Home Indoor Meetings Field Meetings

FIELD MEETINGS  

·          The HNHS cannot be held responsible for any injury, loss or damage to person or property incurred at any of its meetings.

·          Dogs are not permitted.

·          High tide is given for Chichester Harbour (entrance).

·          In exceptionally severe or dangerous conditions please assume that the meeting is cancelled.

·          Click on Grid Reference to go straight to StreetMap.

·          Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear for expected weather conditions

·         Junior members are always welcome but MUST be accompanied by an adult.

·         If any of the leaders is unable to be present, every effort will be made to find a substitute.

·        Although visitors are normally very welcome at our meetings, Covid restrictions mean we are unable to accommodate non-members for the time being.

**** PLEASE OBSERVE COVID-19 PROTOCOL ****

1.        IF MEMBERS WISH TO ATTEND, LET US KNOW 7 DAYS IN ADVANCE, either by email or by phone or text message to our Secretary, Sue Bradford on  07852 206479.  Give your full name and contact details so that if necessary, these can be used to enable test-and-trace.

2.        If you develop symptoms within 7 days of the walk notify the Society.

3.        Bring a face covering and hand gel (in case gates or stiles are encountered). 

4.         Be prepared to keep your distance – 2 metres.

5.        Should it be necessary to cancel the walk we will inform you.

6.        Visitors are not permitted currently.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS  (and see below for brief reports of past meetings)     

**** During Covid restrictions it will be necessary for members to book places on meetings in advance. ****
 

MAY 2022

Saturday 28th                             10.30                     GR: SU859433         GU10 2DL
Field Crickets on Farnham Heath
(RSPB), Tilford
Leader: Mike Coates (RSPB Reserve Manager)
The area has been much restored since ownership by the RSPB. Field Crickets have been introduced, and may be "singing". A 20 minute walk across the Reserve with ground relatively flat and even, to the location of the Field Crickets which is not accessible to the public. (Toilets at the Rural Life Centre.)
Directions:
From Frensham on A287 at Millbridge turn R into The Reeds Road. After 1 mile turn L into car park at Tilford Rural Life Centre.

JUNE 2022

Saturday 25th                             20.45                      GR: SU852220         GU29 0PB
Nightjar walk on Iping Common

Leader: Veronica Carter (HNHS Member)
An evening walk around Iping Common to listen for the churring of Nightjars, and hopefully to see them in flight. Bring a torch and insect repellent. Terrain is even but it will be dark on return.
Directions:
Take A272 out of Midhurst towards Petersfield (after passing 2 roads on R. to Stedham), turn L into Elsted Road, car park on R after 200 yards.

JULY 2022

Saturday 16th                             11.00                       GR: SU511295         SO21 1HE
Butterflies on Magdalen Down, nr. Winchester

Leader: Margaret Hibbard (HNHS Member)
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Butterfly Conservation manage this flower-rich grassland on chalk downland. Of the 34 butterfly species recorded it is possible that over 20 species will be there in July. Bring lunch if you wish to stay on into pm.
Directions:
From Farnham to Winchester A31 take B3404 Alresford Road towards Winchester. On L, at entrance to Magdalen Hill Cemetery, drive to top of track adjacent to the Stonemason's yard (special parking permission).

Saturday 30th                             10.30                        GR: SU890410         GU8 6LL
Hankley Common, nr. Thursley

Leader: Mike Waite (Living Landscapes Manager Surrey Wildlife Trust)
Mike gave a Zoom talk to the Society in January. Hankley is part of the Thursley and Frensham Commons Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and SSSI.
Directions:
1 mile south of The Moat pond at Thursley, on a sharp bend take a metalled track used by the MoD. After ½ mile large car park on L.

AUGUST 2022

Saturday 20th                              10.30                        GR: SU783316         GU33 6AZ
Woolmer Pond, nr Greatham

Leaders: Andy Swan and Mike Lawn (HNHS Members)
In addition to the Pond itself, the habitats at this site include valley, mire and heath, each contributing to an exceptional flora and fauna. It is the only site with all 12 of the UK's native reptile and amphibian species and is also excellent for insects. Total walking distance about 3km. Wellington boots recommended unless particularly dry.
Directions:
MoD site – access is only permitted when the firing ranges are not in use. The date is clear at the time of writing, but this may change at short notice, so it is essential places be booked with Society’s Secretary 2 weeks in advance with contact details so that we can advise of changes. (We will arrange a nearby alternative venue if necessary).
Parking at above grid reference (just off roundabout on the A325) is limited; alternative parking will be recommended, depending on numbers.

SEPTEMBER 2022

Saturday 3rd                                 10.30                        GR: SU978180         GU28 0JR
Burton Mill Pond
(Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Leader: Jane Willmott Reserves Manager for SWT
A morning walk discussing the importance of lowland heath and particularly the importance of different heather species and the insects that benefit from them.
Directions:
On A285 3 miles south of Petworth at Heath End turn L into Burton Park Road. After a mile, opposite the Pond, drop down L to car park.

Friday 16th                                    19.45                       GR: SU945333         GU84SW
Moth Trapping

Leader: Fiona Haynes
Traps will be set up in Margaret Tomsett's garden for ongoing trapping and identification during the evening. If there is persistent rain the event may have to be cancelled. (Consult HNHS website)
Directions:
From Haslemere on B2131 past Lythe Hill Hotel, turn L into Killinghurst Lane. After approimately 1 mile on R is "June Hill". Park in drive. Bring torch.

OCTOBER 2022

Saturday 8th                                   10.30                       GR: SU976278         GU28 9LD
Fungi on Ebernoe Common
(Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Leader: Andy Swan (HNHS Member)
A morning walk through ancient woodland in this National Nature Reserve known for the abundance and interest of its fungi. A hand lens would be useful.
Directions:
From A283 1½ miles south of Northchapel, take turning on L into Steel's Lane, signposted Ebernoe. After 1½ miles just past phone box, look for track on R leading to Ebernoe Church.

Saturday 22nd                                 09.30                        GR: SU908326         GU27 2HY
Small Mammal Trapping at Swan Barn
(National Trust)
Leader: Dee Durham (Area Ranger National Trust South Downs West)
Dee will have set Longworth Traps on previous nights. Note start time.
Directions:
Take the B2131 out of Haslemere, after a few yards just past Crofts Veterinary Practice turn L down Collards Lane, continuing to end of Lane.

NOVEMBER 2022

Saturday 19th                                  10.30                        GR: SU534023         PO143JT
Birds at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve
(Hampshire County Council)
Cliff Road Hill Head, Fareham

Leaders: Doug Maughan and Phil Darley (HNHS Members)
This National Nature Reserve has 369 acres of wetland in the Lower Meon Valley alongside the Solent. Level walking, sometimes muddy.
Directions:
Park opposite the Reserve sign, or by sea wall north of the bridge. Meet by Visitor Centre. Entrance fee at time of going to print £6. Bring lunch or purchase refreshments at the small Centre.

DECEMBER 2022

Saturday 3rd                                     10.30                        GR: SU922307         GU27 3BJ

Winter Birds on Black Down (National Trust)
Leader: Paul Matson (Sussex Ornithological Society member).
Paul undertakes breeding bird surveys for SOS.
Directions:
From Haslemere at end of Tennyson’s Lane, on bend by entrance to Aldworth House, turn R down to car park.

REPORTS OF RECENT EVENTS
(Click underlined links for photos taken on the day)

MAY 2022

Saturday 14th                            
Selborne
(National Trust): Landscape, Wildlife and Gilbert White
Leader: Andy Swan (HNHS Member)

Report to be posted shortly.

APRIL 2022

Saturday 30th                           
Early Spring Heathland Birds on Lavington Common
(National Trust)
Leader: Alan Perry (HNHS member)
Leading the walk across Lavington Plantation, Alan was soon able to locate the scratchy song of the Whitethroat and 12 members heard Chiffchaffs, a male Yellowhammer, Linnets and a distant Cuckoo.  Two key heathland species were encountered:  Woodlarks were heard then seen in flight and Dartford Warblers made brief appearances.
Stonechat males and females perched on top of Gorse bushes. Alan was delighted to see his first Swallow of the year, followed later by two more.
Two young children in the group spotted two Common Lizards and a Wood Ant highway leading to two nests still under construction.
Alan remarked: “We have seen everything I had hoped we would see but doubted.”

Saturday 9th                           
Kingley Vale,West Stoke, National Nature Reserve
(Natural England)
Leader: Helen Beal (Reserve Volunteer Worker)

The visit included walking through the groves of the famous Yew forest, climbing uphill to the ancient barrows on top of the South Downs and returning through mixed woodland to look for spring flowers.
The Yews here are some of the oldest living organisms in the UK, with some estimated to be 2,000 years old.
This National Nature Reserve has four dew ponds. Belted Galloway bullocks and Jacob Sheep help to keep down the scrub. Wood Anemone was one of the species in flower and a Brimstone and Comma were on the wing.
The very close, spectacular fly-past given by Red Kite was the highlight of the day for many members.

MARCH 2022

Saturday 19th                        10.30                     
Wild Daffodils at West Dean Woods Reserve,Singleton
(Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Leader: Glenn Norris(SWT Ecologist)

On a beautiful, sunny spring morning on March 19th with barely a cloud in the sky, fifteen members were greeted by Glenn Norris, the Ecologist for Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT), at their Reserve in West Dean Woods, near Singleton to see the Wild Daffodils.
The Reserve has been worked as a Hazel coppicing site for hundreds of years. SWT took the area over in 1975. Rotated on a seven year cycle, all wood is sold for use as fencing or poles. Once an area has been coppiced it is fenced off to protect the new growth from deer, and, more surprisingly, hares.
In the cleared rides many butterflies were seen nectaring on the fully-opened flowers of Goat Willow: Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Brimstone.
Plant species seen: Butcher's Broom (an ancient woodland species), Blackthorn, Primrose, Violet and Wood Anemone. Glenn pointed out a pair of Ravens, a Firecrest singing high up in pine tree and a Marsh Tit. Chiffchaffs were heard everywhere, having just return to the UK. Also seen were Red Kite and Buzzard.
The visit to see the Wild Daffodils in flower in this private reserve certainly did not disappoint. They were spectacular ! - in full flower and extensive, a carpet of pale yellow as far as the eye could see. Members were truly impressed to see the thousands of Daffodils; surely a sight to remember.

FEBRUARY 2022

Saturday12th                       
Solar Boat West Itchenor: Bird Watching
(Chichester Harbour Conservancy)

At mid-day, in glorious sunshine, 30 members boarded the Solar Boat for a two hour trip.  The boat moved silently towards Thorney Island and up the Thorney Channel, passing Cobnor Point on the return journey.
Species seen: Brent Goose, Common Gull, Turnstone, Dunlin, Curlew, Little Egret, Shelduck, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover and Cormorant.
The highlight species: Red-breasted Merganser in small flocks and also a group of 20 or 30 taking flight.

JANUARY 2022

Saturday 29th                      
Winter Birds at Pulborough Brooks (RSPB)

A very successful morning was spent in excellent light conditions enabling easier recognition of bird species. For birds associated with land, 24 species were seen including a male Kestrel, perched on top of a tree very close to members and remaining there for 10 minutes or more.
In the flooded fields more than 16 species of birds associated with water were identified, notably large numbers of Lapwings and among them 3 Ruff, a species not often encountered.

DECEMBER 2021

Saturday 4th                       
Winter Birds at Frensham Great Pond (managed by Waverley Borough Council)
Leader: Sue Bradford (HNHS Member)

The pond area has distinct habitats: fresh water, woodland, alder carr and Cladonia Heath.
On the pond were Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Moorhen and Heron.  The putlet pond is surrounded by woodland, predominately Holly, where Redwings were busy stripping the berries. In the alder carr (waterlogged woodland with alder, sallow and birch) Siskins, high in the canopy, fed on alder cones.  A medium-sized, pale-grey bird suddenly appeared flying fast and swerving between the alders  -  probably a Sparrowhawk.  The Cladonia Heath (fenced area between the pond and the main road) is dominated by silvery-grey Cladonia species lichen and green mosses.

NOVEMBER 2021

Saturday 20th                      10.30                GR: SU965319               GU8 4SY
Signs of winter on a Shillinglee walk.

Leader: Jon Taylor (HNHS member)

West of Plaistow, the Shillinglee area just in the South Downs National Park has a mixture of habitats.
In a mixed deciduous copse found on different leaves were tiny white “tracks” or mines.  These had been made by leaf miner larvae of a micromoth or flies.
In the Sweet Chestnut woodland a tiny buff-coloured November Moth was seen fluttering and there was a circle of the common large Wood Blewit fungus.
Near the freshwater lake some members caught a brief glimpse of a Kingfisher and on The Lake were Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Great Crested Grebe.
Walking through the rough grazing fields three pellets thought to be from either Little Owl or Kestrel were discovered.  These were taken home by members keen to dissect and identify the contents!  One with tiny remains of beetles and flies but no bones was probably from a Kestrel, but another with several undigested green and brown caterpillars (from two species of moth) was more likely to have been ejected by a Little Owl as these caterpillars will come out to feed on mild nights even in winter.

OCTOBER 2021

Saturday 30th                    
Birds at Ferry Pool, Sidlesham and Church Norton.

Leaders: Phil Darley & Douglas Maughan (HNHS Members)

In mizzle with leaden skies, 11 members proceeded to the bird hide overlooking Ferry Pool. There was a wonderful view of Avocets on the water, then in flight. Lapwing, Shoveler and Wigeon were there too.
In the stream exiting the Pool the group was delighted to see a Red-necked Grebe.  A small squadron of Brent Geese flew silently overhead.
Moving to a view-point at the shingle spit alongside Church Norton overlooking Pagham Harbour, in brighter conditions seen were: Pintail, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, to name just some of the species, and surprising to see a Whimbrel and a Mediterranean Gull. Click for species list

Saturday 23rd                         
Early morning autumn migratory birds on Black Down
(National Trust)
Leader:   Paul Matson (Sussex Ornithological Society member).
Report to be posted shortly.

Saturday 9th                     
Fungus Foray: Waggoners Wells (west end) (
National Trust)
Leader: Andy Swan (HNHS Member)

The conditions were near-ideal.  Descending to Cooper’s Stream identified were: Chanterelle, Hedgehog Mushroom and large number of “Jellybabies.” In more open areas were: a large Orange Birch Bolete and the Parasitic Bolete which grows from old Common Earthballs, but is found only very sporadically.
Colourful finds were:  Amethyst Deceiver, Fly Agaric, Yellow Stagshorn and Sulphur Knight. Beech Milkcap has intensely hot and acrid-tasting “milk.”   Further discoveries were: Bulbous Honey Fungus, Blue-spot Knoght, Grey Knight, Panther Cap, Lilac Leg Fibrecap and faintly honey-smelling Sweet Poison pie.
The group of 14 enthusiastic forayers did a good job of finding an interesting and diverse range of fungi, numbering a total of 48 species.
Click for species list.

SEPTEMBER 2021

Friday 17th                             
Moth Trapping

Leader: Andy Swan (HNHS member)

Three traps were set up, tree trunks had been smeared and wine ropes dipped in a special concoction. 
After a slow start lots of pug moths were found, several different species of thorns and then a Brimstone Moth and a Barred Sallow.  Two Copper Underwing alighted on tree trunks.
The traps remained out overnight and by morning 20 species had collected. 
Member Martyn Phillis bought along his bat detector so Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and a single, distant Noctule were identified. Martyn was able to confirm that social calls were probably being made by a male Soprano trying to attract females into a bat box!

Saturday 4th                          
Reptiles on Ambersham Common
(Natural England)
Leader: Paul Stevens (Sussex Amphibian & Reptile Group Committee member)

With more than 20 years’ experience of recording amphibians and reptiles, Paul led members across part of Heyshott Common, which is on the other side of the road from Ambersham Common.
He had carried out a full survey of the site during the previous week and had planned a route to visit the tins (refugia) where Slowworms, Adders, Grass Snakes or the rare Smooth Snake take shelter.
The very first tin that was lifted revealed a fairly small, adult male Smooth Snake. For several members this was an exciting ‘first’.  A second male Smooth Snake was also found beneath another tin.
As the group moved on over the Heath where heather was still in flower, seen were: 6 dark brown, furry Fox Moth caterpillars; a Wasp Spider in her web and an egg pot made by the same species; an unusually dark Slowworm, clearly gravid and near to giving birth; and flowering Dwarf Gorse growing adjacent to Common Gorse.
Under the final tin a third male Smooth Snake was found, with members declaring it had been thrilling to have had the chance to see three examples of this rare and elegant snake.

AUGUST 2021

Saturday 28th                  
Bats at Frensham Little Pond
(National Trust)
Leader: Martyn Phillis (HNHS Member)

Weather conditions were very promising at the start of our walk. A warm, still evening with 90% cloud cover was ideal to bring out the insects, and following them, the bats.
Soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus were the first to emerge, shortly after sunset. High amongst the tall conifers, north-west of the pond, they flitted about, silhouetted against the sky, above the bat boxes funded by HNHS a few years ago.
Near the south-west corner of the pond, the distinctive call of a large noctule bat Nyctalus noctula was picked up faintly on the bat detectors. Shortly afterwards, one appeared above us, hawking for large flying beetles and moths. Its distinctive ‘chip-chop’ call could be heard clearly on our detectors as it swooped about at high speed.
We were soon surrounded by soprano pipistrelles, flashing past very close, just above our heads. Our bat detectors rattled loudly as they gobbled up the midges homing in on our group.
Common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus first appeared on the east side of the pond, at one point taking advantage of our midge cloud in the same way that sopranos had earlier.
To finish, we watched a splendid display of Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii skimming the water in front of us at the dam, plucking their insect food from the surface of the pond.
Then a final surprise as we reached the car park – a large serotine bat Eptesicus serotinus passed unseen above us a few times, its calls clear on the detectors. It will have been catching flying beetles emerging from the mature pine trees.

Saturday 14th                      
Mainly Dragonflies on Graffham Common
(Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Leader:  Jane Willmott (Reserve Manager)

Sussex Wildlife Trust took over the Common in 2010 and removed many rhododendron plants and pine trees to bring it back to open heathland.  The large pond was probably used for shooting.
The Common is renowned for its spider population.  Found were: a tiny, white-flowered sundew (previously not recorded here) and a bright-orange female of the uncommon Red-brown Longhorn Beetle.  There were several grasshopper species, Bog Bush-Cricket, Common Cudweed, Common Eyebright, Sphagnum Moss, immigrant Silver Y Moth and the large hairy caterpillar of the Fox Moth. At the pond identified were: Large Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, several Ruddy Darter and an Emperor Dragonfly flying fast over the water.

JULY 2021

Saturday 31st                 
Midhurst Common

Leader: Murray Marr accompanied by Friends of Midhurst Common.

Murray has studied the history of the Common in detail, has made maps going back to 1550 and kindly produced a leaflet for our 12 members.

200 years ago Scots Pine was introduced on the bare heath as ornamental planting and with little grazing and being self-seeded has spread and adapted to the poor soils.
In wet heath areas Purple Moor Grass grows. Cross-leaved Heath and Bell Heather were in flower with heather about to do so.  Deep in the bracken a marker stone (1793) was located.  This was one of four and showed the boundary between Midhurst and Woolbeding Manors.  Commoners had the right of turbary, i.e. cutting of peat and turf as fuel.
Near the Pest House (1741) chalk and lime were brought in to neutralise the acid soil so the inmates could cultivate food.  Now it is deciduous mixed woodland.
The flat, open sandy area with three ponds was the base of a sandpit.  Here grow Common Wintergreen, Blue Fleabane, Smooth Cat’s Ear and Yellow-wort. 

Murray commented: “The Common is really a place of mixed-up habitats.”

Saturday 17th              
Butterflies at Oaken Wood near Plaistow (
Butterfly Conservation)
Leader: Phil Darley (HNHS Member)
The rare butterfly in the south of England, the Wood White, made its first emergence of the summer brood on the very day of this field meeting.
During the hot, sunny morning many species of butterfly were in high numbers and very active:  Small Heath, Marbled White, Purple Hairstreak, Gatekeeper and Large Skipper were all seen; Silver-washed Fritillary had newly emerged; and numerous Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet flew wherever one looked.
For butterflies (and 21 members) it was a perfect morning in a perfect location!

Saturday 3rd                   
Entomology at Myrtle Farm, Rake

Leader: Scotty Dodd (Entomologist)

Myrtle Farm was a new venue for the Society.  The farm owners had requested that numbers be limited but were kind enough to allow an afternoon visit too.
With 16 acres of pasture and 10 acres of woodland the aim is to promote a more natural landscape and increase biodiversity, habitats and carbon capture.  ~
With Scotty’s collapsible white fabric beating tray, a pooter and the Society’s two sweep nets a large number of insects and spiders were collected which Scotty very ably identified. Many were very small and only have Latin names.  Seen were grasshoppers, bush-crickets, weevils, soldier beetles, leaf hoppers, shieldbugs, spider mites, hoverflies, ladybirds and harvestmen.
When the sun appeared butterflies in the meadows were active: Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skipper and Marbled White.

Click here for Scotty’s comprehensive species list.  Included are 5 Notable Species and one on the Rare Data Book, namely a false click beetle Microrhagus pygmaeus.

JUNE 2021      

Saturday 19th            
Insects and Plants on Bramshott Common

Leader: Andy Swan (HNHS Member)
Andy gave a brief history of the Common, particularly the impact of Canadian Army Camps in WW1 and WW11, whereby mortar from buildings and materials for roads have altered the pH allowing calcareous-loving plants to survive and plants brought in to maintained gardens have spread. Examples of these are Carline Thistle, Mossy Stonecrop, Birdsfoot Clover, Lady’s Mantle, and St. Dabeoc’s Heath, Bloody Cranesbill and Dotted Loosestrife, all of which Andy revealed their precise location as he knows the area well.
Although mainly dull and overcast, there were two occasions when male and female Silver-studded Blue butterflies were seen and photographed.
Click for species list.

MAY 2021        

Saturday 22nd            
Spring Plants on Ebernoe Common (Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Leader: Frances Abraham (Sussex Botanical Recording Society member)

After 15 months with no Field Meeting due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was a great pleasure for 16 members to meet up again. Visitors are not permitted yet.
Ebernoe Common is a National Nature Reserve, owned and managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust,   It is a Low Weald woodland and is an example of old wood pasture with glades, all created when cattle and pigs one grazed and browsed on acorns and beech mast.
Along the main track found were: Wood Millet, Wood-sedge, Dog’s Mercury Wood Mellick, Black Bryony, Agrimony, Wood Sorrel and Butcher’s Broom, to name a few.  In a glade with acid soil were: Sharp-flowered Rush, Tormentil, Broad Buckler Fern, Dwarf Gorse, Crab Apple and Midland Hawthorn. In damp Willand Wood, once coppiced, were: Thin-spike Wood Sedge, Goldilocks, Sanicle and Pignut.

Members had enjoyed Frances’ anecdotes, both botanical and historical and had learnt to recognise plants new to them.