Autumn Woodland Walk

Richard Williamson, the great naturalist and countryman, devised this walk in Binsted and Tortington woods to enjoy this wonderful environment in its autumn colours. It’s a short circular walk in woodland that his grandfather, when he lived at Walberton, knew so well in the late 19th century. It was last published in the Bognor Observer in 2013.

RWilliamson map

The walk itself is indicated on the map by a red broken line. The red dotted lines are (very approximate!) public footpaths. Use an OS map if in doubt.

From Tortington Lane west on fingerpost into woods of Scots pines planted over hazel coppice. Neither species are very happy with the arrangement. The old oaks which my grandfather knew when he lived at Walberton House in 1888 have been cut down.

The butchers broom plants show, however, that this is ancient woodland in parts.

Footpath follows an ancient row of banks which allowed safe passage in medieval days. Footbridge crosses tiny stream.

At Binsted Lane, left then right back into the woods.

Honeysuckle shows that this wood supports colony of white admiral butterflies which fly in July. The caterpillars eat honeysuckle leaves.

Small bridge crosses another stream with holly growing nearby. Then turn right on fingerpost.

As you arrive at a large holly under a spreading oak, turn right (no fingerpost). If you have come to open fields, you are too far west and will get lost. I did this!

Now you are walking north. This is not an easy way to follow as there are several paths people have made over the years shooting off in all directions.

You have passed under some old beech trees and should then arrive at a crossway where there is a garden seat. Turn right along a made-up causeway with masses of pendulous sedge growing in the ditches.

This takes you 400 yards east to another crossway where turn half right on fingerpost, leaving a biggish beech on your right together with two Lawson cypresses. This time larch trees are trying their luck on the soggy ground.

Cross the stream by a baby yew tree. Soon you come to a house on Binsted Lane. Turn left then right after 20 yards, soon to cross the next stream again.

By the way, I have recorded both marsh and willow tit in this wood in the past, to say nothing of nuthatch, mistle thrush, and great spotted woodpecker.

My grandfather shot rabbits, pigeons and pheasants here, according to his diaries. One day he even shot some corncrakes. Things were different then.

If you pass a huge abandoned tractor tyre at another footbridge, you are on the right path. That wasn’t there in grandfather’s day for sure. On reaching the road, Tortington Lane, turn right back to the car.

Grandfather had a pony and trap. He even drove himself in it to the doctor’s surgery in Arundel when he cut the top off his finger on the lathe, holding said fingertip in place to have it successfully stitched together.

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Festive Theatre in the Tortington Church Sun 10 Dec

theatre poster

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Binsted Demo Sunday 1.00

Apologies for such a late posting but Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee have organized a demonstration at the Flint Barn, Binsted Lane, on Sunday 8th October at 1.00. Following the news that WSCC and ADC will be supporting Option 5A (the Binsted route) ABNC has arranged for speakers to attend, to conduct a walk along the damaging route 5a and to show support for an alternative route to one destroying and splitting the communities at Binsted and Tortington, and destroying a unique and valuable natural environment in Binsted Woods and Tortington Common.

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Important WSCC and ADC meetings

Tortington residents will be interested in the following two important meetings coming up that members of the public can attend. I’m not sure about speaking rights but the content of the meetings are on responses to the Highways England’s Arundel bypass consultation.

WSCC Environment and Community Services Select Committee
Thursday 28th September at 10.30am
The Committee will hear presentations from select community groups, including a TLC editor, affected by the bypass.The Committee will then endorse or reject the County Council officers’ recommendation that they support Option 5A.

Arun District Council Cabinet meeting
Monday 16th October at 5.00pm
ADC will be deciding on their final response to HE. The first 15 minutes are given over to Public Question Time at which you may ask a question regarding their position on the bypass. You have to book a slot to do this and its on a first come, first served basis. Check their web site for booking information – no need to book if you don’t intend to say anything!

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BYPASS: FACTS & GUIDANCE

CUT THE ARUNDEL BYPASS SHORT
DON’T CARVE UP TORTINGTON

Here in Tortington most of us are unashamedly against a bypass being driven right through the middle of our ancient rural parish. But having read the Consultation Document it might be worthwhile adding a few summary points to help you complete the questionnaire. Click HERE for the online questionnaire – it’s way down at the bottom of that page!

 

 

Why we should CHOOSE OPTION 1 – the Short Bypass route

Option 1 is the only option that satisfies all SEVEN of Highways England’s primary AIMS of a new bypass

  • it IMPROVES CAPACITY
  • it ELIMINATES CONGESTION
  • it IMPROVES JOURNEY TIME
  • it IMPROVES SAFETY
  • it IMPROVES ACCESSIBILITY
  • it MINIMISES ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
  • it MINIMISES IMPACT on the SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK

In addition, it is the SHORTEST route, the LEAST EXPENSIVE route and the one most likely to be COMPLETED on time and on budget.

 

Why we should REJECT OPTION 3 – the Tortington route

Option 3 is the most damaging option for ancient woodland, productive agricultural land and the existing recreational use of the countryside, within and just outside the South Downs National Park

  • the Tortington route (formerly the Pink/Blue route) was REJECTED in 2005 by the then Transport Secretary because it would have a detrimental impact on the ENVIRONMENT
  • 33% of TORTINGTON is in the SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK
  • the Tortington route is the route which requires by far the largest land take of ANCIENT WOODLAND for the bypass corridor
  • the Tortington route would have the largest ECOLOGICAL MITIGATION costs of all three routes
  • the Tortington route would have to avoid the remains of ancient monument TORTINGTON PRIORY which had undergone an award-winning restoration in 2001, avoid two other LISTED BUILDINGS and would destroy an area of ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTEREST linked to the excavations at Goblestubbs Copse including a ROMAN ROAD  across the northern end of Tortington Common
  • no one can say how many species would be endangered by loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation in Tortington Common but as part of the BINSTED WOODS COMPLEX Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) a nationally important habitat and wildlife corridor is under imminent threat
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BYPASS: MYTHS & LEGENDS!

The predominant MYTHS  that cloud the judgement of many in the debate  –  and the ABBA factor!

  • SEVERANCE – severance is NOT an issue – all banks, major supermarkets, district council offices, main transport hubs, most schools and doctors surgeries are SOUTH of the A27. Arundel is rich in pubs, restaurants and antique shops and has a small quick-stop supermarket.
  • PLANTATION or ANCIENT WOODLAND? – Tortington Common and Binsted Woods have large areas designated ANCIENT WOODLAND. The northern part of Tortington Common includes some conifers planted in the 1970s and this part is designated ‘Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site’ (PAWS). But ancient woodland is defined as that which has been in existence as woodland since 1600, long enough to develop ecosystems that are rich, complex, and irreplaceable and Tortington Common has been woodland since at least 1581. The answer really does lie in the soil!
  • OUTSIDERS – an often repeated myth is that those opposed to a major bypass are not from the Arundel area. But in fact 98% of those registering support for an online solution to traffic problems at Arundel live within 3 miles of the town. Supporters beyond this are rightly concerned at the impact that an Arundel bypass might have on other parts of the A27 notably those bottlenecks at Chichester and Lancing. ‘Outsiders’ it seems are permitted a say if they have a business interest anywhere in the South-east and support the offline bypass favoured by local authorities!
  • THERE IS NOTHING AT TORTINGTON – claimed local politicians recently. Well, apart from farmland, woodland, wildlife, a small dispersed population, a notable housing development at Tortington Manor, a 900 year-old church, the remains of a medieval priory, several local businesses, a livery stable and mile after mile of public footpath and bridleways. Nothing indeed!
  • CONGESTION and JOURNEY TIME – local authorities supporting the ‘pink/blue’ route claim that these are the major concerns for local businesses – ‘A27 Action Group’ was set up in 2014 by West Sussex County Council at a meeting of invited business leaders from across the South-east – yet Highways England’s own figures show that Option 1, the SHORT BYPASS, would be a BETTER option than the Tortington route for achieving these aims in no less than 7 out of 8 estimates for peak hour travel in 2023 and 2041.
  • BEWARE OF THE ABBA FACTOR – Clearly the alliance of West Sussex County Council, Arun District Council, Walberton Parish Council and Arundel Town Council are more committed to ABBAAnywhere But Binsted or Arundel – than to reduced congestion and journey times. But the facts speak for themselves – make them listen!

 

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Bypass Consultation Document

Yesterday we found that Littlehampton and Rustington libraries had run out of the Bypass Consultation document and did not know when more would be available. But if you haven’t been able to get a copy from any of the other collection points (click here for a list) you can download one from that same Highways England page. There were plenty of copies of the  questionnaire available in public libraries and elsewhere and WE ALL MUST COMPLETE THE QUESTIONNAIRE if our voice is to be heard. It can also be completed online, again using the link above. The Bypass Consultation document really must be read before completing the questionnaire because it has important information regarding the 3 routes for the bypass that are under consideration. It is very much fact-based and cuts through much of the ‘noise’ generated by local politicians and their supporters.

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A27 BYPASS CONSULTATION

Highways England’s A27 Bypass Public Consultation process has begun, starting on 22nd August through to 16th October. All Tortington residents should have received information by post regarding the public places where the issues and options under consideration can be seen and where HE staff will be available to answer questions. In addition there will be un-manned displays at other locations as will as places – public buildings,  libraries and mobile libraries – where the consultation document and questionnaire can be picked up.

There is not enough space on Tortington TLC to go through all the options, their pros and cons and their consequences for Tortington residents, but as one of the 3 options for the possible route of the Arundel bypass tears the heart out of Tortington’s countryside and severs us from the rest of Arundel parish we cannot stress enough the importance of Tortington residents playing a full role in this consultation.

If you have not received the list of venues for the display of information then follow this link to the HE consultation page – https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a27-arundel-bypass/ – where you can also download the consultation document and read about all of the options and complete the questionnaire online if you prefer.

To date, all local discussion on this subject has excluded Tortington residents – denied their very existence in some cases! – and to at last have our say THE VERY LEAST WE CAN DO is complete and send the QUESTIONNAIRE.

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BINSTED STRAWBERRY FAIR 2017

Binsted Strawberry Fair, a traditional country fair, celebrates its 30th year this year on Sunday 23rd July.  Go along to support this unique charity fundraising event, – see events and activities below – all the more important this year as Highways England begins its public consultation on the route of an A27 bypass of Arundel. One possible route would destroy the very fields and woodlands that the fair takes place on. Binsted’s fate is very much bound to that of Tortington’s so come along and enjoy this day in the countryside.

bin straw 2017

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Macbeth at Tortington Church

macbeth sm

Churches Conservation Trust and Friends of Tortington Church welcome back Sussex theatre company ‘This Is My Theatre’ for their adaption of Shakespeare’s ‘MACBETH’ THURSDAY 27th JULY at 7.30pm

Using the original language in combination with traditional Celtic music played live, choral song and modern characterisation, this beautiful one-act adaptation will captivate audiences of all ages.

www.thisismytheatre.co.uk for details and advance booking or tickets on the door £12.50 or £10 for Friends of Tortington Church

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