Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chessel Bay Beach Clean

by Adam Manning

On a bright spring morning, my family and I went to Chessel Bay, in Bitterne in Southampton, to help with a beach clean up and litter pick.  I had been to a similar event there some years before and remembered the area to be really beautiful, although suffering from a serious litter problem, and was looking forward to seeing if there had been any change.

Chessel Bay is quite hidden and not many local people know of its existence on the shores of the River Itchen.  Near the Northam Bridge, there are views from it across the river towards the city of Southampton.  It is bordered by a pretty woodland, with footpaths through the trees, leading to a steep bank that slopes down to the shore.  The pebbled shore is interspersed with thick patches of reed and is a habitat for wading birds.  Chessel Bay is a Local Nature Reserve and is looked after by Southampton City Council and the local Friends of Chessel Bay volunteers.

I was greeted warmly by Ian Bailey from the Hawthorns Centre and signed in. Ian had previously told me that part of the problem for Chessel Bay is that much of the rest of the shoreline in Southampton has a hard surface, such as concrete edging, and this means any rubbish or litter floating about on the water tends to bounce off these and end up accumulating on the mudflats or shores of the nature reserve.

Ian Bailey from the Hawthorns Centre
My daughter and I clambered down onto the shore to help with the clean up and it was wonderful to see lots of volunteers already in action.

At first the shore looked relatively clean but on closer inspection, as well as all the usual sweet and chocolate wrappers, drinks cans and so forth, the surface was covered in countless bits of polystyrene debris.  With a litter picker, it was possible to pick up some of the larger chunks of this but there were a lot of small crumbs of it all over the place.

Polystyrene debris
There was of course a lot of larger items of litter and rubbish along the shore, including the remains of a dinghy, a number of cannisters of various sizes, glass bottles and even the remains of a surfboard from a windsurfer!

Board from a Windsurfer found during the beach clean!
I was very pleased to see a group from the University of Southampton who were volunteers from their Marine Conservation Society. They were hard at work making a big difference to the area.

The Marine Conservation Society at Chessel Bay, hard at work
Looking closer at the ground at Chessel Bay, in some areas the soil was thick with nurdles - the small pellets of plastic that are used in manufacturing.  This was so bad that one of the volunteers from Marine Conservation Society commented to me later that in parts of the shore, there seemed to be more nurdles than soil.

As always, it was heartening to see volunteers taking action to improve an area. I had to leave half way through the event and already a great quantity of rubbish of all sorts had been cleared up.  Yet to see the soil so embedded with the offcasts of our industry shocked and dismayed me.

Chessel Bay is a beautiful part of Southampton, precious in being one of the few ways to access the water. The volunteers are doing wonderful things in keeping it that way and let us hope that it receives even more care in the coming years.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Coffee Cups

from Jon Thurnell-Read      @Jon_T_R

Having previously blogged for Green Hampshire early this year about the fantastic #2minutebeachclean campaign, I wanted to look into other areas of litter & waste. During the beach cleans I often collect take away coffee cups, along with “disposable” cutlery & straws, especially on beaches that have kiosk & cafés. Coffee is now firmly embedded into British culture coupled with our increasingly throwaway society, it’s no wonder that 2.5 billion cups a year (close to 5000 every minute!) are dished out across the country every day. No high street is completed without Costa Coffee & Starbucks; Southampton city centre has multiple outlets of both. Add to this fast, food chains are now serving fresh coffee to go, along with self-service machines in nearly every petrol station. I've noticed a sharp increase in coffee related roadside litter while driving & cycling around the New Forest, as coffee becomes more and more conveniently available. Not to mention the growing number of great independent coffee shops selling hand crafted coffee, a caffeine fix is never far away.

Early this year Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall investigated the issue, as the latest battle in his fantastic War on Waste series, revealing the common misconception that these cups are recyclable & are regularly recycled. While the outer sleeve is cardboard & recyclable, the inner part of the cup is treated with polyethylene to make them water resistant and thereby destined for landfill (or alternatively roadsides & coastline). The BBC One Program, screened in July, helped to increase awareness & along with subsequent social media campaign, called on the UK’s main players to start to address the issue. Standard take away cups require a special process to be able to be recycled, so special that there is just a single facility in the country, Simply Cups. Shockingly just 6 million are recycled each year, that’s about a quarter of 1% of cups dished out by retailers each year, despite good intentioned but confused consumers depositing millions of cups in mix recycling bins.

A Day In the Life of a Coffee Cup

During winter consumption escalates, obviously hot drinks are more popular in colder months, added to that the increased footfall to shopping centres & high streets in the (long drawn out) Christmas shopping period. And in recent years coffee chains have not only been adding festive flavours to their range think minced pie & gingerbread, but also increasing offering special take away cups with various Santa, snowflake & reindeer designs.

So as it looks like the major chains are moving very slowly in the right direction, although all feature extensive responsibility claims on their websites.  It’s up to individual consumers to reduce the environmental impact of their coffee, while also saving some money too!   Most retailers offer some sort of incentive for customers using a reusable cup. Starbucks offer a 25p discount per drink, although there are plans to double that, as well as reusable cups from just a £1 available in their coffee shops.  The UK’s largest chain, the omnipresent Costa coffee, donate 25p for each use to Keep Britain Tidy & other litter charities, while Pret, who donate all left over food to homeless projects, are “generous” to customers who reuse, but have no firm policy in place.  Local coffee chain Mettricks offer double loyalty stamps to Southampton coffee lovers who bring in a reusable cup.

Which bring us on to reusable cups; they come in every size, colour & design imaginable and range from just a pound up to £50.  Ecoffee Cup sells some brilliant designed bamboo cups as part of their #Stopthe100billion campaign and KeepCup have a wide range made from various sustainable materials.  You can even support our coastline with an organic cup from Surfers against Sewage!

3 other ways to make your coffee more ethical.

  • Go topless! If you can ditch the lid.
  • Cause a stir by refusing plastic spoons & stirrers.
  • Go local, support the little independent shops.  

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Big Green Event

A review of the Big Green Event at the Hilton Ageas Bowl, 20th September 2016

By Adam D.A. Manning

Lots of events come my way in helping with Green Hampshire but earlier in the year I came across one that sounded particularly intriguing. The Big Green Event – I couldn’t help liking the name.

Not really knowing what to expect, I went along to the impressive setting of the Hilton Ageas Bowl and was ushered into a large room containing a number of exhibitors of all descriptions.  I met a friend of mine, Sue Farrance, who was there on behalf of Signable, a company involved in electronic signature of documents without requiring printing.  Another business I learned about was A3MDesigns, a company that create display stands using recycled materials. The theme of the event was sustainability and the involvement of business.

A3M Designs at the Big Green Event
Huff and Puff Construction create straw bale buildings, with the aim of building in a more sustainable way. Their exhibit included a small room constructed in this way, which housed a showing of the short film “I wish for you” starring Jeremy Irons. Huff and Puff received a special award from the organisers of the Big Green Event at the end of the day.

918 Coffee Co. are, as the name suggests, a company providing coffee for a range of customers.  I had a fascinating chat with their Chanel Cornelius in which she explained their coffee ecosystem. This is their approach of minimising waste at every stage of their products life cycle. It was clear that as a business they are committed to this and Chanel was kind enough to appear in a short vlog I made about the Big Green Event.

There was an exciting display of company’s in the electric car sector, including Tesla and BMW. This is a growing business and it is interesting to see how electric cars are quickly moving into the mainstream.

Tesla and BMW electric cars

The Southampton Wood Recycling Project is a social enterprise that saves wood from landfill, providing affordable timber and resources to the local community.  It’s a wonderfully practical project and I enjoyed talking to their representative at the event.

The Southampton Wood Recycling Project

It was good to see local groups having a presence as well and I was delighted to chat with my friend Nigel Prior from Winchester Action on Climate Change, who kindly contributed to my vlog.  Local authorities and their approaches to sustainability were also represented and Jason Light from Eastleigh Borough Council was kind enough to appear in the vlog as well.

I had enjoyed the event, much more than I had expected, and learned a great deal. Plans are already in place for a bigger Big Green Event in October 2017!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sholing Valleys - a Local Nature Reserve in Southampton

from Adam Manning

Some years ago, my wife and I moved into our first house together. This was in Sholing in Southampton and we soon set about exploring the local area. Quite by chance, we came across a beautiful open area which we later learned was called Sholing Valleys.

We had a march across the wide, flower dotted greenery and then returned home, wondering what this was.  Later research revealed that this was part of an area known locally as Sholing Valleys and this included Miller's Pond, one of the larger bodies of water on that side of Southampton.

There has, for many years, been a well established group looking after the area, which includes a wood, a flower meadow and the pond. They operate from the Sholing Valleys Study Centre, a building which includes resources for people (including children) to learn more about the wildlife and ecosystem of the area.  I first went along to one of their conservation days in early 2010 and was immediately made to feel very welcome.  Candice, one of the keenest members of the volunteer group, told me more about what they do and their aims.

Candice, super volunteer, at Miller's Pond

Part of their activities includes regular conservation days at the centre. These are normally on the last Sunday of each month (they have August off as a holiday) and are great fun.  The volunteers are friendly and welcoming and it is a like a gathering of good friends when they meet. The conservation work includes coppicing, litter picking (which is my favourite), planting and pruning.  Junior volunteers can also take part in nature surveys where they can learn more about the wildlife in the area.

Sholing Valleys Study Centre

In 2011, Sholing Valleys Study Centre became a Local Nature Reserve. This was well deserved recognition for the value of the area and the valuable work the volunteers put in.  This shows the great difference that volunteers can make and the changes this can bring about.  Green Hampshire were delighted to be present at the celebrations to mark the award.

Max Thompson from Green Hampshire at Sholing Valleys

I've always enjoyed my time at Sholing Valleys.  Volunteering is a good thing to do in itself but it is also good for you. It makes me feel happy and contented to take part and my hope is that volunteering can do this for you as well.

We have two vlogs about volunteering with Sholing Valleys - do have a look :

This vlog includes a chat with Colin Oliphant, the current chairman, who, amongst other things, discusses the origins of the group.

Candice also explains more about their conservation work in these two videos:

To find out more about Sholing Valleys, have a look at their Facebook page:

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Friends of Peartree Green

from Adam Manning

The Friends of Peartree Green are an energetic group of volunteers looking after a beautiful area on the eastern side of Southampton, Hampshire.  Peartree Green is on high ground and overlooks the River Itchen.

My daughter and I enjoyed taking part in a litter pick with the Friends earlier in the year and we were very pleased to met Pat, one of the members of the group. She explained that their long term goal is for Peartree Green to be adopted as a Local Nature Reserve.

Here is our vlog about the Friends of Peartree Green and special thanks to Pat for spending some time during their litter pick to record this.

You can find out more about the Friends of Peartree Green from their Facebook page:

Junior litter picker at Peartree Green

Volunteers at Peartree Green

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Local finalists in line for Hampshire Countryside Award

A diverse selection of projects across Hampshire have made the shortlist for the 10th annual Countryside Awards.

The awards celebrate a beautiful and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy and are organised by charity CPRE Hampshire, the Campaign to Protect Rural England in association with The Southern Co-operative.

The Hampshire finalists 2016 by local area and award category are:

East Hampshire, Winchester District and North Hampshire

Community and Voluntary category:

Medstead Village Pond – Medstead Parish Council are creating a central village pond and woodland copse connected to a wildflower walk for children and families.

A Celebration of Petersfield, A Town and its People – The Petersfield Society have created a book which celebrates the life of Petersfield today set within a beautiful landscape in the midst of the South Downs.

Rural Enterprise category:

Farley Nursery School at Sparsholt – Farley Nursery School is an outdoor nursery where the children experience the wonders of nature at first hand.

Taste of Wickham is a creative event staged by the Taste of Wickham Organising Team which showcases the market town’s local businesses and organisations and engages people with local produce through tastings, demonstrations and interaction with those working in the industry.

Sustainable Buildings category:

Ringbourne Copse in Barton Stacey is part of a new housing development of 19 homes in the village, comprising seven affordable homes providing much needed housing for local people with a connection to the area (Aster Group, Bargate Homes and AAP Architects).

Woodgarth, North Hampshire - a spacious, environmentally sustainable and energy efficient individual house on the site of a large residential plot in North Hampshire (Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt Architects).

New Forest

Community and Voluntary category:

The Tiptoe Green in Tiptoe, Lymington - a community project which provides an all-purpose open space for the village and visitors, and conserves and promotes the natural environment.

Young People category:

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have set up a new Young Naturalists Group at Blashford Lakes, Ringwood to inspire and support 13 – 17 year olds who are enthusiastic about nature.

The Woodlander Hoburne Bashley project reconnects young people with the woodlands at Hoburne Bashley in New Milton through education and recreation.

South Hampshire

Community and Voluntary category:

Priddy’s Hard Ramparts Heritage Area (PHRHA) is a volunteer project to de-litter, restore, conserve and maintain a formerly derelict ancient monument comprising moated earthwork ramparts and listed buildings. It now provides a biodiverse area of countryside in the heart of Gosport.

The Solent Way Project is run by The Conservation Volunteers with support from Hampshire County Council to improve access along the 60-mile Solent Way footpath. The project has engaged with the community through volunteering opportunities, training and events.

Young People category:

Putting the Fare in Fareham by Wicor Primary School in Portchester – the project aims to engage the children in learning about their natural world, ecology, sustainability, food production and cookery, whilst making it locally relevant.

Sustainable Buildings category:

Butser Education CIC, working with the South Downs Coppice and Craft Centre, have created the Chalton Saxon House at Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton, Waterlooville. The building is composed entirely of natural, renewable materials and showcases traditional rural skills.

Re-development of Park Community School, Havant – a partnership project involving Children’s Services and Property Services at Hampshire County Council to create a learning and community facility in the heart of the local community of Leigh Park, Havant.

Test Valley 

Community and Voluntary category:

Andover Trees United ‘In the Community’ project involves as many people as possible through a diverse programme of events linked to the land, how we can care for it and learn from it.

Rural Enterprise category:

The Braishfield Village Pantry is a community hub providing a shop and café in the village hall.

The individual Award category sponsors are Community and Voluntary - The Southern Co-operative, Young People - Steve’s Leaves, Rural Enterprise - Dutton Gregory Solicitors, and Sustainable Buildings - Radian.

Awards judges are visiting all projects this summer before making their decision on the overall winners. All the finalists will be invited to the Countryside Awards Ceremony on 15th September 2016 near Winchester, where the winners will be announced by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

2 Minute Beach Clean - a Guide with Jon Thurnell-Read

Green Hampshire is once again delighted to play host to a guest article. This time we hear from Jon Thurnell-Read and his passion for cleaning up our beaches.  Jon says he has been based in the New Forest for 12 years, currently works as Head of Visitor Services at Exbury Gardens and previously worked for New Forest NPA, The National Trust at Corfe Castle and for the RSPB. He also volunteers with Litter Free Coast & Sea in Dorset, Birdlife Malta and Birders Against Wildlife Crime. His interests include birds, tackling marine litter, museums and being outside on the coast as much as possible. He's on Twitter @Jon_T_R and has just started a blog  During June he's taking part in The Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild challenge. Over to you Jon!

2minute Beach Clean is a movement started by Writer and Surfer Martin Dorey in Bude during the winter storms of 2013/2014. It’s simple, accessible & essential. Using the hashtag on both Twitter & Instagram it has grown and become international in just over two years. Spreading from the wilds of the North Cornish coast to Dorset, Ireland, Israel, Bali and beyond.

Whatever your reason for visiting the beach, whether it be walking the dog, on holiday, a family day out, surfing or a full day walking the coast path, spare 2 minutes  to collect a few items of litter & plastics, removing them from the our coast.

You might ask yourself “why bother” as you’re only removing the tiniest fraction of litter from our coast in Hampshire, let alone the global oceans. Last year the Marine Conservation Society found 3,297 items of litter for every km of beach they surveyed, so this really is a problem on a massive scale. But every plastic straw, every tangle of fishing line, every discarded carrier bag that is collected and dispose of properly, is a risk eliminated. Those few items, whether broken beach toys, “disposable” cutlery or drinks bottles are now removed from the beach rather than being washed out with the next tide to further impact marine life for centuries to come.

Once you’ve picked up your haul, it’s time to snap a photo and tag it with #2minutebeachclean on either Twitter or Instagram.  With support from online store Surfdome , who have gone plastic free for all the parcels they send out, featuring on BBC Springwatch the last two years and working with other organisations momentum is building all the time.

2 Minute Beach Clean stations, special A-boards with a bag dispenser and litter pickers are now in dozens of locations, currently absent from Hampshire, would anyone like to change this? And this Saturday is the first 2 Minute Beach Clean Day, so there’s no better time to spend a few moments saying thank you to your beach by giving it a quick tidy and proudly sharing what you find!

Twitter- @2minBeachClean
Instagram- @2minutebeachclean
Website –