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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 29, February 2008


Events for 2008

Thursday 21st February, 2.30pm for 3.00pm

Gosport Living History Society will give a talk about the living history village at Little Woodham, Gosport. (see below for more details)
Wednesday 16th April, 7.30pm for 8.00pm “A Day in the Life of a Bodger". Mark Allery was a research scientist who had a career change and is now a woodsman, pole lathe turner and charcoal burner and he will talk on the craft uses of English native trees, particularly those found in Sussex. He advises the Lynchmere Society in their work to clear and manage Lynchmere Common.
Sunday 27th April, 2.00pm Walk – north east quadrant of the Parish to enjoy the bluebells. Meet recreation ground car park.
Sunday 18th May, from 12 noon Committee running the Society stall at Fernhurst Revels. Volunteers please.
Sunday 8th June, meet 10.30am Walk at Ebernoe from 11am – 3pm (approx). Meet at the Crossfields car park at 10.30am and please bring a packed lunch. If you are able to drive please would you give those without cars a lift. Return to Crossfields about 4pm. (see below for more details)
Sunday 7th September, 11.00am Blackdown Race.
Sunday 7th September, midday> Summer BBQ.
Saturday and Sunday 13th & 14th September Committee running the Society stall at Fernhurst Furnace open weekend. Volunteers please.
Thursday 18th September, 7.30pm Executive Committee.

Sunday 5th October, 2.00pm

Walk in Verdley Wood.

Thursday 23rd October, 7.30pm “Locally Green” Talk by Sandy Polak on what simple changes we can make to be greener.
Thursday 27th November, 7.30pm AGM and talk by David Coward: North Ambersham in a nutshell. see events]

If you would like a “green newsletter” in future I can e-mail you a copy. Please e-mail Sarah Matthews via the Society's email stating whether you prefer it in Word or as a PDF. Either way the file size is about 90KB.


Junior Fernhurst Society Events for 2008

Saturday 15th March Hindhead viewing platform
Saturday 19th April Bluebell walk at Lynchmere
Saturday 10th May Walk at Bexley Hill
Sunday 22nd June Treasure hunt at the Fernhurst Centre
Saturday 27th September Geocaching at Thursley Common
Saturday 18th October Chestnuts walk
Saturday 15th November Walk at Chithurst
Saturday 20th December Short walk in Fernhurst followed by mince pies at the Fernhurst Centre

The above walks are family walks and usually start at 10.30am and finish by 12.30pm. Walks are usually circular. For more information please contact Sue Gibbon via the Society's email.


The living history village of Little Woodham – 21st February

The Gosport Living History Society are giving a presentation about the living history of the village of Little Woodham – a village in the Parish of Rowner - that is dedicated to recreating English rural life in the South of England during 1642.

The village of Little Woodham is a unique visitor centre that educates both children and adults about life in the 17th Century and on Thursday 21st February they are bringing their historic village to us. Dressed as “villagers” in historic period costume you will learn about what day to day life was like in the reign of King Charles in 1642 when England was on the brink of Civil War.


Walk at Ebernoe Common – 8th June

Ebernoe common is a varied ancient wood pasture with ponds, streams, meadows and reclaimed arable land under conversion back to woodland. A large part of the site is ancient woodland and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The flora and fauna of particular interest that can be seen here are: Orchids and other woodland and meadow flowers, adder's-tongue fern, nightingales, woodcock, purple emperor and silver-washed fritillary butterflies, rare fungi and lichens, dormice and bats.

Our walk will be guided so we hopefully won’t get lost in the many paths and rides. The common is flat but can be muddy so please wear appropriate footwear …. and don’t forget your packed lunch. For more information call John Clark via the Society's email.

For more information about the common and the work of Sussex Wildlife Trust visit


Fernhurst Archive Report

The year has started off as busy as ever, with very little time for the everyday tasks of cataloguing the collection, dealing with emails and sorting out press cuttings.

Visitors included a couple seeking information on the Shotter family as well as Pauline Colcutt and Julia Roxan looking for ideas and photos for future calendars. Between us we sourced enough material for not only 2009 but 2010 as well.

Other future events include a display of Revels material for the Good Companions in the spring and plans are already underway for an exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the Village Hall in April 2009.
Iain Brown is liaising with Karl Thacker regarding a new computer.

A copy of the superb WW2 Book of Remembrance was presented by Ralph Lines and we were also very happy to receive a copy of Dr Trevor Hill’s paper on his Stacey/Berry/Boxall/Puttick ancestors which also included detailed analyses of some 19th century censuses and maps.

Christine Maynard, Fernhurst Archive

Fernhurst memories

The “Voices of Fernhurst” exhibition held on 30 November and 1 December last year was a great success. Over 250 people came to view examples of artwork and proofs of the Voices of Fernhurst book, historic photographs projected across the exhibition space and a remarkably proficient display by Fernhurst primary school pupils about World War II. There was also a table with full transcripts of all the oral history interviews and audio excerpts from the oral history interview tapes available for listening. We were delighted to have visitors from all age groups, ranging from Fernhurst primary schoolchildren who enjoyed learning village life in the past century, to older residents and some visitors from further afield who had grown up in the village and came in to share their own memories and add historic local photographs to the Fernhurst Archives.

The exhibition was the culmination of the Society’s oral history project, supported by a grant from the Local Heritage Initiative. Other aspects of the two-year project were the development of an oral history section on the Fernhurst Society website. If you have not already seen this look at where you can find a wealth of information about the project with more transcripts and sound extracts from interviews.

Interest raised by the exhibition has given an added boost to the Society’s future oral history activities. The Oral History Group will continue to record more life stories of people living in Fernhurst and past residents of the village. To date, the project has accumulated 57 interviews on audio cassette with their associated transcripts; all are deposited for posterity in the Archives and the West Sussex Record Office. Two new solid-state digital recorders have been obtained and these will improve the quality of recordings in future. We currently have a team of six interviewers armed with a list of over 50 people to interview, so there is plenty more to do!

If you would like to get involved in the project, for example by carrying out interviews, helping to type transcripts from the recordings, or perhaps suggesting others who might be interviewed, please do get in touch with the project coordinator, Richard Ranft via the Society's email.

The South Downs National Park - Fernhurst in or out?

In July 2007 the Inspector recommended there should be a National Park ( NP ) but restricted to the chalk ridge and that the market Towns of Petersfield, Midhurst and Petworth and the " degraded " landscape to the North comprising the Western Weald should be excluded. This surprised and rather shocked us in Fernhurst as we thought we were in and had the support of Natural England for a Park that embraced the Weald as well as the Downs.

The position of WSCC and CDC is that in essence they do not want a NP at all but if they have to have one i.e. a fall back position, let it be as small as possible and restricted to the chalk ridge. They baulk at the "loss" of territory and power, especially planning, and stir up fears of loss of local democracy to an unelected quango (a valid point but why don't they vigorously campaign to keep delegated planning power).

The Parish Councils see that some sort of Park is inevitable and that if we are outside we may lose our AONB status (which currently gives us planning protection and the loss of which could result in a developers free for all) and that there will be no money from any source or organisation for conservation and protection of the landscape nor the infrastructure to handle the increase in visitor numbers.

The Inspector has been obliged to reopen the Inquiry with the first session on February 12th at the Chatsworth Hotel with the "South Downs Campaign" urging us to attend the photo call at 9.30 am. The Fernhurst Parish Council has joined the Campaign along with 30 other PC's and Town Councils to fight for the inclusion of the Western Weald (including Fernhurst). You may not receive this note in time to attend a conference to be held in Midhurst on the 2nd of February at Capron house starting at 10.30 am to address the problem and how to tackle the Inquiry.

Iain Brown

Sign a petition to include the Western Weald

If you log onto the link below you can sign the petition to include theWestern Weald electronically: