Bepton Barn Owls


By Beatrice Potter
I have had two barn owl boxes equipped with cameras for a number of years now.  This year I have been watching the progress of two owlets.  When these hatch the female continues to brood them whilst the male hunts for all of them.  When the owlets reach a certain stage the female also joins the hunt to satisfy the appetite of the growing owlets.  These are left to their own devises during the day and the adult pair use the other box for roosting.  This is why the Barn Owl Trust recommends the installation of two boxes where possible.  The process is a lengthy one and once hatched at 48 hourly intervals the owlets take an average of 58 days to fledge at which point they start making short flights.  The adults will continue feeding them for up to 84 days by which time they are roosting outside (branching) and will only go back to finding day time shelter once they have dispersed at around 98 days of age.  All this is after hatching.  Prior to this the female has spent 2 weeks being fed by the male before she has even laid one egg.  These are laid every other day and the first egg hatches after 31 days.  So the female can be in the box for as long as 74 days before she manages to leave and hunt again to satisfy the demands of all the owlets. From the start of her confinement to the owlets’ dispersal some 130 days later the adults need a constant supply of prey items of which 45% will be field voles.  To remain in good condition a Barn Owl will need 3-4 prey items per night and after the hen bird leaves the young during the day these too will require the same amount of food per day.  This why Barn Owls will sometimes be seen hunting during daylight hours.
These photos were taken late on Saturday 10th August during the gales…  The owlets are fledged and were turning their backs to the elements.  One turned and looked at me before both decided to return to the safety of the box.
Bepton used to be much more owl friendly in the days of the organic farm.  Now it is less so and the constant use of sprays and mono culture do not help….

Severals Sites dropped from sand extraction plan!

At the planning meeting last week of the South Downs National Park Authority the Draft Pre-Submission West Sussex and South Downs Single Issue Review of Soft Sand, which did not include the Severals East and West sites, was approved. This is wonderful news for the residents of Bepton, Midhurst and other surrounding villages. Thank you to the members of the campaign group who worked so hard to prevent the sites being included. According to the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, of the 900 public responses to the consultation earlier this year, around 90 per cent were about the Severals sites.

However, there are two more stages of the process: a consultation on the allocations at the end of this year, and then the final stage when the Planning Inspector will determine whether the Soft Sand Review is sound.

Road Closure

Please be advised that West Sussex County Council has received a request for Temporary Traffic Regulation as follows:


Road Name Bell Lane
Village / Town / Parish Cocking
Specific Location Closed between the junction with High Meadow to the junction with Bepton Road with works outside Apsley Mead
Type of TTRO 14.2 Road Closure
Reason for TTRO To repair a manhole cover in the carriageway
Proposed start date/Time Date: 05/11/19 Time: 09:30
Proposed End date/Time Date: 05/11/19 Time: 15:30
The restriction will be effective
Day-time only     from  09:30                    to  15:30
Diversion route (if applicable) Bepton Road, New Road, Chichester Road, West Lavington Hill, A286 and vice versa
Access arrangements Access maintained for emergency services, residents and pedestrians
Applicant name J B Constructions on behalf of Southern Water
Applicant contact tel number 01962 716397
Any other details  


The application is currently being processed and you will be advised further when details are confirmed.

Midhurst Vision – Let’s shape our future

Midhurst Vision has now gone live.
This is very much a collaborative process involving all the local authorities but being led by the community. Also supporting and participating are all the local schools, local groups and organisations, local businesses, passionate individuals, Cowdray Estate and South Downs National Park Authority.
Please see below the postcard they have produced.
We are encouraging everyone to complete the survey online but we have printed a few copies for those not online – a few will be posted out to you next week. Printed copies are also available at The Grange Centre.
It is also on the front page of the local paper this week.
Many thanks for your continued help and support.


The speaker at the Annual Parish Assembly on 23 May was local resident, Ms Philippa McCullough, representing Midhurst Vision.

Midhurst Vision brings together local people, groups and businesses to explore and agree a vision for the development of our town. This will help guide local plans and generate confidence in our town’s future. It’s an evolving process, encouraging collaboration between everyone in the Midhurst area and a real spirit of ‘can do’. The process is supported by Chichester District Council and Bloom Consulting, an independent organisation that specialises in bringing communities together to create a shared vision for the future.

The first step is a short town-wide survey that covers what Midhurst does well, what’s not so great and what people might like to see changed. It’s confidential and aims to give everyone a voice, old and young , with a chance to make a difference to our town.

Feedback from the survey will form the basis for developing a clear identity for the town. That’s important because it helps to create a better place to live, work and visit.

The survey launches early July so keep an eye on social media and the Midhurst Vision website for the link when it goes live. Printed copies of the survey will also be available at The Grange.

Go to or search #MidhurstVision to find out more.



Gillian Keegan MP visits The Severals

Last week, Gillian Keegan MP visited The Severals to see for herself the area proposed for sand quarries. The local campaign group have issued the following press release:

 “ As the deadline for responses to the Joint Minerals Soft Sand Consultation draws to a close (deadline 18 March) groups opposing the quarries have joined forces.
Representatives from Bepton, Woolbeding and Redford, Trotton, Stedham and Iping and Rogate Parish Councils along with Midhurst Town Council met with local MP Gillian Keegan last Friday. The meeting was also attended and arranged by the local action group Severals Against Cowdray Quarries who have been conducting a lobbying and media campaign against the quarries.

The group raised joint concerns over new quarries at the Severals and Minsted which would affect a huge number of constituents in the Midhurst area and on potential HGV routes through Trotton and Rogate. Midhurst already breaches EU Air Quality Standards and the possibility of another 200 lorries going through the town every day could cause serious health problems.
 G Keegan + Parish + Group
Front row left to right Mairi Rennie (Rogate PC), Loppy Gibson (Severals House, Woolbeding resident), Philippa McCullough (Woolbeding resident), Gillian Keegan MP, Katherine Steele (Bepton resident), Margaret Guest (Midhurst Town Council), John Beckett (Bepton PC),
Back Row David Edmondson (Stedham/Iping PC), Adrian Waddams (Minsted Residents Group), Adrian Hearle (Woolbeding/Redford PC), Alex Gibson (Severals House).
The beautiful Grade I listed bridge at Trotton is under tremendous pressure already from the number of current HGV’s and the narrow ‘pinch-point’ in Rogate by the church causes regular tailbacks and build-up of diesel fumes as lorries wait to drive through. The bridge at Trotton was built as early as 14th C and is one of only 200 medieval five arch bridges like it left in the country.

Other concerns discussed with Gillian included clarification on realistic figures on the need for soft sand for the building industry as figures quoted in the consultation varied considerably. Also the fact that West Sussex exports in the region of 1.8m tonnes of sand to other counties, which is similar to the amount considered it needs – so, if we stop exporting sand to other counties could we be self-sufficient? If more soft sand is required there is also the possibility of using marine sand which most other parts of the country do, but not the south-east.

Gillian spent two hours listening and asking questions of the group before agreeing that further investigation was needed before considering creating new quarries in the South Downs National Park.

 Gillian Keegan commented: 

‘It was great to meet with representatives from across the community about this important issue, many of whom I worked closely with when I served as a District Councillor. I will be continuing discussions with the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council to further understand the implications of soft sand extraction and express the concerns that have been raised by the community.
I advise people to have their say in the consultation process before it closes on the 18th March.’
Issued by Severals Against Cowdray Quarries “
Don’t forget to have your say in response to the consultation. Details of how to do it are here.