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Elson Allotment Conservation Project
will keep you informed and update this page as the project progresses. See below: In February 2000, Elson Allotments were made an affiliated member of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) and the Hampshire County Council Community Action Fund awarded them a grant of £2000.00 to turn the above piece of waste ground on the site into an area in which to attract all forms of wild-life suited to the area. This piece of land is water-logged most of the Winter and therefore is not suitable to let as plots for growing vegetables and fruit. The money will be used in the first instance to hire 'heavy equipment' to clear and level the mound of earth in front of the trees, which will also be lopped and pruned to keep them in a reasonable shape but still maintaining the barrier as a wind-break. When this has been done Pat will be advised as to the best way in which to proceed as to the planting of trees and wild plants etc. At the beginning of March a grant of £704 was made for this purpose.
6th March. The 'heavy mob' (a JCB) arrived and levelled off the site ready to be rotavated
Volunteers were mustered for a group photograph to be printed with an article in the Daily Echo, The News (Gosport edition) also printed an article on the 7th March
On the 21st March Elson was represented at a meeting held by the Gosport Environmental Forum at Thorngate Halls. Information display boards were on view showing all the various Conservation projects in the Gosport area and discussion groups were held to find ways in which to educate the public into being more conservation minded in their own every-day lives. Details of the projects can be obtained from Gosport Leisure Services. Tel: 02392 584242
Easter week-end and work has started. 2 trees a Silver Birch and a Rowan has been planted. The arduous task of digging and removing all the debris is going to take some time but we have a good band of willing helpers.
In May all plot holders were sent a notification from the Council with reference to the relocation of Badgers to Elson allotments. It has become necessary to relocate 6 Badgers due to the building work being carried out at Priddys Hard. However, due to the position of the allotments next to the playing fields many plot holders feel it would not be a suitable and safe place for the Badgers to be. Many debates and discussions are taking place and there will be a meeting of Councillors on 5th June before a decision is made.
RESULT It was decided at the meeting NOT to relocate Badgers to Elson.
21st June and the Pond has been excavated and terraced ready to have the liner put in.
19th July - a group of volunteers arrived on site to finish excavating the pond and fit the liner ready to fill with water. Due to the time of year it was suggested that we wait until Spring before attempting to plant.
Digging is progressing on the other section but it is slow due to the amount of rubble etc., to be taken out but the volunteers helped to plant a Medlar tree on 19th July.
UP-DATE ON BADGERS - October, 2000
On the 9th October, 2000 an extraordinary meeting of the Health and Leisure Committee was held at Gosport Town Hall for the purpose to reconsider the relocation of Badgers from Priddys Hard to Elson allotments. The vote was 7 for and 7 against, the deciding vote being given to the chairman. This decision is subject to a licence being granted by English Nature. Many plot holders are not happy with the decision due to the unsuitability of the site for the Badgers and feel an alternative solution must be found. However, on the 19th October work began to build the artificial sett in readiness. please click here to follow the progress
Due to the appalling weather conditions of the past winter and the construction of the Badger sett, the Conservation area is looking in a very sorry state indeed. However, this month the conifer trees on the boundary fence have been lopped by about 6 ft. The branches etc. are to be laid beneath the trees to encourage birds to nest etc.
On the 2nd March it was announced in The News that a grant from the Whitbread Action Earth has been made to purchase materials to build a small bog garden. This is part of a campaign organised by the Community Volunteer Service involving more than 500 groups across the UK.
Some planting has been carried out but due to the very wet winter the conifer trees, although still standing have suffered and are dying off. Fencing with a gate for access has been erected. The ground is now very hard and dry and making it almost impossible to continue planting. Note - there are no badgers at Elson yet.
No further work has been carried out to the area. It has been agreed to leave the Badgers, for the time being, in their original sett; alongside the new Priddys Hard access road.
Due to the lack of volunteers - no more work has been carried out in this area.
I have been reliably informed that we now have 2 badger sets at Elson allotments. One in the conservation area and one in the bank on the Findon Road side. I have no other information at this time other than that they are being fed peanut butter sandwiches to encourage them to settle and stay.
While on site early in the morning to do some watering, I personally saw a badger. I am now convinced it is the badgers that are causing all the damage to crops, netting, fleece etc. and not as first thought the foxes. They are not contained in the special sectioned off area but free to roam the allotments.
Over the years their numbers have increased each year. We now have several badger sets at Elson causing a large amount of damage to our crops, pathways and plots. Large holes have been dug under sheds and holes dug as communal latrines are becoming a health hazard. Neighbouring gardens are also experiencing considerable damage.
Badgers are continuing to be our number one contention in trying to grow vegetables and fruit. All our efforts of barriers, cages etc. have failed and the destruction continues.
No solution has yet been found.