Volunteer Event This Sunday, 10 December

December 6, 2017

Fleet Pond Ranger, Nick Mafarlane, plus Sunday volunteers (October event)

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering). To give a flavour, pictures from a previous event can be found here.

On Sunday 10 December we will be doing further work to widen the link between Fugelmere Marsh, Bog Myrtle Glade and Wood Lane Heath.   This will allow easier access and flyways for flying insects and bats boosting diversity of food sources. Soil here can be very wet and muddy so wellingtons are recommended or strong waterproof boots.

This is our last task before Christmas so we would welcome festive food contributions to put us all in good (non-alcoholic) spirits! A warm drink as usual will be provided mid-morning.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.00 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
 Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.

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Volunteer Event This Sunday, 5 November

October 31, 2017

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

The task for Sunday will be the clearing of scrub and having a seasonal bonfire on The Dry Heath by the nature reserve car park. We expect to have potatoes to bake as a reward for all the good work!

Warm waterproof boots are recommended but wellingtons should not be necessary.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
 Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.

Here are some photos of volunteers from the previous event on Sunday 8 October:


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 8 October

October 6, 2017

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

The task for Sunday 8th October is clearance of scrub and saplings from Coldstream Marsh. This can be a wet and muddy area so wellingtons or strong waterproof boots are recommended.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
 Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


FPS Volunteers Help Out At Horsell Common

September 16, 2017

Heather Farm Wetland and Cafe at Horsell Common

On 1st September, a team of volunteers from Fleet Pond Society (FPS) visited Horsell Common, near Woking in Surrey, to carry out a volunteer task.

The FPS team sitting on the (wooden) alligator (see picture above)

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, explains the interesting history of Horsell Common as well as the reasons for the visit from FPS:

Originally Horsell Common was part of Windsor Great Park and was known as King’s Waste, until, like most of the Park, it eventually passed into local ownership. The owner was the Lord of the Manor of Pyrford, the Earl of Onslow, who allowed it to be used by the local residents for grazing, firewood collection and open recreation, while making an income from the sandpit and forestry. An early 18th century map shows the Commons as “Hoswell Heath” and a later map as “Horsehill Heath”.

The 1806 Enclosures Act refers to enclosures of lands in the Manor of Pyrford… “Commons and Wastelands within the manor…shall not divide let out, allot or enclosed, or in any manner interfere with the several commons and wastelands within the Parish of Horsell…but that the same shall be and remain in the same state and condition as if this act was not passed.”

In 1904 the Lord of the Manor was finding it difficult to stop despoliation of the Commons under his ownership. An attempt to get the Horsell populace to vote in a referendum, on “whether our Commons shall be preserved and protected”, or whether they “shall be left as now, to be the sport of Incendiaries, the Common receptacle of all kinds of refuse… and a camping ground for Gypsies”, was inconclusive.

This failure and letters in the Times and other papers instigated a scheme to “invest with the necessary authority some person or persons resident near each of my commons” and in 1910 the Horsell Common Preservation Committee held its first meeting.

Lord Onslow suggested he hand over the common entirely to the committee as early as 1920 but no action was taken. Years later the question of acquiring the Common by the Committee was again raised, and the lease of the common from Lord Onslow was signed in 1947, and in 1959, the Society gained charitable status. The Society finally purchased the freehold of the Common in 1966 for £1,634.

Since then, 24 acres of riverside meadows at Bourne Fields have been added, and a further 50 acres of farmland at Bonsey, previously known as Mizen’s Farm, have been taken into management.

In total the Society owns and manages over 830 acres and is the largest landowner in the Borough.

In 2017, Rachel Jones joined the management team for Horsell Common. Rachel had been a very popular ranger at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve, liked and respected by the many volunteers at the Reserve. She loved our pond and did volunteer work with Fleet Pond Society in addition to her Hart Ranger role. FPS ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ volunteers decided it would be an excellent idea to spend a day working with Rachel at Horsell.

On 1st September nine of us went to Horsell and spent a fun time getting very muddy clearing willow and reedmace from a small pond built as a pond dipping area for children. Rachel was delighted to welcome old friends from Fleet Pond and grateful for our help reopening the pond for visiting children to use.

Another picture of the FPS team (plus Rachel, lower row middle)

Read more about Horsell Common Preservation Society at www.horsellcommon.org.uk

Ed. A part of Horsell Common (known as the Sandpit) is well-known internationally for quite another reason (see here):

Local author H G Wells who lived in Maybury used the Sandpit as the landing site for Martian space craft in his novel “War of the Worlds”. Today it is still a site of pilgrimage for many science fiction fans that travel from all over the world.


Sunday Volunteer Events 2017-18

September 4, 2017

Now that autumn is approaching, you may be thinking of starting some new activities and getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time? If so, why not consider joining us on our Sunday volunteering events at Fleet Pond?

We’re a very friendly bunch and there’s even free coffee/tea/chocolate and munchies at a mid-morning break 🙂 Sometimes there are even hot potatoes as a special treat!

Typically events start at c 9:30 and last to c 12:30. No skills or prior knowledge is required and you’ll also be making a great contribution to the local environment. If interested, please contact the Hart Rangers as described in the poster above.

Here are the details of the tasks up to the end of the year (see map below for locations):

  • September 10th: Fugelmere Marsh – digging out Alder saplings/scrub. No bonfire.
  • October 8th: Coldstream Marsh – scrub bash willow/alder scrub with a bonfire.
  • November 5th: Dry Heath – scrub clearance with a bonfire
  • December 10th: Wood Lane Heath – expand wildlife corridor between the heath and Bog Myrtle Glade with a bonfire

Map of Fleet Pond

Here are some photos from previous events:

The mid-morning break and time for a chat and catchup

Hot potatoes are sometimes a special treat

 


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


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: