February 2024 Update

An update from Ellen Wilson

February has yet again been another busy month with lots of events happening in the catchment.

Making Space for Nature 

On Thursday 1st February I attended one of the Making Space for Nature (MS4N) workshops held in Ashford. The purpose of this was to understand everyone’s priorities for nature, and pressures, which could then be fed into the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. Unsurprisingly, key pressures highlighted included housing development, climate change and clean water, and priorities were connectivity of habitats, water quality and improved habitats. The MS4N team are now looking to get all the current, planned, and ongoing projects that are helping nature mapped on their ‘Actions for Nature’ mapping tool.  

Cover crop trial 

On Friday 9th February the cluster helped to organise an informative event looking at Southern Waters over-winter cover crop trial and the Co-op Foundation CIF funded compost extract trial being carried out at Bockhanger Farms Ltd. These trials were fascinating to hear about, as were talks from Andrew Howard, Regen Ben, Verdant Carbon and Toby Simpson. 

People sat in a hall for a talk with Regen Ben.

Healthy Hedgerows 

Finally, this week we held a Healthy Hedgerows workshop kindly hosted by Mike and Jan Bax at Moat Farm. We heard from Megan Gimber from The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) talking all about hedges and their super handy app for farmers. Plus, Rob Graham gave a brilliant demonstration on how to lay a hedge. The day was fascinating and filled with useful practical advice on how to manage hedgerows.  

A group of people standing in a field for a Healthy Hedgerows workshop with Megan Gimber.

We also manage to squeeze in a steering group meeting this month, with lots covered for the Upper Beult Cluster’s ambitions for 2024. Four natural capital assessments are being carried out this year in the cluster, and further work is being done around nightingales with additional funding from Southern Water. We have a great calendar of events planned for the year and time is being put into our comms plan to share all the amazing work everyone is doing!  

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