Village Green Community Project morning

We recently held our monthly Community Project activity, and this time we returned to the Village Green. Thank you to those members who helped out but we could always do with a few more if you’re able to help. It’s only for an hour or so, and always on the first Thursday of the month, starting at 10am. We publicise the location to meet every time, and this is via our regular e mails to registered members and also on this website. It’s a very friendly time.

Here are a few photos of the work we carried out on the Green – tidying up the beds leading from Ferring Street and uncovering the line of Rosemary bushes there, as well as working on the herb bed and shrubs by the playground and finally the shrub bed on the Rife Way side. It certainly looks a lot better there now.

The Sea Lane boat

At our most recent Community Project morning in May, the boat at the foot of Sea Lane received some much needed refurbishment due to it being overwhelmed by weeds and some inappropriate plants. The project was originally initiated some years ago by our late member, Tricia Hall, and it was always the intention to focus on maritime plants due to the location of the boat close to the sea, rather than the usual annual bedding plants seen in such displays.

On the day, the old plants were dug out and sorted, with the strongest being retained, and the top level of old compost and shingle was removed. This was then replaced by new compost and pea shingle, both very kindly donated by local businesses  – Ferring Nurseries and Benton Weatherstone – to whom we’re very grateful. Finally, the original plants were replaced, together with another couple of new plants again donated by the nursery, and we hope they will now thrive without unwanted competition, whilst being attractive to pollinators.

We also plan to install a small plaque on the stern of the boat to indicate that it is maintained by volunteers from Ferring Conservation Group.

Late April and May events

In addition to the main meeting this coming Friday (26th) at Ferring Village Hall at 2.30pm on the Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery, we have the following events coming up:

1. An extra Bluebell Walk – this time in Patching Woods next Monday 29th April, meeting at the usual place in France Lane just south of the main village at 1030am. We should be seeing some early Orchids there in addition to the Bluebells. Please note there are a number of stiles to cross, and it may still be muddy in places.

2. Monthly Community Project morning Thursday 2nd May – an hour’s work, meeting at the Sea Lane boat at the sea end of the road at 10am. The plan is to dig out and replant the boat with fresh soil etc, plus if time, some work at the Raised Shingle Beds further along Patterson’s Walk. Please bring a spade and trowel etc if you have them.

3. Annual Memorial Visit to Warnham Nature Reserve near Horsham (just off A24 and signposted) to remember our good friends Tricia and Mike Hall – Friday 10th May, meeting there at the opening time of 10am. Please note there is a small entrance fee (cards only) and a coffee shop plus facilities. Please lift share if at all possible.

4. A small impromptu repeat of the above Warnham visit to anybody who can’t make it on that date. This one will be the following week on Thursday 16th May, also meeting at 10am.

5. First Beach Clean of the year – Sunday 19th May, meeting at the east end of the Bluebird Cafe car park as usual at 11am. All equipment will be provided.

A lot going on for your interest then, and if weather might be an issue on the day, please check the website for any updates.


2024 Clean Up dates

The four Clean Up dates for 2024 have been arranged and details are included on the Beach Clean Dates section of this website. This year, there will be the Rife Clean in March, 2 Beach Cleans in May and September, and for the first time a Village Centre Clean in July.


More good work at Warren Pond

Following on from our Community project morning at Warren Pond in November, on a frosty and cold January morning we carried out some more useful practical improvements there to benefit the habitat.

Firstly a Hibernaculum was constructed on the north side of the pond near to the fence line of Florida Road. This is basically an underground chamber that amphibians and reptiles can use throughout the winter to protect themselves from the cold, so this could benefit frogs, toads, newts and lizards. The chamber was dug to a depth of around 50cm, and then filled with some hardcore, then old tree branches and logs, and covered over with an amount of soil which had been dug out to create the chamber. The final result looked like a raised mound, and access by the wildlife can be gained in the gaps left betwen the logs and also some pieces of guttering which will act as walkways.

During the digging, we found an amazing total of SEVEN Stag Beetles, all of which were alive, and one large grub or larvae. All of them were carefully returned to their underground habitat for another day.

Nearby to the Hibernaculum we also started constructing a “dead hedge” – this is an upright structure consisting of woody garden cuttings contained within vertical wooden stakes, so it forms a perpetual hedge. This can be added to over time as it slowly rots down and will provide a great habitat for small birds such as Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks, as well as many small mammals again.

More sensitive work to improve the habitat is planned in partnership with the Parish Council in the months to come, and thank you to the good people who helped out on the day.

Warren Pond update

We held a very well attended Community Project morning at the pond at the start of November, and carried out a good amount of bramble and vegetation clearance on The Warren side of the pond. Thank you to all those who helped out and we managed to fill up the skip as usual.

To follow on from that the Parish Council (who of course own the pond) arranged for a tree surgeon recently to carry out the heavier and more involved tree, bramble and vegetation clearance work, especially on the Florida Road side and also more on the west bank. Below are a “before” and a couple of “after” pictures so you can see the progress that has been made, and it has really opened up the views of the pond and the wildlife that visits, including the foxes.

The water levels are very high which meant that the tree surgeon (who has done an excellent job) couldn’t access all the weeping willow and brambles, some of which was under the water surface, even though he did some of the work from his canoe. He intends returning to complete the work in the Spring when hopefully the water will have dropped, and the whole pond project is in fact an ongoing one to be continued over a number of years. We hope to construct a Hibernaculum soon there to benefit reptiles and amphibians, including the resident Great Crested Newts, as well as carrying out some small scale tree planting plus wild flowers on the banks and margins. We are also reinstating some birds nest boxes.

The main principle though is to maintain the pond and its surrounds as a wildlife sanctuary. As I’ve said many times this is one of the very few truly wild places in the village and desperately needs to be preserved as such for the benefit of the varied wildlife that call it home or frequent it.

Presentation on Ferring’s WWII defences including the Pill Box

Some pictures of the recent excellent presentation by committee member Pete Coe on Ferring’s WWII defences, and particularly the Pill Box on Patterson’s Walk. This included an update on its current joint restoration project with Ferring History Group, which is progressing well.

For information, Pete has also written a book on the subject which should be published before Christmas with all proceeds going to the restoration fund. Watch out for more details of the exact publication date and how to obtain a copy.

Work parties from September

In order to assist members with planning ahead and hopefully to come along to some of our monthly work parties, we have returned to the previous system of holding them on the same day each month.

From September, they will normally be held on the first Thursday of the month at 10am (and most of them only last for around an hour or so). The first one therefore will be on 7 Sept, meeting at the Community Orchard on Glebelands Recreation ground off Rife Way, and the task here will be to rake off the grass and vegetation around the fruit trees which should have been cut by Arun DC. If any of the apples there are ripe, some of these can be picked as well as a reward for turning up. If you’re able to help for an hour, it would be good to see you and please bring a grass rake or similar if you have one, and wear suitable clothing/ footwear for the job in hand.

As always with any of our outside events, if there is any doubt about the weather conditions on the day, please check our website

Looking ahead, the work parties will move around the various locations across the village that we look after, and the exact location and task will be publicised in advance each month. We’re also looking at individual members possibly take a particular interest in one of our locations and developing a simple plan of what needs doing and when, but more of that to follow later. We’re also grateful to new committee member Pete Coe who is coordinating the work parties alongside me.

David Bettiss – Chairman

Ferring History Group and Ferring Conservation Group – (A Joint Project to clear and make safe the Pill Box on Patterson’s Walk)

As one of the few remaining Pill Box beach defences along the West Sussex coastline, this strategic structure was erected by the Royal Engineers in 1941 as part of the beach defences known as the coastal crust. Ferring lies in the middle of the West Sussex section of the German invasion plans, code named Operation Sea Lion.

It was felt by both Groups that it would be worthwhile to dry out and make the Pill Box safe inside as it would be of interest to residents and to local school children, especially year six pupils as WW2 is taught as part of the National Curriculum.

The steel entrance door had to be opened and a new lock fitted before the nine inches of water that covered the floor could be removed. As the water could not be pumped out it was tested to ascertain its source and it proved that this was rain water, and had not been flooded by seawater during high tides.

With guidance from Ferring Conservation Group committee member Pete Coe, himself a former officer of the Royal Engineers, a line of volunteers each with a bucket met on Patterson’s Walk on the morning of Friday 28th July. Under Pete Coe’s direction a human chain was formed between the Pill Box along the beach towards the sea and the muddy water was removed and bucketful after bucketful was passed along the line and dispersed along the beach.  Grateful thanks go to West Worthing MP Sir Peter Bottomley and Arun district councillors Mark Turner and Lesley-Anne Lloyd together with the many other volunteers, including one of the youngest members of Ferring Conservation Group, 11 year old Eoin Kearns, whose strength and enthusiasm matched that of any of the adults present.

Once the roof had been properly sealed the next stage of the project was to open up the bricked-up embrasures where the guns were mounted and install either vandal-proof glass or Perspex. This will enable visitors to appreciate the view the soldiers had from inside the Pill Box.

As well as leading the practical work Pete Coe will continue with further research with assistance from Martin Mace the author of Frontline Sussex: Defence Lines of West Sussex 1939-1945 who was also one of the volunteers helping with the practical work on the 28th July.