THE SATURDAY WALK [SEPT 4] – “DISAPPEARING WILDLIFE 1 – THE HEDGEROWS OF IFIELD WOOD” – 11AM FROM THE PLOUGH IN IFIELD VILLAGE [RETURN BY 1PM]
OS Explorer – OL 34 – 24.2 – 37.9
AZ – Page 10 – 4A
Excerpt from “Disappearing Wildlife – A Personal View” by David Moon – Crawley Museum Newsletter – Summer 2021
It is obvious that such changes are plotted a long time in advance.
For example, the recent destruction of 300 metres [of] old hedgerow to the south of Ifieldwood village, ostensibly to increase the pasture for a cattle herd:
It could be argued that the real reason for this action was to remove an ‘obstacle’ along the proposed route of the relief road, planned to carve its destructive way from north Crawley through the local nature reserve of Willoughby Fields, and on through rural Ifield towards Horsham.
My son, a competent field naturalist, had recorded more than 20 species of Longhorn beetles in the small area containing this hedgerow; many of them national rarities and first time records for West Sussex.
Many of these beetles are prime indicators of ancient woodland.
The removal of this single tract of old bushes and trees [another tract has been removed nearby – Ed] has reduced the number of Longhorn beetle species found there now, to low single figures.
Their larval food plants have now gone, so too the nectar sources on which the adult beetles and other insect species fed.
The nesting sites for Bullfinches, Yellowhammers and Warblers, such as Whitethroats; and the thorny protection needed by the long-tailed tits for their mossy nests, are no more.
Gone are the berries, the hips and the haws, so vital for birdlife in late autumn and winter.
The safe haven and passage to nearby woods for small birds and mammals, has also been denied them.
Do developers know about what is lost by such actions? More importantly, do they care?
Recent farming practices in the fields bordering Ifield Brook will also have dire consequences for its wildlife.
They include a levelling of the land and drainage into the Brook.
We can say goodbye to the Skylarks, surely the one bird in the countryside whose joyous notes elevate our spirits.
The Cuckoo, Little Owl and Nightingale have also disappeared from here.
“The steady accumulation of wildlife records, over a long period by local naturalists, gives a truer picture of what can be lost in the spurious name of ‘development’ from their areas of countryside. This contrasts sharply with the cursory survey methods used by English Nature to support Homes England in its often lawless and usually destructive actions. My indignation at the way in which these quangos operate across our green and pleasant land is best expressed, perhaps, by the protest poem which follows” ~ David Moon
“DEVELOPMENT DELUSION ”
BY DAVID MOON
Beware the developers’ technique,
Which makes the future very bleak
For conservation everywhere,
When they untruthfully declare
That Nature’s numbers will increase
[Hoping protests quickly cease]
With habitats removed galore –
Ancient woodland and much more.
The soulless, profit most in mind,
Like – oh so many of their kind,
Assure us all it’s really fine
That wildlife, now in steep decline,
Has gained, not lost – but what pretence!
To believe this true shows lack of sense,
For lying is there stock-in-trade,
While lockdown made us quite afraid
To venture out into the sticks
Those ‘gainst nature upped their tricks,
And Woodland Trust turned to Dismay
When HS2, in its covert way,
Made Spring, not Autumn, its real aim,
So birdlife suffered just the same
With nesting sites much sooner gone
As woods went AWOL, one by one
And bullish B.J.’s ‘Build! Build! Build!
Will simply mean more wildlife killed.
And though it may seem so essential
To play at claiming green credentials
The biodiverse facts remain
That all that’s lost just can’t be gain!
Remains of Hedgerow 1 [looking west]