At this time of year there is lots going on in the countryside and The North Area team are extremely busy looking after our sites in the North of Hampshire including Yateley Common Country Park, Castle Bottom Nature Reserve, Zebon Copse in Church Crookham and Herbert Plantation in Burghclere. Each site has its own special habitats which need individual care and attention so our small team is very busy working across the whole of North Hampshire. As well the practical conservation and site management there are lots of other things going on at this time of year.
Education, Events and Visits
School groups and after school groups are starting to book sessions ranging from scavenger hunts to pond dipping, and the summer term promises to be a busy time for our staff as we prepare new resources and update our activities to meet the needs of the current curriculum. With the Summer holidays fast approaching the Rangers have been working hard to prepare this summers fun activities programme, which is returning by popular demand following its success over the last few years. This year we hope to make the activities even more fun filled with lots of goodies for the kids to take home, and due to the amount of interest in previous years we doubling up on each session to give even more children the opportunity to join in on one or all of our activities. More information about these activities will be being added to the Events page shortly.
Also keep an eye out for some great walks including the Nightjar Twilight walks on Yateley Common and Castle Bottom and a Dawn Chorus walk on Castle Bottom.
Surveying, Volunteering and Lookering
Our usual programme of bird and reptile surveys is well underway and this year we have started to carry out butterfly transects on Castle Bottom Nature Reserve. The ponies have returned to Castle Bottom Nature Reserve to help graze the heathlands and reduce growth of scrub -this year we have 6 new forest ponies, and as in previous years volunteers are helping us with pony lookering -if you are interested in helping please get in touch.
Our Thursday and Sunday Conservation Volunteers continue to do a brilliant job supporting the Rangers with much needed conservation works on Yateley Common and Zebon Copse. Their invaluable help means that much more good work can be achieved and we are very grateful for their support. If you are interested in volunteering please get in touch, we have lots of opportunities for people to get involved.
We are also currently asking visitors and users of Yateley Common to help with locating invasive plant species such as Japanese knotweed and Rhododendron on Yateley Common, each year we try and remove these invasive plants and help locating them would be much appreciated -A leaflet is available for those able to help, so please get in touch and we can send it to you.
In an attempt to reach as many local people as we can we are now using a variety of social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. There are many ways to keep in touch with us including Our Friends of Yateley Common Membership which continues to be a popular way to find out more about the works we do, the various sites we manage and up and coming events. At only £3/person per year it is great value offering 4 newsletter each year, regular emails about new events and reduced prices on events.
An update on Wyndham's Dam
The dam remains closed for safety reasons and we strongly advise visitors not to use the path crossing the dam, please be aware that if you choose to cross the dam you do so at your own risk. Please be assured management is looking at options to fix the problem as soon as possible, and we are monitoring the situation with regard the lowered water levels and oxygen levels in the pond. We apologies for the inconvenience caused and will update you as soon as we know more.
If your out and about on any of our sites in the coming months we hope you enjoy yourselves and look forward to hearing about you visits on our evaluation form which can be found on the Sites Home page. Please send us pictures from your visit that we can use in our newsletter and blog, we would love to share your experiences and photographs!