruct drives and turning spaces. There isn't much good parking in Easteds Lane. Meet at the spot where the path is blocked to vehicles by two posts. Easteds Lane location


27 March 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - This task is one of the most useful we can do. We are improving the chances of rare species living on newly formed heathland. The area could be thick with silver birch but isn't, partly because of the 'tree-mendous' work carried out by HGG. You helped to change nature!


22 March 2012 at Warnham LNR
Woodland management

THURSDAY - The Millpond Plantation will be the scene of our activities today, where we continue to make glades. Perhaps we can get some of the tree tubes removed as well.


20 March 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Felling & dead hedging

TUESDAY - the dead hedge along Forest Walk was built by HGG in 2006 and added to over the years but now needed attention. Dead hedge at Owlbeech Wood Dead hedges look great when constructed carefully with a stakes hammered in to support them at regular intervals. We made a good job of this which is seen by most people who walk in the wood. (Thanks to Rosalie for the pic.)


15 March 2012 at Motte & Bailey, Lemmington Way
Blackthorn cutting

Motte & Bailey, position of THURSDAY - It's useful to be able to conjure up Plan 'B' at times like this. The original plan, to cut back vegetation bordering a footpath off Lemmingtom Way, is scrapped because the neighbours got a team together and did it! Well done to them and thank you. We will work at the Motte & Bailey, also in Lemmington Way and reduce the blackthorn which we have cut several times in the past - and contractors have also attacked. The plants are only up to about two feet high and loppers will do the job nicely. Goggles will be supplied and worn. Trimming the spiky hedge alongside a nearby football pitch is still on the cards and we will plan it on the day.


13 March 2012 at Southwater CP
Hedge and tree planting

TUESDAY - we have lots of young trees and hedge plants to put into the ground. If you can, please bring a spade (or two!). In the past, we have cut down loads of trees and this is a chance to let some grow and help the environment. Trees and plants produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as well as providing homes for insects, small mammals and birds, providing windbreaks, marking boundaries and paths -- and looking nice for us humans.


08 March 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Alder felling

THURSDAY - Problem: Alders drink a lot of water which, unfortunately, is needed by plants further downstream. Solution: Fell some of the alders. Method: Call in Horsham Green Gym! It could be a good idea to refresh your knowledge of felling by looking at this first.


06 March 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland management

TUESDAY - Another chance to help claw back the heathland from the forest. Take away a few hundred silver birch (make sure they are either pulled out with roots or cut off at ground level) and eventually heather will start to to grow back, encouraging other bird and reptile species.


01 March 2012 at Warnham LNR
Sycamore clearance

THURSDAY - Sycamore has those 'helicopter' seeds which are cleverly designed to travel a distance from the parent tree and start growing easily. Fine, except that they can become a bit of a nuisance when there are too many of them crowded together as none of them will grow well. After we have finished today, there won't be so many. Meet outside the Visitor Centre.


28 February 2012 at Butterfly reserve at Warnham
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY - Our tasks are varied. The wooded/copse area below field 1 which is becoming too overgrown and wooded to be good for butterflies is an urgent job. Also a series of 'open scallops' along the path and some open glades are needed. They also want to create some bare ground patches as these will be very attractive to the spring butterflies (bare ground warms up quicker!) and will allow caterpillar food plants and other wildflowers to fight back against the grass species. Tragically, in August, due to a misunderstanding, much of the field was flailed. Our work is essential to attract butterflies back to the reserve. location of Butterfly reserve


23 February 2012 at Dutchells Copse
Holly clearance

THURSDAY - Holly is our target today and as it will be chipped, we have to leave it in neat piles to make it easy for the contractors to get hold of and put through the machine. There is every chance of visiting this wood again as there is lots more holly than even we can cope with in one morning. WARNING: This is a 'dog-walking wood' and it is obvious that not every owner picks up the mess. Dutchells Copse location Parking: there will be very few spaces in Rusper Road. Try Copse Close and nearby roads.


21 February 2012 at Southwater CP
Woodland thinning

TUESDAY - This is a continuation of the task at the end of January when we started to open up better views of the lake and restore some of the grassland. Meet at the Visitor Centre.


16 February 2012 at Chesworth Farm
Tree planting & Hedgerow maintenance (Experts Level!)

THURSDAY - Experts Level. Well we should be this time. Third week on the trot. This time, to add extra interest, blindfolds will be issued and one hand tied behind the back. Meet at the end of the lane, near the depot. If you are late arriving you may not be able to drive beyond the barrier.


14 February 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Valentine's Day birch pull - with chocolates

TUESDAY - Bribery is all it takes to get about thirty people out to Owlbeech Wood to assassinate a few silver birch. (Sorry, I couldn't find a pic of a green box - but Martin did!)


09 February 2012 at Warnham LNR
Hedge maintenance & planting

Men and Women at Work THURSDAY - Any resemblance to last week's task is purely intentional but the site has been changed to protect the innocent. The overflow car park, the scene of a previous famous victory, was our worksite today. Not sure about the 'planting' bit in the title of today's work though as the ground was frozen and too hard. Our task was to use the huge pile of wood chippings to mulch the young hedge plants and spread over much of the car park. By finishing time, we knew we had worked(!) and completed a neat job. Just wish we all had the same energy and strength as Tom but some of us are nearly three times his age and the rest feel as if they are after a morning like this. [Comments/complaints to the usual address, please]


07 February 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Mortar ponds and pine heath restoration

TUESDAY - Legend has it that the Canadian army created a few regular, circular ponds in these parts when practising with mortar rounds. In that case, why are there only a few holes? Forget that and concentrate on today's task of creating a few more holes to fill with water. This time you will use slightly safer spades and anyway, you're not Canadian.


02 February 2012 at Chesworth Farm
Planting & hedge maintenance

THURSDAY - This is a big area to maintain and we usually have several types of tasks on each visit. On this occasion, it looks like only two but that could change. Meet at the end of the lane, near the depot. If you are late arriving you may not be able to drive beyond the barrier.


31 January 2012 at Southwater Country Park
Woodland thinning

TUESDAY - Meet at the Visitor Centre. We want to restore grassland and open up views of the lake. It all sounds like another name for felling trees!


26 January 2012 at The Ducky, Broadbridge Heath
(More) pond and bankside work

THURSDAY Last week was an easy introduction to this work. locationof The Ducky Today, we really get down to it. Plenty to do and a bit of a challenge to us to do it. There is an island. How are we going to gain access? A small boat is being loaned. I forgot to ask if it has oars.


24 January 2012 at Leechpool Wood
Woodland and glade management

TUESDAY - If we open up a glade now, we may get bluebells soon. Meet at the Harwood Road car park. Here's one we did earlier. b-l-u-e-b-e-l-l-s


19 January 2012 at Brick Kiln pond , Lower Beeding
Pond and bankside work

THURSDAY - more details after site has been inspected. Location of pond We have done useful work here on three occasions. The last time was almost two years ago when we installed some nesting boxes, did a general tidy-up and, after a lot of work digging a deep hole, installed a few hefty pieces of timber to attract stag beetles. We can check if there are any at home when we call.


17 January 2012 at Owlbeech Wood
Bog and heath restoration

TUESDAY - Pond digging could be added to your CV after attending today's task. Three there already. Can we make it five? Other work includes assisting in the restoration of the Pine Heath. Meet at car park in Owlbeech Way.


12 January 2012 at Butterfly Reserve at Warnham
Laying woodchip to make a path

THURSDAY - The main task will be to barrow and lay the woodchip but there could be a bit of the usual scrub clearance if you are up to it. location of butterfly reserve at Warnham


10 January 2012 at Bartholomew Way
Tree felling

TUESDAY - Tree felling. Sorry that the strong wind made last week's task impractical. Felling wouldn't have been a good idea at all in those conditions. Tim Harris of BTCV was with us today to help us take down trees safely and efficiently. Tim Harris: safe felling instruction It could be a good idea to look at this first. location of Bartholomew Way


05 January 2012 at Owlbeech Wood and (later) Pizza Express, East Street
Birch bashing and (later) Annual Pizza Evening

THURSDAY - We will be continuing the major task of removing as many silver birch as we can in order to help the restoration of the heathland and attract rare species such as Nightjar, Woodlark, Adder and Green Tiger Beetle back to the area Annual Pizza Evening - This popular event, arranged by Mike and Dick, starts off in the Stout House at about 7.15 pm. After a drink and chat, we will move to Pizza Express in East Street where we are expected at 8.0 pm. Book early to avoid disappointment.


03 January 2012 at Bartholomew Way
Tree felling instruction and practical

TUESDAY - Should have been serious work today, with trees to fell and de-limb -- and a few minutes spent with an instructor showing us how to safely fell trees, where we want them to fall. BUT strong winds and lots of rain caused us to postpone the task until the following week.


29 December 2011 at Copse Close, off Rusper Road
Path maintenance

THURSDAY - An overgrown path needs the treatment that HGG does so well. If you access through Copse Close (there are at least two other ways to reach it) look for the twitten at the bottom left. Don't be tempted to cut back the leylandii on your right, although they need it! Parking is usually a problem in this area but as it's holiday time, some of the places in Rusper Road should be available. For a map see the event of 23rd February.


25 December 2011 at Horsham Green Gym
A Happy Christmas to all members and friends

Happy Christmas


22 December 2011 at Warnham LNR
Scrub and woodland thinning

THURSDAY - Millpond Plantation needs our attentions to help wild flowers to re-establish themselves. Sun light is the key and we must make sure it hits the spot by clearing anything in its way. A Festive Surprise is promised for today. Answers on a post card please and don't mince your words.


20 December 2011 at Warnham LNR
Glade creation

TUESDAY - Continuing our work in the Millpond Planation which needs scrub and woodland removing to create glades and allow in more light to allow wildflowers to re-establish. We are promised a Festive Surprise at elevenses. Will J**e dress up as Rudolph?


15 December 2011 at Chesworth Farm
Planting

THURSDAY - we will be planting bulbs and small trees. CHANGE OF SITE - TODAY'S TASK IS AT CHESWORTH - NOT AT WARNHAM AS PREVIOUSLY ADVISED.


13 December 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Clearance

TUESDAY - More little birch plants will be sent to that great wood in the skies if we do the job correctly. The aim is to create a more open area without the silver birch, which is looked upon as a weed in these circumstances.


08 December 2011 at Saxon Pond
Bramble and footpath clearing

THURSDAY - meet at the junction of Pondtail Drive and Nuthatch Way for a morning of bramble and footpath clearing. A local resident is interested in joining us for this task.


06 December 2011 at Pondfarm Ghyll
Holly cutting and other tasks

TUESDAY - Holly cutting, footpath tidying and litter collection provide the main focus for this morning. You may not see the litter at first . . . Meet in Cedar Drive, near the childrens' play area.


01 December 2011 at Warnham LNR
Felling

THURSDAY - Clearance of birch and blackthorn in Millpond Plantation will help create glades for wild flowers to re-establish. Beware of the sharp thorns on the blackthorn. Wear the protection provided.


29 November 2011 at Warnham LNR
Glade creation

TUESDAY - We want to help create glades in the Millpond Plantation and this involves a bit of felling of birch and blackthorn. Blackthorn is pretty in blossom but has pretty wicked thorns. Be careful and wear the protection provided.


24 November 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Bench installation

THURSDAY - A change to the printed programme. Bench Details We have two benches to install and today will be a good opportunity to practice our skills at digging neat holes, getting the bench top level and putting all the earth back in the hole. No kicking it into the bushes! Meet in the car park off Harwood Road.


22 November 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearing

TUESDAY - Further work to help reduce the number of silver birch encroaching the heathland. You can see we have made a difference; keep at it so we, and others, can enjoy the new environment.


17 November 2011 at Manor Fields woodland
Footpath maintenance

THURSDAY - Meet near the junction of Wallis Way and Manor Fields. We were last on this site in October 2007 - and it rained (hard) all the time. But we still carried out a neat job.


15 November 2011 at Dry Pond
Rhododendron clearing

TUESDAY At and near Dry Pond, there are hosts of rhodis and our task is reduce the them. The site can be approached from either Hampers lane or Sun Oak off Hammerpond Road. There is very limited parking in Hampers Lane. If you park at Sun Oak, walk up the track unless you don't mind mud on your car and a good test of it's suspension. We will be working with WSCC and Gatwick Greenspace under the overall direction of Natural England as this is a SSSI.


10 November 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Heathland rejuvenation

THURSDAY - THIS IS CHANGE TO THE PRINTED PROGRAMME Instead of hedging at Chesworth or even continuing the work of creating a path in the woods, we will be pulling out young silver birch to stop them taking over the world, the universe and everything. Plenty for everyone. Please meet at the car park at the top of Owlbeech Way as planned and we will walk from there. The weather forecast is good. See map.


08 November 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance

TUESDAY Reduce the encroachment of silver birch on the heathland and open up areas for Woodlarks and Nightjars by pulling up the young plants. Cutting them is not half so good because plants which have only been cut down have a chance to send out new shoots.


06 November 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Rhododendron Megabash

SUNDAY We will be among volunteers from other groups and members of the public helping on this all-day job towards the eradication of rhododendron ponticum from the heathland area. Why isn't rhodi wanted? Have a look at this for some of the answers. Put this date in your diary and don't miss the fun. It will be hard work but very worthwhile. A fire or fires will be needed to get rid of the piles of cuttings. Come all day and bring a packed lunch plus drinks. Meet at the car park near the play area at the top of Owlbeech Way. There may be a scramble for parking spaces so be imaginative. You could try Leechpool Wood car park and walk through the wood or find a sensible place to park in a nearby road.


03 November 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Scrub removal

THURSDAY THIS IS CHANGE TO THE ADVERTISED PROGRAMME Instead of halting the advance of the scrub in the quarry at Southwater, we are needed to continue the work of creating a path to make it easier for walkers to enjoy the woods. It's strenuous if you want to wheel barrows of Type One or easier if you want to fix the logs in position. Plenty for everyone. Meet at the car park at the top of Owlbeech Way. See map.


01 November 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Car Park rejuvenation

TUESDAY The job is the car park - or rather, its surrounds. The aim is to remove most of the vegetation around the car park so that a new start can be made to make it more open. Details are no doubt still being hammered out in smoke filled rooms but on the day, we will be told about the plans. Meet in the car park.


27 October 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Car park rejuvenation

THURSDAY The job is the car park - or rather, its surrounds. The aim is to remove most of the vegetation around the car park so that a new start can be made to make it more open. Details are no doubt still being hammered out in smoke filled rooms but, on the day, we will be told about the plans. Meet in the car park.


25 October 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Clearing siver birch

TUESDAY Continuing our superb work in making clearings free of silver birch, we will be working to pull up the young shoots. Pulling them up, roots an' all, kis much better than cutting them as they can't grow out of the ground! If you must cut them, please make sure that you do so within an inch of the ground, as that lessens the chance of new shoots appearing. Meet at car park near play area at top of Owlbeech Way.


20 October 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Path creation

THURSDAY Meet at the car park at Owlbeech Way for a morning of work creating a path by firmly fixing logs to form the edges.


18 October 2011 at Barns Green
Scrub clearance

TUESDAY Meet beside the cricket pitch. The task is to continue with the removal of the scrub surrounding the cricket field and burn it on site.


13 October 2011 at Dry Pond
Rhododendron clearance

THURSDAY There is still more rhodi at and close to Dry Pond which can be reached from Hampers Lane or from Sun Oak off Hammerpond Road. Park and walk up track unless you don't mind mud on the windows and doors and a good test of your car's suspension. We will be working with WSCC and Gatwick Greenspace under the overall direction of Natural England as this is a SSSI.


11 October 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Alder cutting

TUESDAY Bring wellies for this task as the area we will work in will be muddy or even very wet. Alders like wet conditions but are drinking the water before it can get further down the stream, causing a drought which is not helping other areas and plants. We will thin the alders and use the cuttings to make - or add to - one of our famous neat dead hedges. Actually, the one seen on German TV just the other week! Meet at Harwood Road car park.


06 October 2011 at Warnham LNR
The first week of our winter programme; meet

THURSDAY This is the first week of our winter programme and from now until the end of March, Horsham Green Gym will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can attend on either or both dates. Meet outside the Visitor Centre. The task involves felling in the Millpond Plantation.


04 October 2011 at Chesworth Farm
The first week of our winter programme; meet

TUESDAY This is the first week of our winter programme and from now until the end of March, Horsham Green Gym will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can attend on either or both dates. Meet outside the depot. The main tasks will be hedgerow maintenance and scrub removal.


27 September 2011 at Holders Close, Billingshurst
Pond clearance and other work

cleaning up afterwards First find your pond! It was virtually dry and even after two or three stalwarts had dug another foot of clay from the bottom, it was still dry -- well, slimey. Our workers were concentrated in and around the small area surrounded by bushes and a fence in Holders Close. The vegetation had not been touched by a blade for at least two years and it was obvious what we had to do. The hedge was given a short top and sides and weeded for part of its length. The low branches, brambles and nettles were successfully attacked and afterwards, you could tell we had been there. The sweeping and tidying of the pavement was exemplary. Only two residents approached us - perhaps the others were at work - and one thanked us by buying us a dough-nut each, saying he was pleased to see that the work was being done.


20 September 2011 at Southwater CP
Stream clearance

Our task is to contine the job we began last week and rid the stream at The Quarry of all the obstructions, collect the litter and install small dams to help the fish. Please wear wellies if you can. Meet outside the Vistor Centre.


13 September 2011 at Southwater CP
Stream clearance

Members soon got involved with our task of ridding the stream at The Quarry of all the obstructions and collecting litter. A large pile of traffic cones, old clothes, barbed wire, fence parts, tins, bottles and many unidentifiable articles was built for transportation off site. It was obvious by the teamwork that everyone was keen to do a good job. It was also obvious by the muddy clothing that many people had thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the work. Next week we will start building some small dams to help fish survive.


06 September 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance

"Where shall we three meet again?" "Upon Middle Heath, there to meet with more young birch trees." (Shakespeare may have said it better but this version had more meaning for today - and I mean, today! Also, we hoped and expected more than three to turn up.) In the event, the weather was pretty awful with continuous fine rain and gusts of wind whining in the trees near our work site. Nevertheless fourteen truly hardy members tramped over to Middle Heath and continued pulling up the young silver birchlings. Pulling up the small plants is better than cutting them as we are sure a lot of the cut stumps sprout again as soon as our back is turned and we leave the site. Our aim is to eradicate silver birch from the clearings. Unless we do, it won't be a clearing much longer. It is important for everyone involved to understand that if it isn't possible to pull out of the ground, with roots, the young trees have to be cut at ground level to prevent regrowth. Cutting it off even a few centimetres above ground level will encourage new shoots to appear. When the whistle was blown, coffee break was welcomed. To mark the occasion and to give heart to those brave (daft?) enough to be out, special permission was granted to open the chocolate biscuits. Next week it's back to Digestives. We are making a real impact on the silver birch in this area and were pleased to note that a nearby area we had worked on several times in the last year was obviously benefitting and looking more like the heathland we are aiming to generate. Still more work to do, though. An extra 'well done and thank you' today as the conditions were not what we are used to but we still amassed a large pile of arisings.


30 August 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Holly clearance

making a dead hedge The amount of holly on the Green Route in the wood needed to be reduced as it was blocking light and nearly blocking some of the path. With most of the team cutting holly and dragging it to the work site, a small number of members used it to create what turned out to be a very neat and dense, dead hedge. Stumps were painted with herbicide to deter them from growing ever again and the site was left looking as if it had a visit from the demon barber.


23 August 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Alder clearance

Using Drivall to drive in a stake to hold dead hedge Tom and Dick got very grubby but by the end of the morning had agreed that it was best to lift and drop in unison, this 'clanger thingy', which is very heavy and appears to get heavier as the morning goes on. While the ghylls are only very muddy, we were clearing some of the alder and holly which drink the water. The idea being to help keep the water levels high in order to allow other, smaller plants to flourish. The cuttings were used to make a very neat dead hedge bordering the path and another - not so immaculate - out of site of casual passers-by.


16 August 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance

Middle Heath called again and the little silver birch got it in the neck. "We are winning here but we won't see the results until next spring when there will be fewer silver birch and more heather", he said, optimistically. It's a nice spot to come to and it will be good to know we had a hand in its improvement.


09 August 2011 at Warnham LNR
Hedge maintenance and other work

One of those days when many people did many jobs. They included: a) moving barrow loads of bark chippings from the dump to the overflow car park and spreading them b) cutting back the advancing edges of said car park and pulling up the yellow ragwort c) clearing the overgrown miniature gardens just inside the reserve d) widening and tidying the path alongside the golf course. The sheep arrived in Mill Meadow today. They will graze the grass and small shoots of bushes. Very cheap lawnmowers.


02 August 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Alder clearance

Andreas Stamm and a couple of local helpers While the ghylls are dry enough, we cleared some of the alder and other young trees. This area is usually muddy even when not covered by water, so wellies were the dress of the day. Have a look here for information about Alder. We were joined by Andreas Stamm and film crew from German TV channel ZDF who wanted to find out why we do what we do and who does it. Volunteering is not as common in Germany as in the UK and the film crew wanted to experience Green Gym.


26 July 2011 at Southwater Country Park
Stream improvement

group waiting for instructions OK, Guv, We're 'ere. Wot do we do? Our task was to cut back the vegetation and open up the stream which runs alongside the play area. There was plenty of work and luckily, plenty of people to do it. Thank you to everyone; it was another good day.


19 July 2011 at Warnham LNR
Scrub clearance

The Mill Meadow had a lot of scrub and unwanted bushes which, after our work, were piled up near the gate awaiting disposal. It looks better and is ready for the sheep to munch their way through the rest and keep down any shoots daring to make an appearance.


12 July 2011 at Chesworth
BBQ

The BBQ was held in the same field as last year, at Chesworth and lived up to its billing. garlic bread, salads, burgers, sausages, fruit, yummy desserts, wine, beer, soft drinks, water, coffee, tea. With all the trimmings. Like home from home -- but better. From last year's report: "Salads and loads of sausages and burgers with all the trimmings, were prepared and cooked by members. Desserts were superb and lots of 'seconds' served." Ah, yes, I remember it well.


05 July 2011 at Leechpool Woods
Holly clearance

We tidied up (i.e. cut down) the holly and some of the laurel at the Hamper's Lane end of the boardwalk in Leechpool Wood. We have worked here several times and it was good to see that we make a difference.


28 June 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance

We pulled up more birch at Owlbeech today but the big event at elevenses was cake and buns because it was John A's 80th birthday. There had been a little planning 'behind his back' and with the connivance of a couple of members, two super cakes were smuggled up to the site and hidden so he wouldn't know what we had in mind. Amid a lot of munching of cakes and slurping of coffee (no champagne) Gwen read a poem she had composed about him, reminding us of some of his background and waved a singing cake knife. Yes, really. We sang 'Happy birthday' along with the knife and then presented the card. Happy 80th Birthday, John Then we returned to pulling up more little birch plants. There was a lot of good work done today and the area we worked in is starting to look rather bare. There can't be many more birch left. Can there?


21 June 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Rhodi and birch clearance

We set to work with a will but he had had enough by 11.30 and went home. It's hard work if you don't stop and ease your back every now and again. Many members seem to have adopted this idea and whilst easing said back, chatted to their neighbours. No prizes for hurting yourself and no prizes for working harder than anyone else on the site.


14 June 2011 at Southwater CP
Orchid survey

This is usually an occasion for lots of hilarity and shouting as we try to untangle ourselves from our lengths of string. Meet outside the Visitor Centre at Southwater CP. No physical hard work involved but bring your sense of humour as usual. String? Yes, essential to divide the land into 'parcels' so that we accurately count the rather elusive orchids. Count? Yes, we can do that too without the need to take off shoes and socks. Afterwards, we will hold our usually mercifully brief Annual General Meeting at the cafe starting as soon as we get untangled from the string.


07 June 2011 at
Holly cutting and applying preservative

The main group of members were at Leechpool Wood trimming back holly at the Hampers Lane end of the wood and making a very neat dead hedge. There is plenty more to trim back and lots of laurel needs our attention too. A smaller group was busy in the soon to be opened Human Nature Garden in Horsham Park. The task there was to apply two or even three coats of wood preservative to a dozen wooden sculptures and the small stage. We found an electrician working on the stage so we couldn't work there but applied our talents (for 'talents' read Cuprinol) to the 12 sculptures. They have all been well and truly dealt with. They were thirsty and soaked up a lot of the product. Preserving the groynes at the Human Nature Garden in Horsham Park


31 May 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Silver Birch thinning

At Owlbeech Wood. Here we go again. You know what to do.


24 May 2011 at Motte & Bailey site off Lemmington Way
Cutting back Blackthorn

The Motte & Bailey (Horsham town's only Ancient Monument) is approached from Lemmington Way. We have worked here a few times before and it was good to be able to get at the blackthorn before it took over and became a very difficult task. Although the blossom is lovely, it also has wickedly sharp thorns which, if they penetrate skin, can set up an infection unless dealt with correctly. Wearing goggles with long sleeves rolled down was a requirement. All our members came away unscathed. Which is more than you can say for the blackthorn.


17 May 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Laurel and holly clearance

At Leechpool Wood. Samesky, the people who designed the willow dome and showed us how to build it, want a load of laurel for a similar project in Ashdown Forest next Saturday. While clearing the laurel we will reserve the ends of the branches (like we did last year) so they have got something for the weekend.


10 May 2011 at Tanbridge Park
Big tidy-up of footpaths

Must be that time of day! This carboard cut-out usually needs more than two spades to hold it upright. Our task was to cut and clear vegetation - such as ivy, brambles and laurel - which were decreasing the width of the path. The cuttings were left in a pile to rot down. It's possible that we can return to this pleasant site to work on the other paths.


03 May 2011 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Rhododendron clearance

Continuing our work to clear more of the invasive, poisonous, non-native shrub. Lots to do; arrive early in order to get plenty of exercise. We will burn the cuttings. At Forest Grange (look for sign) at OS map ref TQ208 321 location map


26 April 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Clearance work

On a lovely, sunny morning (not too hot as in the past week) we pulled up or cut down young silver birch plants to our hearts content. It's not exciting work but it will be worth it when we see the resulting heather next year.


19 April 2011 at Owlbeech Wood and other work at Holbrook Primary School
Rhododendron clearance

A never-ending task is to eradicate, or at least to control, the massive amount of rhodi in our neighbourhood. It's a worthwhile task as it lets other plants have a go at living and they will provide better habitat for the animals, birds and insects. BUT -- the task was changed at the last minute to clearing silver birch, leading to protests and comments like, "If we had known, we wouldn't have come". Nevertheless, a large amount was cleared and taken from the site. Also - some members were working at Holbrook Primary School, North Heath Lane finishing the task started last week. Afterwards, a teacher wrote: "Please pass on our thanks to all those hard working members of Horsham Green Gym who did such a great job of clearing the site for our memorial garden. It is marvellous to finally be able to get into the area. The children will be so pleased to see what you have done. Thank you also for clearing up so efficiently."


12 April 2011 at
Silver Birch gets it again

at Owlbeech Wood - silver birch thinning and deadhedge construction was the main task today for most members. at Holbrook School - however, the task was to clear rough land to help with creation of a new garden. The children have designed the garden in memory of a pupil who died last year. This is a narrow, long site and until some of the brambles and nettles are cleared, only a few people are able to work on it. This task will be continued next week.


11 April 2011 at The Drill Hall, Denne Road
Public Meeting

The meeting was attended by over 90 interested people. Instead of a general meeting, groups of 6 - 10 sat round tables to discuss and record their ideas and views on the plan for the formation of a group to be called The Friends of Chesworth Farm. The views will be collated, summarised and published in the near future. Sufficient people recorded their interest in belonging to the committee of the newly formed group and it was obvious from comments that many local people were keen that Chesworth is retained as one of Horsham's quiet attractions. It is not intended that the new group will be an active conservation group in the same way as HGG. You will probably have seen in the local paper that an outline plan has been submitted to build houses at the edge of the Farm and this may only be the beginning . . .


05 April 2011 at Chesworth farm
Multitude of tasks

The variety of work today at Chesworth Farm, involved repairing chestnut paling, planting gorse, hedge pruning, mulching, clearing a fence line of trapped rubbish, clearing scum from the surface of the river (yuk!) and clearing a blockage in the river. During the latter task one or two people got wet, one of them so wet that he went in again as, he said, it didn't matter after the first time! You would have had to be there to believe it!


29 March 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Felling and dead hedging

Today, our task was to continue thinning the dense birch woodland to the north of Forest Walk. The felled trees were dragged to build the dead hedge bordering the Walk.


22 March 2011 at Warnham LNR
Birch clearance

man and woman carrying cut tree A very satisfactory morning's work, exercise, fresh air and fun. A larger than usual group got stuck in to the task of clearing silver birch less than four inches diameter, burning the brash and using the trunks to create a border to the emergency vehicle track we carved out last year. Four inches was widely interpreted by some, probably fishermen.




15 March 2011 at Capel private reserve
Clearance near lakes

trying to get heavy tree out of hole The team cleared a large number of youngish trees which had the mischance to grow in the wrong place. Meanwhile, a replacement for the Service tree we had inadvertantly cut down in February, had been found nearby. Our penance involved a small (but muscular) team digging it out of the clay but leaving a good size ball of soil round its roots which meant that it was very heavy. Then, with a small tractor, it was dragged to the original site and planted.




08 March 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Glade maintenance

collecting cut brambles Our task was to clear the thin layer of scrub and brambles in the two, adjoining woodland glades that were created by our group, and others, a few years ago to allow bluebells and other wild flowers to flourish. We also cut down a few trees to allow more light to reach the floor and used the cuttings to strengthen the dead hedge.


01 March 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling

to the woods! Plan B swung into action again this week. It's amazing how often Plan B gets pulled out of the filing cabinet. Before we met, it had been decided (at 'top level') that rhododendron posed more of a risk to mankind than silver birch. But no one told us until we were ready to go to do battle. So there we were, poised and ready to deal death to little, defenceless silver birch, when from on high came the order to think 'RHODI'. Which we did. Well most of us did, but a few die-hards decided that some older silver birch should be put to the sword (or saw). They felled a few trees, which came down with enormous thumps, and looked very happy with themselves (the volunteers not the trees). The rest of our very large group busied themselves at attacking the rhodi, dragging it to the fire and casting it into the flames. Flames? There should have been flames but the fire took a bit of coaxing to take hold and didn't really get going until after we had stopped for coffee and biscuits. Thereafter, we had a fire so hot that, at times, we couldn't get near it. Many thanks to all who took part today. It was a very successful clearance. There's lots more to clear! So please come again, soon.


22 February 2011 at Warnham LNR
Tidying up

Plan 'B' moved smoothly into operation today as we switched tasks and site, within the Nature Reserve. There were many untidy piles of birch and ash scattered about a large area of the reserve and we were tasked to gather them together and burn them. Three hot fires - hot means little smoke - consumed the wood. Well done all. This week, discovered that a nearby wild service tree had been found and marked for us to view. Not to cut down as, one member said, that would have been an out-of-service tree. For more information, have a look at this.


15 February 2011 at Capel private reserve
Clearance of willow

We thought we would never know what a service tree looks like as someone cut it down before we clapped eyes on it. BUT... look at next week's report! Our task was to clear a load of willow and other bushes and young trees growing in a marshy depression which at one time held a bed of phragmites (reeds). It was a muddy business but we cleared a length of it and the cuttings burnt on our tame arsonist's fire. Now, we hope, the reeds will return.


08 February 2011 at Chesworth Farm
Planting and clearing

heeling in a young bush Putting the boot in. An important part of planting. Be careful not to break off little branches! This was a continuation of the tasks of two weeks ago which we weren't able to complete. We wanted to finish planting the hedge and start planting in another area. Also, the area around the old ROC post had to be tidied. All completed. Job done.


01 February 2011 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch Pulling

This is our favourite, unfavourite job but is so worthwhile and we will soon see what a difference has been made by reducing the number of silver birch and allowing other species to flourish and attract wild life. A massive turnout of keen members helped to fuel a huge fire -- well it was by the time we went home. At that time, we noticed that there is still a large area nearby which is in need of our 'treatment'.


25 January 2011 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge planting and clearance

Hedge planting Four or five plants per metre in two lines (Photo courtesy of Jenny and Sarah) We completed about two thirds of the length of the space for the new hedge although we wish the ground wasn't filled with so many stones and bricks. This was another opportunity for us to add something to the landscape for the future. Just think, in about ten years time, we may be called back to trim the hedge. Just hope the path won't be too muddy for our zimmer frames and wheelchairs. The thought of working near the disused ROC bunker attracted other members to the clearing task and a longer walk to reach it. We will be back at Chesworth in two weeks time (note change of site and task) as there is more work to do and we can complete these tasks.


18 January 2011 at Leechpool Wood
Clearance work plus the Historical Survey

The pillow mound The pillow mound The main group of members were with Jake, clearing more of the unwanted - but not entirely unloved - in order to provide growing space for the wanted, but not entirely loved. A small group was involved with the first stages of a historic survey of the wood. It took us a little while to get organised but were pleased to identify an artificial rabbit warren, known as a pillow mound, dating from the 18th century. Also, see 'LiDAR survey' in the green menu at the top, left of the screen. An even smaller group got left behind and spent a pleasant couple of hours talking together and wandering round the wood trying to find anyone they knew! Sorry guys and gals, I think we were just too keen to get started on the tasks.


11 January 2011 at top of lane from Sun Oak
Rhododendron clearance

Cutting and pulling to fire OK, the fire looks a bit weak now but you ought to have seen it a bit later! photo by Alison. For more, use the link in the menu at the left The approaches to this site were extremely muddy! Then a seeded field had to be circumnavigated. As usual; show 'em the task, give 'em the tools and HGG members were busy hacking sawing and snipping the enemy. Plenty of work and plenty of people to do it. By the end of the morning, a sizeable chunk of real estate had been rescued from the rhodis and two fires had consumed most of the cut branches.


06 January 2011 at Pizza Express, East Street
Pizza celebration evening

To celebrate another successful year of Horsham Green Gym and its enthusiastic members, we met at a local pub and then walked round to Pizza Express for a meal. Mike had placed the orders earlier in the day so we didn't have to wait too long for the grub. The staff looked after us very well and all of us enjoyed the whole evening. Must do it again sometime.


04 January 2011 at Warnham butterfly reserve
Improvement of butterfly habitat

Cutting brambles Alison took this photo against the weak sun and produced this fine picture Following our successful first vist to this spot, we returned to continue clearing unwanted bushes and brambles. It was muddy (boy, was it muddy!) and we were glad of our wellies. The recent snow had flattened the grass and we found many squishy hollows in the uneven field. We left behind several large heaps of cut material which will provide shelter for countless insects, birds and small mammals.


01 January 2011 at
A Happy New Year

2011 image A Happy New Year to all members and friends of Horsham Green Gym


28 December 2010 at
Bank Holiday

Happy New Year Today is a Bank Holiday as Christmas Day and Boxing Day fell at the weekend. Conserve your energies, recharge your batteries and prepare for more HGG tasks in 2011. A Happy New Year to you all.


25 December 2010 at
Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas We wish all members and friends a Happy Christmas.


21 December 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
should have been Birch Pulling (with hot sausages and mince pies to follow) but...

Working to keep fire going A reminder of a recent, warmer day Due to the weather conditions, we decided that it was most sensible to cancel today's task. Sorry and all that to the hardy few who wanted to go ahead, never mind the snow. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 4th January at the new butterfly reserve at Warnham. That's not Warnham LNR, in case you wondered.


14 December 2010 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Rhododendron clearance

BAC 1-11 Living and working near Gatwick, the noise of the 1-11 was very familiar We have done a lot of good work clearing rhododendron on this site but there is more to do of this very worthwhile task. Today we had a roaring and crackling fire ("Sounds like a BAC 1-11 taking off", said one member, standing nearby) which had been started early so it was hot enough to burn the rhodis as soon as we started cutting. We also planned the next stage of cutting (and burning) for early in 2011 when we intend to continue our swathe of destruction which sounds awful but is gradually returning the wood back to - well, a wood!


07 December 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Glade creation

Impromptu see-saw Yet another chance for us to get our (saw) teeth into cutting down silver birch that were unfortunate enough to grow in the wrong place, along Forest Walk. We used them to improve the dead hedge already worked on this year. The glades we create enable other plants to thrive as they will have more light. We must have been busy as many of us felt more than usually tired at the end of the morning but these two members of the group had enough strength to play on a see-saw - and no, it didn't break.


02 December 2010 at Pizza Express, East Street
POSTPONED Celebration Evening

Our planned Pizza evening has had to be postponed. The snow and icy conditions make it an unsuitable time to ask people to leave cosy homes (hope you are cosy) and struggle into town. Then there's the getting home again... The least traffic on roads at present, the better. We have provisionally booked the 'upstairs room' at Pizza Express for Thursday 6th January at 8pm.


30 November 2010 at Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Glade creating

After trudging through light snow but freezing cold, we rendezvoused at a site we had previously worked at clearing trees and old tree tubes and had built a dead hedge. This time we reduced the height of many old stumps which had looked an ugly sight and burnt a number on a fire which helped keep some of us warm. The resulting cleared area will become an open glade after a bit more work and is part of the overall plan for that section of the Local Nature Reserve.


23 November 2010 at Capel
Coppicing (part two)

Two men in a boat Another morning well spent clearing the rest of the trees and bushes around the small lake at this lovely spot in Capel. Most of the cuttings were burnt and, to save long-distance dragging, we had two fires on the go. The owner is very pleased to be able to see his lake again and asked us to givea thought to the local kingfisher. Accordingly,a perch was left for him, right over the water, and we look forward to hearing that it is used. Once again the intrepid duo pushed the boat out, landed on the island, did the job and returned safely to dry land. 'Twas a pity though that a mobile phone slipped from a pocket and, as some wag remarked, is only now fit for 'wring' tones.


16 November 2010 at Barns Green
Brambles clearance

Not cutting the rose hips After it was pointed out that it was not a good idea to cut back the rose hips, they were left for the birds On a gorgeous, bright but frosty morning, we worked at cutting down the the brambles along the fence by the cricket ground. By the end it was obvious that we had done a neat and thorough job.


09 November 2010 at Capel
Coppicing (part one)

Hoopoe This is a new site for us and it turned out to be well worth the bit of extra travelling to reach it. It's a private nature reserve, created from fields and a stream by the owners over a period of at least 25 years, to what is now an interesting and varied mix of grass, trees and water. The owner told us of some of the unusual bird visitors he has a seen (a hoopoe, for instance) and his efforts to net a kingfisher in order to ring it. We burnt much of the young willow and alder we cut from around a pond and created several log piles using the thicker tree trunks. Two brave members sallied forth in a small boat to capture an island. They destroyed many of the enemy saplings before arriving back on dry land, alive, well and dry! We are looking forward to our next visit.


02 November 2010 at Warnham LNR
Make the world a better place

Sawing through a tree The correct way to make a cut "Plenty of work, needs plenty of people" is what we said and more than 30 members arrived to help give the good news to silver birch and a few other species. The 'arisings' were used to build dead hedges. With more light reaching the ground, now that the trees are gone, grass and other small plants will start to thrive and there will be sunny glades rather than gloomy copses. Nearby, a couple of other members released hundreds of tree tubes from prickly blackthorn and hawthorn and stacked them, ready for disposal. A good day's work. Well done to all.


26 October 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Dead Hedge improvement

Picture of previous work Here's one we did earlier The task was to remove silver birch from the area on the left as you walk along Forest Way and use them to improve the already built (by HGG), but slowly rotting, dead hedge. There was plenty there to get our teeth into (teeth of saws, I mean) and lots of heavy lugging of trees to form the barrier to humans and refuge for non-humans. (I know that Halloween is approaching but I don't mean the undead!) At the same time, a small but very select (we have to call them that otherwise they don't turn up!) group was removing thorny bushes at a local football field where the work space was too tight to allow our full team to play.


19 October 2010 at Junction of Harwood Road, Redkiln Way and Comptons Lane
Focus on the Crocus

Picture of planting In conjunction with the Rotary Club, our task was to plant 5,000 crocus bulbs on the large traffic roundabout. We were joined by Rotarians and four senior pupils from Forest School. This event is part of the 'Thanks for Life' project involving the clubs and members of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI), to highlight the humanitarian work of Rotarians with a number one aim of helping to eradicate polio throughout the world. Purple. Crocus. Gettit? Also, on the same theme, click here Planting took no time at all due to the number of people who helped and their enthusiasm; we look forward to spring and seeing the purple flowers.


12 October 2010 at Field, off Tilletts Lane, Warnham
Butterfly habitat improvement

Talking and enjoying refreshments Refreshments: a most important part of the proceedings Two meadows and a small area of woodland near Warnham have been taken out of agricultural production to safeguard habitat for rare butterflies found there. So far, 30 species have been recorded in the area including 5 UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species. Whilst some of the management of the fields can be undertaken by the farmer using machinery, it is important that the important features of the habitat are preserved, and there is a need for manual cutting of regenerating scrub that is trying to turn the meadows back into woodland. The site is open to the sun, as we found, which added to the pleasure of working on this worthwhile project. We have made a difference to the site but more work is needed and there may be a chance to return to continue the task. David Bridges, who leads the Warnham Butterfly Project, wrote to say: "Thank you to members of the Horsham Green Gym for their magnificent efforts today! Your hard work is greatly appreciated and will be hugely beneficial for the butterflies next season. I hope some of your members will wish to join us on one of the butterfly walks we run next year. I collected many email addresses to keep those folk informed but if anyone else wishes to be added to my email list for the butterfly project, my address is: butterfly0@btinternet.com" (Link not clickable to avoid spam. Please copy and paste.)


05 October 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
More uprooting and cutting of young silver birch

More young silver birch was pulled out or cut down today. This is not a favourite job but at least the rain held off and it was warm. Oh! - and we also added a huge amount to the already large piles of cut and uprooted silver birch. We look forward to seeing how many other plants start to generate in the cleared area. You could almost say, "Watch this space!"


01 October 2010 at Horsham area
Help needed for 2011 census

HGG has been asked to publicize the fact that recruitment is now underway for temporary full-time and part-time workers to assist with the 2011 census. The roles would be ideal for retired or semi-retired staff, returners to work, students or people looking for a short term boost to income. Go to www.censusjobs.co.uk for details.


28 September 2010 at Pond Farm Ghyll, North - Southwater
Coppicing

Pond Farm Ghyll - North map Thanks to our members, groups of hazel trees have now been coppiced in this wood, allowing more light to reach the ground and the opportunity for the hazel to thrive. Cut branches have been used to create 'dead hedges' which line the paths and which will, in time, grow over with brambles and similar climbing plants, rot down to feed the many different kinds of fungi and provide a hibernaculum for a wealth of invertebrates over the winter, as well as small mammals such as Field Voles and Wood Mice. Members have surveyed this wood for evidence of Dormouse but couldn't find any. Our litter collection filled two bags but we didn't have time to complete this and know there is more lying around.


21 September 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance in Middle Heath

It was warm work but we can take it and did another good job of pulling out or cutting the young silver birch to allow heather and other plants to flourish to return the area to heathland. One more effort next month and we can go on to bigger and better things. One bit of excitement was the interview on video by the WSCT. We had 'mentioned' our Outstanding award from the RHS and SSEiB to them and they were good enough to follow it up with interviews etc.


15 September 2010 at Horsham Park
Update on previous day's work

Chipper in action The following day, contractors chipped the cut material. Feed branches in at one end and wood chips come out of the other. Noisy but effective.


14 September 2010 at Horsham Park
Laurel and rhodi clearance

The site, after our work This was the scene shortly after we had finished work. It's a pity that we don't have a 'before' picture but we can assure you that you wouldn't have seen much as the bushes were too tall to see over. As we couldn't work last week due to heavy rain, we were super efficient today. Rhodis and laurel were the main targets with brambles and litter also high on the list. Five full bags of litter were collected -- and the 10kg weight from one end of a set of dumb bells. Doh! This big task was complete by the usual finishing time due to everyone in our large group working well. Thank you to you all. The result of all the work was plain to see: 1. a heck of a lot of cut bushes 2. daylight where before it was dark green vegetation. As the cuttings are to be shredded by contractors, we left the big branches 'neatly' stacked with all the butt ends facing out.


07 September 2010 at Horsham Park
should have been: More rhodis bite the dust

For the first time in four years, HGG were unable to start work due to incessant and heavy rain. We have worked in the wet on many occasions but today's weather was extreme and the decision was made to pack up and go home. Thank you to all those who turned up ready for work. True to form, about 90 minutes later, warm sun was drying our clothes and boots hung out on the line. We aim to carry out the task at the same site next week.


31 August 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearance in Old Heath

One upon a time there were thousands of silver birch ...now there are NONE! (Not in that area, anyway.) Continuing our battle to reduce the numbers of these trees, we worked at the fenced-in and gated field with the young cows. They were intererested in our work but didn't join in. It was a lovely, sunny morning and we soon found out how hot it was as we started pulling up or cutting the young trees. By elevenses time, we could see what a difference we were making as purple heather was being revealed. By the time we knocked off, we had cleared an area of about 80m x 20m. Jake reckoned it was the best job HGG had done since he joined us. (Not sure what that says about our other jobs!????)


24 August 2010 at near Dry Pond
Rhododendron clearance

Dry Pond map This was our third visit to this area and there is enough to keep us here for a month of Sundays. We are helping to control this highly invasive, non-native plant and today's group of keen Green Gymmers got stuck in without delay. The huge fire consumed all our cuttings and made a warm day even warmer. By the end, we had a cleared an area the size of a small amphitheatre which, someone remarked, could be the venue of a rock concert. (This will have to be soon, because rain will increase the depth of the nearby pond and the site will be under water.) Ripe blackberries in the nearby hedges attracted some people who picked them and took them home.


17 August 2010 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Rhododendron clearance

Fire! Thanks to a fire started early by a member who is a keen conflagrationist, we were able to deal with all the rhodis cut this morning. We were surprised that the site was now covered with thick, high bracken. I hope we all checked ourselves for ticks afterwards. Didn't I mention ticks? Have a look at http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/ticks.htm


10 August 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch clearing in Old Heath

We had previously worked at this site and the results were plain to see - in a manner of speaking. There weren't many silver birch. We had pulled them up when young and it was good see how effective we had been. It rained most of the morning but in the best traditions of HGG, we just got on with it.


03 August 2010 at Warnham LNR
Vehicle path clearance

Our task was to clear a path suitable for an ambulance or 4x4 vehicle entering the Nature Reserve by the 'back' gate, to reach other wide paths in case of the need to evacuate an injured or ill person. The team soon had the first hundred metres cleared of obstacles and pushed on to the fence near the railway line where a large hole was discovered. Marking the hole for later examination and covering, we pushed on another 500 metres, cutting, sawing, swiping, polishing (no, not the last) to the end of the track where we found the beehives. Walking back again, we reckoned we'd done what was requested but hoped none of us was in that ambulance.


27 July 2010 at Dry Pond
Rhododendron clearance

On this, our second visit to the area, we extended our swathe of destruction to help control this highly invasive, non-native plant. Working near the hot fire on a hot day made the team thirsty and refreshments were very welcome at elevenses. By the end of the morning, we could see daylight when before there was none (well, very little) and we plan to continue on the same axis of advance to reach the field path, on our next visit at the end of this month.


20 July 2010 at Castlewood Lake, Southwater
Path clearance

We worked in this area once before and our job this time was similar: clearing a path through the 'jungle'. This time, we also piled dead branches close by the fence to try to deter youngsters from coming through. A second task was to continue building the steps near Lennoxwood lake. This flight looks impressive and on a hot day such as today, thoughts went to the installation of a stair lift. Much easier to get to the top!


13 July 2010 at Chesworth Farm
Barbecue

Barbecue Held in a field at Chesworth, rather than by the river, the barbecue was a great success thanks to the planning and organising by three members. Salads and loads of sausages and burgers with all the trimmings, were prepared and cooked by members. Desserts were superb and lots of 'seconds' served. Both the rain and the sun stayed away but it wasn't cold and we were happy chatting with our friends. Guests included Kevin who it was good to see again and to hear about his experiences with Sussex Wildlife Trust. He features in the Home page picture where your help is requested to create an appropriate caption.


12 July 2010 at Denne Park
Installing kissing gate

New kissing gate For easier access to the public footpaths, we were asked if we could install kissing gates to replace three stiles in Denne Park. This was a challenge and an opportunity for Horsham Green Gym to widen its experience and make another useful addition to the local scene which would be appreciated by all who used the gates. With Nick, an Access Ranger from WSCC, our newly formed 'specialist team' sorted out the bits of wood and after deciding where, got round to discussing who should dig the holes to fit them into. After lots of useful advice, comments and hard digging and tamping, the gate was fixed, tested and approved. We intend fixing the other two on successive Mondays.


08 July 2010 at Southwater CP
The new steps

Man with mattock That 'end of morning' feeling


06 July 2010 at Southwater Country Park
A step in time

Large planters for Southwater CP The major task this week was creating steps up the slope near Lennoxwood fishing lake in order to continue the path created a few months ago. Twelve steps - pictured below - were completed under rather difficult conditions (like rock-hard ground) and sycamores felled to create a dead hedge alongside. This task will be continued on our next visit. Another task involved planting on a grand scale. Huge planters (pictured above) had been transferred from The Forum due to to resurfacing work and we cleared them up a bit before installing some begonias. They look bright and cheerful.


01 July 2010 at Horsham hospital
Hospital garden

Working in the garden We were asked to work on the garden outside the chapel at Horsham hospital as it was becoming overgrown. Over two mornings, we dug over the three beds of hard, compacted clay, forked in some soil conditioner, pruned bushes, pulled out bindweed and brambles, cut down unwanted ash and sycamore cleared the path of most of its weeds which had been growing through the gravel and found that we had more rubbish than we had rubbish bags. The result is a much neater garden but it needs attention on a weekly or monthly basis. Offers anyone? It would mean a little committment but would be worthwhile. One member is interested already. Will YOU join her?


29 June 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Thinning silver birch & other tasks

A third morning this month was spent controlling the spread and growth of silver birch which, if left unchecked, would soon dominate the woods. Dog-walkers and other passers-by must wonder what crimes we committed to be sentenced to this form of punishment. A couple of orienteering sign posts were also installed and other members walked 'half-way round the world' to a small forest of Himalayan Balsam which was attacked in the usual efficient way. There is more to be pulled at this spot so we will keep an eye on it and return soon. It isn't yet in flower so we have a bit of time to catch it before it starts to seed. Each plant can produce 800 seeds which it can propel up to seven metres. If you are not too bored by now, you could go to this link for a bit more information. Barbecue? What Barbecue? Click to find out.


22 June 2010 at Owlbeech wood
was to be pulling Himalayan Balsam but is now pulling Silver Birch

Himalayan Balsam Himalayan Balsam Back to our self imposed target of ridding the world of Silver Birch. The World? We'll settle for this part of Owlbeech Wood. It was a very hot morning but everyone set to with the target in mind and by the time we went home, another few hundred of the pesky critturs were no more. The reason we were not working on the Himalayan Balsam today is that the efficient pulling job last June resulted in nil growth in that area this year. Hooray! There is some yet to be pulled out but it's a task for only a very few people - not our usual size group. It's also rather difficult to reach due to nettles, thistles and brambles. Barbecue? What Barbecue? Click to find out.


15 June 2010 at Owlbeech wood
Thinning silver birch

Silver birch, if left unchecked, would soon dominate the woods. Today, most of the group concentrated on pulling out, or failing that, cutting close to the ground, young silver birch. We were successful in clearing a large area but can see what the target for the next two weeks is. Others hacked away at rhododendron ponticum and left it looking as if it had gone through ten rounds with Mohammed Ali. It was not about to get up again. A third group set off deep into the undergrowth and trees with bags of quick setting concrete, big tubs of water and some sign posts. On their return, they were looking pleased with themselves and we noticed they were no longer carrying the signposts. Barbecue? What Barbecue? Click to find out.


08 June 2010 at Southwater CP
Orchid survey and our AGM

Orchid survey After sorting ourselves out and realising that it was a combination of cat's cradle, skipping and hunt the thimble, we enjoyed spotting the elusive orchids in the long, wet grass. This task is very different to those we usually carry out. The numbers of orchids in the Country Park appear to be increasing. At our AGM, held directly after the task, members approved the accounts, elected three new committee members, reviewed last year's tasks and heard about planned events.


01 June 2010 at At football field
Ditch clearance and 'sweep' for remaining tree tubes

Sawing through tree trunk Cutting through a rather tough trunk Rain rather spoilt the day but not our attitude and a large number of plastic tree tubes and stakes were retrieved from the tightly packed trees. The trailer was filled so we piled the remaining timber beside it for another trip. Although we collected a good amount of litter, we were pleased to see that the area had fewer tins and plastic than seen on previous visits. Several man-made (well, probably boy-made) dams of the stream in the ditch were cleared and the larger pieces of timber taken away. Right at the end of the morning, a member who had explored further into the trees, announced that there were 'loads more' tree tubes to get out. We feel another visit coming on.


25 May 2010 at Chesworth Farm
Hedge tidying

HGG members working on the hedge We worked on the hedge near the pond and after cutting it down to size, cut the grass under it and spread mulch to help prevent weed growth. Weeds and grass compete with the hedge plants for moisture from the ground and we want the hedge to continue to flourish .


18 May 2010 at Near Coltstaple
Woodland management

On a warm, sunny morning we attacked encroaching trees, bushes and scrub in a long but narrow field, usually inhabited by a few horses. The horses had been taken out before we arrived. Splitting into three or four teams seemed to work well and they all did a pretty comprehensive job of making the field look bigger. The horses should be pleased. The landowner was pleased and so were we as it was the kind of task where we excel. Although we checked for nests before cutting, we didn't see any but were rewarded by a cuckoo calling and finding a toad.


11 May 2010 at 'The Ducky', Warnham Road, Broadbridge Heath
Bramble and jetsam clearance

Cutting back the brambles widened the paths, which has given the area a more open, welcoming appearance. A new path was blazed across the deepest nettles and we even had time to smooth out some of the high spots and fill the depressions. 'Our man in the water' removed a lot of debris starting with a flimsy 'bridge' made of plastic boxes and bits of wood. Other finds included car wheels with tyres, spare tyres, a hub cap, a length of plastic fencing, fence posts and rails, a large plastic box (empty) and the 'obligatory' traffic cone. Lengths of soggy wood taken from the water were placed in the bushes fairly close to the road and these have now been removed from the site by a helpful neighbour. We carried out a litter 'sweep' for crisp packets, bottles and etc. and included tangles of old barbed wire which were also safely collected. We intend to return in autumn to work on the island -- if we can get across to it. Bring back the flimsy bridge!


04 May 2010 at Chesworth Farm
Bird & insect boxes making

Making bird boxes Several bird and bat boxes had previously been cut to size by two members and all we had to do was nail 'em together. We never got round to fixing them up. That pleasure will come later. Also, a number of orienteering signs were cut and painted while others weeded a young hedge and applied a lot of mulch to prevent more weeds growing.


27 April 2010 at Castlewood Lake, Southwater
Creating path at Castlewood Lake

Nightingale Our task on this first visit to this lovely site was to create a meandering path through the 'bush' and near the boundary fence. Within seconds of having the job explained, volunteers were 'at it' to such effect that the task was completed within an hour! After doing a litter 'sweep', we pushed off early. Unfortunately for those who had gone home, they missed the joy of hearing a nightingale warbling on the edge of the Country Park. This link will take you to a page with more information on this visiting bird. If you have broadband, try a search on You Tube to hear the song.


20 April 2010 at Leechpool Woods
Rhodi & laurel cutting and collecting

Woven willow dome Who said, "Hooray, this is the day we can at last get to grips with the survey of the woods"? OH, NO, IT ISN'T! It's off (again). Unfortunately, the aircraft carrying out the LiDAR survey had to fly lower than its usual mission height while in the vicinity of Gatwick. This resulted in narrower image strips of the ground which meant another flight being requested to fill in the missing bits. The flight was carried out but the new 'bits' are not yet processed. Therefore, all hands were available to amass rhodi and laurel branches, to a certain size, for use as decoration, later. (No, I don't know what for either.) While carrying out this mission, we drastically reduced the numbers of the aforementioned species which should inhibit their spread for a season or two and let in more light to the woodland floor. In the meantime, here's another pic of the willow weaving.


13 April 2010 at Owlbeech Woods
Forest management

A lorra, lorra holly was cut today in the damp ghyll where it grows 'cos it likes those conditions. Jake was chuffed with the result and may have earned a house point through our efforts.


06 April 2010 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Rhododendron management

Large tree Some of the rhodis cowering in the shelter of a large and old friend. "Don't worry, we'll be back!" A man's got to do what a man's got to do -- and in this case it meant showdown for the rhodis. No fires today. We piled the cut material to dry and to burn another time. Some of the more recalcitrant bushes were dealt with by the application of poison to their core. A small hole was drilled in the stem and a dollop of 'Roundup' was applied. The results will be noted in a few weeks time.


30 March 2010 at Leechpool Wood
Willow sculpture/weaving + practical work

Willow weaving OK, we saw the aircraft carrying out the LIDAR survey and today we should have been using the pictures to start our historical survey of the woods. BUT, there was a delay in processing the pics and the survey has had to be postponed until Tuesday 20th April. The willow sculpture project starts today and continues on Wednesday and Thursday. This looks like being an interesting project and sufficient to keep a number of people involved. Find out more about the task


23 March 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
"Holly, rhodi, s/birch, your time is up!"

Meet at Owlbeech Way car park. This is a change to the advertised programme but will allow those with strong destructive urges to give vent to their feelings. (They can't touch you for it as long as there is an O in the month) Yes, with your help, it will be 'goodbye' to a lot of those loose-living young plants which spend their seed in a wanton way and father more young no-goods. The site is the same as on the 9th March. Be careful as you cross the slippery logs in the ditch.


16 March 2010 at Granary Way
(yet more) Woodland management

Granary way map Unable to attend and relying on reports rushed by a runner in a loin cloth and bearing a white envelope in a cleft stick, it seems that a bit of a general tidy-up was carried out with many black sacks of litter stacked for later collection. The sacks were gone by next day when our spies drove past the site.


09 March 2010 at Owlbeech Wood
Holly cutting

Holly cutting? Well, only 288 days to Christmas and we want to make sure...


02 March 2010 at Southwater CP
Planting (and other tasks)

Packing away the tea cups An important part of our morning is the refreshment break. Matthew laid out the items neatly today so we could easily get our drinks and biscuits. Here he is clearing up again, afterwards. Thank you, Matthew. 'Twas a bright sunny morning when we took ourselves once more unto the childrens' play area, there to paint, plant, cut and disport ourselves in full view of the world. It seemed like the first day of spring -- 'officially' still 19 days away. There were sufficient of us to carry out several tasks:

  • the wooden play equipment got another coat of black-ish preservative
  • some young oak, birch, bramble and other spiky plants were removed from inside the fence
  • some spiky dogrose were planted outside the fence
  • a barrier was built with the cut branches on the other side of a ditch, and
  • an attempt was made to drain the muddy area near the gate but a JCB is needed not a spade.


23 February 2010 at
Birch thinning to form dead hedge

HGG members wearing yellow helmets The Yellow Peril A large group met today and carried out some neat work either side of the main path. We had to finish a little earlier than planned, due to the onset of the promised heavy rain. We are sorry that Kevin has had to leave us but glad it is to a job that will suit his talents and we wish him well. We look forward to meeting him occasionally at various events, as he has not moved very far. We are pleased that Jake us joined this week and look forward to working with him.


16 February 2010 at Lucas Estate, Warnham
Removing (even more) tree tubes

With the shooting season finished and weeds not yet growing, we could clearly see the tree tubes in a copse which we reached after a walk through mud and puddles. The forecast of light rain wasn't wrong but a bit of damp didn't deter us from hoovering up the plastic and wooden stakes and making two neat dumps to be collected later. We found these tubes to be the type which eventually(!) rot and drop off the tree in pieces and impossible to slide half a dozen inside each other. We had completed the task by five past twelve and there seemed to be a general air of disappointment that there wasn't more to do.


09 February 2010 at Brick Kiln pond, Lower Beeding
Pond weed removal + vegetation trimming

Stag Beetles: this is your home Collecting the weed and getting it to the edge of the pond was all done by Kevin. Well done, Kev. Where will we be without you? Several others helped to rake it out of the water and wheelbarrow it to a dump to be collected later. Sooner would be better as it pongs a bit. Using a ladder, two members fixed half a dozen bird boxes on nearby trees while others did a neat job of removing overhanging silver birch, gorse and willow. A hole was dug by one member but to be fair he was helped by the comments and instructions of several others. Most included the word 'Deeper'. When it was considered that the digger was tired enough, he was tenderly elbowed out of the way so that the real work could commence. Large pieces of tree trunk were set vertically in the hole and then all the earth was put back in. Apparently this strange construction may attract a few stag beetles to make it their home. If it doesn't, our digger may want his money back.


02 February 2010 at Pond farm Ghyll wood (north), Cedar Drive, Southwater
Coppicing + dead hedge construction

After clearing the pavement of leaves and muck (thank you to those who carried this out) we started coppicing the neglected hazel wood. Cut branches and trunks were piled at the side of the path to form a dead hedge and to direct walkers. Cut stools were left with a covering of smaller twigs to try to prevent deer nibbling young shoots as they appear during the next few weeks. It was announced that Kevin will be leaving us soon to take a position with Sussex Wildlife Trust. We are going to miss having him with us but of course wish him well. His new boss should be pleased to hear that he was 'selling' the virtues of belonging to the Trust and signed up two new members on the spot!


26 January 2010 at near Dry Pond - which is definitely not dry!
Rhododendron and laurel clearance

Dry Pond map This was part of a continuing job which is very worthwhile as it helps towards the eradication of R. Ponticum in this area. Although we did a lot of clearing today beside the pond, there is a LOT MORE yet to be done. We intend to return to this site a few times over the next year or more. The day started very cold but two bonfires (started before most of us arrived at the site) and the sawing and dragging cut branches, soon warmed us up. Mike Funnell and Simon Rowledge, Countryside Rangers of WSCC were working with us and it was good to have their help and chainsaw skills. They also 'painted' the cut stumps with biocide to prevent regrowth and tended the glowing ashes of the fires until dark. On leaving the cleared site, the pond could be clearly seen -- and so could more rhodis!


19 January 2010 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Woodland management - Round 2

Forest Grange map This was a change from the advertised programme due to snow causing site access problems. We burnt the rhodis we cut last time, on two bonfires, cut some more and dealt with much of the young silver birch problem. Another very satisfactory morning's work. Many of us were interviewed by a reporter for a 5-minute piece to be broadcast on an English language, European radio station based in the Netherlands.


12 January 2010 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Task postponed due to snow and ice

This task had to be postponed due to the snow and icy conditions.


05 January 2010 at Southwater Country Park
Planting

Southwater Country Park It was a cold morning but at least it wasn't snowing (that came the following day) when we met outside the cafe and doled out spades and sacks of hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose etc., having decided to try to plant them near the childrens' play area. We wondered if the ground was going to be too cold to dig but found it wasn't too bad on the grassed areas. It was a difficult task but we managed to put in a sufficient number to make a difference. 'Thank you' to all you hardy individuals who turned up. Tree o' clock - 5th December It is estimated that about 500,000 trees were planted as a result of the initiative – leaving lasting benefits for native wildlife, people and the environment. BTCV volunteers in Northern Ireland set a new Guinness World Record by planting 26,422 trees at a single site. Tree O'Clock didn't break the record for planting the most trees in a single hour in multiple locations, but over 230,000 trees were planted during the all-important hour. So while not a new Guinness World Record, still a great achievement and an important legacy.


05 January 2010 at Southwater Country Park
Planting

Southwater Country Park It was a cold morning but at least it wasn't snowing (that came the following day) when we met outside the cafe and doled out spades and sacks of hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose etc., having decided to try to plant them near the childrens' play area. We wondered if the ground was going to be too cold to dig but found it wasn't too bad on the grassed areas. It was a difficult task but we managed to put in a sufficient number to make a difference. 'Thank you' to all you hardy individuals who turned up. Tree o' clock - 5th December It is estimated that about 500,000 trees were planted as a result of the initiative – leaving lasting benefits for native wildlife, people and the environment. BTCV volunteers in Northern Ireland set a new Guinness World Record by planting 26,422 trees at a single site. Tree O'Clock didn't break the record for planting the most trees in a single hour in multiple locations, but over 230,000 trees were planted during the all-important hour. So while not a new Guinness World Record, still a great achievement and an important legacy.


31 December 2009 at
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

2010 graphic Horsham Green Gym wishes everyone a Happy New Year! What are you doing tomorrow, 1st Jan? You could take a walk in the countryside led by the Countryside Wardens of HDC.


29 December 2009 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Woodland management - Round 1

This privately owned wood needs a bit of remedial work to allow it to flourish. We started today by demolishing a number of large rhododendron bushes but being careful to leave a screen between the road and the rest of the wood. The rain started just after our tea break and became more intense and a nuisance so that by 12.30 we decided to leave the site. Looking back as we went through the gate, we could see what a big difference we had made -- and how much more there is to do! We will return in two weeks. We will have burn all the cuttings and it will be a BIG bonfire.


25 December 2009 at
Wishing a happy Christmas to all members and friends of Horsham Green Gym

Christmas tree lights This is one tree that you can't cut down To all members, past and present: Thank you for giving your time and labour to assisting with conservation work in the district. We hope to see you again next year. (Acknowledgement: www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659)


22 December 2009 at 10-acre wood off Forest Road
Woodland management - task postponed

SORRY, DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS, THIS TASK WAS POSTPONED. The new plan is to meet at the site on 29th December and again on January 12th. The new programme will be available on the 29th.


15 December 2009 at Land north of Berrall Way, Billingshurst
Tree guard removal

I don't care if I never see another tree tube again as long as I live 'Twas a cold and frosty morning when we returned to this site to remove plastic tree guards from trees and bushes now old enough to look after themselves. Not an easy job due to having to crawl in amongst the prickly thorns and holly, it was made worse by some of the tubes just not wanting to come out. We won, though - and filled the skip. However there appear to be millions more. Who gets the contract to remove those? We also gave some road and pathside bushes a severe 'haircut' while we were at it. All in all, a satisfying morning's work


08 December 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Dead hedging (Round 2)

One of our tasks was to continue to uproot or cut down low, more of those poor, sweet, unsuspecting little silver birches that had sprung up this year. Having been shown the killing ground and agreed a plan of attack, the troops went into action and before coffee time had eliminated ("struggling is futile") several hundred of the enemy. Fortified, the troops recommenced battle in the sunshine and warm air (after all it was a globally warmed December day!) giving ground and retreating only as one o' clock approached. A little highlight was the sudden appearance of a doe who appeared to be trapped between the fences. She struggled free though and gracefully trotted off. Meanwhile, lower down the slope, the other team were manfully doin' what a man has to manfully do. That is, struggle with the heavy, cast iron wooden stake banger-in thing which seemed to be even heavier after the coffee break. At the end of the morning there were some very tired arms and a neat dead hedge bordering the footpath.


05 December 2009 at Southwater CP
BBC Tree o'Clock Tree Planting Event

As part of National Tree Week, HDC Countryside Services Unit in conjunction with BBC Breathing Places, invited members of HGG to join others to help set a new Guinness World record for planting the most trees in one hour in multiple locations. The aim was to plant a million trees, beating the current record of 653,143 trees. Results will be published soon.


01 December 2009 at Victory Road Rec and Denne Road cemetery
Weeding & tidying + headstone ivy clearance

...still, laurel is hardy... We pollarded these laurels at Victory Road Rec. Afterwards the risings (the cut stuff) were chipped by contractors and left in this pile. They also tidied up the bush on the far left and took down the young sycamore. Another first for HGG: the group was divided to enable us to carry out two tasks, on different sites (Victory Road Rec and Denne Road cemetery), at the same time. Ivy had to be taken off the headstones in the cemetery to allow the survey to be completed. Thank you to all members for co-operating so well.


24 November 2009 at Warnham LNR
Grassland creation

Yellow helmet The task was to thin silver birch and members fell to with gusto. Who is Gusto and was he pushed? Why wasn't he wearing a yellow helmet? Was it unfair dismissal? He doesn't appear to have completed a membership form.


17 November 2009 at Pond Farm Ghyll, north - Southwater
Coppicing and litter clearance

Pond Farm Ghyll - North map Quality not quantity was the watchword today on the coppicing task. The team obliged with excellent work, neatly carried out and the cut material went to form a dead hedge and several log piles which were dotted around the area. Litter was collected from the site but we weren't able to take all of it this time. On our next visit (yes, all being well, we will work here again), we will make a point of clearing it.


10 November 2009 at Horsham Park
Clearing invasive species + rubbish pick-up

Although it rained much of the time - but not as heavy as last week! - a strong group arrived and carried out most of the required work on rhodis and tough brambles. We would have needed another hour or two to finish the task. Perhaps another time??? ...and someone said that he didn't think there was enough to keep us busy all morning! A large amount of litter was collected by three volunteer collectors and sorters and our work in clearing the rhodis may mean that there are a few less places for the locals to throw their debris. Next day, contractors chipped all our cuttings and cleared up the area. It looks good.


03 November 2009 at Path between North Heath Lane and Pondtail Road
Path tidying (Round 2)

On this, our second visit to the site in a fortnight, we concentrated on widening the paths and clearing them of the slippery leaves. Although the trees will soon 'donate' many more, we feel it is now a safer and more pleasant place to walk. The verges of the paths were tidied by spade and hoe and the overhanging vegetation cut well back. We received more compliments from local residents and passers-by. Many thanks to the large number of members attending today, for the splendid work. Heavy rain curtailed our visit but a later inspection proved that we had just about finished anyway.


27 October 2009 at Denne Road cemetery
Headstone clearing and path tidying

Even with today's large number of enthusiastic members, we realised that only a fraction of the work was completed. Excellent work by everyone, removing old, tenacious ivy by hand, produced some interesting finds of long hidden headstones and we tried to read the faded inscriptions. Some felt that the Michell and Hurst plots were interesting because of the eponymous pubs and it was apparent from the empty beer cans in the vicinity that others felt drawn to those graves, perhaps for similar reasons. We plan to return early next year to continue the task of removing the ivy and revealing the headstones. At that time, we will aim to uncover the grave of the father of William Albery, the noted Horsham historian. It's difficult to spot at present but our work will let in the sunlight.


20 October 2009 at Path between Cook and Pondtail Roads
Path tidying (Round one)

The most pointless seat in Horsham - until HGG get to work I told you it was a big job. We worked on about 250 metres of the path which is now wider and neater due to our attention to the edges, and less covered by foliage after some judicious lopping and felling. The most pointless seat in Horsham now has a view but now that has been revealed, we wonder if we should have left it as it was! We received praise from several passers-by who were surprised that we were volunteers and we gained two new members who were so impressed that they want to join in. We are due to return here in a fortnight and look forward to more excellent work.


13 October 2009 at Southwater CP
Refurbish play area + scrub removal

Some nearby scrub was given the 'HGG Treatment' which included a short back and sides. Major alterations to the play area by contractors meant that that the framework of some of the equipment needed bringing up to the same standard. It took us longer than planned but the climbing frame and slide now look good in smart green paint with dark stain on the woodwork.


06 October 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Dead hedge construction - Round 1

Broome Path Just a reminder: the steps pictured by Rosalie on a much better day than when we worked there! Underwater construction is an art that we haven't practised recently and so, when it came to it today with rain all the time, we were a little rusty --- but not as rusty as some of our tools would have been without an application of WD40 before they were put into the store. The rain made the clay suddenly turn into slippery, clinging mud and some of the trees seemed to be playing hard to get as we couldn't get a good grip on their wet bark. A nice piece of cake, kindly baked and brought along by a new member (OK, you're in!), gave us all new strength at elevenses with the result being most of Broome Path now has a dead hedge alongside it. We plan to be here again in December to complete the task and hope for a dry morning!


29 September 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch thinning

A few more hundreds of the thousands of young birches to remove and then we can move on to something completely different. Perhaps we will try to mark off an area to work on today so we can judge our progress and see what is possible if we all work within the 'ropes'. Meet in the car park adjacent to the childrens' play area.


22 September 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Holly cutting (could include birch pulling)

This morning on the heathland, with blue sky and warm sun, three dozen keen Green Gymmers got to work on the young birch trees. "Pull 'em out or cut 'em down at ground level", was the cry -- and we did! We only pull out a fraction of the trees (we can see thousands more) but as someone said, "If we don't do it, no-one will".


21 September 2009 at Denne Park
Pond Clearance

NAAFI cup found in pond We were invited to clear a large pond of weed and invasive plants. This was not a regular HGG day and a small group gathered early in the morning to survey the task and decide on the best methods of achieving the aims. You guessed it; it meant going in the water, pulling up the slimy wet and heavy masses of weed and flinging it onto the bank from where it was collected and barrowed away to the compost heap. A few interesting finds enlivened the morning: a NAAFI tea cup (shown above), an anti-tank shell (solid shot and not explosive) and china plates. Other items found during previous clearances of the same pond include a gas mask, a tin hat and another shell. We understand that troops were stationed nearby during the last world-wide unpleasantness. Maybe they threw these items in the water to mark the end of hostilities. The weather was perfect, the company good and the cake supplied by our hostess was superb.


15 September 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

The week-old calf The week-old calf (aaah!) Was the title of today's task misread by some of the men? Did they think they were in for a morning of perfecting their bird pulling skills, we wondered, as lots more people than usual turned up. We trimmed young hazel down to the ground and pulled up and cut the birch under the inquisitve eyes of the cows - and the new calf. The rain became a nuisance so we packed up and went home a bit earlier than usual promising to work harder next week to make up for it. We really will!


08 September 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Holly cutting turned out to be Birch Pulling

On a hot morning, pulling young birch trees up turned out to be a tough job. But we're tough -- most of us anyway and we pulled up a good number. Looking back as we walked away at the end of the morning, we could see where we had been and made a difference.


01 September 2009 at Coltstaple
Wood and path work

Laying the path Manure-vering the wheelbarrow! Wow! What a lot we got done today. Thanks to the enthusiastic and experienced large number of members who arrived on site - and car parking turned out to be easy - the wood was transformed from a murky, spiky waste to more open, welcoming woodland. The pond was cleared of many of the overhanging branches with small trees being 'laid' to form a barrier on one side. The drainage ditch looks as if it was newly dug and the roadside bushes have been strengthened by the addition of cut branches pulled over to hide the gaps. Much of the waste (sorry, valuable materials awaiting recycling) was sorted and neatly stacked and the encroaching brambles taught a lesson. The path beside the manure heap was a challenge which we rose to and won. The only task we couldn't manage was the relaying of the large concrete slabs as we found the ground was too hard to complete the task in one morning.


25 August 2009 at Chesworth farm
Path clearance & surfacing

Two bags of no.1 chippings later and part of the task had fulfilled its title for one of our teams. Meanwhile back at the branch, another team was involved in trimming the wayward lower limbs of young trees along the road to the farm and another was struggling to remove barbed wire from rotting fence posts, which reminded some of a scene from "All quiet on the Chesworth Front". Yet another group was involved in an exercise which included climbing a gate, struggling through barbed wire and extracting plastic tree tubes from amongst the thorniest and most tenacious rose and blackthorn bushes. All against the clock. Least number of scratches on forearms wins. Did I mention the rain? It was nice when it stopped - just before it began again. Just another morning in the life of Horsham Green Gym.


18 August 2009 at
Bramble clearance

After the task It was a warm morning, our work made us even warmer and the murky water of the nearby lake looked invitingly cool. Then someone talked about large pike in the lake and just dipping a toe sounded dangerous. It was a large patch of brambles but we had finished the job, cleaned up the site and left two large piles to be burnt, by finishing time. Another excellent morning's work.


11 August 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

Plenty of exercise today with a gentle walk to and from the site and plenty of bending and straightening of backs. Oh, come on! It's good for you.


04 August 2009 at Billingshurst
Tree tubes and stream clearance

Bottoms up! Caption contest. The captions for this picture are -

  1. The new Islamic arm of HGG are called to prayer!
  2. The search goes on for David’s wallet!
  3. Billingshurst gets a new bike rack!
  4. "This game of Hide and Seek is too easy"!
  5. "OK, so whose idea was it to hide the fig rolls?"
  6. Green Gym give 21 bum salute (you can't see the other nine; nor would you want to!)
  7. Green Gym grazing on truffles for our elevenses

Who Are They?

If the Countryside around the town Is overgrown or trees blown down; Or a bench is needed for folks to rest, If a hibernaculum or bird box is needed for a nest. A dead hedge to be constructed in a wood A stream wants clearing - loads of mud! Rain or shine, whatever the job You can always trust this mob. With heads down, bums in air You'll find Green Gym There ! Back to reality - There were hundreds of tree tubes hiding amongst the spiky hawthorn and holly in this area. We had to be adventurous to find and access the tubes, which meant crawling in and fighting the sharp thorns. It was very scratchy and many of us gave blood for the cause! It could have been worse -- it might have been blackthorn! After an excellent morning's work, we had cleared just one of the areas and there are several more to be attacked. We also cleared some sizeable logs from the stream which, inevitably, will need further attention soon. It has been agreed that we will return, probably in October/November, to complete the task.


28 July 2009 at Leechpool Wood
Archaeology; explanation and exploration of the wood

This was our introduction to the task of an archaeological survey of the woods. Lyn Palmer, the Historic Environment Awareness Project officer, David Brown (South East Woodland Archaeology Forum and wood owner) and Vivienne Blandford (landscape archaeologist) strolled round the site with our very large group pointing out several items that we had seen many times before but not thought significant. This type of work doesn't suit everyone, of course, and our usual tasks will continue. The survey may be carried out on HGG meeting days by those members who show they are particularly interested in the work. There is also the chance to survey on any other days that members are free.


21 July 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch pulling

Man in a tree cutting small branches to allow more light to reach the ground By trimming the small branches in the tree, more light reaches the ground. Him? We think he's still up there. All those little birches are still living - but their days are numbered. Due to a misunderstanding about what we were to do and when, today's task was changed to holly cutting in Leechpool Wood. So we got some of our exercise by trudging over there - and back afterwards. Due to our previous efforts, there didn't seem a lot of holly to trim but on closer inspection, and an unexplainable but urgent need to cut something, we found plenty of holly and a little laurel to cut. We also tried to improve the path by laying logs so that walkers didn't have to climb the bank to avoid the mud. (A word to the young birches: "I'll be back")


14 July 2009 at Victory Road Recreation ground
Gardening: on a grand scale

Using dust pan and brush Our members take great care to tidy up the site After our visit today, Victory Road rec is now much more 'child friendly'. Amongst other jobs, our volunteer members...

  • removed loads of brambles and overhanging branches that could ensnare youngsters
  • collected a good haul of rubbish (it's there if you look hard enough)
  • dug out giant thistles
  • removed a rusted, broken fence
...and enjoyed every minute.


07 July 2009 at Chesworth farm
Hibernaculum and memorial bench placing

A variety of tasks were completed today just before the heavier rain started. It was good to explore parts of Chesworth that we hadn't seen before.


30 June 2009 at Leechpool Wood
A walk in the woods - led by Stuart

Group in the wood listening to explanation of tree cover Stuart, one of the HDC Countryside wardens, led us through the wood, pointing out some of the recent changes and explaining how the area is being managed. He also identified birds, butterflies and other winged insects.


23 June 2009 at Private house near Copsale
Cutting back overgrown path

The path before we started work We attacked an overgrown path in the large garden of Copsale Grange, a private house. There used to be plenty of wild flowers but bushes and grass had taken over so the flowers couldn't compete. It was a very hot day but our hostess provided bottles of water and plenty of coffee, tea, biscuits - and cake! Thank you very much.


16 June 2009 at Southwater CP
Orchid count + other work and the AGM

...the third baby at our barbecue ...the third baby at our barbecue (nothing to do with orchids or the AGM but we thought you would like to see him) The orchid survey helps discover whether they are thriving.


09 June 2009 at
Barbecue

Babies and guests at BBQ Even though the weather wasn't what we prefer when having a barbecue (although it didn't rain), it was good to see members and our guests chatting together and getting through all the food prepared and cooked by Susan and Barry. We were also honoured to have three babies - all less than 4 months old - and their mothers.


02 June 2009 at Warnham NR
Pulling up Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam Hands up if you spotted the fact that this year, the theme for International Biodiversity Day (22nd May) is Invasive Alien Species. Our task neatly fitted into that slot as the plant we were to try to exterminate is invasive and alien. We were to be pulling up young shoots of Himalayan Balsam (pictured above), each plant of which, if left to go to seed, will produce up to 800 seeds which it can 'fire' to a range of 7 metres. BUT, the task had to be changed as either, someone got there before us, or the dreaded HB just didn't do so well this year. The picture is being left for reference. For a little more information ("Know your enemy!") try this link. So the task was changed to a little light tree cutting. BUS: Arriva 62. Get off before bus goes too far along Redford Avenue and walk along Warnham Road to the Nature Reserve. For map, see 'Some of our work sites'.


26 May 2009 at private road off Old Rowhook Road
Collecting tree tubes

With the rain ceasing before we arrived on site, the sun warming us and off-road parking, what more could we want? Well, we did have an early, and quite long, coffee break. The work site was difficult to get into due to nettles and thistles and once among the trees, their low branches meant we had to walk with a stoop some of the time. But HGG members were not deterred. They just got on with the job. There were plenty of tree tubes. There aren't now. 'Nuff said.


21 May 2009 at Coppice at Warnham
Fixing new fence

The tricky job of fixing the staples John Lindfield wanted help with fixing a new anti-deer fence on his coppice at Warnham and a small group of members went along to give him a hand. This was a 'special' as it wasn't the usual HGG meeting day. It was a task that certainly needed more than one person as it involved unrolling and holding up a wide plastic mesh while another tacked it into place with staples. Job done, we wandered off to remove a few more tree tubes, to the satisfaction of a lady who told us that they had been on the trees at least 14 years - the time she had lived there.


19 May 2009 at Off Granary Way
Construct stag beetle habitat + other work

Stag beetle loggery The completed habitat for stag beetles Quite a lot of heavy work today, making a nice two up, two down, semi- for Mr and Mrs Stag Beetle to occupy if they have a mind to. Our work may not be appreciated immediately so we'll have to be patient -- possibly for a few years. Meanwhile, other occupants may enjoy the ready made homes. The beetle is rare mainly due to the loss of suitable habitats and we may have provided one. The other important jobs on this site and the stream over the road, were to collect and remove litter (not a lot present as we did such a good job at the same place last year) and to collect much of the loose timber lying around. We also removed a bike from the river.


12 May 2009 at Leechpool Wood
Holly cutting

'Laid' holly Holly can get get a bit rampant unless it is controlled and our task today was to cut it back from the path leading to the boardwalk and Hampers Lane. Cut holly makes a temporary dead hedge but soon goes brown and withered. We were pleased to see that holly we had 'laid' last year along this stretch was growing well, green and making a living hedge. 'Laying' involves carefully cutting almost through the stem or trunk and pushing it over to a near horizontal position. If sufficient trunk is still attached, the plant will continue to grow. The picture shows some of the holly that was 'laid' last year. For map, see 'Some of our work sites'.


05 May 2009 at Southwater CP
Bench installation + raking beach and play areas

Slow worm Alison took this picture of a slow worm today. According the BBC website, Slow worms (Anguis fragilis) look superficially like snakes, but are actually legless lizards. One way to identify them is that unlike snakes, lizards (and therefore slow worms) have eyelids. Did it blink at the flash? For map, see 'Some of our work sites'.


28 April 2009 at Chesworth Farm
Path repairs and building hibernaculum

If you were among the few, the very few, who have not been involved with a hibernaculum, this was your chance to become a local expert. See map in 'Work sites'.


21 April 2009 at Victory Road recreation ground
Gardening

A pause from work With most of the work done, it was time for a Yo-ho-ho A large number of members arrived on this sunny day to transform the three flower beds near the Trafalgar mosaic and to carry out other useful tasks around the rec. We will return in July to work on the perimeter borders.


14 April 2009 at Adjacent to A24 at Robin Hood roundabout
Removing tree tubes

Thanks to the hard work of all the members attending this site today, the job was completed by 12.30 with a large pile of tree tubes, another of wooden stakes and yet another of the larger items of rubbish we found. Bags of plastics and glass were taken away for recycling. The site of the dump was a long way from the collecting area but it had to be so as that was the only sensible place a lorry would be able to park to load. Afterwards, walking back to the cars, two lonely tree tubes were seen, half buried in brambles and very difficult to reach. A job for another day. There are also a few more tubes to release and collect from land beside the path to Warnham church. We'll get round to them eventually.


07 April 2009 at John Lindfield's coppice at Warnham
Fence moving, repairing & erecting

Trimming a binder The fence job had to be put back a few weeks due to other work and although we hammered in the new posts, the rest of the work consisted of a little coppicing and much sorting of pea sticks, stakes and binders. These had all to be bundled, tied with string and set aside in their respective piles. It was a pleasant, warm morning and the fleeces came off after a few minutes work.


31 March 2009 at Dutchells Copse
Path widening

Some of our group after the task Some of the members of HGG after the task. Who's that hiding at the back? We removed trees to a distance of about two metres back from the path to widen the verge. Now, with more light and less competition, we might see some other plants growing along here.


24 March 2009 at land adjoining Warnham Park
Tree guard collection

Thanks to the large number of people that came to help with the task, we had completed it, tidied up and polished the edges - all by 1.0 pm. Thank you to everyone for assisting and making a neat job of the piles of tubes and stakes. As many members have seen, there are more tubes to be collected from adjoining areas and we plan to visit there soon to grab 'em. After that, would you believe there are even more tree tubes to collect from land a little further away. It's intended to see to them in the next three months.


17 March 2009 at Owlbeech Wood
Rhododendron control

Group with Rhododendron After a picnic lunch, the work continued On a warm, sunny day, a large group of HGG members again got to grips with rhodis. We cut 'em, pulled 'em and burnt 'em. The smokey, hot fire caused us some problems but that's nothing to the problems it caused the rhodis! If you want to know, really want to know, why we have such a 'down' on Rhodis, this will inform you.


10 March 2009 at land adjoining Warnham Park
Tree guard collection

Stack of guards and stakes One of the stack of more than twenty we created today. A record number of members arrived at the site to help carry out the big task of collecting tree guards and wooden stakes. The loose plastic ties were also collected and taken away with the rubbish we found -some of it for recycling. A big 'THANK YOU' to all for responding to the cry of 'all hands to the pump' and for doing such a splendid, neat job.


03 March 2009 at Leechpool Woods
Birch and scrub clearance

We had a very happy morning thinning the silver birch and look forward to seeing the resultant new growth in due course.


24 February 2009 at Warnham NR
Removal of selected Silver Birch + a few other varieties

Cutting young trees We soon got warm today. What with the walk to the site - when some deer inspected us - and the sawing, pulling and carrying, a good few calories were burnt off. The area we worked on is now much more open and will allow more ground level plants to prosper.


17 February 2009 at Motte & Bailey site
Blackthorn and bramble control

Cutting blackthorn with a bowsaw Goggles and gloves were worn as they are essential when working with blackthorn, as most members know. The task was made more difficult by the dangerous thorns and the way that the bushes had interwoven themselves. This job was long overdue. Twenty seven members attended today and, as usual, worked very well cutting the vegetation and dragging it to piles that will chipped by a machine. It is now possible to see the river winding through the site and as we left, birds were lining up to explore their new source of grubs and insects. We left plenty of other bushes and brambles for them to build nests and raise families. Lots of nesting material lying around now. Go to it! One of the reasons for clearing the site is to allow a fresh survey to be made and English Heritage have shown interest in this.


10 February 2009 at Southwater CP
Coppicing

The rain had cleared by the time we met and although the ground was muddy, we carried out the tasks of coppicing, widening a path and creating dead hedges to our usual high standard.


05 February 2009 at Southwater Country Park
Winter tree identification

Sycamore in winter Led by our Kevin and Pete Crawford, members are now better able to identify more trees. This course was set up as a result of members' requests.


03 February 2009 at Warnham NR
Should have been "Birch and scrub removal"

Penguins This work session had to be cancelled due to the snow and a poor weather forecast. The four replies to the caption competition lay in my inbox about as thick as the snow on the front path. There are four. So far. Unless you have one to send? Beryl - Penguin on top of mound: “I’m sure Kev said he left the truck here before it started snowing!” John - " NO! I told you SouthWATER not South POLE! " Gwen - Penguin #1: "Hello Scrub." Penguin #2: "hello Birch." #1: "Green Gym lot snowed off then?" #2: "Phew ...That was close" #1: "Yer...... They'll not find us now! Heh, Heh." Rob - "Sssh,don't tell Kevin, but I hid the beech tree under here."


27 January 2009 at Leechpool Wood
Birch and scrub clearance

On a cold but sunny morning a large group, including new members, worked at clearing a patch of the wood beside the path. There was plenty of work for all and by the end of the morning, sunlight was once again able to reach the ground. We look forward to soon seeing new plants growing at the site. As usual, the cut trees were used to create barriers. There was a 'side-show' today as a reporter and cameraman from Meridian ITV were with us to get suitable shots of us in action and a few short interviews for one of a series of features to be shown on the regional news programme Meridian Tonight. They tie in with a new health and fitness campaign – called The Feelgood Factor – encouraging people to take up more exercise and/or improve their diet. The piece is likely to be about 4 minutes long and shown on Friday 6 February on Meridian Tonight, ITV1 starting at 6pm.


20 January 2009 at Chesworth Farm
Planting

Planting a hedge The River Arun had recently flooded and receded again. Because of this, there was a fair bit of tidying and litter collecting to do. We split into groups and most people were involved in planting hedges in several far-flung fields. The ground was muddy and very wet in places and we hope that we didn't drown each young plant by digging a hole and plopping it into it.


13 January 2009 at Brick Kiln pond, Lower Beeding
Pond clearance

Wading in pond to collect weed by hand A scene from the first time we cleared this pond This time we had to break the ice... Most of the surface of the pond was ice-free but it lurked under the surface and clung to the weed, making it doubly difficult to pull out. Thanks to excellent work by HGG members - and it was hard work - a lot of the parrots feather weed and some of the bullrushes were cleared, much of the the rapid growing willow cut back and a tree planted. ...and yes, the water was very cold! Another result from the work today, is a small collection of useful tools, including a long-handled rake (a keb) and a pair of waders, donated by the volunteer group that used to look after the pond.


06 January 2009 at Southwater CP
Path widening

The advertised coppicing could not take place but instead, we were given the task of clearing the edges of the path at the back of The Quarry. It was a lovely sunny morning, but cold, and the task was completed neatly with the accumulated rubbish taken off site.


01 January 2009 at Warnham NR
'New Year's Day, walk this way'

Burn off the excess Xmas pud with this 5-mile guided walk discovering the wildlife of Warnham and the surrounding area. Start the New Year as you mean to continue! Cost: £3 - including a hot drink on return. No need to book. This was not a Horsham Green Gym event but was hosted by the Countryside Wardens of HDC.


30 December 2008 at Warnham NR
Birch thinning & scrub clearance

Felled trees and clean stumps Butts up and clean stumps. What more could one ask? Our last task of this year was to further reduce the Silver Birch population and by so doing, reduce, or at least trim, waistlines which may have expanded horribly during the Christmas holiday. The task would also allow more light on a path on the steep slope that gets very muddy at times. Perhaps a little more light will help dry up the mud.


25 December 2008 at
Wishing a happy Christmas to all members and friends of Horsham Green Gym

Happy Christmas To all members, past and present: Thank you for giving your time and labour to assisting with conservation work in the district. Some of it has been very hard work, sometimes on wet and cold days. We particularly remember the lovely warm, sunny mornings when it has seemed especially good to be alive and out of doors. Either way, we hope you felt your exercise and being part of a friendly, effective team was beneficial. Most of all it has to be fun and something you want to do. We hope to see you again next year.


23 December 2008 at Warnham NR
Coppicing

Sitting on the newly fixed bench to 'test' it 'Planting' this bench and a signpost were a little side-show as the main event on this mild, fine day was coppicing. Was it the incentive of there being only 24 mince pies at 'elevenses' but 27 members attending the task? We also ate little green gym marzipan men, thoughtfully supplied by a member. Whatever it was, the task was completed neatly, on time and with good humour and cameraderie.


18 December 2008 at Southwater Infants school
Pond clearance and hedge laying

Hedge laying This was a 'special' job and the pond was only a small one (come to think of it, so was the hedge) but both presented problems. The pond had parrots feather weed which had to come out, and other plants, which didn't. Whilst doing the job, we also found a path that had been covered by grass and leaves and a couple of little garden patches that may now be used for flowers. The hedge was a difficult one as the hawthorn was spindly and growing in the wrong direction. If you don't look with too critical an eye, it looks good but we know where we had to use our 'initiative'. Next spring, we will know how well we did.


16 December 2008 at Owlbeech Wood
Birch cutting and dead-hedge maintenance

Owlbeech Wood This dead hedge was constructed by Green Gym about three years ago. We worked on it last year and today we added to its height and thickness, also renewing the vertical stakes that keep it in place. The raw material came from our thinning of the nearby silver birch trees.


09 December 2008 at Football field at far end of Bartholomew Way
Stream clearance and removal of tree stakes + litter

Some of the bags of rubbish at the end of the day Some of the bags of rubbish; but you should see the trailer! The challenge was to fill the trailer - twice! No problem, we said, and filled it three times! A large group met today to get to grips with the big job of clearing tree stakes left dumped around the large site. They worked so well on that and clearing an old fence, as well as collecting up several bags of litter (glass, plastic and tins + a window box and a milk crate in lieu of the usual traffic cone) that the trailer was filled three times. Meanwhile,'617 squadron' (the Dam Busters), were kept busy in what appeared to be a hazardous job, clearing the stream of more tree stakes, tree branches and plenty of other litter. After their ministrations, the stream flows more freely with less to impede it. It was good to have two representatives of BTCV with us today. We put them to work and they earned their keep (well, a cup of coffee and a biscuit) by cutting down the big tree stakes that refused to come out of the ground and bringing them back to the trailer. We are not sure what part the black dog played but he got plenty of exercise. The whole task was carried out by everyone with enthusiasm, care and friendliness. A big thank you is due to all concerned.


02 December 2008 at Pondtail Copse
Clear stream and cut holly

Stream The cleared stream - the picture of the cut holly was too boring Although there had been concerns about there being enough work to keep us all busy, we needn't have worried. There was more than enough holly to selectively and carefully cut, this being a site with all trees covered by tree preservation orders, and the water in the stream was shallow enough to wade and work in. The cut holly was taken across the bridge to be placed so as to be easily accessible for mechanical chipping, with the butts all the same way. (If you are from North America, you may like to know that the word 'butts' in this context indicates the cut ends of branches.) The trailer was filled with detritus found in and near the stream. It included a child's scooter but no traffic cone, this time. One member did a lone litter sweep and collected three bags of plastic, tins and glass.


25 November 2008 at
Coppicing

Bundling stakes for hedging Thanks to John Lindfield, who works this coppice, we had a great day experiencing coppicing and producing stakes and binders for hedging as well as bean and pea sticks. For more information on coppicing http://www.coppicing.com/index.html.


18 November 2008 at Southwater Country Park
Scrub clearance and dead hedging

A new site for us - Great Lime Kilns, a road, with two small 'natural' areas nearby. We coppiced the neglected hazel stools and blocked some holes in the surrounding hedge and fence with the cut material. Several old plastic tree guards were removed, overhanging branches and weeds cut and litter collected. Nearby residents had been pre-warned about the work and we were pleased to talk to three of them that came to see how we were getting on.


11 November 2008 at Motte & Bailey
Vegetation control

HGG members cutting brambles There is plenty of work to do here on the blackthorn and the brambles. We couldn't do it all in one morning, even with all the keen workers that helped today, so will return early next year to continue to push back the encroaching vegetation. There is the possibility of English Heritage coming to undertake a survey of the site and our work will help to make this possible. Thanks to a member who is interested in local history and is also a volunteer at the museum in the Causeway, we can tell you that: "Originally built after 1066, the Motte and Bailey is Horsham's only listed Ancient Monument. The motte was a raised mound with an outer, secondary enclosure or bailey, both surrounded again with an oval-shaped ditch. There is evidence that there was an early change from a dry ditch to a water filled moat, by diverting the stream. The whole site was abandoned sometime after about 1150."


04 November 2008 at Warnham Nature Reserve
S/Birch thinning + dead hedging

A large group met to tackle the spindly Silver Birch and a few Ash trees that were growing far too close together for their health. We solved their health problems! Also, we now have a saw doctor. He was was last seen adjusting the teeth of all twenty saws we had on site today. A big thank you to him as the improvement in ease and speed of cutting is really noticeable.


28 October 2008 at Warnham Nature Reserve
Birch thinning + scrub clearance

Carrying away cut tree So many members arrived on this sunny morning that we almost ran out of tools. We cut down a lot of the young, spindly Silver Birch on the hill near the railway line and used them to create dead hedges. It was grand to see so many people working and helping each other.


21 October 2008 at Chesworth Farm
Path surfacing and pollarding

Lots of work was completed today as so many members arrived that we ran out of tools which meant sharing for some of the time. Path surfacing and tidying was completed by some while others attacked a few old trees on the river bank. The river wasn't the problem, it was the ditch on the nearside. It looked shallow but turned out to be full of silt and at least two members had their wellies sucked off their feet by standing in it. The cut vegetation was added to the dead hedge (one we made earlier) and then, as we had worked so well and hard and there was no more work, we decided to push off home 30 mins early.


20 October 2008 at Partridge Green
Pond work at Partridge Green

This sawn-off shotgun was found in the pond Six members travelled to Partridge Green to assist with the clearing of vegetation from the pond in the King George V playing fields. The task was timed to avoid the Great Crested newts that are said to inhabit the water. Wearing waders, some workers cut the reeds and weeds (floating pennywort) and dragged them to the side where others raked in the heavy, wet soggy mess to form dumps. This was a Horsham Green Gym 'special' where we were employed by the local Parish Council for this day only. On pond and stream clearances, we often find unusual objects such as traffic cones, trollies and bikes but this time we made the front page headlines in the local paper when a sawn off shotgun was dredged up. Covered with mud, it was handled very gingerly as we couldn't know if was still loaded. Police arrived after our call and took it away. If the last user would like to claim it, he/she should ask at any police station where, we understand, they will be assured of instant attention. The clerk to the council was pleased with our work on the pond and particularly glad to see that the outlet and inlet pipes were exposed again and the water free flowing.


14 October 2008 at Denne Road cemetery & Garden of Rememberance
Clearing the wild area + litter collection

Workers in cemetery The large team assembled today set to with grasshooks and grass shears to cut down the vegetation in the cemetery that had been intentionally left to grow wild. It was warm work and the fleeces soon came off. We achieved our target in this big job and also uncovered headstones that hadn't seen the light of day for years. Disappointingly, we didn't find the memorial to the lady who was a survivor from the sinking of the 'Titanic'. Perhaps when we come back to clear more? A litter pick was carried out resulting in the usual crop of bottles, plastics and tins but also one or two unusual items. The Garden of Rememberance has a stream running through it - part of the River Arun - from which we collected two completely full, and heavy, bags of litter. This was mainly glass and plastic bottles but there were plenty of cans too. One of our number found out that the stream is deeper than it looks. Deeper than the height of his wellies, in fact. Oops! Squelch, squelch.


07 October 2008 at Southwater Country Park
Scrub clearance

Man looking at task "Now, where shall I begin?" The rain started about coffee time (wet biscuits!) but by then the team had cleared this area of invasive scrub. We moved on to clear a stream of some of the small trees that were growing in and near to it. See side panel (Some of our work sites) for map.


30 September 2008 at Southwater CP
Grassland scrub clearance which turned out to be coppicing

The rain held off until we had finished coppicing a large area of neglected hazel stools. The resultant dead hedge along the edge of the path looks impressive. A most enjoyable task for everyone.


23 September 2008 at New Lane Wood, Southwater
Ride clearance & coppicing

It was good to be back here again in 'our' wood as we had not visited it for about a year. The group carried out an excellent job of clearing the main path of overhanging and encroaching vegetation. They also coppiced a few stools of hazel within a marked off area. This wood is subject to a Tree Preservation Order and it is important that we cut only the trees specified.


17 September 2008 at Bens Acre, off Heron Way
...the completed task

Completed task The task was to cut the willow between the two notice boards - the farthest one can just be seen as a white dot in the distance. Although it doesn't look like it at the moment, all the willow between the boards has been cut. Some of it has been laid back in place, to deter access to the stream.


16 September 2008 at Bens Acre
Stream clearance and vegetation control

Photo of completed task This was a big task and our members worked hard and well to get it completed. One group cut a lot of willow back, hard, and piled it for future chipping by contractors while another group concentrated on improving the Riverside Walk by cutting back encroaching vegetation. Part of the path is on a slope which made it slippery and dangerous when wet so we levelled it. The stream was inspected and found to have little rubbish in it.


09 September 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Yet more holly or could be the start of something big

Harwood Rd car park map In between cutting back holly and making a dead hedge to hide a barbed wire fence, we managed to improve the path in a few places by laying newly cut timber in the mud and water so that walkers don't have to leave the path. A bit more practice is needed before we can call ourselves proficient and with all the muddy places on that path, it looks as if we will get it.


02 September 2008 at Motte & Bailey site off Lemmington Way
Vegetation clearance

Map Last time we were at this site (Horsham's only listed Ancient Monument), we removed swathes of tall blackthorn bushes which seemed to be trying to take over the field. This time, we were cutting blackthorn again but only small 18" high shoots from the stumps of our previous efforts. Catch 'em when they're young! The forecast was for 'severe' weather in West Sussex and although we have seen worse, the continual rain was severe enough to deter most members from attending the task. Probably very wise, as the rest of us got wet! However we did (most of) the job and in addition trimmed the overhanging bushes beside the road.


26 August 2008 at Leechpool Wood
More holly clearance

Coffee break We are getting close to Hampers Lane now in our epic 'trans-Leechpool' expedition. More holly and laurel was felled to create a dead hedge bordering the path and to provide shelter for wildlife. With the extra light and air now available on the path, we hope the mud will dry quicker. This is a muddy site and we attempted to improve the path by laying some short, thick lengths of holly tree trunk parallel to each other, in the mud. Next week, we will check on how well they do the job. We are not trying to set records in numbers of members, in fact a large group presents several problems - for instance, and most critical, we ran out of milk at coffee time! Unheard of! - but it is worth recording that today we had the largest ever group, 31 members, working on the task.


19 August 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Holly clearance around pond and bog

The recent rains made the intended work area far too muddy which meant we had to fall back to 'Plan B'. The pond and bog will have to be attended to another time. Of course Plan B was our long-term task to trim holly from the sides of the east-west path through the wood to let in more light and also form dead hedges to guide walkers and cyclists onto the correct paths. We took time to 'lay' some of the holly trees and bushes so that they will form a living hedge. Unfortunately, not all the trees will survive our actions as holly splits far too easily at this time of year. This means that the 'tongue' still attached to the stump in the ground, may be too thin to allow the passage of nutrients to the tree. We shall see. It will be interesting to see next year, what what degree of success we have had.


12 August 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Willow & alder clearance

This task was to be willow and alder clearance but the recent wet weather made the site too soft to work on so we continued the saga of the holly and the dead hedge. August was planned for this task as the water levels are usually low. August 2008 turned out to be the coldest and wettest for many years!


04 August 2008 at area around Dutchells Copse
Benches, tree guards, paths and a fence

This was a big job with the site on both sides of the road and, as fewer members than usual turned out, probably due the continual rain (yes, we all got very wet!) we had a bit of a scramble to get it done. We reduced the number of benches to 'plant' to one, and as forecast at the start of the task, we had to spread ourselves thinly. Although several bags of litter were collected, we had to leave the tree guards for another time. The main purpose of the task was to improve path access by removing the excess foliage that was threatening to close it completely. Our work has made it lighter, easier, cleaner and safer for users.


29 July 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Further utilisation of Ilex to form moribund barrier

Yup! More holly (Ilex) and dead hedging. We have to make a good job of this today as the local Scouts (1st St Leonards Forest) will be joining us tomorrow on a 'special' and inspecting our work. It's part of their Scout Camp during which they want to help with nature conservation and to 'make a difference'.


28 July 2008 at Alder Copse off Granary Way
Litter clearance

Large caterpillar This was a one-off, 'special' arranged by Parks Dept of HDC and we were invited to join with other voluntary groups to tidy the woodland and stream that runs down the hill in this spot. Equipped with long-arm pickers and a plastic bag, seven members of Horsham Green Gym scoured the area for rubbish as well as tidying up the stream. Although we collected plenty of rubbish, which was (surprisingly) collected from us by a past member of HGG who now works for HDC, probably the most interesting find of the morning was a large caterpillar. It was spotted by one of our members who saw it moving in the grass as we were having a refreshment break. The spike is at the tail end (in case you wondered!).


22 July 2008 at Chesworth Farm
Bird-box making + other tasks

On a suddenly very hot day, at Chesworth, one group constructed bird nesting boxes whilst another cut vegetation round the pond and trimmed the long hedge. We had assisted in planting the hedge a couple of years ago and it was good to know it was doing so well that it needed a trim. The nesting boxes will be taken to Hills Cemetery for fixing to suitable trees. The task was so popular that by members' request, we will put it in the plan for the next quarter.


15 July 2008 at St Mary's parish church, The Causeway
Clearance & tidying

Some members after the task This was the first time that HGG had worked at this interesting site. At the end of the morning, we realised that there is much more to be done and arrangements have now been made to return later this year. Our task was to work on the area of the unmarked graves of paupers and executed criminals as it was very overgrown and attracting people to make 'camps' and leave litter. The litter haul was impressive but the difference we made in vegetation clearance and improving sightlines was remarkable.


08 July 2008 at Football field at far end of Bartholomew Way
Tree guard removal/collection + litter pick

We filled this huge skip with plastic tree guards and stakes "Look what I did, all by myself" This was a BIG job and thankfully, 24 members turned up to ensure we completed it. The first part of the task was to load the hundreds of large plastic tree guards found in piles under the trees, on to a trailer. They had been removed from the trees many months ago but not from the site due to lack of time. The trailer was then towed off the field where the contents were emptied into this huge skip. There were so many tree guards and wooden stakes that we had to do this three times and they just about filled the skip. While this was going on, another team carried out a litter pick under the trees surrounding the soccer field. Their haul filled many plastic bags and included dozens of bottles plus tins and plastics and scores of the spiral, plastic tree guards. They also recovered the broken pitch roller from a ditch, parts of a wheelbarrow, some plastic sheet and assorted logs that had been blocking the drainage ditch. At finishing time, some litter collectors felt they didn't want to leave the site as they could see more work to do. The good news is that before long we will return to complete the litter pick, free more trees from their guards and clear the nearby stream of some of its blockages.


01 July 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Utilisation of Ilex to form moribund physical barrier

Trimming a holly tree after felling Yes, you've got it. Holly (Ilex) and dead hedging was the name of the game today. Twenty three members got stuck into this task near the end of the boardwalk even though holly retaliated and got stuck into some of them. It was a very hot day and we appreciated the shade of the trees. It's possible that the 'elevenses' break went on a little longer than usual, too. 'Before' and 'after' pictures don't really show it how it is but we report that more light on the paths helps walkers as it will help the path dry quicker after rain and the plants will benefit too.


24 June 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Stream clearance

Met at Owlbeech Way car park, next to the play area


18 June 2008 at Leechpool Wood
RSPCA staff 'awayday'

Group photo Twelve lady members of the staff of RSPCA headquarters joined us today to work with Green Gym. After briefing and safety talk, etc., they began clearing holly from a previously marked out area. Due to their enthusiasm and efficiency, that part of the task was completed and tidied by lunchtime so that afterwards, they were able to fell some bigger bushes. The opportunity was also taken to 'lay' a few of these so that the hedge will be strengthened by living holly. Before going home the ladies checked out the nearby stream for underwater life and found freshwater shrimps and a few other interesting animals.


17 June 2008 at Owlbeech Wood
Hibernaculum and holly

OK, so we lied about the hibernaculum. But we really attacked the holly. With 23 members working, no wonder that daylight was at last penetrating the gloomy depths of the paths and boardwalk. Our dead hedges are sights to see and becoming famous all over the world. Dog walkers and other passers-by seem to appreciate our efforts judging by comments received.


10 June 2008 at Hills Farm Lane
Annual Barbecue

People eating and talking (not at the same time!) In warm, relaxing sunshine, we enjoyed an excellent BBQ which was prepared, presented and served by Susan and Barry. We were thrilled to entertain a number of guests from HDC and BTCV and have the opportunity of showing them how enthusiastic we are and of thanking them for their support.


03 June 2008 at Southwater CP
Orchid survey

Although the rain looked as if it may make an appearance, it held off all morning and we successfully completed the task in the field beside the Quarry lake. Counting was made easier by marking parallel sections with rope. As each section was counted and agreed, the ropes were moved up the field progressively, making other sections. We now know that although some areas of the field have more orchids than last year, overall the number is slightly lower. Does the weather play a part in this or are plants accidentally trampled by walkers?


27 May 2008 at Leechpool Woods
Holly clearance and barrier construction

Back at Leechpool Wood, we cut a load of holly today to make the path wider, lighter and easier to walk along. Several passing walkers made approving comments. Also, one member spent his time removing old tree roots from the path to make it safer. Thanks to everyone concerned over the two days we have been there, that section of path shows a great improvement.


20 May 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Holly cutting

Group photo Holly is another of those invasive plants and has to be kept in check otherwise it tends to take over. It can be cut in the nesting season.


13 May 2008 at
Bench installation & other work

Collage of work being done First, find your bench! This turned out to be an old bench that was to be recycled. The three man team dug up the old bench, transported it to the new site, dug the holes and planted it before you could say 'Jack Robinson'. The main job of the day was cutting lots of holly trees and bushes to form a barrier to deter access to the old picnic site which needs to be left to recover.


06 May 2008 at Chesworth Farm
Fencing & other tasks

We erected a fence to form an enclosure in which fruit trees were planted, repaired two stiles and enjoyed being outside on a beautiful, warm day.


29 April 2008 at Beech Road open area
Bench replacement and woodland tidy

Cartoon viking This bench installation turned into an instructional event during which we all learned a little. The next one will be a doddle! The damaged bench was made good and a Riverside walk directional sign replaced. Due to the keen eyes and enthusiasm of our members, nine bags of rubbish were collected plus a few extra, larger items, from an area that at first sight didn't appear to have much litter lying around. All morning we were attacked by 'on - off' rain showers which made all the jobs more difficult.


22 April 2008 at Southwater CP
Bench installation, path improvements + our first Annual General Meeting

Path improvements Our tasks included trimming vegetation along the walk beside the lake, fixing a bench in place, diverting a mini-flood and improving the surface of a path. Plenty more work to be done here another time. Afterwards we held our AGM and a useful general meeting.


15 April 2008 at Chesworth Farm
Reptile hibernacula construction

Hibernaculum Here's one we did earlier Reptile hibernacula construction - in other words, making homes for creepy crawlies. We have done this before and have now almost got to the stage of adding chimneys, parking spaces and a patio with BBQ. To see a location map, click on 'Our work sites' in the menu at the top and choose the appropriate map.


08 April 2008 at Motte & Bailey site off Lemmington Way
Removing blackthorn

Cutting blackthorn This is the site of an ancient fortification but the only obvious evidence is a few humps in the ground. You have to see a detailed map to appreciate it. And we have that map! Our job was to fight the blackthorn which is a worthy foe, determined to fight back and scratch. Gloves and goggles/safety specs were worn. After cutting it (shame about the blossom) and cutting or uprooting the little suckers that dotted the site, it was all laid in tidy piles for later chipping.


01 April 2008 at Chesworth farm
Path repairs and dead hedging

Collage of work Our tasks included removing an old fence, removing tree guards, building a hibernacula, pollarding, adding to the dead hedge and repairing a path to make a better surface for walking and those who ride their pavement buggies near the river. As forecast, the rain and cloud cleared by 10.0 am and soon a few fleeces came off as we enjoyed being warmed by the sun.


25 March 2008 at Chesworth Farm
Maintenance work

Maintenance can include almost anything, as we discovered. Tasks included dismantling a stile and fences, coppicing, preparing the base of a hibernaculum and removing plastic tree guards. A very good mornings work.


18 March 2008 at Owlbeech wood
Rhododendron clearing

A large team of Green Gymmers cut and cleared two large stands of rhododendron during the day and pulled it all to the fire where it was burnt. Thank you to everyone attending and working today. A first class effort.


11 March 2008 at Leechpool Wood
Birch thinning

Girl hugging tree "Oh, woodman, spare that tree!" Yes, we have been doing a lot of birch thinning recently. There are three main reasons:

  1. Birch grows quickly and can dominate a woodland if unchecked
  2. there's a lot of it
  3. the job has to be done outside the nesting season


05 March 2008 at Warnham Mill Pond
Warnham Mill Pond

Warnham Mill Pond
The pond had been emptied in order to repair the sluice gate and it seemed a good opportunity to record something we don't often see. The work was planned to cause least disturbance to wild life but we wondered what the fish thought of it. A river runs through it! Well, it's actually two rivers - Boldings Brook and Chennells Brook which normally fill the pond and spill out to the 'Red River' and eventually the River Arun. One of the tern nesting rafts is stranded on the mud in the distance. It floated again when the pond was refilled.


04 March 2008 at Southwater CP
Willow cutting, dead hedging and play area woodchip raking

Some of our members This gives a pretty good idea of the age range of our members Raking of the woodchips in the play area was previously done by HGG in March last year and again this year, so it could be an annual event. Even by using the barrow to collect chips to redistribute, members reported that the job was difficult and that a vacuum would have been useful. The other task of the day was to remove a row of willow trees and build a dead hedge nearby. We are proud of our dead hedging skills and today proved, yet again, that HGG can be trusted to carry out a thorough job. Members even raked the grass to remove the remaining twigs. Our 'other' annual event is to be the BBQ in June. A very small committee is needed to arrange this. Any volunteers, please?


26 February 2008 at Warnham NR
Tree tidying, tree planting & tree tube fixing

Tree tubes and members of Horsham Green Gym All our own work? Well, not quite! (Some members had already left the site) After the felling and logging of several large ash trees in Walnut Tree plantation, our jobs included tidying the area, clearing dead wood and planting hazel in the open spaces now formed. Also, following the planting of a hedge a few days before, we fixed tree tubes to protect the young plants.


19 February 2008 at John Lindfield's copse at Warnham
Coppicing

Stake, rod, binders This is always an enjoyable task with something for most people to 'have a go' at producing a commercial product. Our previous visit to this copse was very satisying, despite rain. This time we were very fortunate with warm, dry weather after the early mist had lifted.


14 February 2008 at Grassy knoll in Redkiln Way, Horsham
Snowdrop planting

Coffee break! With the generous help of two non-members, eight Green 'Gymmers' planted lots of Snowdrops today. This was an 'extra' HGG task and is to make the grassy knoll look more interesting and eye-catching. Five thousand was the number of plants ordered and invoiced but we reckon there were nearer 7,000, all packed in little bags of (supposedly) a hundred. One of our group carefully counted them into the ground and yup, well over a hundred in a bag. The plants will have time to establish themselves by next February when, we hope, we will be able to (proudly, but quietly) say, "We planted those!" The job was finished and the area litter-picked by 1430 hours.


12 February 2008 at Chesworth farm
Continuation of previous tasks

Laid hedge Our tasks were to continue with small tree planting to form hedges and to finish clearing the 'triangle' lower down the lane, with the cut material forming another dead hedge. One of our members recollects that there was a pond very close to the site we were working at today. We looked for it amid weeds and, literally, loads of rubble but all trace seems to have disappeared. It has been suggested that we look at old maps to see exactly where it was and to find out if it's possible to restore it and the surrounding garden. Could be a long-term task for HGG!


05 February 2008 at Southwater CP
Coppicing

The site was on the other side of the Country Park and the hazel had obviously been neglected for some time. With saws, loppers and billhooks, we did a good job of TLC and created yet another dead hedge while we were at it. By now, we are possibly the most experienced dead-hedgers in the district. It was an enjoyable task with everyone involved in all aspects. Click here for more information on coppicing from a useful website. You could also do a 'Google' search to find out more.


29 January 2008 at Chesworth farm
Tree planting, pollarding and dead hedging + bench installation

planting spiky gorse! Photo title: "Gloves!" The remainder of the triangle of brush near the stream was demolished and a good dead hedge now helps walkers to keep to the path. Although very heavy to get into position as the legs were already attached, the bench slipped neatly into its laser-guided holes and is now a useful piece of furniture for walkers. The other triangle of assorted, tangled trees and bushes was assaulted with the start of a dead hedge now appearing. There is more to done here. (Plan 'B' now swings smoothly into action as we change the site of our task on Feb 12th from Leechpool to Chesworth so we can finish what we started. See programme for that date.)


22 January 2008 at Chesworth farm
Hedge planting + scrub & tree cutting + dead hedging

Pulling together More planting, this time to create the hedge that we heard about last time we visited this site and to plant gorse. There was also some scrub to cut back and trees to pollard. With the cuttings, we created a dead hedge alongside the track.


15 January 2008 at Warnham NR
Pulling & planting

Planting hawthorn & blackthorn. The planting season is short and as the 'whips' will have been delivered this month, it's necessary to get them into the ground now to improve their chances of surviving and before they go dry. Before they go dry? Some chance of that today! It had rained all night and it rained all morning. Those eleven hardy souls that came to Warnham were keen to help plant trees, never mind the weather, so off we went to plant (and get wet). We had our 'elevenses' at quarter-to in the Heron Hide which, although missing a window or two, gave some protection from the wind and rain. The water level of the lake rose about three inches in the twenty minutes we were allowed to eat and drink. We know, because we had to paddle through it afterwards. By midday, we had used up all the stakes so, rather than trudging back to collect more from the store, we decided to call it a day, tidied up and went home. (No photos available)


08 January 2008 at Alder Copse, Granary Way
Clearing stream & cutting laurel

Cutting down the laurel This two-part task meant two teams working a little way apart. A small team cleared the stream near the houses. They took out a bike, two supermarket trolleys, a lawn mower, an anorak (or two, we didn't closely inspect - yuk!), some big logs which were confirmed as "waterlogged" and sundry other bits of junk. The laurel, over the road, was cut down and later, contractors arrived to put it through their chipper which converted it all to - well, chips which were spread over the site to form mulch. It is intended to plant new trees in the area very soon. We removed dumped rubbish from this area too. Our haul included many bags of tins and plastics for recycling, a large chair, a petrol tank, the remains of a mattress, a wheeled wardrobe rail and, of course, a traffic cone.


18 December 2007 at Warnham Nature Reserve
Thinning Silver Birch (& other trees)

Within seconds of the word 'go' there was the sound of bow-saws being used by our keen members - turned timber-jacks ("all day long") - as they busily attacked the target trees. They were mainly ash, it seemed, and thicker and taller than anything we had recently felled. They were also tougher to cut through and many a grunt and groan was heard in that once peaceful sylvan setting. Before long there came the first warning shout and then the c-r-r-a-s-s-h-h of a tree coming down. This was soon followed by many others. The felled timber was trimmed and laid alongside a path to form a basic dead hedge. By removing the trees, we have created more glades with light and space for other plants to flourish. This was our last meet before Christmas and New Year and we were spoilt when it came to 'elevenses' as there were loads of mince-pies and a packet of shortbread biscuits donated by a member.


11 December 2007 at Southwater Country Park
Scrub clearance

It was cold but fine as we gathered at the Visitor Centre. A brisk walk to the work site helped warm us up and, a few exercises later, we were ready to start clearing the scrub on a triangular patch above the lake. Someone, half jokingly, asked what we were to do after elevenses as the area to work on seemed small in relation to the number of members attacking it with loppers and saws. Their forecast was correct. We had almost completed the task by coffee time. So, after the break, the group split in two. A few members continued working on the original site and the rest walked to another nearby area to give it a neat 'back & sides'. Some members with good eyesight saw a Bank Vole - see a picture (from the Offwell website) - and say "Aaah!" Most of the time we were working in lovely sunshine, in contrast to the weather of the last two weeks when it seemed to be always raining. We felt happy that we had done a useful job and enjoyed the fresh air.


04 December 2007 at Leechpool Wood
Thinning of Silver Birch for grassland glades and dead hedging

Group of GG members after completion of task Another task successfully carried out by members of Horsham Green Gym. Two other members were present at the task but unfortunately, missed the photo-call. This task was a continuation of that of a few weeks ago when we began 'topping-up' the dead hedge that Green Gym created about 18 months ago. We finished it today by raising its height and adding another short section. This will direct walkers to the 'gate' we left. The intention is to reduce the number of paths used by walkers over the grassland glades. Also, dead hedges can be good wildlife habitats - dry at the top (spiders, birds) and damp at the base (beetles, frogs and toads), plus eventually, lichens and fungi growing on the wood and breaking it down. There were lots of opportunities to fell small trees and then test our muscles by pulling them down the hill to add to the hedge.


27 November 2007 at Brick Kiln Pond, Lower Beeding
Pond maintenance

Pile of weed This smelly but important conservation task was to remove as much of the mat of invasive Parrots Feather weed from the pond as we could. Also, we had to cut down selected willow trees which surrounded it. (It was smelly because we stirred up the bottom of the pond by walking through it which released many cubic metres of methane gas. Phew!) We removed about two-thirds of the weed - more than we estimated we could do - and left three large dumps (there is one in the pic) with the cut trees for later removal. Parrots Feather is difficult to eradicate and we expect to return to the attack in 2008. The pond is home to Great Crested Newts - a protected species - which were away, hibernating, when we carried out the task so we didn't spot even one. Click here to read more about Parrot's Feather


20 November 2007 at Coppice near Warnham
Coppicing

Trimming binders The previous day's horrid weather (hailstones, heavy rain + thunder & lightning) may have deterred a few members from attending our day in the coppice. Although it drizzled a little for part of the morning, the day turned out to be a success with eight members being fully involved cutting and trimming hazel. We enjoyed learning about coppicing from John Lindfield and using the billhooks. By 3.0 pm, a good quantity of stakes and binders for hedge laying had been produced. John is so pleased with our work that he invited us back in early 2008.


13 November 2007 at Chesworth Farm
Resurfacing of path and gateway to field

The Green Gym team at work This well-used entrance to the field has always been muddy in wet weather and our task was to dig out the path and lay ballast to make the approach easier and drier. We also had the task of erecting a short section of fence further up the field and dismantling some old, damaged chestnut paling in another, nearby field. The path looks good as a result of our efforts and should serve the purpose. We await the final approval from the users of the path and gate. The fencing jobs were carried out to our usual high standards with neat rolls of the old fence left awaiting disposal. We collected the old fencing staples and bits of wire to leave the field fit for animals again.


06 November 2007 at Owlbeech Wood
Rhododendron clearing

Rhododendron ponticum Yes, R. ponticum has a pretty flower but the plant is invasive and as it's toxic, it prevents anything else growing near it. We cut them off as near to the ground as possible. This task was a continuation of the 'Megabash' held over the previous weekend and we efficiently cleared a small valley of rhodis, dragging the cut material up the hill to create two huge piles for later burning. Twenty one members of HGG worked hard to create the excellent result that is now the hallmark of Horsham Green Gym.


30 October 2007 at Leechpool Wood
Maintenance of dead hedge and thinning Silver Birch

Volunteers The dead hedge was built by Green Gym about 18 months ago and due to fair wear and tear, needed some attention. We thinned out the nearby Silver Birch by felling the young trees, dragging them down to the hedge and using them to fill gaps and build it higher where it had sagged. We had to drive sharpened stakes into the ground to support the hedge. This gave an opportunity for some members to use a billhook and Drivall post driver for the first time.


23 October 2007 at Pondtail Copse in Pondtail Road
Stream clearance

This was a BIG job as much of the course of the stream just here was blocked by branches and rubbish including the almost obligatory traffic cone. No bike this time, only a front wheel and tyre but we also cleared up a few kitchen drawers that someone had thrown out. A record 23 members answered the call to work and - honestly - 75% of the work was completed before coffee time! When Horsham Green Gym do a job, they do it well. Bags of recycling materials and rubbish were carted away and the timber was "lost" amongst the trees. Fish were seen in the, now, free-flowing brook (were they tench?) and we enjoyed seeing the sun filtering through the autumn leaves. A surprising number of worms emerged from the ground while we were having coffee. If they were after our fig rolls, they were unlucky.


16 October 2007 at Coppice near Warnham
Introduction to coppicing

Due to poor weather forecast for Tuesday, we decided the day before, that in the interests of our safety and comfort, Horsham Green Gym should not meet on the 16th. It was too late to organise any other task, indoors or out. We still intend to go to the coppice at Warnham in November.


09 October 2007 at In the woods between Manor Fields & The Glade
Footpath & stream clearance

The Glade Manor Fields map The path that can be used to approach Leechpool Wood, on the other side of Harwood Road, was a bit overgrown. Also, the overhanging vegetation and rubbish in the stream beside the path needed clearing. It rained (hard) all the time we were there but in spite of that, as usual, Horsham Green Gym did an excellent job. There was so much cut greenery and rubbish that we filled the trailer twice.


02 October 2007 at Southwater Country Park
Preparing footpath for resurfacing

three people using spades Some of the footpaths in the Country Park were to be resurfaced within the next few days and our job was to cut back the edges to allow the job to go ahead. We call a spade a very useful tool. Having walked along the newly laid path, it's good to think that we had a hand in the preparation work.


25 September 2007 at Woods opposite Ben's Acre and Grebe Crescent
Cutting back vegetation and fixing more Riverside Walk signs

This is a 'linear' site and the problems of communication between well separated (woops! nearly typed 'spaced-out' but that would be libellous) people on a winding path within a wood, became obvious within the first fifteen minutes. However, the task to 'plant' new way markers for the Riverside Walk and clear excess vegetation was completed successfully.


18 September 2007 at path between Keats Close and the Riverside Walk
Trimming of vegetation beside path which GG renovated in 2006

Two of our younger members Another satisfying day and another task done well. Nineteen people turned up (good job that Steve brought ALL the tools) so the path and adjacent area got a good 'back & sides'. You can tell that Horsham Green Gym have been there.


11 September 2007 at Leechpool Wood
Stream clearance

A really satisfying day with plenty of hard, wet, dirty work which we completed (just) in the agreed time. The task was to clear old pieces of wood which were blocking the stream in Leechpool Wood. We split into three teams to ensure we covered the area. Most of the wood was twigs and small branches but some were very heavy. We moved 'em! Trust Horsham Green Gym to to a good job. Whilst carrying out the task and gathering plenty of mud stains - some of the mud is very smelly - we saw several frogs of various sizes, an eel and two fish.


04 September 2007 at New Lane Wood, Southwater
Bramble & gorse clearance + trimming of 'ride'

green on green We thinned vegetation, in the more open area at the rear of the wood, to allow other plants to flourish. Gorse was the main target but some brambles and young shoots were cut. Our next visit to this site may not be for a few weeks.


28 August 2007 at Chesworth Farm, Horsham
Guided walk with Sam Bayley

Female Wasp spider in web A record seventeen members came to the guided walk at Chesworth. Amongst the insects we saw was this female Wasp Spider. You can see why it is so named. We also noted possible future work sites


21 August 2007 at Owlbeech Wood
Making a hibernaculum

A hibernaculum A hibernaculum is a structure where small animals hibernate. After much digging, sawing and chucking the earth back (it certainly moved for us!), we had two hibernacula. This is one of them and we hope the little varmints appreciate it.


07 August 2007 at Monkmead Wood, West Chiltington
Pulling ragwort

Ragwort and silver birch were the main targets today.


10 April 2007 at Owlbeech Wood
Holly clearance

Pulling holly As you can see, some people put effort into the job. It's much easier, but less effective, to cut it off close to the ground.


03 April 2007 at Kingslea Pond
Kingslea Pond, Harwood Road

We overfilled this trailer

In our enthusiasm, we overfilled the trailer and it took a bit man-handling to get it attached to the lorry. Oops!
This was the first task we carried out as an independent group. The aim was to uncover a neglected path and steps at Kingslea Pond and clear some of the overhanging vegetation. We were very keen and carried out the job meticulously. A little problem arose when the work was completed and it was time to take away the trailer.

  • With the suport of the Countryside Wardens of Horsham District Council and funding from BIFFA, Jeremy Bartle of BTCV, formed Horsham Green Gym in early 2005.
  • It was always the intention that the group would find a leader and elect a committee by spring 2007.
  • The newly independent HGG continued to have excellent support from HDC and membership began to increase after publicity and more visible tasks.


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