Our Conservation Area (1)

I have known for years that Greenwood House is a part of a Conservation Area but, to be honest, I was not sure what that meant. I have now looked it up on-line and found what seems to be the key document from West Dorset County Council.

Longer-stay residents will already know that we live in a Conservation Area, and this influences our decisions concerning what we can and cannot do as residents of Greenwood House and part of the village of Charlton Down. Conservation Areas are places considered to be of special architectural or historical interest. The West Dorset District Council has a legal obligation to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of these areas. Charlton Down was designated as a conservation area in 1991. A conservation appraisal for the ‘Charlton Down or Charminster Herrison Conservation Area’ was put out for public consultation in 2012 with the involvement of Charminster Parish Council, Charlton Down Local History Group, Charlton Down Village Hall, Dorset County Council, Dorset Gardens Trust, English Heritage, and Meadfleet. There was also a public information event in the village before the appraisal was amended and formally accepted as a technical document supporting policies in the West Dorset District Local Plan.

The full appraisal can be found on-line and it is a fascinating document containing lots of interesting details if you have time to read it. It is a useful source document for discovering many things that I personally have been wanting to know about this area.

What you will find here in my GREENWOOD blog, is just a paraphrase of the official content. The main part of the appraisal focusses on the ways in which Charlton Down is considered especially interesting by describing its location and setting; its historic development, and archaeology; providing a spatial analysis, notably the sequences of spaces, views in and out and landmark buildings; and undertaking a character analysis – listing building uses and types, the key listed buildings and the contribution made by local buildings, building materials and details, and ‘green’ elements.

The appraisal then outlines recommendations for management action, including landscape and tree monitoring; and ways of improving essential repairs and maintenance, with suggestions for environmental enhancement, for consideration by local authorities, land and property owners and the wider community.

Next time: a summary of the key characteristics of the Charlton Down or Charminster Herrison Conservation Area.

Trees at sundown

Late evening around the western edge of the village, the light reflecting in the upper branches of the tall bare trees highlighted them with colour, or threw them into silhouettes against a tinted background, as the sun was going down.

Holly berries in April

It seems a bit odd to me but I saw a couple of holly trees in a hilltop hedgerow the other morning which were laden with plump fresh red berries. How can that be? It must mean that flowering and fertilisation took place over winter.

View from my window 2

A shaft of late evening low sunlight created a lovely golden glow across the tops of the mature beech trees to the south of Greenwood House the other evening.

Weathered Peacock Butterfly

I have been surprised to notice a couple of Peacock (Inachis io) butterflies around lately. One was in the Community Orchard and the other on Higher Charlton Down. It’s fairly early for them to be out I would have thought. They looked a bit sad and weather-beaten so I guess they may have been overwintering somewhere and have been tempted out on sunnier, warmer days. The recent sharp frosts will have been a bit of a shock to them. I wonder if they will have survived.

The Butterfly Conservation Trust has a lot of information about moth and butterfly identifications, reserves, and the state of their conservation in a beautifully illustrated site.

New Shoots in the Fields

It doesn’t seem as if any time has passed at all since I watched the farmer ploughing the big field – but here already are the short green shoots of the new crop. It was wheat in that field last year and I think it is probably the same again. I will watch its progress. Always good to see things grow and develop.

Free Bee ID Guide

Does any one of my Greenwood House neighbours want a Field Studies Council foldout guide to identifying bumblebees? Contact me if you want to put your name in the hat for a chance to have this free guide. I will need a flat number to post it through your letterbox if you are the lucky one.

Attracting Bees

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are lots of ways that you can encourage bumble bees to thrive. All our British pollinating insects seem to be in decline, especially the bees which are so important for ensuring the fertilisation of all our fruit, vegetable, and cereal crops.

One way to attract bumble bees is by planting the right flowers and paying attention to the kinds of places that they like to nest. The new Great Sunflower Project which is discussed on the Science Friday site gives some hints and tips on what you can do, no matter whether you have a garden, a small patch of ground, window box or outdoor planters. You can listen to a podcast [or I can let you read a transcript of the conversation if you are one of my neighbours in Greenwood House – let me know].

Wild Rose leaves

In their own way as beautiful as the delicate flowers of summer, the newly emerging leaves of the wild rose (probably Dog Rose Rosa canina in this case) display rich reds and vivid greens introducing a welcome flash of colour to the scene. These were photographed in the Charlton Down Nature Reserve 11 April 2021.

Ramsons in waiting

Ramsons or wild garlic grows in profusion around the village in the wilder patches. At the moment their broad leaves are forming an extensive carpet beneath the trees that encircle Herrison House. At the bottom of the grounds to the south of Greenwood House they do not seem so far to be as abundant as last year. But beneath the beech trees to the west of Chestnut Court they are plentiful this Spring. Last time I walked that way, the flower buds were still wrapped in their white papery covers so you could see that it would not be too long before they were out. I must stroll up that way soon and see what progress they have been making.