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The Fernhurst Society

Biodiversity projects


The Society's 2001-2003 biodiversity projects embraced several schemes studying the local flora and fauna and land use within an area centred on Fernhurst and bounded by Kingsley Green, Blackdown hill, Elmers Marsh and Henley.

  • a garden bird watch: had 57 reporting members who regularly recorded bird numbers in their gardens.
  • woodlands, hedges and verges surveys: this group conducted botanical surveys along roadside verges and ancient hedges.
  • land use and habitat mapping.
  • the owl group: concentrated on helping the barn owl which is becoming rare, by putting up owl boxes at specially selected sites.
  • a bat group monitored species and numbers of bats at summer roosts and feeding areas with the aid of ultrasonic bat detectors. In addition, over 40 bat boxes were installed in suitable locations.
  • weather recording and phenology: three weather recording stations around the village monitored trends in temperature and rainfall, and collecting records on the onset of budding and flowering in various plant species. Phenology data can help in the long-term assessment of climate change.

This was our contribution to the national Local Agenda 21 programme that derives from the international Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. We worked in the conjunction with the Sussex Downs Conservation Board, the West Sussex County Council, Chichester District Council and conservation groups within Sussex.

Between 2001-2003, the Society organised a major project studying local nature, wildlife and history. Funded by a grant from the Local Heritage Initiative (LHI), which is a national grant scheme that helps local groups to investigate, explain and care for their landscape, traditions and culture, the results were presented to the village in October 2003 in the Fernhurst Wildlife Exhibition. More information on these LHI-funded projects (Adobe pdf format: to read this you may need to download the free Adobe Acrobat PDF viewer).

Data from our projects were entered onto a computer database linked to Ordnance Survey digital maps, and are shared with national and local records centres including the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre.

Meanwhile, listen to a sound recording of the woodland dawn chorus at 6 a.m. on a beautiful May morning near Fernhurst village:

dawn chorus (486 kB, mp3 stereo)
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The Local Heritage Initiative was developed by the Countryside Agency and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nationwide Building Society.