Monday, April 27th. We moved three ponies from the Trust’s hold-back land over to a small nature reserve at Chailey today. One of the two remaining spare ponies is causing us concern because it’s been losing weight and though it has now been on good grazing for over a month, it has shown little improvement. Therefore we called one of our vets in to examine it, she took away a number of blood samples for analysis to hopefully pin down the problem.
Tuesday, April 28th. A friend (Jim B) e-mailed me: “I went for a walk on Windover Hill today, nice in the sun but that wind had a bit of a bite to it. I was looking for flowers, really, cowslips and Early Purples….lots of cowslips but still quite small….but the highlight turned out to be a pair of Red Kites performing acrobatics below me and quite close – just over the fence line at the head of Long Man….stunning….I must have watched them for a good half hour all told.”
Thursday, April 30th. As a favour, in the morning took a party of 89 9-year olds from Hailsham for a guided walk on the 7 Sisters Country Park. Beautiful sunny morning but there was a keen wind which made it a little tricky in talking to such a large group but I think they enjoyed it and hopefully learnt something. They were hoping to see some spring flowers…
The Country Park is nowadays looking somewhat run-down – fences, gates, signage. Much of the principle wildlife habitat – grassland, is either over-grazed or conversely, under-grazed. This area used to be a mecca for a myriad of wild flowers, butterflies and birds; sadly, not at the moment. This unfortunate situation has arisen due to several reasons: poor management over the past 15 years or so; a lack of funding and staffing. Most of all, as regards its all-important grazing, the tenant of the past 26 years appears to have little or no regard to wildlife conservation, the principle reason he was chosen and brought in. It’s high-time he was replaced.
I’ll finish off on this subject with a radical suggestion. I suggest that the Park’s owner East Sussex CC, sells the Country Park to the National Trust, which now has a sizeable land holding operation in the area and has the necessary expertise to manage the Park correctly. The ESCC would then have off-loaded for them, a liability, one they no longer have the expertise to manage and crucially, it would raise for the cash-strapped County Council, a considerable amount of much-needed capital.