Chilcomb, near Winchester
OS Map 185, Grid Ref SU507282 (meeting place)
Deacon Hill is the highest point on the north-facing chalk scarp east of Winchester. It faces another scarp, Magdalen Hill Down, which is also one of our regular sites. There is ancient woodland at the base of the scarp, but secondary woodland and scrub are encroaching onto valuable chalk downland.
This is the eastern end of the scarp, and has been our main focus of work here since 2014. By any estimation the steepness of the slope makes this a challenging site to work on. Extra fencing has been installed and sheep grazing introduced, but there is still a need to cut the annual regrowth of woody scrub. We have done some cutting during the summer, as this reduces the rate of regrowth. Less steep areas at the base of the slope have hazel coppice.
2017 As well as the essential scrub clearing, we have started coppicing the hazel at the bottom of the scarp.
2015 There was a good turn-out and fine weather so we made a lot of progress.
2014 Before and after two tasks - there is some difference!
We had an unusual request from the owner of Hazeldown to provide some TLC for the churchyard nearby, and couldn't resist. Thanks to Mark for the pictures.
Our next task will be scrub management at Hazeldown.
Meet at the barn on the left side of the lane to the church. From the A31 take Kings Lane towards Chilcomb. At the T-junction, go left and then round the bend to the right then at the next junction follow the lane leading to the church. The barn is on the left after about 150 yards. Look out for our yellow signs.