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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 21, January 2005


Fernhurst Society Membership Cards

We have re-introduced membership cards this year, which have a handy annual programme included. If you have renewed this is enclosed. If you haven’t renewed yet there is a subscription form enclosed instead. Please treat this as a reminder!


Junior Fernhurst Society

The Junior Fernhurst Society is progressing with its dozen children. We have widened the age range so that it now covers 5 – 12 year olds, although we ask parents to accompany the under 7s. We meet monthly for a couple of hours on a Saturday. The focus is on involving children in practical activities centred on nature conservation and local history.

Since the last newsletter the group has had two interesting sessions. In October we went around the village on a history quiz trail, looking for things around the village that we walk by and don’t notice. The children were given photos of features (for example the PO clock and the Red Lion sign) that they had to find and then answer questions about, centred on Church Road and the Green.

In November we had a fascinating session about recycling and composting with someone from Chichester District Council. Nathan explained the 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They are all important to conserve the Earth’s resources. We all need to:

  • Reduce our consumption (e.g. low energy lights, avoiding unnecessary packaging, walk rather than taking the car);
  • Reuse materials rather than throwing them away (a great incentive for being a real squirrel); and at the last resort
  • Recycle the materials into something else.

Nathan also explained what and how to compost as a way of reducing our waste and providing good nutrients back into our gardens. The children learnt what could be composted (anything organic in origin that will decompose) and what not (manufactured materials and cooked meat (because of vermin)). Shredded newspaper, old woolly jumpers and our entire fruit and vegetable peelings can all go in as well as clippings and leaves from the garden.

Nathan told us a bit about the technology CDC is now using to sort and separate all the materials in our burgundy recycling bins. It is a state-of-the-art machine that detects different materials by laser beam and shoots them off in different directions. The reason that we cannot put all plastics into the bins is that the UK does not have the recycling capability. In Continental Europe they recycle more plastics as they have that capability.
Overall it was a fascinating session and the children went home with pencils, each one made from a recycled plastic cup.
If you would like to help or want to know more, please contact Julia or Sue or Shenda via the Society's email.


South Downs National Park: Update

On 16 December 2004, the Planning Inspector adjourned the proceedings until 18 March 2005, when it is expected the inquiry will be closed. This period will enable the Countryside Agency to complete the submission of outstanding responses to the written representations that had been made, and for the Inspector to consider those papers, and to complete his schedule of site visits. A proposal on the table is to limit the Park to just the chalk upland area, which would leave Fernhurst outside the boundary. The South Downs Campaign group (pro Park) is keen that the wider area is included.
The Inspector emphasised that this delay to the close of the inquiry would not affect the timescale for production and delivery to the Secretary of State DEFRA of his report, which he expected would be done towards the end of 2005. If the Park gets the go-ahead then it could exist by 2007/8.


Syngenta site: short update

Comers, the developers, submitted their planning application at the end of 2003 to:

  • Convert the office block into 359 flats
  • Use the Pagoda building as a conference centre with 5 flats in the upper level
  • Care home providing 88 sheltered flats
  • 260 bed hotel
  • 13 new houses and a lodge house
  • 4 family houses in the Bridgelands site
  • 1 family house at Homelands Copse

CDC responded with a request for an environmental impact report, and gave Comers the details of their requirements in July 2004. This should be completed early Feb this year and Comers are planning to submit a planning application with that report. It is expected that this application will be much along the lines above. Artists’ sketches show very grandiose buildings.
Further updates in the Fernhurst News.


Changes to local planning

On a related subject, you may have read in Chichester District Council’s (CDC) magazine in December about the changes to the local planning system. The changes mean that the previous County Structure plan (produced by West Sussex County Council) and District Local Plan (by CDC) are replaced by a Local Development Framework to be produced by CDC. The reasons for the change are to streamline the process, increase community involvement and ensure all decisions are accountable and sustainable. As we are a Society with a remit to promote high standards of planning and architecture in the area, we registered as a group that would like to be consulted on some of the issues. We hope this will be an opportunity for local voices to be heard. We will let you know when we have further information.


Oral History

Following the award of the LHI grant, the Oral History Project team has continued to make good progress. Altogether some 50 interviews have now been completed and most of these transcribed. The hard work of pulling all this material together and putting it into a readable book is now beginning.

One major benefit to the Community has already been achieved – the acquisition of a digital projector, laptop computer and large screen, enabling us to give professional presentations in the Village Hall (or elsewhere if required). Many of you will already have seen this in action at the talk in November, “Fernhurst in Living Memory”.

The Primary School are enthusiastic to participate in this project and it is planned that they will be involved in the development of the website, starting in September 2005.

Anyone interested in helping with interviewing, transcribing or preparation of the book should contact Anthony Davies or John Clark via the Society's email.


Fernhurst Village Archive

We are pleased to report that Jackie Kennett has now joined the Archive team, with particular responsibility for Henley. Jackie’s first task is to secure copies of recent reports by the Domestic Buildings Research Group, who survey and record older buildings.

Brenda Newman has been busy corresponding by email with people in Canada, Australia and across the UK tracing their family histories back to Fernhurst. Some have common ancestors, leading to 3-way communications.

The main activity of the Archive team though was preparing for the talk on in November “Fernhurst in Living Memory”. This is being repeated with the Good Companions and for the Junior Fernhurst Society. The team is now beavering away on their next subject, “A Glimpse of Edwardian Fernhurst” in March – see back page for details.

The Village Archive is open on Tuesday afternoons in the Village Hall (above the clerk’s office). Just turn up. If this is not convenient please call Christine Maynard for an appointment via the Society's email.


History publication

Also we are pleased to report that Helen Ouin and Iain Brown have written up the history and nature walk they led in the summer, from the Red Lion, up to Tanyard, back down Ropes Lane and up the footpath along the Lickfold Road back to the start point. Helen’s narrative covers the history of the people and houses passed on the route, whilst Iain points out some of the interesting flora. The walk has been delightfully illustrated by Angela Parrot.

The booklet (History Booklet No 2) will be on sale for £1 (alongside the first history walk booklet covering the Church Road and Green) at the Fernhurst Centre, Post Office and at Society events.


Garden Birdwatch

The Garden Birdwatch group continues its activities and already seeing the first hints of spring: robins are already pairing up with their usual aggression and collared doves have been seen collecting nesting material. Over the winter some interesting sightings: buzzards are now regularly seen soaring over the village, redwings were spotted in December and a white nuthatch was seen in the Marches. A dead male greenfinch was found in a garden in Homelands Copse with a British Trust for Ornithology identity ring on its leg. We are waiting to find out where the bird was ringed. If you would like more information about the Garden Birdwatch please call Arnold via the Society's email.


October Talk – Archaeological Finds

In October we had an enjoyable evening talk from Liz Wilson, the Finds Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme for Sussex. Liz works across Sussex helping people identify and log their archaeological finds. Her major role is to build bridges with metal detector users to expand archaeological records. Until recently archaeologists and people using metal detectors were poles apart – the archaeologists were against the use of metal detectors as the sites are disturbed without proper excavation and valuable artefacts are dug up with no records. So Liz works with metal detector groups and members of the public to locate and log archaeological finds on to a national database. She told us of several cases where records of rare artefacts (e.g. local coins) were increased significantly by logging the finds of metal detecting groups. Members of the audience brought along their discoveries and she identified some interesting pieces, including medieval jug handles, coins and other ancient shards of pottery.


Walk – Lower Lodge Farm

In October we also had a fascinating walk around Lower House Farm estate and house led by the owners, John and Nicki Braithwaite. This was an enjoyable afternoon, finding out about how the estate is run and seeing the evolution of the house. Nicki very kindly conjured up tea and biscuits at the end of the afternoon. Their hospitality was much appreciated.


November AGM and talk “Fernhurst in Living Memory”

We are sad to note the resignation of Arnold Madgwick from the Committee, but are delighted that Arnold is still running the Garden Birdwatch.

If you were unable to attend the AGM and would like a copy of the Chairman’s report and Accounts, contact Julia via the Society's email.

The Archive team then presented a fascinating picture of Fernhurst’s recent history through the development of rail, road and shops. Iain Brown explained how we nearly had a railway line and station in the parish, whilst Brenda Newman showed how the roads had progressed from muddy tracks to the roads of today. Christine Maynard then took us through the range of shops that have been in Fernhurst, many more than today of course. Helen Ouin summed up beautifully by pointing out that the poor state of the roads kept people in the village so that the shops thrived! The talk was illustrated with pictures on a computer using our new digital projector and everyone felt the quality was very good.

Dates for your Diaries

All these events are free to Fernhurst Society members. Non-members are also very welcome, so please bring guests and friends.


Wednesday 16th February 2.30pm in the Village Hall. Hydestile Wildlife Hospital.

They will talk about their work rescuing and nurturing wild animals and bringing along some tamer “patients”. This is timed to coincide with half term so the Junior group and any other children can come along too.


Thurs 31st March 7.30 for 8pm Village Hall: Talk: “A glimpse of Edwardian Fernhurst”.

An illustrated talk by the Archive team.


Sunday 3rd April – next leg of the Parish Boundary Walk.

Starts at 1.30pm. This will be from Scotland’s Farm (just beyond KEVII Hospital) down to Elmers Marsh.
Meet in the Fernhurst Village Car Park at 1.30 and we will convoy up, giving lifts to those without transport. Lifts back from Elmers Marsh will be arranged. Stout shoes or boots required. Bring a tea snack.