The Devil’s Punch Bowl, once separated from Hindhead Common by the A3, has become one of the top wildlife sites in south east England. The huge improvements to the area in recent years are the result of the creation of the Hindhead Tunnel by Highways England, which has enabled the site to regenerate, and hard work by the National Trust, supported by Natural England.
Six years on from the opening of the tunnel, which saw the restoration of this Surrey Hills nationally protected landscape, management techniques set out under Higher Level Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship have also seen the restoration of fragile and endangered historic heathland habitat, and the return of rare and diverse breeding birds such as woodlark and nightjar.
The nationally scarce heath tiger beetle has been sighted, and conditions are now favourable for the return of the silver studded blue butterfly. The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has now been assessed by Natural England as meeting its nature conservation targets, and is considered to be in favourable condition.
It’s not only the removal of the A3 which has made Hindhead and the Devil’s Punch Bowl so special. The SSSI is one of the highest points in southern England. Just under 1,000 feet above sea level, the relatively cool, humid climate of this ‘lowland’ heathland contains species normally associated with more upland sites such as bilberry, and trees festooned with lichens and mosses. The mosaic of habitats found on site include upland and lowland heath, bog, streams, ancient woodland, and free draining sandy soil, making the site challenging to manage.
Matt Cusack, Lead Ranger for the National Trust said: “I am thrilled we’ve achieved favourable status for Hindhead and the Punch Bowl during my watch. The removal of the A3 in July 2011 was a major milestone, enabling us to thin trees and transform the site into a swathe of heathland. But the site has been under a Higher Level Stewardship agreement since 2008. Heather mowing, the introduction of woodlark nesting areas, grazing and scrub management conducted under the scheme has transformed it. This couldn’t have been achieved without the support of my team and Hindhead’s dedicated local volunteers.”
Transformation of the SSSI and the restoration of the landscape within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have also boosted visitor numbers, up 20% from 2011 to approximately 700,000 per year, with visitors now choosing to spend longer exploring the stunning heathland and views.
New paths created by Matt Cusack and his team offer walks for differing abilities around the Devil’s Punch Bowl, enabling visitors to enjoy the tranquillity of the site while avoiding wildlife disturbance on sensitive heathland areas.
Graham Steven, Conservation Advisor for Natural England said: “Matt and his team at the National Trust have done a fantastic job at taking on board actions needed to achieve favourable status. They have balanced the needs of different habitats to create a haven for the endangered species that live here such as Dartford warbler, woodlark and nightjar. The success achieved at Hindhead and the Devil’s Punch Bowl demonstrates what can be achieved when we work in partnership to balance the needs of people and wildlife.”
Henry Penner, Senior Environmental Advisor with Highways England said: “The Hindhead Tunnel is a ground-breaking piece of engineering and shows how, by working together, we can deliver a road network fit for the 21st century in a way that not only protects but enhances the environment.
“The tunnel is the longest of its type in the UK. The old A3 around the Devil’s Punch Bowl was filled in using sandstone excavated from the tunnel and a mix of seeds to match the surrounding environment. I am delighted that six years on it has been recognised for playing its part in the wildlife success of the Devil’s Punch Bowl SSSI, and recognise the excellent work that Natural England and the National Trust have done to protect and enhance this special place for the country.”
Rob Fairbanks, Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Director added:
“The Hindhead Tunnel scheme was the largest landscape restoration project in any National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is wonderful to see that the vision of reuniting the commons and enhancing the heathland habitat has proved so successful.”
Petersfield has a new Hypnotherapy service. Jenny West, a professional hypnotherapist, said that it is “an ideal way to increase the chances of making a permanent change for 2017”.
Jenny, who recently qualified with the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy and works from her consultation room in Love Lane, described hypnotherapy as “a type of complementary therapy that uses hypnosis, which is an altered state of consciousness. It gets to the root of the issue so that changes can be made to support your goals quickly and efficiently.”
“After first-hand experience of how powerful hypnotherapy can be, I developed a passion for learning and applying the techniques to also help other people achieve their full potential. Whilst I’ve a personal interest in hypnosis for sports and business skills, I use the techniques to support a wide range of issues including weight loss, phobias and depression.”
Life before hypnotherapy was a very different one. Between 2002 and 2013, Jenny started, grew and eventually sold a successful Hampshire-based travel business, Planet Cruise.
Jenny is available for a free initial telephone consultation on 01730 302377 and can also be contacted via her website jwhypnotherapy.co.uk
People throughout Great Britain are being invited to step out with the Ramblers during its free, annual Festival of Winter Walks (December 17 – January 8, 2017), where walkers across the country will leave footprints in the snow as they explore Britain at its wintry best.
With more ways than ever to get involved in Britain’s biggest winter walking festival, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Starting in the build up to Christmas, the Festival of Winter Walks marches right into the New Year, with the following range of free activities on offer:
Ramblers groups will be leading hundreds of free walks taking place all over Britain. These range from short festive strolls to blow away the cobwebs, right up to whole day hikes to kick-start New Year’s resolutions, and everything in between.
Short health walks in England and Wales, perfect for anyone taking their first steps into walking. In England people can join Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walk schemes, delivered in partnership by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. In Wales they can walk with Let’s Walk Cymru, led by Ramblers Cymru.
For those who prefer to walk alone, or lead their own walks, festival routes are available from Ramblers Routes, an online library of more than 2,500 of Britain’s best walks.
Anyone in Scotland can download the free Medal Routes App to find over 1,100 short walks across Scotland.
The Ramblers’ director of walking development, Simon Barnett, said: “Winter is one of the best times to go out for a walk. There’s something truly magical about putting on your hat and gloves, heading out with your loved ones and perhaps even being the first person to leave footprints in the snow.
“Our popular Festival of Winter Walks is our Christmas gift to the nation, so that everyone can enjoy the wonders of a winter walk. Our walks during the festival are free, fun, friendly and open to everyone, so wrap up warm and join us as we enjoy the season the way we know best, on our feet.”
The Ramblers has also launched a free online tracker that allows people to log their walking activity, helping people to get active and stay on track with New Year’s resolutions.
Designed to suit both the seasoned walker and someone taking their first steps, there are lots of badges and rewards for walking regularly, completing long distances and reaching particular milestones. It could be walking every day in a month, completing the equivalent of the length of the Wales Coast Path or even earning a Santa badge for walking on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
Simon added: “The Festival of Winter Walks is free and open to everyone, but anyone who gets the walking bug can visit www.ramblers.org.uk/become-a-member to find out more about becoming a Ramblers member. Our members enjoy access to over 45,000 group walks led by our volunteers each year, as well as exclusive walking routes that can be downloaded and quarterly editions of Walk magazine. Your membership will also be helping to protect the nation’s footpaths for generations to come.”
Whether you’re an absolute beginner, looking to get back on the water or sail regularly, Langstone Sailing Club invites you and your family on Sunday 22nd May from 10am – 4pm.
Enjoy the panoramic views of Chichester and Langstone Harbours from the deck or clubhouse where you will be able to purchase food and refreshments from the galley and licensed bar. Members will be on hand to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.
If you want to try your hand at dinghy sailing, please bring a change of clothing and a towel as you may get wet or pick the dry option and board one of the club members cruisers for a tour of the harbour. We will have flotation devices for you to borrow.
Langstone SC is a family friendly club that welcomes people of all abilities.
Push The Boat Out provides the perfect opportunity for all ages to have a go and find out how fun and affordable sailing can be.
If you would like more information about joining the club, please email Larry at [email protected] or follow us on Facebook for further updates.
We look forward to seeing you on May 22nd.