Between March and September 2016 the countryside ranger for Warsash Common and the Fareham Conservation Volunteers started work on a very different project.
Designed to incorporate aspects of habitat management and educational opportunities for the local junior schools, we started work with a task to construct a small dwelling made from wattle and daub and covered in thatch and turf.
A substantial quantity of laurel, and silver birch material had been created as a result of clearing scrub in an adjacent woodland during January and February 2016. Rather than burn it, it was incorporated into what is known as a 'dead hedge'; a wall of organic material which forms a boundary and also becomes a valuable habitat for insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals once it is left to settle. The trouble with dead hedges is that they can look tatty after a while. As a result it was decided to wattle the face with a combination of hazel and willow.
Wattle has a life of approximately seven years and in an effort to extend this, it was decided to make and apply daub in the traditional way to the long face. It was also decided to add a roof to protect the daub from erosion. The roof area was divided in two and half was covered with turf and planted with sedum and the other half with a combination of turf and thatch again, using traditional techniques. Lastly, the daub wall was painted with lime wash.
Practical advice regarding making and applying daub was gained from staff at the Butser Hill Ancient Farm. Information with regard the roof was gleaned from the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton and also from the internet.
All the raw materials were sourced from within the borough and the lime wash was obtained from a producer in Twyford.
Unfortunately, we have to keep the project locked to prevent vandalism. However, it is possible to arrange access and talks with the ranger. Please call 01329 824843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.