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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 27, April 2007



Nick Unsworth

“It is with sadness we report that Nick Unsworth, a member of the Executive Committee and enthusiastic supporter of the Fernhurst Society, died suddenly on the 12th February, aged 54. Nick had been through both leukaemia and blindness from shingles over the past three years, yet through this all he retained his good humour and positive attitude to life. Forced to retire early from his medical career Nick threw himself into village life, volunteering to join the Executive Committee and taking on associated responsibilities. Nick was a valuable member of the Committee, undertaking writing the Fernhurst News entries and recently had started the valuable task of being one of the oral history interviewers. His generous, humorous character and thoughtful presence is much missed and our thoughts are with Carole, his wife.”


Events: Spring to Autumn 2007

Thursday 5th April – Talk on Global Warming by John Clement
John worked at ICI and Zeneca in Fernhurst as an environmental scientist. He has since worked as an environmental adviser to government organisations in the Americas, Asia and Europe looking at issues of sustainability, food chain supply & ethical fairtrade. He will talk about whether global warming is a real phenomenon induced by man, or part of a natural cycle, or just hype. . This should prove to be an informative and illuminating look at the subject and hopefully give us some insights on how these trends could affect our area. In the Village Hall, doors open at 7.30pm for 8pm start

Sunday 22nd April: – Walk on Chapel Common, Liphook
A Sunday afternoon walk of about 2 hours on Chapel Common, near Liphook. This will be led by Rob Free, a ranger with the Downs Board (SDJC). Meet in the Fernhurst Car Park at 1.45pm where transport will be organised to and from Chapel Common.

Sunday 20th May: - Fernhurst Revels
Make sure you visit the Fernhurst Society stall at the Revels where recent news from the Society, and a range of publications, will be available.

Sunday 27th May: - Butterfly Walk
Join our afternoon walk to find and identify butterflies, including some national rarities, in Verdley Wood. Meet at 1.45pm in the Crossroads car park for transport to the start. If it is cold or raining, we will postpone at short notice provisionally to 10th June and put a message on the Society website. However if you provide your email address to the Society (see contacts), you will be advised of any changes by email.

Sunday 8th July: - History Walk in Midhurst
Bridget Howard from the Midhurst Society has agreed to lead a walk around Midhurst looking at interesting historical buildings and features, including the Cowdray Ruins.
Meet at the Fernhurst car park at 1.45pm where transport will be organised, or directly at the Midhurst Tourist Office at 2pm.

Sunday 5th August; - Summer BBQ
Following the success of last year’s autumn BBQ (which replaced the Christmas dinner) we have decided to have a summer BBQ this year.

It is on Sunday 5th August starting at 12.30pm and Robin Barnes has very kindly offered the field next to his house again as the venue. Robin’s address is Vanlands on Van Common. It is a relaxed affair: time to chat and meet other members and a great afternoon for all the family, with plenty of space for children to run around whilst adults natter.

Super Swing, a local jazz band, will be playing again providing a wonderful backdrop to the event. There will be plenty to eat with the BBQ, accompanied by bread, salads and vegetarian options and followed by desserts. Please bring your own drinks (glasses provided).

Tickets cost £10 each which includes food and entertainment. Only £4 for under 16s. Tickets are available from Elsie Waitt on 01428 652270. Non-members are also very welcome.

September; - Fungus Foray at Witley National Trust
Details of the walk, looking at fungi and mushrooms, will be advertised nearer the time.

Thursday 25th October; - Talk by Maureen Duke & Picture Auction
Following the highly successful talk by Maureen in 2006, she has agreed to give another talk, combined with an auction of a picture painted by her grandfather. Maureen has generously agreed to donate 50% of the value achieved at the auction to the Fernhurst Society.


Programme for The Fernhurst Junior Society

The Junior Fernhurst Society has a full walking programme for the year. Once a month (with the exceptions of July, August and December) on a Saturday morning we take the children on a nature walk. Children of between 5 and 10 are very welcome, together with their parents (under 7's must be accompanied). It is a fun outing - not strenuous and good company for everyone involved. Trainers, wellies or stout shoes advised given the muddiness of local footpaths! There is a small charge to cover our administration costs for each walk. The programme for this year is:

April 21st - Bluebell Walk - Hawksfold East and Furnace Pond
May 12th - Iping Common, near Midhurst
June 16th - Burton and Chingford Ponds, bring a picnic lunch. Teas available
July and August - no walks
September 22nd - Scout Hut, through Bridgelands and back
October 13th - Chestnut Roasting and visit the Spitfire Memorial
November 17th - Witley Common

If you would like to know more or want to come along, please contact Sue Gibbon on 01428 645979 or Julia Roxan on 01428 651233

Review of Some Recent Events and Activities

Inspiring talk from Canine Partners

On 21st February 2007 we held our annual afternoon talk in the village hall, aimed at both adult and junior members of the Fernhurst Society, timed for half term week.

This year we had the delight of hearing all about the training of dogs by a local charity called Canine Partners (based in Heyshott). They train dogs to help disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs. Canine Partners brought along 4 young dogs, all at different stages in their training and showed the range of skills they acquire. Early on they are trained to be companionable and always seek their human partner and then progress to learning obedience in waiting for food (someone in a wheelchair must be able to move away from the food bowl before the dog eats) and handing back the empty bowl!

Through constant rewards with dog treats and making some of the tasks feel like games (for example tug games are good to teach how to open doors) these wonderful animals learn to do a host of activities for their human friend. Day to day tasks range from fetching items from drawers and cupboards (opening and closing them afterwards!) to opening the washing machine and putting the washing in the laundry basket and to taking off their owner’s gloves, hat and coat.

In emergencies they can put their human partner in the recovery position and summon help using the alarm button. We were told that in one such case a dog summoned the emergency services who were then let in by a very wet dog. It transpired that the person had collapsed in the bath, so not only had the dog called the emergency services, but it had also leapt into the bath to pull out the plug – something it can hardly have been trained to do!

Canine Partners are always looking for people to become involved in a number of ways – being a Puppy Parent (attending weekly classes with the dog and then practising each skill in the intervening week), through to providing a home for a few weeks when other trainers are on holiday or even to provide the dogs B&B accommodation whilst they go through their advanced training at Heyshott. If you want to know more please contact them on 08456 580 480 or visit their website.


Oral History Project Update and Call for Volunteers

“Voices of Fernhurst” was published at the beginning of December and was generally very well received. Although it sold well in the run up to Christmas, we still have plenty of copies available.

Interviews for the Archives are still continuing under the leadership of John Clark. Work is now starting on designing a complementary website and on preparations for an exhibition to be held at the end of November 2007.

We need more volunteers who would like to help this project to continue by carrying out the taped interviews. All who have been involved in interviewing so far have enjoyed learning about the history of our village at first hand from people who have personal experiences to share with us. As well as the pleasure you can gain, you make a valuable contribution to the project. As you know we have recently published a book based on many of the interviews carried out so far and it has been a great success.

So far over 50 interviews have been carried out and we have many more potential interviewees on our list. We will carry on interviewing for as long as we have willing interviewees, whether or not a further book might be published. The records of the interviews are kept for us in the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester as well as copies being available in our own Archive in the Village Hall. Where interviewees have given their authority (and this is in most cases) these copies are available to be borrowed for listening on tape players.

Each interview involves about 5 – 6 hours of the volunteer’s time, including initial meeting, interview and reviewing the result. Training is given, and all the equipment required is provided by us. If anyone would like to have further details and discuss the possibility of joining the team for this rewarding project, would they please contact John Clark on 01428 654632.


Activities in the Society Archive

The long-awaited third history walk booklet is in production and should be available, hopefully by Easter, for you to buy and enjoy for the first time or to do again if you were on the original walk in August 2005.

Donations continue to come into the Archive covering many aspects of Fernhurst history, from a collection of notes on Verdley from the 16th to 19th centuries to memorabilia on Fernden School, now Fernden Heights, including photos of rooms as they were as classrooms and as they are now, back to domestic use.

Some of you may have recently attended ‘The Elixir of Love’ at Haslemere Hall and thought the backdrop looked familiar – it was taken from a photo in the Archives of the Green in the 1920s.

Fernhurst Archive photos are also featured in Henley chapter in the new book ‘Easebourne and Cowdray’ published at the end of February.

The Archive area of the Fernhurst Society website attracts many hits and often generates enquiries, which we are happy to deal with, and of course we are always glad to welcome visitors. If we are not able to answer your question ourselves, we can probably find you someone who can. Please contact Christine Maynard on 01428 653663


1901 Census Project

After a delayed start, the team is now busy creating a transcription of the census for Fernhurst Civil Parish as it was on the night of March 31st 1901. This transcription will be validated and should be available on the Society's website over the next month or two. If you want to get involved, or you have previously expressed an interest in so doing and have not been contacted recently, please contact John Buchanan on o1428 645197.

Junior Fernhurst Society outing to Lower Roundhurst Farm

The March outing for the Junior Fernhurst Society was a delightful sunny morning visit to Lower Roundhurst Farm, which is along Tennyson’s Lane, just the other side of Blackdown from Fernhurst. The owners Moya and Richard Connell have been there since 2004 and are undertaking major renovations of the lovely old main house, ponds and gardens as well as developing an organic farm, growing vegetables and raising cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, alpaca and chickens.

Moya kindly led the group of 17 children and their parents around the farm, seeing the millennium orchard planted with 100 different apple varieties, views across the valley below to the east and south, some of the animals in the fields and then back to the farmyard where many more were still indoors (the land was still very wet from the recent rain). In the fields there were some Sussex sheep with the alpacas guarding them whilst back in the farmyard the children had the delight of seeing newly born lambs, day-old piglets suckling and young calves. The pigs were a mix of the wonderful ginger coloured Tamworths and the very dark Berkshires, whilst the cattle were the Sussex breed.

The morning ended with a nice chatter over drinks and yummy cakes in the farm café and shop, where much of the farm produce is also sold. For more about Lower Roundhurst Farm do visit them on Fridays or Saturdays or go to their website.


Misuse of Footpaths

We have about 43 miles of Public Rights of Way in the parish of Fernhurst most of which are used responsibly. No motor bike or recreational 4x4 is permitted on any Public Right of Way except a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic) and we have none in Fernhurst Parish. The biggest problem is the old RUPP (Road Used as a Public Path) which have been re-designated as Restricted Byways. There are several Restricted Byways in Fernhurst Parish, notably; from Courts Farm to Henley, from Surney to Bexley Hill, from Vann Road to Marley Common and from the drive to Sheetlands to Copyhold. They will all soon have plum coloured markings.

The South Downs Joint Committee and the Sussex Police have set up Pathwatch which is an organisation to stop illegal use of Rights of Way. If you witness any motor bikes or recreational 4x4 on any of our Restricted Byways please report the incident to Pathwatch either by calling 0845 60 70 999 or reporting online via their website. Repair of damage done by these illegal vehicles takes away any funding which could be used to improve other footpaths and bridleways for the benefit of genuine users of our wonderful rights of way system.