Capturing the Spirit of Fleet Pond

August 11, 2017

The Fleet Pond Society Photographic Competition is underway, why not think of submitting one or two entries? The theme is:

‘Beauty and the not so…’

This year’s theme is a “warts and all” celebration of all aspects of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve from the beautiful to the still eye-catching but not so cute. This interesting theme leaves a lot to your imagination and interpretation!

For general inspiration, here are some great photos of different aspects of Fleet Pond that have been posted on Twitter over the last six months (see the FPS Twitter feed here for these and many other interesting photos):

Credit: Colin Stock

Credit: MummyBarrow

Credit: Chris Marney

Credit: Mark Bishop

Credit: Richard Handyside


‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award for Colin Gray

August 10, 2017

Paul Todd of Green Flag with Colin Gray of FPS

There was a big surprise for Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), at the recent Elvetham Heath Countryside Day. He was presented with the Green Flag Volunteer of the Year Award by Paul Todd, Scheme Manager of the Green Flag Award (see above).

This award recognises the dedication shown by volunteers working alongside professionals in improving parks and green spaces across the UK. Apparently he won it by a mile! His leadership of the project to create the new Avondale Pond system in Brookly Wood (at Fleet Pond) was cited by Hart Countryside Services as being typical of the dedication Colin has shown. This is to balance out any unexpected overflows from the Thames Water pumping station.

Group photo featuring Green Flag, FPS and Hart Countryside Services

Colin was for once speechless when he was called forward to accept the award. However Paul Todd said “Colin is a shining example to all volunteers who are involved with creating and maintaining green spaces for the public, particularly those that qualify for a Green Flag Award.”

Fleet Pond nature reserve has yet again been awarded the Green Flag Award for 2017 along with the one at Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney Central Commons which has also has achieved green heritage accreditation for the first time. Colin did have something to say about this! “Hart Countryside Services deserve major congratulations on gaining Green Flags for these wonderful sites.”

You can read about Green Flag Awards here.

“The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.”


Church Crookham & Fleet Men’s Shed

August 8, 2017

Making nesting boxes for Tawny Owls

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

Men’s Shed for Church Crookham and Fleet was set up only recently and as yet do not have a home of their own. They are very keen to take on tasks for their members and, where possible, raise funds towards building a shed of their own. Fleet Pond Society committee had decided that we would like to provide more nesting boxes for Tawny Owls at the nature reserve. Men’s Shed seemed a very good option and we approached Allan Walker with the plans. They produced two boxes for us which I collected on 19 July (see above).

The following is an extract from the Men’s Shed website (see here) which explains their aims and objectives under the general banner of:

Bringing people together to make or mend in a friendly and safe environment.

“What is a men’s shed?

A men’s shed is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. A men’s shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men (and women) come together to work.

​A shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (eg carpentry, joinery, turning, carving, whittling, marquetry, furniture renovation) but may include metalworking (milling, sheet metal, welding etc), bike repair, gardening, electronics, tool renovation, boat renovation, model engineering (model railways, planes) and even building a car! Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly – and some say that is true of the men too! Although sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people. Whichever activities are pursued the essence of a shed is not a building, which some don’t have, but the network of relationships between the members.​

Our Shed:

Our shed is currently located at Calthorpe Park School. They have kindly allowed us to use their design technology room and tools until we have our own shed up and running. Their tools include wood and metalwork lathes, pillar drills, band saws etc and they have many workbenches. We are gradually collecting together our own collection of tools to take with us to our shed when it is ready. We are busy working on our own projects and jointly working on various community projects.”


Why Not Join The Big Butterfly Count For 2017?

July 14, 2017

Why not join in the Big Butterfly Count, either locally or perhaps as a fun activity at Fleet Pond? It runs from the 14th July to the 6th August.

Here are some links to articles on butterflies that can be found at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve:

Butterflies Around The Pond – Have You Seen Any?

Butterflies At The Pond


Fleet Pond Society at Fleet Carnival 2017

July 6, 2017

A group shot of FPS procession volunteers, in a variety of dress!

Here are some photos from the Grand Procession at Fleet Carnival 2017, which took place on Saturday 1st July. The procession theme was ‘Under the Sea’ and you can see that this was imaginatively interpreted by FPS using a Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ (album from 1969) motif.

Travelling down the main street in Fleet, collecting funds

Oswald the Octopus, normally a retiring fellow, decided to hitch a ride on the submarine

Tuning up and just about to burst into song…

A mermaid together with King Neptune

The ever popular meerkats made an appearance…this time as mermaids!


Hart Lottery and Fleet Pond Society

June 24, 2017

If you would like to support Fleet Pond Society by taking part in the lottery scheme recently launched by Hart District Council please go here.

The first Hart Lottery draw will be on Sat 8 July at 8:00PM!

From Hart District Council:

“Hart District Council has launched a new online lottery, the Hart Lottery, to benefit good causes in Hart by providing a great way to raise additional funds.

The Hart Lottery was launched to good causes at an event at the District Council offices on Tuesday 9 May and was attended by over 50 people representing over 30 local good causes…

Tickets cost just £1 each and about 60% goes back to local good causes, in comparison to just 28% contributed by the National Lottery. The remaining 40% goes back into the prize fund and pays for the running costs.

Players can nominate a specific good cause to benefit in which case 50 pence of their £1 ticket goes to that nominated good cause. Each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance of winning a prize every week. This includes an incredible £25,000 jackpot prize if all six numbers are matched, as well as various other cash prizes.

The Lottery will be live for ticket sales in June and the first Hart Lottery draw will be in July.”


Moths, An Unusual Pet

June 22, 2017

The Elephant Hawk Moth (from Wikipedia)

Peter Martin, President of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Most people would regard butterflies as beautiful creatures, but some have an aversion to moths, either because they dislike the fluttering around nearby light sources or due to the holes created in their clothing by clothes-moth caterpillars. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that one of my favourite pets has been a moth caterpillar.

The Elephant Hawk Moth (see above) lays its ‘whitish-green’ eggs on Willow Herb in June and I was lucky enough to find one of the resulting fully-grown caterpillars crawling across the earth one August looking for somewhere to pupate. They normally do this just below the level of the soil and, to make sure that my caterpillar would not be affected by anything within a sample that I scooped up, I sterilised a small amount before putting it into a container with the caterpillar. As expected, it burrowed into the earth and, through the glass I could see when it had pupated.

If you look at an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar (see below), you will probably think that it is one of the ugliest of creatures, although very aptly named. I had to wait patiently until the following June for the moth to emerge from the chrysalis, but what a beautiful sight was in store for me. The difference between the moth and the caterpillar was like “beauty and the beast”.

The Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar (from Wikipedia)

Having run a moth trap during some summer nights, I have had the opportunity to see that all moths are not as dowdy as some people would think.   Before letting them go, there is a chance to look at them closely and even the wings of the tiniest moths often have really beautiful colour patterns when seen through a magnifying glass or microscope.”

Ed. Related articles by Peter Martin that may also be of interest include: