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Embrace the darkness at our stargazing festival
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WORK AND PLAY IN YOUR NATIONAL PARK

Welcome to the newsletter for the South Downs National Park. 
Send your comments and ideas to us at newsletter@southdowns.gov.uk

JOIN OUR STARGAZING EXTRAVAGANZA

What better way to celebrate the South Downs National Park becoming the world’s 11th International Dark Sky Reserve than a two-week South Downs Dark Skies Festival? Events run from 10 to 26 February 2017 across the National Park.

CHAMPIONING OUR WATER

If you live near the National Park – particularly on the south coast – you probably have the chalk of the South Downs to thank for your water supply but this amazing natural resource is under threat. We look at a new project created to protect our water.

FARMING FOR THE SOUTH DOWNS IN POST-BREXIT BRITAIN

Life without the EU Common Agricultural Policy could present new opportunities for our farmers and the wildlife that depends on them.
FIVE THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH
  1. Stargazing South Downs, an evening of family fun in Midhurst.
  2. Daily science stage shows, planetarium shows and extra hands-on activities at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.
  3. Spot galaxies, planets and stars in a daytime planetarium at Birling Gap with the National Trust.
  4. Stargazing at RSPB Pulborough Brooks, enjoy the nature reserve by night with hot chocolate.
  5. Find out about Isaac Newton and the Surrey Pumas in an offbeat talk at Clanfield Observatory.
See the full list of South Downs Dark Skies Festival events and find other events and activities across the National Park or submit your own.
 

VOTE SOUTH DOWNS!


The South Downs has made the shortlist for Countryfile Magazine's National Park of the Year! Please give our landscapes your support, voting closes on 28 February.
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MOST ASKED...


Send us your questions about a particular area of work in the National Park.

Answering this month is:
‘Dark Skies’ Dan Oakley, Lead Ranger for the Wealden heath area of the National Park

QUESTION:

Do I need to buy a telescope?
 

DAN'S ANSWER:

"Really nothing beats being able to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. If you want to discover the hidden gems of the sky you will need a telescope. For about £100 you can buy one that will help you see galaxies, clusters, nebula and planets but the best way to get started is to join a star party organised by a local astronomy group who will have their telescopes set up ready for you to enjoy. There are lots of star parties happening during the South Downs Dark Skies Festival and you can find more during the year at on the Southern Area Group of Astronomical Societies (SAGAS) website"

Read more of Dan's answers to your questions
 

NEXT MONTH: School activities in the South Downs

Will you come and teach my class? How can I encourage schools to visit our site in the National Park? Send your questions for Jonathan Dean, Education Officer for the South Downs National Park to newsletter@southdowns.gov.uk
 

YOU SAY

Do you have a story you want to tell about the National Park? A burning issue about the South Downs that you think needs to be addressed? Send it to us at newsletter@southdowns.gov.uk

Please note that only contributors who submit their full name and address can be considered for publishing though we will not publish your full addresses. Please make it clear whether you are speaking on your own behalf or that of an organisation you represent. We reserve the right to shorten comments and edit where necessary.

SUSHI WITH A SOUTH DOWNS TWIST

Shunji Irokawa is a Japanese chef with more than 40 years' experience. Originally from just outside Tokyo he now heads up Kyoto Kitchen in Winchester. His recipe for Winchester Roll using local smoked trout and wasabi features as ‘Recipe of the Month’ on Southdownsfood.org

ON THE GROUND

Don’t forget to say hello if you spot our Rangers and volunteers out working in the National Park. Here’s a taste of what they achieved in January 2017.
  • Installation of new tramper friendly kiss gates, improving access at Kingley Vale NNR in West Sussex.
  • Volunteer spent 42 task days clearing scrub on chalk grassland and heathland on 30 different sites, with 8 different organisations including National Trust, Natural England, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Lewes District Council, Eastbourne Borough Council and Pyecombe Golf Course.
  • Work to improve rare chalk grassland was carried out at Beeding Hill in West Sussex and Beddingham Hill in East Sussex.
  • Repaired fences to enable cattle to graze at Mill Hill nature reserve near Shoreham and installed a new water trough to support grazing at Graffham Down in West Sussex.
  • Birch and pine have been cleared from a small pocket of heathland at Hammer Wood as part of developing a network of heath wildlife corridors.
  • Pines were removed from Woolmer Forest to support this nationally important heathland site.
  • Over the month of January there were 16 days of coppicing on 8 sites across the National Park.
  • This included coppicing to support the pearl bordered fritillary at Church Copse, ancient semi-natural woodland, in West Sussex; Rewel Wood and Lodge Copse in West Sussex; Verdley and Brickfield Copse in Hampshire.
  • Meanwhile coppice rotation continues at Avington Park near Winchester – some of the resulting stakes will be used for securing latrine floats to help monitor the reintroduction of water voles.

ON INSTAGRAM THIS MONTH

We love this pic from adventurous travellers @neroandme of the frosty January sunshine. Please share your pictures with us @southdownsnp
 

TWEET OF THE MONTH

St Hubert's Church at Idsworth, aka the Church in the Field, is always a popular spot for photographers but we've never seen it like this before. Thank you to @LongExposures for these amazingly creative images.
Tweet us @SDNPA or @Ranger_sdnpa.
 

EAR TO THE GROUND

What's caught our attention this month:

MISSED LAST MONTH'S NEWSLETTER?

Find past copies on our website.
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