‘Pocket’ Nature Reserve on former school land

Update:  If you have walked along Poundfield Path this week you will have seen the Ground Staff from Crowborough Town Council, with the help from some volunteers, have started work transforming the “Pocket” Nature Reserve.

The Town Council have negotiated a 25 year lease with the County Council and they were awarded a £4,440 grant for fencing and paths from Sussex Lund (a charitable grants programme launched by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin in 2016.  It supports small-scale, practical projects that improve the ecology and landscape of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

The work was scheduled for half-term when access for machinery could be arranged through the adjacent playground at Beacon Academy.

So far, a timber post and rail fence has been erected by the Council, and a team of volunteers led by the Town Ranger Daniel Colborne, including students on work experience from Beacon Academy, have started to create a clearing within the willow thicket.

The aim is to have a wildlife pond and picnic tables.  The site will be made accessible for pushchairs and people who use wheelchairs.  Once the perimeter fence and hedging is complete in a couple of years time the intention is for the site to be closed at dusk like the Country Park off Osborne Road.

If you have any suggestions, or want to be part of a volunteer group, please email daniel@crowboroughtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Town Ranger Daniel Colborne (right) with volunteers Tom and Emma

Cones and sign at the end of the footpath from Chequers Way

Cones and sign at the end of the footpath from Chequers Way

 


Original article from March 2016: On Tuesday, the Town Council’s Environment Committee will consider a proposal to create a “Pocket Park” Nature Reserve on the site of disused tennis courts in Crowborough.

Proposed Pocket Park Nature Reserve CrowboroughWhen Beacon converted to an academy, the school buildings and sports fields were leased by East Sussex County Council to the academy trust for 125 years.  The former tennis courts, along with an area of woodland, was considered surplus to requirments.  The woodland was sold at auction to a developer in December.

Two or three years ago East Sussex County Council approached the Town Council to see if they might be interested in aquiring the 4 acre site.  The tennis courts, thought to have been abandoned about 15 years ago, are now completely overgrown with brambles, gorse and saplings.  At that stage, the Town Council could not identify potential uses for the land.

Map showing location (click to interact)

Proposed “Pocket Park” marked green on map (click to view more photos and interact)

Now the Town’s Countryside part-time Ranger has suggested the creation of a small nature reserve to attract birds, butterflys and dragonflys.  In his report, Daniel Colborne suggests a pond with a jetty, similar to the Country Park, could be constructed along with a circular path.  Mr Colborne argues that the location would be ideal for educational use by students from the nearby schools, also several neighbours have said they would be interested in setting-up a volunteer group.

East Sussex County Council have said that all options for the land are currently being considered.

For more detail see the report.  Like all Council meetings, the Environment Committee is open to the public, who can request to speak at the start of the meeting.

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