Storrington Conservation Society – Newsletter, November 2023

In the article last month, the way farming and other human activity has changed the landscape was described, from the time the Downs were tree covered. It has been suggested that it is likely that large herbivores, like aurochs, living thousands of years ago, kept that grassland free of trees. There is no doubt that humanity has done much more since! Also, well done anyone who spotted the error in the name of one of the butterflies mentioned. It was not a Grizzled Hopper but a Grizzled Skipper. Definitely not a jumper!

At our very well attended AGM on 28th October Mick Denness, our Chairman, reported on a busy year. He mentioned our work being carried out at Chantry Hill. A guest, Dominic Sunderland from the South Downs National Park, said that such work has resulted in a marked increase in the butterfly population. Mick also spoke about the clearance of saplings at Hurston Warren and our onslaught on Himalayan Balsam. He thanked the volunteers and asked for more to help in the coming year when we are looking forward to continuing the Fryern Dell project, now the legal questions have been resolved. A main need is the restoration of the balancing pond, an expensive task:  although our finances are healthy, grants and donations will also be required towards covering the cost of the machinery needed.

The Committee was elected en bloc.

The afternoon continued with an informative and entertaining illustrated talk on the Lost Woods project by Michael Blencowe, from Action in Rural Sussex. The project covers the area between the High Weald AONB and the South Downs NP, from Storrington in the West to Lewes in the East. The aim is to protect, revive and restore those woodlands that remain of the ancient forest that once covered the area (our nearest example is Sullington Warren). Michael pointed out that they are irreplaceable and are havens for many threatened species. One of the aims is to link woodlands where possible to encourage diversity. The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre has recorded 23,000 species of flora and fauna in the area. Michael went on the mention some of these: amphibians, like toads, birds such as treecreeper, nuthatch, woodpecker and goshawk, flowers, including bluebells, wood anemones and orchids. Also  mosses, ferns and lichens – and of course mammals, red deer, foxes, badgers, rare polecats and endangered species like hedgehogs and dormice. The list is breathtaking, including bats, moths, bumblebees, butterflies, ants, wasps, flies, beetles, snails, fungi. And the vital trees: beech, oak, hazel and hornbeam to name a few. The talk was accompanied by some beautiful illustrations and amusing anecdotes. Michael concluded by encouraging membership of woodland groups and in helping to record species. Details at: or or

We then enjoyed tea and cake!

Our work party on Saturday 4th November at Chantry Hill to continue with the scrub clearance as mentioned above, was postponed until 11th due to bad weather.

On 2nd December we again meet at 10.00am, the aim being to clear the paths in The Glade, Downland Avenue. Come and join Storrington Conservation Society to enjoy the company and refreshments at half time!

Seasons greetings to our readers.

Submitted to the Storrington Community Website using the News Item contact form.

Share post: