Group Meeting – 25th October 2019

Kate Bradbury, an award winning author and journalist was warmly welcomed to Ferring Conservation Group’s October meeting. Kate is the author of several books including ‘The Wildlife Gardener’ and is the editor of the wildlife pages of BBC Gardener’s World Magazine. She regularly writes articles for newspapers and often appears on BBC Spring and Autumn Watch programmes.

Kate is passionate about organic, wildlife-friendly gardening and can see the potential in our gardens for preserving many species. She gardens on a small patch of land in Brighton and delights in the wildlife it has attracted in a relatively short space of time. Her many tips include growing native plants (just one native tree can support hundreds of different species – providing flowers for pollinators, leaves for caterpillars and then seeds or fruit for birds in autumn). Kate explained that non-natives have a great role in gardens too – especially for pollinating insects, but it is the natives that attract the leaf munchers, such as caterpillars, that also need leaves to assist breeding. Being at the bottom of the food chain these invertebrates are vitally important to anything from hedgehogs to frogs, toads, newts, birds and bats. In a small garden Kate recommended forget-me-knots, primroses and foxgloves as ideal plants to attract pollinators and if you have the room for a tree, a Silver Birch or standard Hawthorn would be ideal. If a small pond is viable then it should be shallow for insects to breed and pebbles should be placed on one side to create a beach, so that birds and bees can drink from the water’s edge.

Graham Tuppen took the floor at the second half of the meeting to deliver the Nature Notes slot. He informed the audience that the lagoons by the Rife were at last full from the recent rainfall and went on to report that the wet fields had attracted plenty of wading birds and gulls. Parasol mushrooms were abundant along the Ilex with the flowering ivy keeping bees busy and were attractive for hoverflies and wasps. Also many acorns were evident as well as seed from sycamore and hawthorn trees; again very helpful for wildlife. Graham also reported the sighting of a seal in the sea near to the Bluebird Café.

Planning news concluded the meeting with Ed Miller reporting that the planning application submitted by Worthing Council for the erection of beach huts along the seafront in Goring-by-Sea, had been withdrawn. The two warehouse units proposed on land adjacent to McIntyre’s Lane had been refused by Arun DC, along with the additional house in the back garden of The Old Flint House within the Ferring conservation area. Ed also advised that Arun DC had received a new application by Peugeot for an advertising sign on the forecourt of their garage along the A259. It was also reported that according to Persimmon’s architect, present at the public consultation afternoon held on 7th October at the Assembly Rooms in Worthing, the submission of an outline planning application to Worthing DC and Arun DC for 465 homes in the Northern Goring Gap was imminent.