We have a long-running campaign against houses being built in residents’ gardens. Even worse, they threaten to destroy the open character of Ferring, they reduce wildlife habitat and natural drainage, and add to the number of cars in the village when congestion and parking problems have already reached record levels. ‘Backland’ development is even worse because the long narrow driveways create additional road safety hazards – for pedestrians and other vehicles.
Our objections, and those of our Parish Council do frequently persuade Arun DC to refuse such planning applications. Unfortunately the Planning Inspectors often uphold appeals against the Council’s refusal. The most recent case is that of ‘Elm Lodge’ on the corner of Tamarisk Way and Sea Lane, an application twice refused by Arun DC, once dismissed on appeal but finally allowed at the end of June.
Please join us in objecting to applications like these.
We are extremely grateful to Ferring Nurseries who kindly donated all the plants to enable Ferring Conservation Group to brighten up the boat on the Village Green.
Ferring Guide Group usually do a splendid job in maintaining this boat but due to Covid19 restrictions they have been unable to do so.
We hope you agree that it is a welcome and cheerful addition to this area of Ferring.
Our campaign against over-development generally, and against any development in our Strategic Gaps, continues. We saw the proposal by Persimmon Homes Ltd last September to build a 465-house estate in the northern gap – from the Ferring-Goring boundary right up to Goring station, and northwards up to the Rife. There was a very strong reaction against the proposal and by the end of June there had still not been a planning application. Persimmon have not given up on the idea but as we are entering into a deep recession, caused by the Corona virus, it seems unlikely that anything will happen any time soon.
There is good news on the southern gap – south of the Ilex Avenue and right down to the beach, This area has now been designated as a Local Wildlife Site, equivalent to the old SNCI. This gives it added protect against development.
If you go down to the Rife today you will be sure to see acres of blue flax in the Ferring/East Preston Gap. Flax or Linseed produces a pretty blue flower which bees love. The seeds that follow are in little round seed boxes which are crushed to extract linseed oil. Flax used to be used to make linen but this variety is only used for its oil.
A few Small Tortoiseshell butterflies have been seen on the Rife. Once exceedingly common, they are now only seen in very small numbers. Their eggs are laid on nettles and there are plenty of these on the Rife so it is unclear why they are in steep decline. If you see any in your garden please report them to me to my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you walk up onto Highdown, the Marbled Whites have just emerged. Look out also for the Large and Small Skippers.
If you have an opportunity to travel up to the Knepp Estate on the A24 (only 20 minutes by car from Ferring) you will just catch the young storks before they leave their nest. This is the first time ever for 400 years that storks have bred in this country and right on our doorstep. A unique and wonderful experience which you may have seen on Springwatch.
If you are confined to your garden, look out for all the small ‘bugs’ that are visiting our plants. If you have a herb bed, you may see the delightful little Mint Moth. You could make a list of all the insects that you see in your garden: Ladybirds, Greenflies, Dragonflies, Damselflies, Bees, Wasps, Flies, Hover flies and Beetles.
Did you follow the National Trust’s advice to ‘No mow, May’? We were asked to leave an area of our lawns to grow and to see how many wild flowers appeared. Mine is mown around the edges, with a central area left and this is attracting many birds including goldfinches and blackbirds. If you haven’t done this, it is not too late! Let it Bloom in June!
See under nature notes for many exciting sightings.
Yesterday, a Spoonbill was spotted by Ron and Jan Tutheridge flying over Goring Gap.
A Cuckoo was also seen and many people have reported hearing a Cuckoo in the second half of May, especially over the Rife and further west. Yesterday, also, Clive Hope saw 4 Bottlenose Dolphins following a trawler off Ferring beach and David Campbell saw 6. So keep looking! Peter Dale has reported a few Bee Orchids in the North Lagoon together with Early Marsh Orchids. In the ‘Yurt’ field up McIntyre’s Lane Graham Tuppen has found 18 Bee Orchids.
On the reservoir there are small numbers of Pyramidal Orchids amongst the dry grasses, back after being mown to death for several years. It is very dry on the reservoir but I don’t think it has been mown. Highdown Hill is looking very dry but there are lots of Skylarks and a few Yellowhammers. Although the vegetation is parched, there are extraordinary numbers of Yellow Rattle flowers and the purple Lesser Knapweeds (Hardheads) are coming into flower.
The meadow below Highdown Gardens is covered in an astonishing number of Ox-eye Daisies. There are also many Common Broomrapes, a curious parasitic plant that produces no chlorophyll. It has pale yellow/fawn flowers and stems and no leaves.
The only butterflies of note are many Small Heaths on Highdown and some bright-blue newly-emerged Common Blues. In woodland, Speckled Woods are flitting about. At Patching there are Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers and a few bright red and black Cinnabar Moths.
Finally, on June 1st on Cissbury, I saw a male Northern Wheatear, a very striking black and white bird. This is a very late record for a bird that may be making its way back to Greenland to breed.
Bee Orchid in a field near Highdown
Pyramidal Orchids on Highdown
Ox-eye Daisies in meadow below Highdown
Common Blue on Highdown
Speckled Wood at Patching
Wheatear on Cissbury
Go to Nature Notes for Tricia’s frequent posts. There are recent sightings and suggestions for things to do and look at in your garden and when walking around the village and over the Gaps and up to Highdown. Please report to her any interesting sightings of your own.
Good news! Salsify is flourishing again on Sea Lane. The flowers are purple/pink and the plant is tall with greyish, long, thin leaves. It belongs to the daisy family, the
Compositae, and is closely related to Goatsbeard which has yellow flowers. Goatsbeard is also known as ‘Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon’ because the flowers usually only open in the morning. So, if you want to see the flowers, look towards the bottom of Sea Lane on a sunny morning.
Salsify also grows in my front garden in Clover Lane probably because I took photos and carried the seeds home.
Salsify on Sea Lane
The seeds form a conspicuous brown coloured ‘clock’. Salsify roots are edible and it is probable that its appearance in the countryside is as a result of escapes from garden vegetable plots.
We know that many of our members will miss their usual visit to Highdown Gardens this Spring so please click on the video below and enjoy a short virtual tour of these beautiful Gardens that we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep.
Virtual Tour of Highdown Gardens
Virtual Tour of Worthing's world famous Highdown Gardens 🌸Our beautiful chalk gardens on Downland countryside, overlooking the sea, are bursting with life and are a spectrum of colour.Although we're currently not able to see the rare plants first hand, our gardeners have been snapping away to ensure we have a wonderful collection of springtime photos to share with you at this difficult time.Put on your headphones, find a quiet place and take a few minutes to escape with our video below…
Posted by Highdown Gardens on Friday, 1 May 2020