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Monday, 21 December 2009

Wed 19th Aug 2009 - Adgestone.

This week saw us at a site adjacent to Sandown Golf Club, which we have not visited for a couple of years. It is owned by Southern Water, but managed by Gift to Nature as a picnic area and community orchard. The site had become very overgrown, so our task was to clear away the vegetation allowing more light into the area for the fruit trees, but keeping some of the wildflowers that had not yet seeded. We were also visited by a photographer from the County Press, as the Chairman of the CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) presented our group with a certificate and a cheque for £100, for our work on their Anti-Litter Campaign.

The site is also at the beginning of the Wetland Walk bordered by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and features scattered carvings and artistic benches, coupled with the beautiful effects of some dramatic conservation work carried out in 2003. This has meant the site now looks completely natural as if it has been this way for centuries, with little evidence of the human intervention just a few years ago. A pond has also been re-created, which provides a home for hundreds of creatures that live in, on and around the pond such as kingfishers, which as a fairly rare easily disturbed bird, is afforded the highest degree of legal protection. They are particularly scarce on the Island, but the near slow flowing clean water provided at this site is a perfect habitat; other animals seen here include Water Voles, Herons, nesting Swans and Woodpeckers. The unusual geology of old river sand over deep peat means ponds in the area hold a wealth of dragonflies, including the beautiful Emperor Dragonfly, and the pollen records preserved by the peat has meant the vegetation can be traced back to the last Ice Age.

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