Three white spring flowers which can be seen right at the top of Fairlight Glen, by taking the right pointing arrow in the Wild Garlic picture. The Wild Garlic is abundant and spectacular in this Glen, and Greater Stitchwort is common across the Country Park. Three cornered Garlic is quite common and is sometimes mistaken for a white Bluebell, but it has a distinctive three sided stem; it is not a native plant but a naturalised garden escape.

Posted by Alan Parker

 
 

30 people turned up for another wonderful walk with the extremely knowledgable Dr Owen Johnson. The weather was kind and it was lovely to be back in the Country Park again for the first in this years season of outdoor events.

 
 

These beautiful specimens were spotted by Alan Parker yesterday -

The Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage, common in wet areas of the park, here at the top of Fairlight Glen, together  with the much scarcer Townhall Clock. This is so named because it has a cube shaped flower head with up to 5 flowers, 4 on 4 sides like a clock tower, and one on top.

 
 

This was the title of a fascinating talk at the History House last Friday evening given by local historian and author, Haydon Luke.

Many writers and artists of note have been attracted to the Fairlight area in the past mainly due to the wonderful location and scenery. Most of us know of the connection of Fairlight and Hastings with the pre-Raphaelites including the Rosettis, Edward Lear, Robert Martineau and Holman Hunt but Haydon also reminded us of visits by J.M.W. Turner, John Millais, Coventry Patmore and William Thackeray.

In the early 20th century, the well-known artists James McNeil Whistler and Lucien Pissarro are known to have had local connections and later in the same century Paul Nash worked in many locations on Romney Marsh whilst the authors Joseph Conrad, Henry James and Ford Madox Ford were based nearby in Winchelsea or Rye.

Haydon included several lesser known and local writers in his talk such as Coulson Kernahan who entertained various renowned authors of the period, including J.M. Barrie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and H. Rider Haggard, at his house in Martineau Lane.

Finally, we were brought right up to the 21st century with mention made of several well-known contemporary local artists including Annie Soudain and Richard Baines.

Haydon’s talk was immensely interesting and we were all intrigued to learn of the number of artists and writers both famous and not so famous who have been drawn to the magical light and scenery of our beautiful local area. We shall be waiting in great anticipation for the publicationlater this year of Haydon’s book “Fairlight; A Sussex Village by the Sea”which will cover not only writers and artists but will give much more detailed information about the history of the Fairlight area.

Picture
Summer Breeze by Annie Soudain
 
 


We have received a large number of communications relating to Rocklands Caravan Park and surrounding areas. These concern: first the construction of a prominent, new, two-storey building immediately adjacent to the East Hill; and second the landslips on the west side of Ecclesbourne Glen. The Friends’ committee want to let you know that we are aware of both these issues, and have been in extensive communication with Councillors and planning officers on both fronts. Please do continue to let us have your thoughts, and we will send a general update to all in due course.

Best regards, Andrew Blackman
Chairman,

Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

 
 

Please note that the talk on Hastings Weather that was due to be held at the History House this evening ( 14th Feb) has been postponed due to the weather!

 
 

Exposing the Rocks

Recent visitors to the Country Park Nature Reserve will have noticed that the rocky outcrops along the entrance road to the Visitor Centre have been cleared of excessive vegetation and their important geology is now much more visible.

This work, and similar clearances in the old quarry area, has been carried out at the request of Natural England, the body responsible for designating SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and will take place during January and February to avoid any disturbance to nesting birds.

During the clearance in the quarry area a footpath has been temporarily diverted but it should beopened again once the work has been completed.

According to Cllr Emily Westley, lead member for leisure and amenities, “We recognise the works will initially look drastic. However, by exposing the sandstone rock outcrops, Natural England and Hastings Borough Council will be displaying some of the finest examples of our geological past for everyone to see.”

A very informative video by Murray Davidson, Environment and Natural Resources Manager for HBC, about the importance of these rocks can be found on the Hastings Observer website:www.hastingsobserver.co.uk

 
 

Autumn Migration Watch:  Saturday 12th October

An early start (8am) saw an intrepid band of 20 plus our leader, Andrew Grace, gather outside the Visitor Centre for a gentle walk through the Country Park in search of Autumn migrants. We were also joined by Alan Parker who had walked from Fairlight to join us and had spotted several different species along the way.

As we waited to start our walk, we were amazed to see several flocks of Ring Ouzels flying overhead heading to the East, the first of many such sightings that morning leading to a grand total of 205. This was agreed to be a very exceptional event and we felt really privileged to have witnessed such an uncommon spectacle which mirrored the exceptional passage of Jays seen at last year’s Migration Watch.

The weather was fairly calm and sunny after the heavy overnight rain and Andrew explained how the convergence of weather fronts was affecting the flight patterns of various migratingbirds.

The total count for the morning was:

Redwing 47, Song Thrush 35, Ring Ouzel 205, Fieldfare 100, Blackbird 1, Mistle Thrush 3, Skylark 15, House Martin 100, Swallow 10, Chiffchaff 6, Reed Bunting 5, Pied Wagtail 2, Meadow Pipit 25, Goldcrest 3, Linnet 35, Chaffinch 20, Brambling 2, Redpoll 1, Siskin 5, Goldfinch 5.

All in all, a most enjoyable and informative morning and Andrew was given a warm round of thanks on our return to the Visitor Centre.

Picture
Ring Ouzel
 
 

PLEASE NOTE that the Autumn Migration Watch is on the 12th October and not the 5th October as originally advertised.

Meet at 8am at the Visitor Centre.

 
 

Have you ever wanted to have a go at making your own bread?

The Friends of Hastings Country Park are organising bread making lessons for anybody that are interested.

Did you know that mass produced bread in the Supermarkets and some bakers have around 20 ingredients including all sorts of chemicals and nasty things.

REAL bread has only 6 ingredients all of them natural.

There is nothing like making your own bread from scratch, and it is easy.

All you need to bring with you is an apron and a little bit of muscle power.

You will learn how to make a white/wholemeal tin loaf and Italian flat breads.

The cost will be £30 per person, which includes all the ingredients and a glass of wine or juice and you take the final product home with you.

Lessons will last around 4 hours and will be organised at a local venue on a Saturday to be agreed.

Each group will be limited to 8 people so please come along and have some fun. Please contact Jan on 01424 715556 or leave a message via this website if you are interested.