For some years now LEADER funding has been available for farmers to undertake improvements in productivity and diversification.
At Meon Springs we are thrilled to have recently been awarded a grant to install Welfare Enhancing Milk Meters in our milking parlour.
The milk meters are being installed late February to early March 2019 and will enable us to have much more information about our cows in terms of their health and productivity. This means that we can identify problems earlier and therefore improve the cows overall wellbeing.
Thank you to Fieldfare LAG and Leader funding for this support.
Embers Bushcraft is holding two bushcraft weekends at Meon Springs in November for those interested in learning more about outdoor skills.
On Saturday 17 November bushcraft expert Ian Gosling will be running his ‘Fur, Feathers and Fin’ day, which is designed to give people the practical skills in preparing and cooking a variety of locally sourced game and fish including venison.
Visitors will learn how to cook trout over an open fire using a wooden frame, prepare seasonal game birds for an evening stew before skinning and butchering a whole dear.
The following day (Sunday 18 November), Ian’s holding a “Woodland Weaponry Day” where people will be given the opportunity to use longbows, catapults, throwing axes, knives and air rifles. This day is designed to offer a fun and engaging day giving people rare access to variety of weapons in a safe and free environment.
And for those who want to make a weekend of it, people can stay overnight in the wooded camp sleeping in bell tents.
The weekend of events will also be repeated the following weekend 24/25 November.
Both bushcraft experience weekends are to be held in Meon Springs’ bushcraft camp built in a wood overlooking the South Downs.
The cost of the ‘Fur, feather and fin’ day is £145 per person and includes people taking away all the game they prepare.
The ‘Woodland weaponry day’ costs £85 per person.
To book your place or to find out more email Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07814 567640.
By Tim Richardson
Last year, more than 20 anglers took part in Meon Springs' first Vintage Fly Fishing Day to celebrate an old-school approach to this wonderful sport.
Dressed in vintage clothing and using split cane rods, it was a thoroughly good day out. And the fishing wasn't bad either! Andrea Smith landed the biggest rainbow with 9lb 7oz - pipping Ron Wilder to the top spot by just two ounces.
David Rowe won the award for best dressed angler. A massive thank you to all those who took part - and also for those who helped out with the catering. Thanks must also go to Phoenix Fly Lines and Snowbee for donating prizes for Andrea and David. Here's to this year's event on Saturday October 27 which you can book here!
And if you want to know why the event was so much fun, check out Allan Robinson's video from last year.
By Chris Taee, a Member of Meon Springs Fly Fishery and a regular on the Meon Beat
I’ve probably had more than my fare share of time on the catch and release waters at Meon Springs this year, which has been a lot of fun - even if it can get a touch frustrating at times.
Firstly, thanks to Brian Richardson for his advice to go small. I rapidly armed myself with plenty of barbless 18, 20 and 22 nymphs, which have been by far the most effective way of catching fish, rather than just practising my casting!
Picture attached of my fly box which might give some folk a bit of help when choosing types of fly to use. I think pretty much most all of these have caught fish.
Some of techniques:
The fifth annual Fishing For Forces (FFF) 'Cast and Blast' at Meon Springs was a great success raising £8640 for this fantastic charity.
TV host Chris Tarrant managed to squeeze every last penny out of the 60-strong group of FFF supporters at the lunch time auction.
Bill Bishop caught the largest fish at 6lb 12oz. The largest bag went to Paul Robinson with four fish well over 12lb.
Hank Di Mond was the best shot with 19 hit out of 20.
Next year's 'Cast and Blast' in aid of Fishing for Forces is Saturday 13 July 2019.
By Tim Richardson
This year's Three Fly Challenge - in aid of the Wild Trout Trust and in memory of Pasco James who used to work at Meon Springs - was another record breaker for orgamiser Neil Mundy. More than 40 anglers lined the banks of both Coombe and Whitewool Lakes to take part in the competition.
The rules are simple: you have just three flies (a dry, buzzer and nymph) and points are awarded depending on the size of fish landed and which fly is used.
This year, the event - held annually at Meon Springs and sponsored by John Lewis Fly Fishing Club and Sage - raised £7,250 for the charity. The funds were raised ion part by entry fees but also thanks to an auction and raffle during lunch in the Long Barn.
All the money raised is to be used supporting the new conservation officer at the WTT.
This year's Three Fly Challenge was won by Ron Wilder. The award for the biggest fish went to Mike Carter who landed an 11lb 1oz rainbow.
Next year's event - and the tenth Three Fly Challenge - is to be held on June 15 2019.
By Jamie Butler
As a dairy farmer, I often receive pity from people, who believe that we suffer a low milk price at the mercy of merciless milk buyers and supermarkets. Trust me, low milk prices are not the fault of the likes of Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Muller. It is more simple than that.
Like all industries, we suffer a low prices when supply exceeds demand. What bemuses me most is that dairy farmers own around two thirds of the world's processing capacity via co-operatives such as Arla Foods, New Zealand-based Fronterra and Dairy Farmers of America.
Yet, it appears that very little is done to resolve the core issue of milk market management. Is it that farmers just love producing milk? Is it that milk processors are worried about shortage of supply? Or competition? Is it that there are legal issues to balancing supply and demand?
Overproduction is not just an economic issue, it is an environmental and welfare one too. And it seems to me that proper milk supply management would benefit farmers, processors, the environment, the cows and the consumers of milk. I would love to hear any comments or views on this.
By Tim Richardson
This Saturday is the ninth annual 'Three Fly Challeng' held at Meon Springs in aid of the Wild Trout Trust and in memory of Pasco James.
The good news this year is that we have a record turnout with 46 anglers booked to come fishing.
Since the event is pegged - and people move each time they catch a fish to the next available peg - there could be a lot of movement on the banks as well as in the water.
The organisers also hope that with so many anglers here, they could top the record-breaking £7,000 raised last year - taking the total amount raised over the last eight years to more than £32,000.
The cash is used to fund a bursary for a new conservation officer to work on the rivers.