Good News for the Birds of Ferring

Warren Pond in the southern part of Ferring is a better place for birds thanks to Ferring Parish Council and the Conservation Group. The pond, near the junction of Florida Road and The Warren, is owned by the Council and is managed in partnership with the Group as a nature reserve, being one of the last remaining wild places in the village which makes it so valuable for wildlife.

The Council has funded a variety of bird nestboxes, and four of these have been installed by Conservation Group members at various locations around the pond. Two were the hardwearing woodcrete designs for tits (these are resistant to woodpeckers and squirrels), and the others were of timber construction being open fronted and more suitable for robins or wrens. One other series of 3 joined nestboxes for sparrows who like to nest in proximity to others of the same species has also been installed in another location in the village near to the Rife.

David Bettiss, Chairman of the Group, who installed the boxes at the pond together with committee members Graham Tuppen and Tricia Hall said “These boxes funded by the Parish Council are a really useful addition to the wildlife habitats of the village and we hope they’ll be used on a regular basis by some of our birds. Certainly the boxes we’ve already put up around the village in various places are used every year and this can be seen when we check and clean them in the Winter. We’re very grateful to the Council for this initiative.”

He continued, “As our wildlife across the country is coming under increasing pressure due to loss of habitat, boxes like these are really helpful to assist our birds to breed successfully. We timed this installation to coincide with National Nestbox week in February, and we’d encourage as many of our local residents as possible to put up one box or more in their gardens. Please do it as soon as possible though as birds will already be prospecting for suitable sites. A site on a tree trunk, facing north or east away from prevailing winds and hot sun and about 2-3m high is ideal. Then you’ll have done your bit for our local birds as well.”

Village Green bulb planting update

Earlier this week, we had an excellent turn out at the Village Green on a pleasant morning, and duly planted 250 Narcissi bulbs across the frontage opposite the shops and under the trees. Thank you to all those who helped out and we hope to see a great display each Spring to complement the bulbs already in situ.

To correct something we said before, although the bulbs were supplied by Arun DC, they were actually paid for by our Parish Council as part of the ongoing improvements there, which will also include the bed leading towards the toilet block as well as the area under the trees. In addition, we at FCG have tidied up the boat and put in some Winter plants and more bulbs.

Annual Tidy Up Around Warren Pond

Ferring Conservation Group members were joined recently by a number of Councillors from Ferring Parish Council, including the Chairman Pete Coe, to carry out the annual tidy up of the surrounds of the Warren Pond in South Ferring. It was an unsettled morning and the work party was caught out by one rain shower, but this was made up for by the sight of a double rainbow to the north.

About a dozen or so members carried out the necessary work to cut back the brambles and some of the ivy and other overgrown vegetation which allowed better views of the pond especially from the Florida Road side. It was great to welcome one very young volunteer who was accompanied by his Dad, and he can be seen on the skip in the accompanying photo.

The pond which is in the ownership of the Parish Council is maintained as a nature reserve at present, and the work allows this to continue but with an element of control so that passers-by can view some of the wildlife that passes through or calls it home. This has included recent sightings of a feeding Grey Heron on the central platform.

Anybody is welcome to join our regular work parties which are publicised on the website and in Group e-mails.

Thank you to our members who support these events for the benefit of the village and its ecology.

Rife Memorial Bench

Roy Westwater, one of FCG’s long-standing members, has donated the cost of one of our new ‘perch benches’ on the banks of the Rife in memory of his late wife Barbara. We were pleased to have a suitable plaque engraved and mounted on the bench, and to take this photograph of Roy and members of his family being among the first to use it.

‘The Great British Rake Off’

After a fallow year in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, volunteers from Ferring Conservation Group came together again with those from The Good Gym Worthing to rake up the cut vegetation at the foot of Sea Lane Ferring at the start of the month.

The Good Gym is a charity with branches across the country where groups of runners combine regular exercise with helping local communities as happened here in Ferring. The reason for the work was to remove the thatch of grass that would otherwise swamp the wild flowers on the verge, which include the attractive Salsify amongst others, and allow them to thrive in future years.

About 20 volunteers from both groups met up one tea time, but were greeted by a sudden downpour of rain at the start of the session. Luckily, this soon relented and the task was completed in a friendly way with people mixing well for a chat whilst carrying out the raking. Daylight began to fade, but by then the task was completed.

Ferring Conservation Group Chairman David Bettiss said, “We’re very grateful to our friends from The Good Gym helping us out once again alongside the regular volunteers from our own group to carry out this important work. We’ve already seen a definite improvement in the biodiversity here since the annual raking started a few years ago, and trust that next Spring and Summer we’ll all see the fruits of our work with wild flowers blooming. At this time of climate change, it’s critical that we all do our bit to improve our local environment as much as we can, whilst providing a good habitat for our wildlife.”

Last ‘Beach Clean’ of the year and the ‘Great Big Green Week’

On a glorious late September morning around 35 members of Ferring Conservation Group met at the beach huts in Ferring to carry out the last scheduled beach clean of 2021.

As in previous years this September’s beach clean was conducted as part of the Great British Beach Clean. This national initiative is a week-long citizen science event running from 17th to 26th September, driven by the Marine Conservation Society, with many beach cleans taking place across the UK. During each clean a 100 metre section of the beach is surveyed and all items of litter recorded with the results fed into the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) initiative. This global event was established in 1986 to encourage volunteers to act as ‘citizen scientists’ by tallying the items of litter found with a view to identifying the sources of marine debris, examining the trends of items and to increase awareness regarding the different threats to marine life. Sadly whales and dolphins have washed up on beaches either already dead or dying due to them ingesting large amounts of plastic. Tragically, in 2019, a young Cuvier beaked whale was spotted in great distress off the coast of the Philippines. It was soon washed up on a beach and shortly afterwards sadly died. To the astonishment of vets carrying out a post-mortem, 88 pounds of plastic was removed from its stomach (including 16 rice sacks on top of other types of plastic bags; plus large tangles of nylon rope). This distressing story demonstrates only too well the race against time we all face for immediate action to be taken worldwide.

Jane Hayman from the Group said “there were relatively few items of litter on Ferring beach due to the recent calm seas and the largest item found was a particularly heavy wooden pallet that became a two-man job to move it along to the collection point. Disappointingly the worst area for litter was to the rear of the beach huts and around the Bluebird café area”.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November 2021.  Leading up to this crucial conference a national initiative is taking place and from 18th to 26th September over 2000 communities across the country are joining together for the ‘Great Big Green Week’. Events are taking place in many towns and villages involving local groups highlighting how people can take action to tackle climate change and protect our wildlife and green spaces on a local and personal level, with a view to encouraging others to become involved too. The events will range from climate cafés, community stalls, art installations, concerts and many more all with the aim of putting pressure on the UK Government to up its game on climate change. Ferring Conservation Group have provided an interesting and thought provoking display which can be seen in Ferring Library until Friday 24th September. Please do go along and take a look at it and even put some of the suggested actions into practice.



FCG provide new benches for Ferring Rife

Ferring Conservation Group has completed the construction and installation of two rustic wooden benches on the Ferring side of the local Rife River. It’s hoped that these will provide a welcome stopping point for walkers to take a short break to appreciate this much loved and protected Local Wildlife Site.

The benches are made of solid oak and were constructed by Group committee member, Graham Tuppen, and he was assisted in the installation by fellow committee member Colin Annis and Group chairman David Bettiss. The work was carried out with the full cooperation of the Environment Agency who own the land, with the benches designed to fit seamlessly and naturally into the local environment.

They were paid for out of Conservation Group funds, and specifically by donations received from generous members during the recent 2021 membership renewal process. The work was carried out by the volunteers in their own time and expense.

David Bettiss said, ‘We’re very pleased to have been able to install these excellent and well-crafted benches for the benefit of the local community on the Rife. Whilst working on them, we were overwhelmed by many positive comments by people walking past, so I know they’re going to be well used, and will hopefully last a long time. I’m very grateful to our members who have given us donations which allowed us to complete such a project for the benefit of the whole local community, and particular thanks must go to my fellow workers, Colin Annis and especially Graham Tuppen, who did the bulk of the work.’

New Tawny Owl box at Warren Pond

Following on from the recent practical clearance work at Warren Pond in South Ferring carried out by Ferring Conservation Group volunteers in partnership with Ferring Parish Council, the latest improvement was the installation of a Tawny Owl nestbox on a Lime tree adjacent to the pond.P1080981

The box was donated by a local resident, and was installed by local tree surgeons, Bushwackers. We now await the arrival of a resident Tawny Owl (!) – at least one has been heard in the immediate vicinity, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

The next move for the ongoing restoration of the pond is a proper professional survey which is being arranged jointly by the Parish Council and the Group to take place in the next week. A management plan will then be drawn up to restore the pond over a number of years to a valuable wildlife habitat.

Village Green bulb planting

On 21st October, a working party of Ferring Conservation Group members met on the Village Green at Ferring to carry out some bulb planting in partnership with Arun District Council. Hundreds of bulbs including some native daffodils, various varieties of tulips, as well as crocus were planted in the bed on the north side of the green adjacent to Ferring Street by the path that leads to the public toilets.Bulb planting (4)

Keep your eyes open from next Spring and hopefully every year after that to see the fruits of our Group’s labours.