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.
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.
Saturday 14th September 2013 was the date for the walk with Dr Owen Johnson through one of the most diverse and beautiful parts of the park. The walk was well attended with 17 people including Julie Apps the head ranger for the parks, and Jacqueline and Rod from the Friends committee.
We were very lucky with the weather after heavy rain the day before and even more rain on the Sunday. Despite the rain on the Friday the paths were relatively dry and easy to walk on.
Owen took us into Ecclesbourne Glen explaining the variety of trees and how they came to be part of the park eco system. He even explained how you could tell where ancient grazing fields had been by the type of trees now growing where they once were.
Owen answered the variety of questions succinctly using his vast wealth of knowledge. He also dispelled a lot of popular myths including one about the amount of holly berries on the tree forecasting how hard the winter will be.
At the end there was a round of applause and many very positive comments.
Overall the walk was very interesting and l think everybody went away with a little more knowledge about trees and this wonderful part of the country park.
Summer Wildflower Walk: Saturday 10th August
Jacqueline Rose of the Hastings Botany Group, and committee member of the FHCPNR, led a most enjoyable walk last Saturday to Fairlight Glen and back searching for summer wildflowers. Despite the recent warm weather and dry conditions Jacqueline managed to show us a wide variety of flowering plants including sedges and rushes. Some of the plants were so small that most of the group could easily have overlooked them but Jacqueline was more than ready to go down on hands and knees and search them out with her trusty hand lens.
Jacqueline’s walks are always much appreciated and this was no exception – we were all so engrossed that the two and half hours seemed to fly by. A hearty round of applause heralded the end of the walk.
Afterwards, group members were also able to see some of the beautiful moths caught the previous evening in the Country Park moth trap as part of National Moth Night before Alan released them. Alan’s regular reports on moths caught in the Country Park Nature Reserve can be viewed on the RX Sightings website: www.rxwildlife.info
The Country Park Exhibition at the History House was officially opened this morning by the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Alan Roberts.
Our thanks to everyone at the History House who have given us so much help and made this happen. And to Committee member Jill Howell who put together this beautiful exhibition.
Saturday (3rd August) sees the official opening of our brand new Country Park Exhibition that is to be at the History House in Courthouse Street, Old Town Hastings until September. The exhibition will be opened by the Mayor at 10:30 this Saturday and we look forward to seeing you all there!
A Herbal Walk in the Park: Saturday 13th July
Ben “Fairlight” Edwards, professional herbalist, raconteur and wandering troubadour, was the outstanding star of this Friends’ event last Saturday morning. A large group of enthusiasts accompanied Ben on a walk from the Country Park Visitor Centre to Fairlight Head, through the gorse and honeysuckle and back along the access for all path.
Along the way Ben introduced us to various plants and shrubs indicating their uses in herbal medicines and popping various leaves and flowers into his thermos of hot water to brew a healthy and invigorating tisane.
Plants examined included bramble, nettle, cleavers, rose, honeysuckle, selfheal and elder. What had appeared at the start to be a fairly short walk easily occupied two long, fascinating hours with everyone agreeing that Ben should return next year for another extremely informative and thoroughly enjoyable herbal walk in the park.