Uckfield Nature Reserves – Nature on our doorstep

The AGM of the Uckfield Nature Supporters group took place on Thursday March 8th at the Civic Centre.

Supporter Wendy Tagg was at the meeting and reported the meeting on the groups Facebook.

The West Park and Hempstead Meadows Supporters’ group annual get together started with practical items such as: re-electing the committee, statement from the treasurer etc. I’ve written some informal notes. If anyone wants to add or correct anything, please comment.

Geoff, the Ranger, outlined some of the work that has been happening in the reserves recently, such as coppicing the blackthorn thicket in Hempstead Meadows to encourage new growth. He also talked about some of the work he has been doing in Boothlands Wood, to improve the entrance via Victoria Park. He is hoping for more volunteers to come forward as there are all sorts projects that can be tackled as a pair or a group that are not possible for one person working alone.

We chatted a bit about wildlife sightings including:
• fieldfares, seen near West Park nature reserve and Hempstead Lane
• redwings
• chiff chaffs, heard in a local woodland
• kingfishers, seen on the stretch of the river near Bridge Cottage

One member of the group asked who was responsible for taking care of the river, as it is apt to get shopping trollies and other rubbish dumped in it. The group’s understanding is that it is the Environment Agency’s responsibility but Brighter Uckfield volunteers often do good work there.

Activities for last year outlined the activities such as engagement during the Uckfield Festival week, bird and fungi walks and the photographic competition. Suggestions for this year included a bat walk (a couple of members have bat detectors), measuring the huge oak tree and visits to other sites where there might be nightjars.

There was some discussion about engagement with schools and linking activities in the reserves with key stage 2 science.

There was a display of David H’s marvellous photographs including some very shy creatures. His tip is to get to a place where you think the creatures might be and wait quietly. They are very likely to appear once you stop moving around.

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