Field Reports

Tuesday 2 May 2017 Hollybank Woods

Leader John Bond

Hollybank Woods occupies an area of approximately 60 hectares and is situated to the north, and within walking distance, of Emsworth. This wooded area is a small part of what was once the ancient forest of Bere.
Now part of the Southleigh Estate, it is held by Havant Borough Council on a 999 year lease, and is designated as a SINC :- Site of Importance to Nature Conservation. Not quite to the same standard as the SSSI, but a recognition of its value. Sadly though it does not guarantee its safety!
A delightful spring day, and fifteen of us were led through only a small part of the extensive woodland by John Bond, an important and knowledgeable founder member of 'The Friends of Hollybank Woods'.
John outlined the activities of the friends and other specialists; Forestry and coppicing being the two main activities with woodland management and maintenance being carried out by volunteers. Throughout the summer a weekly butterfly audit is conducted and John was pleased to report that over the many years that this had been in operation, some rare species had managed to survive.
As the tree canopies burst into their new glory, it becomes less easy to see our native birds, but thanks to John Kelshall's extensive experience, those we did not actually see we were able to identify by their calls.. My list therefore includes both.
Nuthatch, Robin(several), Blackbird, Chiffchaff(probably a pair), Great tit, Jays, Wren, Blackcap, A distant woodpecker (Great Spotted?), Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, and a delightful pair of Bullfinches.
Also on the wing we encountered:- A striped Bumblebee, A Brimstone butterfly, a speckled wood butterfly, Two peacock butterflies in a bluebell glade, and a small white butterfly moving too fast to be identified.
Squirrels bounded through the branches above us and John assured us that there were deer within the woodlands.
A good variety of plant species were also found including Figwort, Speedwell (both Wood and Germander), Greater Stitchwort,  Yellow Pimpernel, Wood Sage, Enchanter's Nightshade, Wavy Bittercress, Wood Anemone, and Bugle.
Evidence was also found of former human occupation. Troops were billeted there in the period leading up to the 'D Day' landings and the foundations of their quarters, now marked with an explanatory plaque can be clearly seen. A clearing also marks where a house once stood, long since burned down, but cultivation of the area still visible from surviving plant species in what was the garden.
A most interesting, informative and enjoyable morning, and a place which I suspect many of our group would be keen to visit again.
Alan Carn

We came across this we do not know what it is ??


The Commemorative plaque to D-Day Allied Troops

Chichester, West Sussex

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