Our volunteering task for the Fleet Pond Society on Sunday 5th November was clearing the scrub and having a seasonal bonfire on the Dry Heath. Turnout was great (35 in total) and it was a beautiful Autumn morning, everyone was in great spirits. A number of the younger helpers were working towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards or Guide and Scouts awards; helping out at Fleet Pond is a great opportunity to achieve this. The next volunteering event will be on Sunday 10th December.
Carol Dunford, our Webmaster, works for Fujitsu Services and arranged for a corporate day at Fleet Pond on Thursday 2nd November, they continued the excellent work at Coldstream Marsh in tackling the scrub and saplings. Lunch was jacket potatoes and sausages cooked over the bonfire, just superb!! Nick, the Ranger was so impressed with the hard work, after lunch the team were split into two so that other areas of the Marsh could be tackled. If you’re interested in arranging a corporate event to help out at Fleet Pond, please contact Nick Macfarlane, Countryside Rangers or email the Rangers.
Colin, Chairman of the Fleet Pond Society writes October 8th saw our volunteers in Coldstream Marsh tackling scrub and saplings in that marsh. As in September, turnout was lower than at the close of play in June.
Perhaps the weather is less amiable now! Never the less a lot was achieved in
management of our open wetland habitats.
Over the weekend 14-15th October we welcomed a return of the Hedgehogs
volunteer team. Fleet Pond has become a regular annual event for this very
experienced team of conservation volunteers. Born at Southampton University this
team has kept together despite the fact that the members are now spread throughout
the country as professional workers in different fields. Some of them are now
raising volunteers for the future. Ranger Nick on Saturday and Terry Austin and
Michael Thompson on Sunday put them to work cutting trees and scrub from the
Fugelmere Island end of Fugelmere Marsh. Much of the marsh in this area is
floating vegetation over water and deep mud beneath, so great care is needed
moving around. When our Last of the Sumer Wine volunteers prepared the access
for them on the preceding Friday, several of us went home with mud-filled wellington
boots! All three days achieved a lot of very good work, but the area has been
neglected for years, mainly because of the access problem, so there is a lot more to
I have been a keen conservationist for many years. At British Airways I helped with
the setting up of BA Assisting Conservation scheme, the brainchild of my colleague
Rod Hall, who was awarded an MBE for this work. In 1974 I was chosen to lead the
West London RSPB Members group, based in Ealing. Starting with about 20
members, a keen supporting committee and I had built this to a large thriving group
by the time Mavis and I moved to Fleet in 1985. Mavis and I are also members of
several leading conservation-based charities. I am therefore very aware of the
severe impact human activity is having on wildlife populations. We might feel we
cannot do much about the major threats but there are things we can do. One of
these is to resist one of the latest fads, the use of helium balloons to celebrate
events. Helium balloons are basically plastic bags and, once deflated, are as much
litter and a danger to wildlife as the supermarket plastic bag. Wildlife scientists have
witnessed sea birds collecting plastic bags and feeding them to their young in
mistake for jellyfish, sea turtles, seals and dolphins have been found with plastic
bags in their stomachs. We should not be adding to this serious problem by
sending off dozens of inflated plastic bags, many of which can end up in rivers and in
The Society will be joining the Remembrance Parade in Fleet on Sunday 12
th November and laying our wreath at the Gurkha Square memorial. Members of the
committee and several of FPS members have served or have family members in the
services, so we feel it is appropriate we remember and recognise the dedication the
armed services give to this country. Please join the service and wreath laying in
Gurkha Square following the Parade.
FPS will be represented at the Rowhill Nature Reserve Conservations Groups Day at
the Rowhill NR Centre on Saturday 4th November, 10 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
Congratulations are in order!
Congratulations to our Chairman, Colin Gray, on becoming Green Flag Volunteer of the Year 2017!
Paul Todd of Green Flag with Colin Gray of FPS There was a big surprise for Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), at the recent Elvetham Heath Countryside Day.
Chris James, Chairman of CPRE North East Hampshire District Group said: “Colin is a very active member of our district group and has been a leading light in the Fleet Pond Society for over 30 years, the award represents a huge sustained effort on his part. The residents of this part of the county would be very much poorer without access to this unique stretch of water”. Many congratulations Colin!
This year’s theme is a “warts and all” celebration of celebration of all aspects of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve from the beautiful to the still eye-catching but not so cute.
Get out and get clicking around the Fleet Pond Reserve.
For full details on how to enter the competition, please click here.
For general inspiration, here are some great photos of different aspects of Fleet Pond that have been posted on Twitter over the last six months (see the FPS Twitter feed here for these and many other interesting photos):
Fleet Pond Society (FPS) is the voluntary group that exists to protect and manage Fleet Pond Nature Reserve. From our birth on 28th April 1976 up to the formation of the Hart Countryside Service in 1994, virtually all management was by volunteers under FPS guidance.
Our readiness to seek advice and expert guidance on the conservation management of a Site of Special Scientific Interest earned us the respect of Natural England, the controlling body for important wildlife sites. Today we work in a close and positive relationship with the Hart District Council Countryside Rangers to ensure best use is made of the voluntary resources FPS can provide.
Our volunteers work to maintain the diversity of wildlife habitat at the Reserve. This includes keeping the open heath and marsh areas free of invasive species; clearing footpaths of overhanging vegetation; repairing fences and strengthening the banks of streams against erosion.
Some of our donation and sponsorship funds have provided new facilities for the public, including a pond dipping platform, bench seats along footpaths and the popular viewing area, ‘Lions’ View’, on the eastern side of the Pond.
The Society relies for its income on a healthy membership that supports it through an annual subscription. Local people and organisations have made donations recognising the value of Fleet Pond as a safe haven for wildlife and a valuable community amenity for visitors from Fleet and the adjacent towns.
FPS has also benefited from money raised through sponsored walks and cycle rides. Fleet Carnival Committee, Fleet Morning Townswomen’s Guild, Neale Turk LLP and Fleet Lions Club are some recent examples of organisations sponsoring specific projects.
To learn how you can help Fleet Pond Society go to the following pages: