Carers Week 2011


This week is Carers Week — and I’d like to do my bit to raise the profile of everyone who is caring for a loved one.

Carers can be anyone. I’m not talking about paid nurses, doctors and helpers. I’m talking about everyday folk who suddenly find that they have turned into a full-time carer for a parent, partner, relative or child. These are people who didn’t ask to become carers; it just happened for them because that’s the way it is.

There are more than 6,000,000 carers in the UK. People like you and me, who have given up their normal lives to look after loved ones at home. They get some money from the State, and a little bit of practical support. But for the most part, they are left to fend for themselves 24/7. 

Carers Week is organised by a partnership of eight national charities and over a 1,000 local partners – including other charities, GPs surgeries and many other parts of the NHS, local councils and the private sector. Over 100,000 carers take part in the thousands of activities and events, held in every part of the UK.

Please provide your support for Britain’s hidden army of helpers. If you know someone who’s a carer, please be their friend. And please raise awareness for folk that care.

You can find out more at the Carers Week website or show your support by ‘liking’ their Facebook page.

And here’s a short account of what it’s like to be a carer.

Blistered Sisters Trailwalker Challenge along the South Downs


Here’s a bit of publicity for four lovely ladies known as “The Blistered Sisters” who will be trekking 100km along The South Downs on the 16th July 2011 raising money for Oxfam. They are Caroline Hall, Amanda Sandberg, Rachel Redfern and Catherine Cornelius.

I’ve seen them out training and they’re looking fit!!!

They are participating in the Oxfam Trailwalker UK 2011 Challenge. They will be marching with the Gurkhas and 499 other teams, hoping to crack 100km in 30 hours along the South Downs. It’s a big task so please support the Blistered Sisters at the Virgin Money Giving website!


Bepton Road’s very own ‘Notable Road Verge’…


I’ve recently discovered ‘Notable Road Verges’. It’s slightly worrying that I now have an interest in roadside vegetation, but let’s move on!

Notable Road Verges exist all over West Sussex and marked by wooden posts with a red and white circular sign, marked ‘Wildlife Verge’. These verges are mini nature reserves, home to a wide range of notable and rare species of plants. In many cases they are all that remain of old meadows and habitats, many of which have disappeared over time. The posts have been put up by West Sussex County Council to ensure the verges are managed appropriately – which usually means they are cut during autumn and winter, rather than summer months.

As luck would have it, Bepton has a Notable Road Verge! It’s an important site for Bog Violets and Sedges, and a collection of other beauties ranging from Cotton Grass, Speedwell, Common Spotted Orchid and Ragged Robin.


Plenty to see in a couple of hundred yards. Including this really groovy Common Blue Damselfly (sucking the guts out of a mosquito) and a Labyrinth Spider in its funnel web…



Overworked parents!


Mum and Dad have been putting in some really hard graft this weekend…

They’ve been charging backwards and forwards, keeping their little ones happy, fed and watered; clearing up after them, putting up with all their dreadful skwaking every time they put their head around the corner, and not so much as a “thank you”!

Farming on the South Downs


It’s pretty obvious that farming and land management have made a huge impact on The South Downs. There’s a great report called Why Farming Matters to the South Downs from the NFU that explains how the environment of the local area has been influenced by the management of the land. Great reading if you have a few minutes.

Some random facts about The South Downs…

  • There are 1,742 farms on The South Downs
  • The South Downs covers 1,641 square kilometres
  • There are 741 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and 30 listed historic parklands
  • 85% of the area is farmed land, 14% is non agricultural (e.g. woodland), and 1% is urban
  • Woodland covers 20% of the South Downs – approximately half of this is ancient woodland 
  • There are around 3,000 kilometres of Rights of Way, which include the 100 mile long South Downs Way National Trail
  • There are 835 hectares of National Nature Reserves and 9,527 hectares of Sites of Special Scientific Interest