Persimmon planning application refused

We’re very pleased that tonight (Weds 10/3) the Worthing Borough Council Planning Committee unanimously refused Persimmon Homes planning application to build 475 houses on the North Goring Gap.

Thank you to those who spoke so well at the meeting, those who worked hard to campaign against it and the many hundreds of people who sent in their individual objections. This is a good day for Ferring, Goring and all of our local area, and shows just how much we value our remaining green spaces.

David Bettiss – Chairman, FCG

Highdown Vineyard – the latest

The owners of Highdown Vineyard on Littlehampton Road say on their web site, ‘the Vineyard has not been sold despite some newspaper headlines suggesting otherwise. We have allowed a property company to prepare a planning application for housing but this is at a very, very early stage’.and that’ all bookings ‘will go ahead without any disruption until end of the summer 2022’.

However, any such application would be contrary to the Local Plan and Arun District Council’s  ‘Director of Place’ has told the developer that the Planning Officers would not support any application for residential development on the Vineyard site. This should be the end of the matter – but we will keep our eyes open.

Tree Planting in Ferring

As part of a ten point plan for a green industrial revolution for the UK to become carbon-neutral a new government initiative was announced at the end of 2020 to plant more trees up and down the country. A cash boost of almost £4 million will see hundreds of thousands of new trees planted in towns and cities and near to rivers to reduce flood risk. This will help meet the government’s commitment to increase planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025.

A budget of £2.5 million will support schemes led by DEFRA, Natural England and the Tree Council to develop five pilot schemes to be delivered by Local Authorities. To encourage innovative, cost-effective ways to plant trees outside of woodland areas over the next two and a half years.

The Environment Agency has been awarded a further £1.4 million to fund 15 projects to plant over 850,000 trees that will aim to protect around 160 km of river, to help reduce the risk of flooding.

On the back of this government initiative BBC One’s Countryfile programme has launched its very own ‘Plant Britain’ project. Over the next two years the nation will be encouraged to plant trees, plants, fruit and vegetables, with prompts to add details of their efforts to an interactive map that can be found on the BBC website:

Ferring Conservation Group thoroughly endorses this initiative and would like to encourage the residents of Ferring to plant trees in their gardens or grass verges, if they own them. This would not only help to redress the problem of many local trees being felled in recent years but also provide good wildlife habitats.

If you are buying a tree then please try to use one of the very good local nurseries or garden centres and focus on buying a native tree, remembering to check it is a suitable height and spread for the intended site. Fruit trees are a good choice too as they provide food for a variety of wildlife; including birds, mammals and insects.

Trees play a remarkable part in cleansing the air by removing excessive CO2, making a significant contribution to fighting climate change. A mature tree will capture around 48 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it safely away. Trees can also help to absorb sound and as well as provide welcome shade during the summer months they can act as a useful wind break in an exposed garden. As they can soak up a good amount of water this can help to reduce boggy areas in a garden or grass verge. A wide variety of species can be very attractive and can make a welcome addition to the locality. Field Maples, Silver Birch, Hazel, Holly and Rowan trees are a good example of suitable native trees for a garden.

We would love to see more trees being planted in local gardens and open spaces.

For easy reference please follow the guidance below:

Happy Planting!




Tree in a container


Watering Can

Spade and Fork

Stake and Tie

Tree guard or spiral

Mulch (organic matter like chipped bark)

The best time to plant is between October and April taking care to plant your chosen tree in a suitable location taking into consideration the eventual height and spread.

  • Dig a hole three times as wide as the pot and the same depth. Loosen the soil around the hole with a fork.
  • Thoroughly soak the root ball in a bucket of water before planting.
  • Loosen the root ball to encourage roots to grow into the soil.
  • Place the root ball in the hole so that the point where the roots meet the trunk is level with the surface of the soil surface.
  • A piece of wood can be useful to check the level.
  • Refill the hole ensuring there are no air pockets around the roots. Firm the soil around the tree making sure the stem remains upright.
  • Use a tree guard or spiral if your garden has wildlife visitors who may want to nibble the bark.
  • Water well. Add a 5-8 cm (2-3in) layer of mulch but leave a 10cm (4in) mulch-free collar around the base of stem.
  • Top-heavy trees will probably need staking. Put the stake firmly at a 45 degree angle – use a hammer to make sure it’s secure.
  • Now attach a tie to your tree to support it in windy weather. Garden centres can show you how to do this when you buy it.





Ferring Beach and Goring Gap Information Boards

Those of you who walk along Patterson’s walk may have noticed that the information board has been updated with a new insert and clear covering of polycarbonate on September 23rd, and the one on Goring Gap on December 10th.
Both are much better for it, and will hopefully stay looking good for some years.
The new artwork was done by Jenny Hawkesly with input from Clive Hope, and the installation was done by Graham Tuppen. If anyone spots any problems with either, please contact him via email at  or tel 01903 240244. The Gap board was done as a joint project with the Goring and Ilex Preservation Group, whom we thank.

Nestbox Survey

Recently, committee member Graham Tuppen and Chairman, David Bettiss carried out our annual survey and cleaning of the various bird nest boxes around the public places in the village. These are situated at Little Twitten, the Village Green and Glebelands, as well as the Ferring Country Centre. It was really pleasing to report that all bar one of the boxes had been used by birds during the past Summer, with nests present in them.

The nests were made up of different materials, with the most common being mosses and feathers, while on the Village Green, one had a large amount of hair, with the Country Centre ones unsurprisingly having a lot of straw and hay present. In one box, there were a number of abandoned eggs (probably Blue Tits), in one a dead Great Tit, in another a couple of very young dead Blue Tits, and finally one had a large circular hole drilled into the front of the box right next to the official hole which had been protected by a metal plate. This was presumably done by a Woodpecker, and could even have been used by them as their own nest.

We hope that all the remaining boxes had raised at least one or maybe more successful broods, and even those above would have raised some chicks. Anyway all of them are now clean and ready to welcome new occupants in the Spring of 2021.

FCG Recent Group Work Parties

In recent weeks, small groups of FCG volunteers have been carrying out practical work around the village in a socially distanced fashion before the second lockdown took effect.

Firstly, the annual clear up of the Warren Pond was held, in partnership with the Parish Council who of course own the pond. Bramble, some ivy and other competing vegetation was cut back which allowed for better views of the pond, as well as generally improving the look of the area. The hired in skip was quickly filled with cuttings and it was generally agreed that a good morning’s work was completed. Recent sightings at the pond include a Little Egret and Heron, which appear to be roosting here.

The next work party concentrated on the Community Orchard at the Glebelands recreation ground, where the grass had been already cut by Arun DC. This was raked up by the volunteers to improve the chances of wild flowers flourishing there, plus there was weeding around the tree themselves and finally some planting of daffodil bulbs in the orchard surrounds. Able assistance was given on the final task by the grandchildren of two recent members who appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves, and it was lovely to see. We hope for a good fruiting year in 2021 with a decent supply of apples, pears, cherries and plums, as long as the person who helped themselves to the entire crop of plums this year doesn’t repeat it.

Finally, an impromptu clear up of the raised shingle beds area on Patterson’s Walk at the bottom of Ocean Drive was carried out by Tricia Hall and Jenny and Tito Grixti. Sadly, this has recently become a bad area for the irresponsible dumping of takeaway food containers and cups from nearby outlets, and much polystyrene was collected, as well as shingle thrown and left around the seating area, plus there was some pruning of the maritime plants to keep things tidy.

We are grateful for the continuing help of all our volunteers, and the Parish Council have also expressed their thanks for all our efforts.

David Bettiss

Christmas Cards

We sold out our stock of cards in October and we have just had a new stock from the printers.

The cards are sold by FCG in aid of the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and are the same views as before at £5 per pack of ten.

They are available from Tricia Hall and can be collected from 22 Clover Lane from Tuesday 10th November to Saturday 14th November between 3 and 4 pm. Please place your money or cheque in an envelope with your name and the amount on the front.

After Saturday 14th November Tricia can be contacted by phone on 01903 504081

FCG Walk on the Gallops above Findon 22nd October

This outing was led by Ferring Conservation Group’s bird expert, Clive Hope. Ten members met at Nepcote Green and divided into two groups and proceeded at a leisurely pace up the Gallops and onto the path which runs between Cissbury and Chanctonbury. They later returned along a short section of the Monarch’s Way.

It was a bit late for migrants, but groups of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Common and Herring Gulls were evident and the only raptors were two Kestrels. In a muddy pool at the top, Yellowhammers and a single Chaffinch were bathing and drinking. There were groups of Linnets and Goldfinches, brief views of a Song Thrush and a Chiffchaff and excellent views of a Stonechat. A total of 25 birds were seen and heard.

On the Gallops a surprising number of late-flowering plants were noted including: Common Toadflax, Harebell, Knapweed and Meadow Sweet. There were a few edible mushrooms and some rather beautiful Parasols, Macrolepiota procera.




FCG Woodland Walk to Pulborough RSPB Reserve 15th October

On a beautiful sunny day, 11 members met in the car park and divided into two socially distancing bubbles. Our aim was to look at various trees and fungi as we went on our circular walk through the woods. Our first stop was to admire the outstanding views across the heath to the South Downs. The dominant tree is the Scots Pine and we examined the leaves which are adapted as paired, waxy, needles to conserve water and allow snow to fall off. Second stop wasan area of Sweet Chestnut coppice. These trees came to Britain with the Romans, providing valuable food and timber and later the trees were coppiced to provide long poles

Small Stagshorn – Calocera viscosa

needed to support hops for the brewing industry.

Hops are now strung on wires but coppiced chestnut poles are still used for fencing.

We also examined a large Larch, a deciduous conifer whose needles sprout in little groups and drop in winter. On its branches were small cones and lots of foliose lichens, a good indicator of a non-polluted environment. The lichens are a symbiotic association between a fungus and an alga. Other trees were mature Oaks, Beech, Holly and masses of young Silver Birches.


Birds were few. We heard Green Woodpecker and Raven and saw and heard Buzzard. We noted two different heathers: Calluna vulgaris or Ling which flowers in the summer and Erica tetralix or Cross-leaved Heath in the damper areas, some of which was still in flower.

Although the proposed fungal trail had not yet been laid out we enjoyed searching for our own fungi which included bracket fungi like Turkey Tail and Birch Polypore, a yellow Stagshorn, a puffball, one of the Boletes (with pores, not gills) the aptly-named King Alfred’s Cakes and a number of unidentified ‘toadstools’.

The fungal trail has now been opened and should be worth a visit. The RSPB shop is open Wednesday to Sunday and you can buy coffee.

Tricia Hall