This Sunday 9th April (10-12am) there is another working party at the Beryl Harvey Conservation Field. This is a really worthwhile cause and a good excuse to get out in the fresh air this weekend. The field is located next to the football fields and the allotments. Children are welcome, but sorry no dogs are allowed.
See the note below from Julia Reed, who is organising the working party.
Just a quick reminder that we have our usual monthly task at BHF this Sunday 9th April. The woodland flowers are beginning to look lovely, with wood anemones, celandine, primroses and the bluebells are starting to flower in the woods, but not showing any colour yet in the field.
There is an incredible difference between the fenced patches of field and the grass & flowers in the rest of the field, showing how much damage the rabbits do, particularly to certain plants, so this task we are going to try and fence some more areas to see what flowers we can encourage . The cowslips are particularly suffering & we already know that Ox Eye daisies have failed to establish due to rabbits.
We are also going to fence around the new willow tunnel, started last month , as the rabbits have started on that. Alongside the usual tasks we will also try & get through the brambles to clear around the entrance to the artificial badger sett, which was constructed using spoil from the pond, to see if we can encourage use of that . A new artificial sett has just been created on the Berkeley homes site as they discovered one ( not currently in use) in the woodland they have sadly cleared.
We also had a lot of frogspawn in the pond this year and a moorhen is nesting again.
Theo of NaturdayZ made a successful presentation to the Parish Council in March & we have had preliminary discussions this evening about the possibility of having an open day at the field, with him offering some activities, to publicise the field and encourage it’s use by the local community including local children. He will then hopefully offer a monthly activity morning to local children. It would be wonderful to see more children learning about nature and enjoying being outside and making good use of the field.
A brief history of Cranleigh’s conservation area – known as Beryl Harvey Field. It was originally part of Coldharbour Farm and given to Cranleigh Parish Council in 1970 by Mr Gordon Harvey, in memory of his wife, for the use and enjoyment of the people of Cranleigh and District, as an open space and/or allotments.
Initially, the whole field was used as allotments but by 1986 many were neglected. The remaining plots were consolidated in the lower part of the field. At the suggestion of John Hill, who founded the Cranleigh and District Conservation Volunteers, the Parish council agreed to support the creation of a wildlife conservation area on the upper part of the field. This is entirely consistent with Mr Harvey’s wishes.
At a time when Cranleigh is under huge pressure to develop surrounding green fields, this conservation area is very precious.
The list of wild flowers which can now flourish on the field throughout the year number almost one hundred. In July, betony, lady’s bedstraw, bird’sfoot trefoil, meadow vetchling, wood avens, perforate St John’s wort, gypsywort, sneezewort, agrimony, purple loosestrife and musk mallow can be found.
Common Spotted Orchid
The ending ‘wort’ which is pronounced wert and not wart, is old English for ‘root’ (wyrt) and is generally used for the names of plants which were thought to have medicinal properties.
Bird’s foot trefoil particularly attracts butterflies – look out for meadow brown, gatekeeper and red admiral. Eighteen varieties of butterfly have been recorded on the site.
Try and make time to Walk on the Wild side this month.
Written by: Miki Marks
Help out with the Conservation Group the next dates for your diary for 2016 are:
The Group meets at 10am on the Beryl Harvey Field and usually work for a couple of hours. You can stay for as long as you can.
Read more about the Beryl Harvey Conservation Field:
As a community we are extremely lucky to have this conservation field, which faced with the ever present threat of development on our green fields, we sincerely hope that Cranleigh Parish Council will continue to protect in perpetuity.
We would like to keep this list up to date so please do let us know if you see anything when you visit the Beryl Harvey Field that’s not on here.
The Beryl Harvey Field in Knowle Lane, was donated to the people of Cranleigh in perpetuity by Mr Gordon Harvey in memory of his late wife to be used as a public open space. It is owned by Cranleigh Parish Council on behalf of, and for the benefit of, the Cranleigh Community.
The Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council, Mr Brian Ellis, has recently spoken to Waverley Borough Council about selling the land for housing in the village. In a time of growing urbanisation in Cranleigh it is extremely important that we protect public green open spaces. This land is already owned by the community for the community let’s not lose it!
The next working party is on 10th May 2015 at 10am, please come whether a keen conservationist or simply just fancy an hour or two in the open air with like minded people! Children are welcome but must be supervised by an adult at all times. Bring your gardening gloves as we will be bramble clearing!
The site consists of two acres and has been managed by Cranleigh and District Conservation Volunteers, headed up by Tony Fox, since 1987 as a wildlife area, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Co-operative Society Ltd and the Gatwwick Airport Community Trust.
The site was originally all laid out as allotments. However from the early 1980’s these were confined to the lower third of the field and are highly sought after. In 1986, with the support of the Parish Council and Waverley Borough Council, the remainder of the land was set aside for conservation purposes. The field hosts a wide variety of wild spring flowers from roses and bluebells to Cowslips and many Common Spotted Orchids. The pond dug in 2000 also attracts local wildlife including a wide variety of birds, several species of dragonfly and all important bees too. Friends of the Earth continue to highlight the plight of our bee population. Creating havens of wildflowers like the Beryl Harvey field is essential to provide food and shelter for bees, and can help reverse the trend of a declining bee population.