Wild Women at Johnstons Coppice

6 Apr

All coppice work and related clearance of the hazel and sycamore stools ended with the last day in March. This is to give the site’s flora and fauna some peace and quiet for the coming season.

There is a large amount of cut material which will be moving up to the Butser Ancient Farm for the festival of Beltane (see earlier post). A certain amount will also be chipped to improve the path surfacing.
Attention is now focussed on the large pond located to the north of the site. This area is in desperate need of attention and todays work party made good progress. The dam wall is very overgrown and leaking, the three sluices blocked and there is yet more rubbish to be cleared.
The work party was made up of a group of friends, principally from the London area, with a love of the great outdoors and of making a difference by getting involved in community or conservation projects.  This is their third visit to the site and what a difference they have made.
One of the rangers from Queen Elizabeth Country Park was on hand to provide help with a chainsaw for the larger logs but otherwise all the hard work was carried out with bow-saws, forks and spades. The group meets on a regular basis and welcomes new members.

Coppice Work Continues at Johnston’s

12 Mar

The team of staff and volunteers continue to cut more coppice stools working towards the target of 1 acre by the end of March. After this date the cutting will stop to let the bird’s nest in peace and we will concentrate our efforts on improving the tracks and trails.

The bulk of the cut material will now be transported to the Butser Ancient Farm to be used in the construction of the Wicker Man which will be burnt as part of the Beltane Festival in May.
More information on this event can be found at http://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/

The majority of the cut material is hazel which will be allowed to re-grow on a 7 year cycle.

A lot has happened over the last month; a management plan has been completed together with a grant application to the Forestry Commission’s EWGS scheme, the old bikes and mattresses have been removed and a dangerous tree survey completed.

At the end of March we hope to get a mini digger to scrape back the main trails and dig out the ditches.

In addition the team will be working on the pond in early April to replace the hand rails over the dam and cut the vegetation out of the three water sluices.

The constant clearing of rubbish continues and it will be some while before the site looks clean and safe. Bagged material will be stored on site until a trailer load has been collected,

Volunteers are always welcome to attend the regular work parties and should contact Tim Speller on tim.speller@hants.gov.uk for further information.





Winter work at Johnston’s Coppice

13 Feb

Since taking over this fascinating site last Summer the ranger teams from Staunton and Queen Elizabeth Country Parks have been busy.

Large quantities of rubbish are still coming out of the site, anything from old mattresses to a Halfords folding bike.

We are talking with Havant Borough about the piles of rubbish along the edge of Purbrook Way. With so many further educational establishments in the area the busy route to the bus stops provides a daily load of waste food packaging.

Work has started on the old coppice with the aim of getting the hazel and sweet chestnut back in to a sensible rotation. The target is to coppice 1 acre before the end of March.

The next work day will take place on the 28th February when the rangers will be carrying out a dangerous tree survey, starting to replace the broken rails on the dam, and doing some more coppicing.

Members of public are welcome to come along to say hello or even to do some work. Work boots and wet outdoor gear will be required. Tools can be provided.

The gas leak is still an ongoing problem for the engineers. The water table is about 80cm down and they need to excavate down to 5 metres!

The contractors have needed access for some very large machinery and as a consequence they have been really helpful clearing the old road to the south of the site and cutting back vegetation.

Any problems of queries please contact Tim Speller at tim.speller@hants.gov.uk

Work party 28th December

28 Dec

Unfortunately due to the ongoing wet weather todays work party will be postponed.

The session on the 19th January is the next scheduled meet, pre-booking required, with an additional date to be arranged if full.

More details from tim.speller@hants.gov.uk


Volunteer sessions at Johnston’s Coppice

27 Dec

On Friday the 28th December there will be a volunteer work party taking place at a very wet Johnston’s Coppice from 11.00am and 3.00pm.

A number of different practical tasks will be taking place with one priority being to open up vehicle access along the western boundary.

It is still early days for this site after many years without much attention. There is still a lot of rubbish to be removed and more work required opening up the southern entrance.

The main gypsy gate/vehicle entrance however has been dug out, reset and locked.

There will be another volunteer session on the 19th January, again from 11.00am through to 3.00pm, where this time in exchange for practical help there will be survival and bush-cooking experts on hand to teach and feed the workers.

Places are restricted and pre-booking is required. A second date will be set up if there is sufficient demand.

More information from tim.speller@hants.gov.uk

Work continues in Johnston’s Coppice

4 Dec

There still remains a load of rubbish piled up at the main entrance and more still scattered across the site. It will take some while to remove all of this. Litter-pickers and black sacks are being given out to local volunteers to help with this process.

Following a visit by the Forestry Commission Woodland Officer, Mike Pittock, a management plan is being prepared and then a grant bid will be submitted under the Woodland Grant Scheme.

For more information, or to get involved as a volunteer, contact Tim Speller at tim.speller@hants.gov.uk or call on 02392 595040

Johnston’s Coppice work party

22 Nov

  Last week a work party made up of rangers from Staunton Country Park,  Queen Elizabeth Country Park and volunteer helpers, spent the day working in Johnston’s Coppice.

This 25 acre block of woodland which is owned by Hampshire County Council has been somewhat neglected in recent years and due to a reorganisation it is now the responsibility of the Staunton team.

There was much to achieve in the first day with site signs to be ordered, large amounts of rubbish to be removed and all the main trails to be cleared back.

Future work parties are planned and new volunteers are very welcome to get involved in the regular work days.

The site has some excellent coppice which will be cut in rotation to provide wood products and used as a base for teaching woodland crafts.

At the south-eastern corner of the site there is currently a deep hole surrounded by safety fencing. The cause is a leak in the gas main which runs 4m below the surface and passes directly beneath the A3.

Work to fix the problem will probably continue until Christmas when the contractors will start their clear up programme.

The site can be found at the junction of Purbrook Way and the A3 in Havant Borough, grid reference  SU 689 077