What's Happening

Conservation Update:

We are in the main transition stage of Clausentum Fen's regeneration programme

We recognise that some people are unhappy with the appearance of the Fen as it is at the moment, but so far we have:

  • improved light on St Michael's Brook - especially along the Clausentum Road side of the fen by felling and removing the 5 sycamores along it
  • cleared St Michael's Brook of much silt and garden-escape cotoneaster scrub
  • dug out water channels at varying levels ready for a small share of St Michael's Brook to irrigate the fen wetland area and regenerate the many freshwater habitats based on peat/chalk and alkali chalk stream waters
  • reduced the willow incursions that were drying out and crowding the fen
  • felled the leaning willow that was going to fall and break open Lockburn bank beside the culvert outflow to the Itchen
  • dug out a groundwater pond and partially landscaped around it
  • reseeded most of the fen and pond area so that green shoots should appear soon
  • cleared much of the dogwod scrub overshadowing Floodstoc

The transition stage needs to be moved on:

  • reducing the large earth bank on the south of the fen area - redistributing into lowland areas beyond the pond and compressing the porridge earth
  • opening up the drain at the bottom of the fen so water will flow directly into the Floodstoc culvert and then to the Itchen
  • developing the fen hydrology plan and gaining approval for the connection from St Michael's Brook for 20,000 litres per day (less than 10% of St Michael's Brook flow)
  • reshaping the transverse section of St Michael's Brook to create a narrower, faster flowing stream that encourages river water crowfoot and the biodiversity based on it
  • tidying up some of the dead, cut or torn trees around the site, including annual management coppicing of some willows and hawthornes
  • remove the many sycamore saplings throughout the site before they become a nuisance again
  • Consider planting some new native, high biodiversity trees and shrubs to balance the shade required in the future and create necessary boundaries

 

Volunteering to help manage our fen

We have a regular Saturday morning slot 10.00-12.30 for volunteers to join in and help restore and maintain the fen.

 

 

 



 

Work Party essentials


Clothing- old warm clothes, boots or wellingtons, long trousers (protect from scratches, ticks, bites), strong gloves if you have them, and a waterproof. Sun hats and cream in summer.

Food- bring a packed lunch and a hot drink.

Health and Safety- you should be reasonably fit! The Fen is uneven and marshy in places underfoot and we will be clearing vegetation. A Safety talk will be given at the start of each day covering tools, first aid, hazards etc. A First Aider will be present and you will be asked to fill in a Medical and Contact Form in case of emergency. It is a good idea to be fully vaccinated for Tetanus. There are two diseases associated with working in the countryside and we advise the following sensible precautions.

Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis)is a bacterial infection caused by contact with urine from infected animals, such as rats, or through contaminated water. Bacteria enter the body through cuts in the skin or through the membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. To help prevent infection :
  • Ensure cuts and abrasions are cleaned and covered with a waterproof plaster.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash hands after contact with water and before eating.
Most cases are mild, with symptoms which include high temperature, chills, sudden headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle pain, conjunctivitis, cough or a rash. Some cases are more severe and will need medical attention.

Lyme Diseaseis a bacterial infection contracted through a bite from an infected tick. To help prevent infection :
  • Wear long sleeves and trousers which tuck into boots.
  • Regularly check clothing and skin.
  • Remove ticks when seen by pulling as close to the skin as possible. Check again when home.
The most common symptom is a circular rash where the tick has bitten. Consult your GP if you develop flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, muscle or joint pains, headache, fever or chills, or neck stiffness.

Teenagers- under 16 year olds must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Parking- is available on Garnier Road.

 

Events

On Saturday 18th March our team of 24 party workers cut out the large bamboo plantation in the middle of the western border of Clausentum Fen.
Special thanks to Rachel Bryan of TCV who directed us so effectively, to Hugh Corry who continues too inspire us all with his energy and expertise and of course to the wonderful volunteers from the Clausentum Fen community who turned out to make this huge first step a great success!
It was also great to see so many strong canes sorted and stripped for recycled use on the St Cross allotments. We had enough manpower to also address the cotoneaster growth robbing St Michael's Brook of sunlight.
The next step will probably be to burn the bamboo cuttings and we hope Hampshire County Council Countryside Services Rangers may be able to help us remove the roots before it grows straight back up again! The goldfinches have moved to the Eastern bamboo patch which will be retained as it is confined by the brooks. See the images below.






... and Brian and Charles finished off by clearing Cotoneaster from St Michael's brook.





St. Michael's Brook now flowing faster #conservationvolunteers #clausentumfen #2017 #winchester #conservation

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