We have been so happy to welcome our wonderful volunteer group back on site following a pause due to the pandemic. We have achieved lots of habitat and wildlife improvements for all of our visitors to enjoy.
You can find out more about becoming a countryside volunteer and be a part of this amazing project.
Summer 2022 Volunteer Tasks
The Hiltingbury Volunteer group continue to be busy over the summer months as our attention has turned towards clearing the path edges to help keep them open and free from nettles and bramble. The fallen tree log that is a firm favourite for children to play on, has also had the bramble cleared back so children can continue to enjoy playing there. The laurel and rhododendron has continued to be cleared from areas that have firstly been inspected to make sure there were no nesting birds. We also kept an eye on the water gardens and ponds and have cleared away any branches /logs that may have fallen in.
No task is too big or small for our fabulous team of volunteers.
Volunteers clearing the paths and brambles around the fallen trees.
An update on the work that the Eastleigh Countryside Volunteers are carrying out at the Hiltingbury Lakes site.
January and February 2022 tasks
After a lovely Christmas break, the amazing Hiltingbury lakes volunteer group were ready to crack on with the jobs that were needed at Hiltingbury Lakes. A significant number of logs and branches have been removed from the lake which will help to improve the overall water quality. The increased water flow which will also be of benefit to the wonderful wildlife we have.
Another ongoing task has been the removal of non-native species namely Laurel and Rhododendron, this has mainly been from around the water gardens, but we have also cleared the area to the south of the lakes by Kingsway. This has been done in preparation for the planting of a mixed native broad-leafed hedge along the fence line.
17/2 /22 – Hedge Planting Task by Kings Way
Today almost felt like spring had arrived, the sun was out, and six merry volunteers arrived to help with the task of planting a mixed broadleaved hedge behind the fence line along Kings rd. The task made a welcome change, and it was great to be able to plant some native trees in the area that had previously been occupied by non-native Laurel and Rhododendron. Before we left site a lovely Buff tailed Bumblebee was seen resting on one of newly planted Hawthorn trees.
As soon as we were able to welcome volunteers back, following a pause due to the pandemic, our brilliant Hiltingbury Lakes team got straight back to work.
An attack on the invasive species was the mainstay of activities in 2021, a significant amount of laurel and rhododendron has been removed and bamboo is next on the agenda. We have also made sterling efforts clearing log and branch debris from the streams and ponds.
There's plenty more to do in the coming months.
Task 11 - 5 March 2020
Three volunteers cut and removed more laurel from the woodland near the southern Kingsway road entrance. Despite the very wet weather, they achieved several huge piles of cuttings! These were removed over the following few days by colleagues in the Council’s Streetscene team.
Task 10 - 27 February 2020
On 27 February Eight volunteers continued cutting back laurel and rhododendron bushes as the weather brightened up and allowed them to work in lovely sunshine. We were joined by Joe and Doug from the Countryside Team who helped cut back overhanging branches from paths.
Task nine - 20 February 2020
Three intrepid volunteers joined Anna in very wet conditions to cut back overhanging trees from paths in the northern part of the site. Their dedication in such challenging conditions is very much appreciated.
The rain continued to pour down all day which meant we were unable to get any pictures of the work we were carrying out as it was too wet!
Task eight - 6 February 2020
A group of 12 volunteers headed to the Hiltingbury Lakes site on this sunny Thursday in February to continue clearing the invasive plants. This week the team focused on clearing holly that was overgrowing across the paths and opening up the paths to let more light in.
We'd like to thank the team that took part in today's task, scroll through the pictures to see some action shots of our volunteers hard at work.
Task seven - Thursday 30 January 2020
Seven volunteers braved the damp weather to clear laurel from the woodland bordering the north end of Lake Road. We welcomed two new volunteers who joined in enthusiastically with the team effort.
Thanks to everyone who came out in the rain today, we're looking forward to continuing the good work next week.
Task six - Thursday 23 January 2020
14 volunteers, the highest number so far, spent a full day cutting cherry laurel out of the western woodland. We also cleared laurel and holly overhanging the paths leading to Lakewood Road and Hiltingbury Road. A tremendous amount was achieved, including a litter pick! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped today. Scroll through the photos above for smiles and action shots.
Task five - Thursday 16 January 2020
A great start to the new year, with nine volunteers working along the western side of the lake. A huge amount of laurel was cut as the volunteers worked their way along the main lake, reaching the boundary with Hiltingbury Road in super quick time. Countryside staff joined in with their chainsaws to clear trees from the paths following the recent gusty winds. The photos are before and after shots of their tree clearance.
Task four - Thursday 19 December 2019
Four volunteers headed to the site and spent the morning in the rain cutting and removing laurel from the bank overlooking the main lake.
By the end of the task the team were very soggy but very satisfied with what they had achieved.
Task three - Thursday 5 December 2019
On Thursday 5 December a fantastic group of nine volunteers turned up on a cold and sunny winter day to get involved.
The above picture shows a before and after view of the pathway once the volunteers had cleared some of the invasive plants.
The team removed more invasive laurel and rhododendron from the path entrance on the western embankment. Once the darkness of the evergreen foliage was removed, it revealed beautiful views of the Main Lake from the path. As well as the invasive plants, the volunteers also removed a small fallen tree from the path.
The group were stopped by passers by who wanted to talk about the work they were doing and to give positive feedback on the transformation, many of them wanting to find out more about the work that was taking place and to offer suggestions of other things they could be doing.
Task two - Thursday 28 November 2019
The second week of volunteering took place on Thursday 28 November at the Hiltingbury lakes site and was another success, with ten volunteers joining the team on a bright and sunny morning.
The team continued clearing back invasive laurel and rhododendron along the southern path from Lake Road towards Kingsway. The team working at Hiltingbury Lakes would like to thank the returning volunteers and the new volunteers who joined them for their second day of clearing at the site, they gathered evergreen branches and piled them up for the Streetscene workers to collect the next day.
During the day the group were approached by members of the public who stopped to chat to them to find out what they were doing as part of the project, many of them commented with positive comments and walkers were pleased with the improvements made to the footpaths.
The next volunteer day will be on Thursday 5 December, meeting at the the usual place at the southern entrance on Lake Road at 10am.
Task one - Thursday 21 November 2019
Thursday 21 November was the first day of our team of volunteers at the Hiltingbury Lakes site and it was a great success.
A group of ten volunteers used hand saws, loppers and secateurs to remove non-native invasive laurel from around the entrance way and paths at the southern end of Lake Road. This work helped in making the entrance feel lighter and brighter and the natural broadleaved woodland now provides a more welcoming feel to the site.
The volunteers also cut back mature rhododendron bushes on the eastern side of the Lake, removing branches which were invading the footpath that runs parallel with Lake Road.
Streetscene chipped and removed the piles of cut branches that were left on the verge next to Lake Road.
The volunteers achieved an impressive amount and were very satisfied with their efforts. Many have known the site for years and were very pleased to be helping out with the project.
The volunteer tasks will continue to take place at 10am each Thursday meeting at the southern entrance on Lake Road.