A Colourful Addition to Ferring

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.


A virtual visit to Highdown Gardens

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

Nature Notes:

During these unparalleled times it is reassuring to observe that nature continues to thrive all around us.

Please see our Nature Notes page for up to date observations and suggestions from the Group’s wildlife expert, Tricia Hall.

A Member’s Observations – 2nd April

A member writes: It has been glorious the last few days on Highdown, with views from the Isle of Wight to the Windfarm and Brighton. On a very clear day it is possible to see Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower but only at a height from horseback, The Cathedral is easier to pick out. The mass exercising of dogs has ceased and most walkers are behaving. Skylarks are common both high up and when canoodling on the ground. There are several rafts of molehills. On the chalk slopes crows and jackdaws abound with isolated pied wagtails and a redwing in flight. A few goldfinches are around and we are waiting for swallows to return to their old nests in the stables. The badgers’ set along the ridge to Angmering has collapsed and they may have transferred to a second old set near the bottom of Hangleton Lane. Blackthorn for sloe berries and gin later is brilliant. Cow parsley abounds, the first time for years that it has been apparent throughout a winter.

If you walk up the lane, the first field on the right houses two huge hunters, Captain is in retirement and Duke is too difficult to ride. Please don’t feed them, some have tried as shown by carrots thrown into the field.’
So, all nature looks good and as it should be. However, there is something wrong down below; fewer trains, much less traffic on the 259, Honda and Peugeot are sleeping, no jets powering down approaching Gatwick.
……And David Bettiss points us to the web camera on the Peregrine’s nest on the roof of Chichester Cathedral:  chichesterperegrines.co.uk


Members’ Observations – 1st April 2020

A member writes from Hangleton Lane: ‘Wild life revives: we have seen here apart from the resident blue and coal tits doves and pigeons, a fox, a moorhen, three ducks, a heron, a pheasant, and one small rabbit .What a difference it makes when Yeoman’s shuts down!’
Another, writes from off Langbury Lane, ‘We have the usual bird feeders, with anti-squirrel cages, but also a stick-on feeder for the window.  This allows the less dexterous and bigger birds to obtain food just by landing on the open feeding area.  Now they are all busily nesting, all the feeders are getting hammered and will get even more so once the chicks hatch.  Now we all have more time at home, we can spend some of it allowing our feathered friends to entertain us.  Seeing 15 starlings all challenging each other to get to the window feeder, I seriously wonder if any of them get anything.  The savvy blackbirds wait underneath and pick up all the dropped seeds, etc.  We have found the suet pellets with fruit or worm bits are scoffed by nearly all with sunflower hearts being almost universally rejected.  The shallow water bowls nearly are also heavily used for bathing and drinking so it is a regular daily job to keep everything in order.  The window bird feeders can be bought on Amazon as indeed can a huge variety of bird food and could provide an worthwhile diversion for people who are stuck at home, perhaps on their own.

Presentation to Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice

The Group’s Chairman David Bettiss, accompanied by Tricia Hall, recently visited the local Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice to present a cheque for £600 raised by the sale of Tricia’s beautifully designed Christmas Cards. The cards have been sold on behalf of Ferring Conservation Group exclusively to raise funds for the Hospice. The Group are delighted to have supported Chestnut Tree House over the last 8 years with many  thousands of pounds raised in this way.

Goring Beach Walk 18th February 2020

On a bright, chilly morning 17 members of Ferring Conservation Group met on the beach at the end of Sea Lane in Ferring. The challenge was to identify as many items as possible on the list that Tricia Hall, the Group’s guide for the morning, had provided. With a keen wind behind them the Group set off in an easterly direction carefully exploring the shoreline where there was a good chance that the recent storms had dislodged marine life from the seabed.

Members were soon surprised at finding many empty shells of large spider crabs, together with pincers and legs. Many of them spied with the keen eyes of two of the youngest participants, Thomas and Eoin Kearns.

Sea lemons (or sea slugs) were found amongst clumps of seaweed; including Sea Oak, Egg Wrack and Irish moss or Carragheen. It was reassuring to see that at least a small amount of Kelp was evident. Jane Hayman from the Group commented that ‘the byelaw to be introduced preventing fishing boats from entering the kelp beds off the Sussex Coast will help save this important marine habitat and hopefully allow the kelp to thrive once more’.

A Sea Squirt, a Starfish and also several kinds of Sponge were identified. Along with the usual egg cases of Sharks, Rays and Cuttlefish, lots of Cuttlefish bones were seen, especially baby ones.

Further along the beach the Group noticed the badly decomposed body of a Thornback Ray, a possible casualty of the recent stormy weather. On hearing the familiar ‘peep-ing’ call of the Oyster Catcher, attention was drawn to the water’s edge where many wading birds including Turnstones and Dunlins were searching for shellfish to eat. An excellent view of these birds was possible with the use of a powerful telescope, kindly provided by member Clive Hall.

It was reassuring to find that only a small amount of plastic had been washed up but very disappointing to discover many lumps of palm oil. This edible vegetable oil comes from the fruit of oil palm trees and is used in almost 50% of packaged products found in supermarkets and also in animal feed, as well as being used as biofuel in many parts of the world (but not in the UK). It continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most diverse forests. Ships are regularly dumping large quantities of palm oil off the coast of Britain and although it is not poisonous to dogs, if eaten it can cause sickness and in extreme cases, pancreatitis and blockages.

A welcome stop for refreshments at Sea Lane Café gave the Group time to warm up with a hot drink, and before heading back to the starting point Tricia Hall was thanked for her time and the sharing of her considerable knowledge, which made the walk all the more interesting.

The Rife in Ferring

Please note that the Rife has burst its bank along the east bank and is impassable at one point.

It is now passable, but paths on both banks are still very muddy and slippery (22/2/2020)