was held on Wednesday 13th November 2019
Annual Reports and Trust business details
followed by a talk by Dave Elliott National Trust Head Ranger for Black Down on
BLACK DOWN AND BEAVERS
was held on Wednesday 13th November 2019
TRUSTEES AND SECRETARY
We have some added personnel around the Trust’s table—Russel Oppenheimer has become Hampshire County Council’s nominated Trustee (in succession to Adam Carew), and Anthony Williams succeeds Angela Glass as East Hampshire district council’s nominee.
Angela stays on as a Trustee ‘in her own right’ as does Barbara Easton. Angela of course remains Chairman of the Trustees.
Those who attended last year’s Annual Public Meeting will recall our surprise and delight when John Carne volunteered to take on the long-unfilled role of Honorary Secretary, and he is now well and truly up and running us all.
LAND AT RADFORD BRIDGE
You will have read on the front page that our speaker at this year’s APM, the National Trust’s Dave Elliott, will be including the subject of Beaver introduction on a headwater of the Southern Wey.
Beavers — last seen in Great Britain, in Scotland, in the sixteenth century — ”reappeared” around 2008 on, confusingly, the River Otter in Devon, where they are now managed by the local Wildlife Trust. Their great virtue is in contributing to ‘natural’ flood management, and—in the right place— they offer one of a number of approaches to this growing need. It seems a timely topic for the Trust’s APM.
The Trust relies heavily on volunteers to keep things running, whether it’s workparties or more specialised tasks.
Here is some of what we’re up to or are planning
Regular annual clear-up—late winter (i.e. early 2020)
Constructing crossings over watermeadow drains to enable tractor-mounted equipment to be used (where appropriate): a bit of digging and some concreting, then brickwork to carry mini-bridging deck. Despite some dry summers, the drains seem to be lying wetter than the once did, leading to embarrassing situations with tractors.
As noted earlier, it’s a case of wait-and-see for the Radford Bridge land next door, however we still carry out balsam-bashing there and in Allees Meadow every summer.
PASSFIELD FISH PASSAGE
Requires routine topping up of the stone (‘rocks’) that form the stepped pools of the passage through the sluice. We also carry out some maintenance to the permissive path there.
JAPANESE KNOTWEED MONITORING
We are working with CABI in a long-running trial to establish the effectiveness of Psyllids in controlling this non-native invasive plant, whether they spread to and infest adjacent native vegetation, and how well they tolerate our unpredictable climate. Our involvement has been in setting and collecting insect traps (see picture) and monitoring the presence and spread of the Psyllids once they have released on the site.
WATER QUALITY TESTING
Over the last couple of years we have carried out spring and autumn testing of dissolved phosphates and nitrates, at a limited number of sites, using basic ‘visual’ testing methods (pictured right) as part of the FreshwaterWatch campaign.
As a result, we have decided to up our game by buying some more professional kit (pictured left)with a view to monitoring more regularly and more widely.
We also hope to arrange ‘kick-sampling’ training (in collaboration with Riversearch Wardening scheme run by the Surrey Wildlife Trust) which establishes how invertebrates are doing in the watercourses—another indicator of water quality.
ANOTHER INSTALMENT OF OUR OCCASIONAL ROMP ALONG OTHER PEOPLES’ RIVERS
Abhainn Thuaidhin the gaelic
There is possibly just one other River Tweed in Britain — a short tributary of the River Sence (heard of that one?) in Leicestershire.
The River Tweed rises at Tweed’s Well , which is off to the west close to the A74(M) Carlisle to Glasgow route, a little north of Moffat. From source to the sea it is 97miles—it discharges between Berwick and Tweedmouth (the border nowadays is 3 miles to the north, near Lamberton). The river has strong populations of salmon, sea trout, non-migratory brown trout and grayling—and is fished accordingly.