Ash Fun Day – Saturday 13th July

With temperatures heading for the 30’s and weather forecasters warning of a heat wave we set up base camp at Ash recreation grounds in anticipation waiting for the event to open up at 1pm. As the temperatures soared a few hardy families drifted our way looking hot & bothered but that was soon forgotten once the youngsters got involved in the ‘pond dipping’ set up by Laura (BVCP Assistant Ranger) as well as an Owl pellet dissection managed by Bernard. With kids up to their arms in canal water chasing water boatman and larvae and young fingers breaking apart owl pellets looking for mammal bones (from Barn Owls at Moor Green Lakes) the day become worthwhile.

As the day moved on with bands marching and tug-of-war events taking place our thoughts were more around the shady area in our marquee which was diminishing fast but we still manage to talk to a number of people who showed interest in the BVCT. In doing so we got people thinking about the river environment and managed to gain a few new members.

Looking back the most memorable part was the youngster who was so engrossed for over 30 minutes looking for mammal bones using tweezers to pull apart the owl pellets. Her mother looked on in admiration regarding her daughter’s involvement & commitment.

Dissecting Owl Pellets

– Oh and the other memorable part was the large ‘99’ ice cream that I treated myself later in the afternoon – delicious.

Yes a hot and somewhat uncomfortable day but overall a successful day. My thanks to Laura, Sue, Bernard & Colin for making this successful day.

Ken Bigrave

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About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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