Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust South Down Group

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust South Down Group

Role Name
Chairman Peter Leversha
Treasurer Deryn Hawkins
Membership Sylvia Leversha
Newsletter John Vigay
Member Mike Ashton
Member Anne Dale

Purpose and Aims of the Group

The South Down Group holds talks and publishes a newsletter about environmental matters for members of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust ('HIWWT') and other people interested in local wildlife and the natural environment in the area between Petersfield and Portsdown Hill. Details of our forthcoming Talks are shown below and the Newsletters that the Group has issued since 2013 can be read by clicking on the titles in the table below.

The Groups activities are organised and managed by the Committee whose members and roles are shown in the table on the left of the screen. We will need to appoint a new Chairman in March 2018 to succeed Peter Leversha who with his wife Sylvia will be retiring at that time. Peter and Sylvia will also be leaving the Committee which means that we need new members to join it to ensure that we have enough people to run the Group effectively. The Committee's duties are not onerous, involving three Committee Meetings each year and organising the monthly Talks and booking the Speakers. Peter's successor will need to be someone with knowledge of the workings of the Committee and so anyone who considers joining the Committee need not be concerned that they would be expected to take on this role.

Please contact any member of the Committee if you would be interested in joining it or want more details about what it would involve. Autumn Tree You can do this either by sending them an email by clicking on their name in the table on the left of the screen or speaking to them at our next Monthly Meeting in January.

Talks and Speakers

Our Talks cover a wide range of topics and are frequently relevant to our changing environment and the challenges the world faces if it is to protect itself for the benefit of all species, including humans. They are usually given by a visiting speaker and they are held each month on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at St Wilfrid's Church Hall, Padnell Road, Cowplain PO8 8DZ. Padnell Road is opposite the Co-op on London Road in Cowplain and the Hall is about 200 metres along the road on the left. The Hall has a large car park behind the building at the end of the drive that runs down the left side of the Church.

There is an admission charge of £3.00 to pay for the Hall and refreshments and non-members are welcome.

There is always an opportunity for questions and discussion about the Talks at the end of the Meeting.

Details of the Talks planned so far for 2017/18 are shown below.

The Trust had their 'Shop in a box' on display at the meetings on 18th October and 15th November where you could buy Christmas Cards, Calendars, Cosmetics and soft toys with a free 'Save our Seas' shopping bag with each purchase.

Year Spring Summer Autumn
2013 Newsletter 46 Newsletter 47 Newsletter 48
2014 Newsletter 49A Newsletter 49B Newsletter 50
2015 Newsletter 51 Newsletter 52 Newsletter 53
2016 Newsletter 54 Newsletter 55
2017 Newsletter 56
People attending these meetings supported the Trust by using their spare cash to buy something from the shop or raffle tickets to win one of three framed wildlfe pictures. We were also very happy to take old £1 coins in our ‘Quid for a Squid’ campaign to help raise funds for the Solent.

18th October 2017: Secrets of the Solent

Tim Ferrero, the Head of Marine Conservation for HIWWT, gave us a Talk about the Trust's Marine Team's project describing how they work with communities and sea-users to promote the network of marine protected areas and safeguard our local seas. Tim also told us how we can get involved in helping to enhance our local marine life as well as about The Marine Conservation Zone Project

15th November 2017: The Return of One of Our Favourite River Inhabitants

Elaina Whittaker-Slark, the Lead Ranger (Western Downs) gave us an illustrated Talk about the work the South Down National Park has been doing to reintroduce the Water Vole population into the River Meon which has been devastated by predators, mainly the American Mink. Elaina took us along the River from the sea to its source showing how the plant life along its banks has been restored to provide habitats for Water Voles, and how the American Mink has been caught and removed. It was fascinating to see the before and after pictures showing how different sections of the river have been transformed and how straight sections have altered to vary the flow of the water. It was particularly impressive to see how the concrete-floored section through East Meon has been covered with stone and vegetation to provide a natural environment without affecting the flood protection provided by the channel. The Talk concluded with some wonderful videos provided by David Strutt of voles and other animals seen on the river bank at night taken with motion sensitive cameras. East Meon River Banks

17th January 2018: The Butterflies of The Meon Valley

Ashley Whitlock from Butterfly Conservation Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch presented an illustrated talk about the Butterflies found in the Meon Valley. Ashley explained how and where to spot some of the less obvious butterflies in our local area, such as Purple Emperor and White Admiral. He also mentioned the work that is being done in specific sites in order to be able to release species back into the wild where numbers have fallen dramatically due to habitat loss resulting from over-grazing among other things. He also explained how different habitats attract different butterfly species. The members of the Group at this well-attended meeting learned alot about what we can do to help with the work of Butterfly Conservation.

21st February 2018: A Colourful Presentation of Birds Photographed Around The World

Wildlife enthusiasts and South Down Group members Deryn Hawkins and Alan Key will show some of the wildlife photographs they have taken over many years, including those of birds in Asia, Africa, South and Central America and other countries they have visited.

21st March 2018: Urban Wildlife and its Conservation

Well known Wildlife Trust ecologist Dr David Rumble will present an illustrated talk on the importance of raising local awareness and involvement in Biodiversity conservation.

18th April 2018: Local Wildlife Caught on Camera During 2017

A special meeting in which local naturalists, recorders and photographers will show pictures of amazing plants and animals all seen locally in 2017. Details to be announced in the new year.

Subjects to be covered by subsequent Talks will be announced as soon as they have been arranged. Wild Flowers In the meantime we will welcome any ideas or suggestions for subjects or speakers for future meetings which you can give us by contacting our Chairman either at one of our monthly meetings or at any time by email.


Walks are arranged in our area for the summer months by members of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Details of next summer's walks will be shown on this page as soon as they are known.

Further Information

If you have any comments about this webpage or think that anything should be added or changed please email the webmaster.

Information about matters related to our activities can be found on the websites listed below.

Clanfield Bluebell Wood

Wildlife in Portsmouth & Havant

The Sustainability Centre

Freshwater Habitats Trust

Forestry Commission

Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre ('HBIC')

The South Down Group works closely with the Horndean Biodiversity Group whose website can be found by clicking on the logo at the bottom of the screen.

South Down Group Logo 3