There have been hedgehogs in the Orchard for a number of years. As a nocturnal animal which hibernates in Winter it is difficult to say how many we have or have had. We do not see them every year when working on the winter maintenance programme –and when we do it usually means there is a problem!
Hedgehogs are in trouble throughout the UK with numbers falling rapidly over the last 25 years. Kempshott has a number of hedgehog hot spots – we know of at least 3 between Kempshott Lane and the Roman Trackway to the west. We would dearly like to support a hotspot in the north east of the ward – and The Orchard is a perfect spot with several good hibernation areas (mainly the piles of maintenance arisings which we accumulate each year and removed every year or two in mid-summer when hedgehogs need them least).
But hedgehogs need space – good foraging space – and adjacent gardens are the perfect places. For that to work we need to create a series of Hedgehog Highways – it’s simple, all that is needed is a single hole 13cms (or 5 inches) square at the bottom of your fence to let hedgehogs in and out of your garden.
This month we found a small hoglet which we have taken to Hart Animal Rescue as it was under weight and would not survive the Winter without help. We hope to pick it up again in Spring and release it back into the Orchard.
Meanwhile, we need to prepare a more viable environment for next Spring. Will you or anyone in your family join us and make a Highway?
The Group has acquired two Treepoppers. These are simple bits of kit to lift troublesome saplings and small trees, such as Ash and Cherry. These seed or sucker freely and if not kept under control can quickly spread. In the past we have tried taking these saplings out but hand using Azardas, but this has proved ineffective as it is difficult to remove all the roots.
The Treepopper is a simple device from South Africa that was developed to remove Australian Acacia which is an invasive species there.
In association with the Kempshott and District Residents Asssociation Kempshott Conservation Group will be planting two memorial standard Hawthorn trees beside the path from Kendal Gardens to Derwent Road.
Further details of their dedication and the planting will follow.
The new Jubilee Copse in Down Grange Meadow, Kempshott is one more step in the enrichment of green spaces in Basingstoke. This new area of planting complements the adjacent copse created in 2008 and marks Kempshott’s contribution to Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee Year.
To mark the occasion the Mayor of Basingstoke, Cllr. Biermann and the Lady Mayoress inspected the work carried out and added the last spade of soil to the planting The whole project was then given a blessing by the Reverend Kelvin Taylor of St Mark’s Church.
The Mayor and Mayoress, who are both keen supporters of nature conservation, were conducted round the Down Grange Meadow site and heard details of the biodiversity restoration work that has been carried out over the last five years.
This latest development, to create the next generation of mixed woodland on the site, has combined planting material from the Woodland Trust, young elm saplings (part of a national Elm Conservation Project trialling the reintroduction of disease resistant strains of elm across the country), two specimen trees ( a rowan and a whitebeam) donated by the Kempshott & District Residents Association and bushes of hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn and elder grown by the Group.itself.
Over a dozen Worting St Thomas Scouts volunteered to plant the whips and small shrubs for us – despite pretty wet weather through most of the first half of November. Thanks guys! Pictures are here>>>
Steve was able to give the Mayor & Lady Mayoress a conducted walk round Down Grange Meadow prior to the inauguration. Both were both interested in the work the group is doing.
Mayor & Lady Mayoress talking to Steve Goodwin talking just before the cerremonial planting
In the background are representatives of Worting St Thomas Scouts who helped in the planting of the actual copse. They did a sterling job depite the first time they turned up on site, two thirds of the copse was under water!
The Mayor saying a few words during the inauration
Many thanks go the Kelvin and members of his congregation who have provided support to the group. Kelvin did the honours when we planted the Community Copse in 2009.