There are many clubs in Hamworthy Park, but this one was new to us. Strolling along the promenade, we spotted what we took to be an enormous fishing rod held up in the air but as we got closer we realised no one was holding it.
It was, in fact, a radio aerial secured in the beach. The owner, an amateur radio enthusiast, was busy talking to a fellow radio enthusiast in some far off country. We got talking to him and he told us our park is often used by members of Poole Amateur Radio Club as it is a very good location to practise their hobby.
Apparently, radio signals tend to be stronger near to water and Hamworthy Park is a particularly good area for picking up signals. As we were talking, he was picking up a message from Canada but it appeared they were unable to hear his response. Earlier, he had been in contact with a fellow radio enthusiast in Italy and another in Poland with better results.
Sometimes, on a good day, signals can be picked up from all over the world – Indonesia and New Zealand are two locations he had been in touch with recently.
It makes you wonder just what other hobbies and pastimes are pursued in Hamworthy Park! If your club, group or organisation uses Hamworthy Park, or you practice your hobby in the park, we’d love to hear from you.
Look whats forcing its way up through the tarmac behind the flower bed just inside the paddling pool area.
Unfortunately, we think this tomato plant has left it a bit late in the year to make it through to the fruiting stage.
What a shame! If it had germinated earlier in the year, we could have potted it on and sold it at our plant sale. Alternatively, we could have let it grow on and had real Hamworthy Park produce available at our September produce sale!
Perhaps this was someone’s leftover lunch? Either way, it’s an interesting and unexpected addition to the park!
The Wednesday volunteers meet every Wednesday in the Park at 10.00am outside the Park Cafe – just turn up and join us for informal gardening activities, litter picking and general maintenance, or contact us here.
Whilst litter picking at the eastern end today, we came across some unusual activity that turned out to be a party from the Environment Agency Fisheries Dept carrying out a fish survey. They told us it is something they do on a regular basis at four locations in the Dorset area, usually twice a year at each.
It is done by deploying a trawl net into the water about fifty yards out (in this case just to the left of the old power station outlet). The depth of water at this point was probably less than three feet and it is then drawn back to the shoreline. The contents are then sorted separating the fish from the weed and the fish are then placed in a keep net.
We were quite surprised at the size of the catch from just one trawl – at least 100, probably more, most of them young fish about 3 to 4 inches long!
We never imagined there was such an abundance of wildlife so close in to our park’s shoreline. The team seemed quite pleased with the amount of fish they had found and told me the majority of the catch was bream, bass sprats and herring.
So keep an eye out for our finned friends – it’s great that there is such an abundance of life just off our shores!
The Produce sale held in the park on Saturday 15 September proved to be a very successful event for FOHP. The weather was kind and many people turned up to purchase all the wonderful produce that had been donated by the local community.
It was a hard job to find room on the tables for all the cakes, pies, pasties and crumbles, while other tables were well laden with fruit, veg, jams and chutneys. Our publicity tables benefited as the 2019 Park Calendar was available hot off the press and was much admired – get one while you can! Christmas cards sold well (you can never start too early!) and the coasters and fridge magnets with brand new photos were snapped up.
For the younger ones, the children’s tombola was popular, less so the adult tombola – they were more interested in the consumables!
A total of £792.25 was raised on the day (almost double last year’s amount) which will be put to good use on the various projects we have planned to improve even further a park that must rank amongst the best in the country.
The Trustees would like to thank all those who most generously donated such wonderful produce, all the helpers who willingly assisted us on the day and not least the large numbers in our community who supported this event.
The FOHP took the advantage of an offer from the Bournemouth and Poole Preservation Club of a free stall promoting our organisation at their Classic Transport Gala Weekend held adjacent to Harmons Cross station on the Swanage Steam Railway. Although somewhat out of our area, we thought it worth a try and it proved to be quite successful.
The friends manned our stall for the three days and at times were very busy, particularly just after a train had arrived. A surprisingly large number of visitors were familiar with our park and eager to be updated on what is currently happening in the park.
A number of former Hamworthy residents we met were pleased to reminisce on happy days spent in the park and were fully supportive of our projects – particularly our efforts to save the paddling pool.
FOHPs efforts were well rewarded as the total fundraising amounted to £199.01.
In 2018, we sold all 250 FOHP calendars and raised well over £1100 towards the paddling pool fund. Thank you! There has been fantastic support from the local community and local businesses – so we are looking forward to the 2019 calendar – coming soon!
Although we are confident of raising the funds necessary to save the paddling pool, we are not there yet and so the fundraising continues.
Whilst carrying out a litter pick recently, a clump of attractive pale yellow flowers (pictured) were found growing in some stony ground at the eastern end near to footpath adjacent to the approach to the footbridge. Do we have an expert on wildflowers who can identify them? They have since fallen victim to the mowers, but it would be great if someone could help to identify them.
Whilst a large number of our park users are dog owners, we don’t get too many cats visiting the park. Pictured here is one making use of a wild area of brambles at the eastern end as it hunts for prey. It appeared to wish to keep it’s identity secret as it was reluctant to face the camera. However, it is believed to be a regular visitor and is often seen relaxing in the sunshine on the eastern end flood wall.
The Wednesday volunteers are always on the lookout for anything new or unusual to report, This week we found a plant in flower on the eastern flood bank that none of us had ever seen in the park before. We think it may be a Sea Pea, can any expert confirm this and how it may have got there?
A new bit of erosion has been found at the eastern end – is this caused by the sea or more hole digging by our resident fox?
Over the past year, FOHP has become increasingly concerned about the erosion that is continually eating away at the eastern end of the park ( the shoreline east of the Outdoor Education Centre). At one particular point over the past 12 months, a scallop has been scoured out 20 feet (6 meters) into the park.
If something is not done to overcome the problem, it is likely that the small bridge and the newly installed tarmac path will be severely damaged by erosion within the next few years.
The erosion has already undermined the foundations of the new footpath in places and is also eating away at the approach to the footbridge over the culvert.
The erosion affects the whole of the eastern shoreline. In the longer term, the entire area is under threat – and this will include the base of the new footbridge over the railway. There is now just 85 feet (25 meters) between the edge of the newly eroded scallop and the footbridge.
The erosion is not going to go away – the reason the Environment Agency installed the flood defence wall along the rear perimeter of the park in 2005 was to combat their forecast of future higher tides.
What has FOHP done?
We reported these issues to Council Officers in the spring and also to our local Councillors. So far, the Council have asked their Environmental Services Department to ascertain the legality of putting rocks or other protective material on the beach in this area. This is as far as we have got and we will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.
Whilst the installation of a line of rocks or something similar would certainly help it may not be the long-term solution. We don’t have the answers, but we do know that something needs to be done to protect this beautiful, natural area of the park. We will continue to monitor the erosion and to keep the issue on the Council’s radar. We hope that timely action can be taken and that we do not lose more of the eastern end to erosion when the autumn and winter storms hit this year.
But it’s not all doom and gloom!
Here are some clumps of wildflowers on the shoreline at the eastern end – perhaps a natural solution to the erosion issue could be considered? Who knows!