Monday. Spent the day erecting some 1300 metres of electric fencing in the vicinity of the famous Belle Tout lighthouse near Beachy Head. All went well with most of the task done by lunchtime – we (Anna & I) working at a cracking pace in order to get as much done before the arrival of a wet spell in the afternoon. Eastbourne BC, the Trust’s clients here, supplied a number of metal gates so as to allow continued access to the area by the public.
Tuesday. I spent the afternoon finishing off and tensioning the above fencing. Entered into conversation with a couple from Hampshire who have a number of native breed ponies and enjoyed for once watching someone else having to erect electric fencing!
Wednesday. Used our recently purchased livestock trailer for the first time when we gathered-in 4 ponies from off part of the RSPB’s Broadwater Warren reserve and transported them down to Belle Tout. Just as they were getting settled, a Chinook helicopter flew over very low over – the ponies roared off at full throttle!
Thursday. Amongst other things, we had a another meeting with one of the staff of the Conservators of Ashdown Forest, (they having on Monday finally given approval to contracting the Trust to carry out some trial grazing in the Misbourne valley to the east of the village of Nutley. This will involve electric fencing 43 acres of heath, gorse and bog enabling 8 of our Chailey ponies to winter graze this particularly bio-diverse area.
Saturday. We spent much of the day electric fencing at Shooters Bottom between Belle Tout and Beachy Head. A fabulous warm, sunny day – on days like these, we must have the best jobs in the world – exercise, fresh air and iconic surroundings! We finished early afternoon having erected some 1200 metres. Quite a number of large white butterflies on the wing.
Just spent a week on holiday based in the city of Plovdiv in southern Bulgaria. A large city with a history of 8,000 years of continuous occupation and a wonderful ‘old town’ centre containing a number of significant archaeological sites including parts of an amphitheatre and a 240metre long stadium. Lots of interesting shops, loads of cafes and restaurants and clean – very much a place with a ‘pavement culture.’ It has been selected as the European City of Culture in 2019. We found the people very warm and friendly.
For two days, we hired local natural history guide Ivo Angelov to take us out into the nearby extensive Rhodope Mountains. Much of it is spectacular, with impressive views with conifer forests, gorges and rivers, plus (though we didn’t see!), both brown bear and wolf. Very quickly once off the ‘beaten track,’ the silence was amazing! Unfortunately we should have holidayed a little further to the east for a truly amazing biodiversity hot spot. Think I may go back there!
Ivo’s main interest is with birds – he having worked for the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds carrying out extensive research on the three species of vulture that occur in the eastern Rhodopes. His details are: firstname.lastname@example.org
GO TO THE NATIONAL TRUST’S OFFICIAL OPENING of THEIR GAYLES PROPERTY ALONG THE A259 BETWEEN FRISTON AND EXCEAT. LOTS TO SEE INCLUDING UNVAILING of MEMORIAL TO RAF FRISTON AND FLY-BY FROM a HURRICANE FIGHTER PLANE. 1 – 5PM.
Do watch the Youtube video below by the bumble bee man, Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University. It will really open your eyes to the huge pesticide threat afflicting our countryside and the wildlife within it (and indeed the quality of our own food supply).