Newnham nr. Hook
OS Explorer 144, Grid ref SU715552 (meeting point)
Client: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
College Copse Farm was purchased by the Wildlife Trust in June 2013. It comprises of 25ha of permanent pasture, 15ha of woodland, hedgerows and a lake. There are various veteran trees and an impressive multi-stemmed Wild Service Tree. The farm is used as a holding area for livestock when they aren't required on other reserves, or when the cattle need medical treatment or a safe place to give birth. Grassland provides fodder for the Trust's herds in northern Hampshire. Although the farm isn't classed as a nature reserve it is now in Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship scheme, so the land is actively managed and improved for wildlife. Training and educational events are held on the farm.
We have constructed a cattle crush, done various repairs to deer-fencing around a wood, and assisted with hedgelaying along a footpath, and erected new fencing around the farm to help control animal movements.
Thanks to Andy Woolley for the pics. He says: Saturday, 6 of us managed to complete 50 metres of fencing with all new posts and 2 straining posts, mesh and barbed wire attached. That also included hacking through bramble and nettles to reveal where the old fence was so we could then take it down. Sunday, 4 of us removed the small fence enclosure and built a new one, also removed 10 metres of fence and installed new with a new straining post. Also repaired a water pipe, feeding a drinking trough that somehow? sprung a leak. (what goes on site stays on site) Very nice weather both days, and ended up with a sunburnt head.
A fine weekend was spent coppicing hazel, with the straightest stems saved as stakes and binders for a future hedgelaying event.
This farm has miles of fencing, which gets renewed when the inevitable failure happens. It is usually the posts which go first, and replacing them gives an opportunity also to replace wooden top rails with barbed wire. Cattle rather like to rub against the rails, but a hefty backside puts extra strain onto the posts. Thanks to Karen for the photos.
We had two weekends in a row here, the first was fencing so that the spring lambs could be kept separate from the main flock, and the second was hedgelaying. A major part of any hedgelaying task is to clear out most of the tangle of growth to get to the stems, and this site was no exception.
2017 Here was a bit of a learning curve, putting up plastic netting to keep deer out of a coppiced area. Logs along the bottom may defeat Muntjac.
This winter we will be coppicing and then hedgelaying.
Meet at 10am at the farm. From junction 5 of the M3 take the A287 north west towards the A30. At the crossroads with the A30, by a pub, go straight across into Old School Road towards Newnham. At the Junction with Newnham Road turn left and follow it. At a crossroads turn right into Ridge Lane and on past the Gordon Brown Outdoor Education Centre. Shortly after this turn right just past the turning to Home Farm onto a track. There is a stone marker here. The Trust's farm buildings are a short distance on the left. Look out for our yellow signs.