At the time of writing, rape fields are turning yellow and bees from my hives are out on foraging trips collecting nectar and pollen. Fortunately, the West Tisted Estate have joined a scheme called ‘BeeConnected’ and inform local beekeepers when and where they will be spraying insecticide. I was very grateful last year to be contacted and warned when spray was to take place. On my request, spaying of a nearby field was held back to late evening when bees were not flying.
The bright yellow fields soon turn back to green and bees find many other sources of nectar and pollen making journeys up to a mile and half from a hive. A succession of different flowers are visited by bees as the seasons progress with specific plant species only attracting pollinators during a short window of time. Wide areas of countryside and many gardens are visited to feed an expanding bee colony during the summer months and eventually build up stores in the hive to survive the winter. With bountiful seasons and well manged hives a beekeeper can take a share of the honey crop.
Seasons vary and every year is different, but there are exceptional challenges for beekeepers. Changing land use and pressures on farming to increase food production while keeping costs low is having a huge impact on the natural environment. News items in recent years highlight the extent of changes to the countryside. Insect populations have declined by 75% in 3 decades. And over 95% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s. Widespread use of pesticides and herbicides are taking their toll.
Inevitably there is an impact on all pollinators, bee species including honeybees. The National Bee Unit, a research body, in the last few years has issued notices about the starvation of hives in mid-summer, at a time one might expect bees to be doing well (beekeepers now talk of the ‘June Gap’).
Well managed farms are vital to our food supply but alongside this a recognition that land not in production such as field margins, hedges and lane verges and gardens can be a valuable resource for wildlife. Wherever possible there is a need to manage land better for wildlife, ensuring there are places for wildflowers to grow and avoiding green deserts of mown grass. Productive farming and wildlife can co-exist.
With sensitive management of our countryside and gardens it should be possible to ensure a supply local honey for sale in the Courtyard Shop.
Hello everyone and welcome to the Parish Council post on the MyRopley website. With BMRT not being published right now, this is where PC news will happen for the time being. With the country in total lockdown, schools and most businesses closed and the Parish Council not meeting in any way except through e mail threads, there is obviously not a lot to report.
As you all know by now, the shop is functioning pretty much as normal except that it is closing at 13.00hrs in order to do home deliveries, restock the shelves and clean. Vonnie Archer and Nicky Cambrooke deserve huge congratulations for undertaking a cracking job in very difficult circumstances.
Otherwise and as you may have noticed, the Multi Use Games Area or MUGA as our playground is known, is closed until further notice.
Also, the Parish Council’s Annual General Meeting and Annual Parish Assembly which were due to be held on Tuesday 5th May, have been cancelled until further notice.
And finally, it has been very windy recently and there are trees, branches and twigs everywhere but I am trying to get it cleared. If anyone to do with the Vesty’s reads this post then PLEASE clear the tree on Webb Lane.
Ropley Parish Council
The last time we wrote about remaining positive in uncertain times we were referring to the weather and the effects of Brexit. Well, what a difference a few weeks make. The sun has been out long enough to get on the fields to put some much needed fertiliser on the crops that have suffered so much over the extremely wet winter months. We have also been able to get our spring crops in most of the fields so now we just need to have the weather on our side to give these crops a chance. However, with recent events around the world, even on the farm we have felt the implications of the coronavirus, but we must remain positive and above all we must remain safe.
The first few weeks of the lockdown period saw many people drive into the countryside to go for walks rather than staying local as advised by the Government. People that had never been to the area before were parking their cars quite inconsiderately sometimes in gateways obviously not realising that farming cannot stop during this time.
The estate has many farm tracks that are not open to the public. These tracks are private property and can be dangerous places when farm machinery travels along them. In recent weeks we have seen many people walking along these tracks and where we can we have redirected them to the public paths. We just do not want anybody hurt.
Deliveries of basics such as fuel and other farm essentials have all be affected by the lockdown but we are glad that they have continued up to now and we are able to operate the farm as near normal as possible.
To see how the residents in the village have been supporting each other is lovely. Just one email from us to all our tenants to inform them of changes we needed to make with regards to how we would be responding to any maintenance or repairs of the properties triggered such a lovely response with offers of help to pick up supplies or look after animals.
We decided to put together a small newsletter to inform the Estate’s tenants of all of these offers. From a resident being able to supply eco-friendly household products, one of the farm workers arranging deliveries from a local brewery to the residents whose business of selling cheese now being able to supply meat, vegetables as well as their cheeses to those who cannot leave their properties, it has been amazing to see how this small community has been able to help each other.
Then the unfortunate incident where a resident’s car burnt out on the driveway showed this community spirit once again, with more offers of transport and help and all when everyone is having to be extra careful due to the fear of catching and spreading the virus.
Let’s hope the fight against the coronavirus is soon won. If it is teaching the world anything at all then it is that we cannot take anything for granted and that we must be grateful for what we have. And above all we need to be ready to support each other in times of need, something that farming communities have done so well for so long now.
Margot Smith, for West Tisted Manor Estate
Due to Covid-19, the Parish Council has taken the decision to cancel the forthcoming APA, AGM & Ordinary meetings, which were scheduled for Tuesday 5th May.
The Parish Council will review the need for Ordinary Parish Council meetings on a monthly basis and will update the website. If you have any queries or wish to raise anything, please contact the Clerk Becky French on email@example.com or call 01962 777427.
Clerk to Ropley Parish Council
(Note: Alternative date for this is Friday, 11th September)
How to Join The Friends
St Peter’s Aprons
Raise St Peter’s …. little ways you can help
As I write this update the Coronavirus lockdown is in full swing, so everything is quieter than normal , despite it being a lovely sunny Easter. Hopefully by the time BisMonRoptis is delivered we will be taking a step back albeit slowly, to normality.
I think we seem to have a wonderful spirit in looking out for our senior residents, who maybe are struggling with food supplies and a little loneliness. Several people have volunteered to assist and I think all are being looked after and have a contact if need be. However, if anybody does need help they are welcome to contact me.
There are also some more formal assistance helplines:-
Hampshire Community Officer 01730 234184.
Frail or Vulnerable helpline 03333 704000 or register yourself www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or 08000288327.
On planning matters, at the time of writing Merryfield Farm has an application to remove the restriction of 6 months on their tower to 24 months and Woodside Farm has an application for lawful existing use for 20 odd residential caravans and mobile homes on their previous Summer campsite. Also Manor Farm have updated me on their intention to convert and rent out the old cow sheds immediately by the road at the old dairy, to horse stabling, whilst the shed block directly behind maybe will become a horse vets centre.
Finally with May fast approaching I cannot see we will be in a position to hold our Annual Parish Meeting, so this at the moment is on hold. Hopefully we will be able to re-arrange it later in the year, but in the interim if anybody has pressing matters please let me know.
Village Spring Clean Thank You
Much of the village clean up was completed this year before the Covid 19 restrictions were put in place with about 30-40 villagers participating over 6 neighbourhoods each with a coordinator. We thank them all for their collecting efforts. There was a wide variety in the amount of rubbish found from 21 full bin liner sacks in the A31 area to one sack in the cleanest area. The centre of the village seems to be getting cleaner though there still plenty of beer cans discarded particularly around the tourist area near the railway.
Society’s Annual Photographic Competition reminder
Calling all amateur local photographers, despite the Covid 19 lockdown as you are out in the fresh air for you daily exercise there are some beautiful scenes of Spring all about us. We still hope to produce a calendar for next year so please remember to take your camera with you when you are out and about and think about the pictures you would like to submit for the 2021 village calendar.
Photographs can be from anywhere within the BisMonRopTis area and the competition is open to anyone who normally receives BisMonRopTis.
Dates for your diaries
- The Society has postponed its AGM from 2nd April and now hopes to hold it on Thursday 15th October – current restrictions permitting.
All Ropley Society meetings are open to all so please come along and bring your friends and neighbours.
Visit our website www. ropleysociety.org for more details on all our social events and updates on other items of interest.
I hope you and your families are all well and will remain that way through this uncertain time. How lucky we are to have our gardens to keep us busy and give us solace.
The last meeting of the Society was way back on 24th February and since then we have had to cancel both Wilf Simcox ‘Looking after your Lawn’ on 30th March and Stewart Pocock ‘The Production and Seduction of Growing Roses’ due on 27th April both of which we hope to rebook for 2021. Sadly our Spring Show on 4th April also fell victim to the shutdown.
However we are hoping we might be able to have our Plant Sale in May but run it another way. Details will be sent to members when we know more if and when the current Government restrictions can be slightly lifted.
Sadly I have just heard also that our Summer Party and cream tea scheduled for 29th June at Uppark, South Harting has also been cancelled. This means our next scheduled meeting will be on 27th July when Ray Broughton will be giving us ‘Gardener’s Question Time’ and we will hold our Sweet Pea Competition. Let’s hope by then we will be more or less back to normal. In the expectation that you will be very busy in your gardens for the next few weeks here are a LOT of Garden Hints because I am sure you will be able to look after your gardens spectacularly well this Spring!
The Horticultural Society sends its good wishes to you all, keep safe and well.