April Newsletter

Now that the 2023/4 work season is over attention has turned to summer events and planning. Over the
coming weeks, you’ll all be hearing from Charlie who is arranging visits to each site to plan the work to be
undertaken in 2024/5. I am hoping to join as many of these as I can, to ensure that NB is lined up to provide any other help needed across groups.
There are lots of events planned over the summer (see ‘Training/ Events’ section). I am also aware that some groups have their own events planned. Please contact me if you’d like to open these up to other groups.
Plans are well underway for a recruitment campaign, to be launched in May. All groups who advised that
they’d like support with recruitment will be provided with posters (hard copy and digital) linked to a new
website page which covers both recruitment and actions that individuals can take to support our local nature. I will be emailing groups separately about this as there is quite a lot of information to cover.
In response to your feedback, we are also planning to restart the NB programme to harvest and sow
wildflower seeds. Look out for invitations to a couple of training events, which will enable both knowledge
sharing and completion of the practical activity required to harvest seed at key wildflower sites.
Finally, we have a contribution from Cliddesden Conservation Group – who celebrated their 20-year
anniversary this month, an amazing achievement! If you’d like to include something in a future newsletter,
please contact me via the email address below.
Best wishes

Latest News

NB Groups/ Our ‘Green’ Partners

NB Groups
Cliddesden Conservation Group (Alison Mosson)
3CG celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. 20 years of tree and hedge planting around the parish, filling
our verges with wildflowers, erecting bird, and bat boxes, and transforming an 8-acre former arable field into a fabulous wildlife meadow with ponds and bughouses. Along with walks, talks, and surveys, we’re always busy! Here’s to the next 20 years!
[Editor’s Note: Congratulations CCG! The photos you presented at your AGM, showing how your green spaces have developed over the past 20 years, really demonstrated the value of conservation activity].

3rd Party News

North East Hampshire Badger Group
This local group, which is affiliated to the Badger Trust, supports protection of badgers via surveys, advocacy and monitoring of planning applications which impact on badger setts, as well as providing practical help when injured badgers are discovered.
They have recently been taking part in the ‘State of the Badger’, a piece of research which aims to provide
insight into badger populations, threats, and recovery. A number of NB members are supporting this research by surveying local green spaces for evidence of badger setts. The pictures below show some evidence from a recent survey in which we participated.
Badgers may not be classified as threatened but they do face unique challenges – in areas adjacent to our
borough, 366 badgers were culled in 2023! Please follow the link below, to find out more about how you can help NE Hants Badgers to protect this charismatic species:

Voice for Nature

The Local Plan, Local Nature Recovery Strategy & Planning
April has been a quiet month from the planning perspective. The next steps on the various policies are as

  • Local Plan – BDBC have received thousands of comments on the plan. These are currently being
    evaluated and we are awaiting advice from the head of the cabinet (Cllr Tomblin) on how we can
    engage with this process to ensure that our comments do not get overlooked.
  • Biodiversity Strategy – The strategy has now been published, BDBC is forming a Borough Wide
    Partnership for its delivery and NB will be part of this.
  • Local Nature Recovery Strategy – HIWWT have reported the results of their consultation to Hants
    County Council. We have contacted HCC to establish when a draft strategy will be available for
  • Green Infrastructure Strategy – This is due to be updated this Financial Year and NB will be involved
    in the consultation process.

Nature Notes

Dormice at Oakley Woodlands (Steve Goodwin/ Alan Wilkinson)
At this time of year, small mammals are active on our sites. Nibbled hazel nuts provide an excellent source of evidence regarding species present on site, as shown in the photos below. Finding evidence of Hazel Dormice is particularly important as they are classified as ‘vulnerable’ and have declined by 70% since 2000.
Using this approach, evidence of Dormice was recently confirmed by an NB team at Oakley Woodland. A
handful of nuts were found to have been nibbled by Dormice, amongst many more nibbled by mice, bank
voles and squirrels. Conclusive evidence was found of Dormouse activity, along 100m of hedge, comprising alternate sections of hazel and blackthorn – so, Dormice can navigate through blackthorn!

Training Courses/ Events
Training/ Events – Dates for your diary

  • 25th May – “Introduction to invertebrates” training – Fully booked!
  • 27th May – NB stand at the Willis Museum
  • 8th – 18th June – Green Week
  • 23rd June – “Introduction to flora identification” training – Invitation issued
  • 29th June – “Butterfly Identification and introduction to butterfly surveying” training
  • June to first week July – “Seed Identification” training.
  • 6th July: Sherfest (NB has a stall)
  • 7th July: Old Down Mini Bioblitz
  • 24th July – 2nd August – Love Parks Week
  • Second half July/ first week August – “Seed Collecting & Processing” training.