I have lived in this area for most of my life and I have driven down Lakeside Road in Ash many times but didn’t know there was a nature reserve here!

The reserve is accessed through a height restricted barrier leading to a good sized car park.  To the right there is a play area with several climbing frames, including a zip wire which I thought would be fun for older children as well as their younger siblings.

 

 

To the left and also straight ahead are pathways leading to several very pretty ponds with platforms used for private fishing.

The paths are well defined and you can have a peaceful walk around the pond with lovely views from one side to the other.

 

 

 

Read the Nature Board half way around which gives information of wildlife and plants to look out for, I saw swans on the lake today who made a very noisy entrance!

I discovered that the Lakeside Nature Reserve joins up with the Blackwater Valley Path adding another dimension to my walk and making it longer, I was a bit lost at one point and had to turn around but it was quite easy to get back to the lake so I managed in the end!

Very enjoyable and well worth a visit.

Oh What Fun We Had……!!

Well, we have fun every Thursday, but I just had Madness’s “Baggy Trousers” on my mind all day!

On Thursday 26th September, we were graced with the presence of 20 temporary volunteers from United Way UK, on a corporate day out. The members of this multi-national organisation choose a worthwhile cause, once a year and, the UK element, being based nearby, chose us!…well, not literally we volunteers, you understand, but the tasking covered by our hardworking team of Yateley Rangers.

In anticipation of their arrival, we had erected a marquee, complete with real chairs…a couple of us tried out these luxury items, being accustomed to sitting on 3 legged stools, which, in boggy conditions, tend to become unstable….some might argue that this characteristic instability extends to some users of these seats!

Anyway, one of the reasons for our prominence of choice, was that they had heard that we did a good line in Custard Creams and Bourbons! Regrettably, Bourbons were off the menu today, as our resident Bourbon expert was not in attendance, so it was thought inappropriate to provide them.

It is to the great credit of our honoured guests that they showed great stoicism on hearing such sad news. This fine quality continued to be displayed by this impressive group, when arriving at the site to be worked on, and turning not a hair, when confronted with the rather extensive area of scrub.

Staff and volunteers from United Way getting stuck in

This scrub, consisting mainly of birch and gorse, has to be reduced, in order that long-dormant items like heather would, on being subjected to light, be re invigorated enough to grow, thus providing a colourful carpet, to be enjoyed by all Yateley Common users. Another benefit of maintaining such an area is that it’s the environment favoured by a threatened species, the woodlark.

Following our exemplary lead, they commenced the task in earnest…we were really appreciative of their efforts, and indeed, their presence, as it meant that their inroads into the scrub probably saved us 3 Thursday’s work at that site.

Area cleared of invasive birch scrub

So, a most productive day all round, enjoyed by vols and visitors alike. Indeed, one of the attendees, on leaving, kindly stated that she was in awe of us, so impressed was she by our work ethic, especially as it is repeated every Thursday.  I  accepted this kind comment…but, on further reflection, I wondered if she had meant that we are an awful group!

Answers on a postcard, please.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park are having a family open day on 19 October 2019 to introduce the public to their new Visitors Centre and Beechwood Kitchen.

Why not pop along and enjoy some food tasting, live music, birds of prey and lots of kids activities.

This is a beautiful park especially with autumn approaching so enjoy some lovely walks with your dog at the same time!

 

Visit their website for more information at https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/qecp/whatson/open-day-19oct

 

 

Autumn Pumpkin Festival & Scarecrow Avenue at Royal Victoria Country Park – 12 October 2019

Come along to this charity festival to celebrate the onset of Halloween with the spotlight on Pumpkins and Scarecrows.  Fun for all the family with autumnal food, drink, music, dance and much more.

Bring along your own Scarecrow to be displayed in the Scarecrow Avenue and see the biggest pumpkins in the UK.

The event will also have lots of children’s activities, sports and games.

Dogs on leads welcome.

Visit https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on/autumn-pumpkin-festival-and-scarecrow-avenue-at-royal-victoria-country-park for all the information.

 

 

Magical Mayhem at Queen Elizabeth Country Park – 28 October 2019 – 1 November 2019

The Magical Mayhem has returned to Queen Elizabeth Country Park where you can meet the Scarecrow witch in the pumpkin cave to make a magical craft or meet Robbie the Wizard with his amazing magic show.

Ride on a tractor to the woods on a quest to find where the magical cauldron stood.

This even is suitable for children 2 years & up and is priced at £12.50 per child (Adults are free!)

Visit their web site https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/qecp/whatson/magical-mayhem-28-oct for session times.

 

 

 

Room on a Broom Story Trail and Craft at Royal Victoria Country Park – 29 October 2019

29 October 2019 11am to 1pm

Collect your free broomstick and join Royal Victoria Country Park on a scary ramble through the woods on this story trail then enjoy a drink and a biscuit.  The event is a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Suitable for up to 5 yr olds.

All children must be accompanied by an adult. Please wear winter clothes and wellies. Cost £6/child (non – refundable. Tickets are available from the shop (10am – 4pm). 20 children max. Normal parking charges apply.

Visit https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on/room-on-a-broom-and-apple-day-at-royal-victoria-country-park to book a place.

 

Below is an article written by one of our dedicated Conservation Volunteers, if you fancy joining us weekly on Thursdays or monthly on Sundays, please contact northern.sites@hants.gov.uk to find out more!

 

Hello There,

We are an enthusiastic group of volunteers (or “VOLS”…thanks Sam!), working, (very happily!), under the direction of our similarly dedicated Northern Sites Rangers.

We meet every Thursday, at 0930, at various locations on the Common, finishing at 1500 hrs, with time off, for good behaviour, from 1100 to 1130, and 1300 to 1330.

We carry out many tasks, from cutting back overgrown vegetation, to pulling ragwort, all requiring varying degrees of effort.

In truth though, each team member works to their own physical capacity..it is not, after all, a competition. We thus enjoy a jolly good day out, in superbly sociable company, with loads of fresh air thrown in for free!

The age range of our exceptionally friendly group is 18 to 70-odd years, and it is quite amazing what we can learn from each other. Now, most of us didn’t realise that, if you eat 193 bananas in one sitting, you could become an “ex banana eater”…maybe even an “ex eater”.

We were incredulous when told this rather sobering fact by our youngest fellow volunteer, who at the time, was only 17!

We can only wonder at what facts he has amassed thus far, on his life’s journey.

But please, don’t let this deter you from joining our group…all sorts of subjects are covered, from Astrophysics to the latest Soaps’ revelations…so scintillating are our “coffee convos”, that we are disappointed when our ever-so nice Rangers have to remind us that it’s time for a “work break”!

 

And lastly, but by no means least, we learn much from that same great team of Rangers, who have a wealth of knowledge,( some of which it could be said, remains well hidden!)

But seriously, Folks, many users of Yateley Common would be impressed by the level of estate management and knowledge required, and displayed, to keep this vital site at its optimum level of sustainability.

So, this is just a short introductory piece to set the scene…it is hoped that we may do follow up bits and pieces to let you know what we are up to.

But, in conclusion, please be assured that every member of this (Thursday) group, (and also an existent, monthly Sunday group), are committed, under the expert guidance of our superb Rangers, to keeping this local green and pleasant land, an area of which we can all be justly proud.

 

Yours Ecologically,

Dave Rich.

PS  I guess I should add the disclaimer that any views or opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of our mentors, the Rangers…although I’m sure there are some things herein that do!…eg “great”,”expert”, and “superb”.