What are ‘The Blacknest Fields’?

Binsted Parish Council owns 8 acres of land at Blacknest Fields, near the Jolly Farmer pub. Until recently it’s been a forgotten asset, used only for horse grazing. Now it’s being ‘re-imagined’ as a place for nature recovery and low-key recreation for the community.

The land has charitable status, dating from its award, in 1852, to the ‘Overseers of the Poor’ (precursors to parish councils), for ‘the labouring poor’ and ‘providing exercise and recreation’. Part of the site is also a registered Village Green.  And the potential wildlife value of the site is exciting.

What has been done so far?

In 2021, a ‘Dossier’ about Blacknest Fields was compiled, providing the evidence and site use ideas that resulted in the decision, in July 2021, to retain the site. A Community Picnic and a Tree Walk were held onsite in September 2021.

So far in 2022, the council has agreed a Plan to develop the site for nature recovery and low-key recreation. A grant from the Tree Council’s Branching Out Fund has enabled over 70m of new hedges to be planted; and remedial site management is also underway.

What are the next steps?

The Blacknest Fields Working Group is meeting monthly, to help guide the next steps. The next meeting is at 7:30 on 23 March, at the Jolly Farmer pub.  If you want to join this or contribute ideas, do get in touch with WG Chair (a.melvin@binstedparishcouncil.org.uk).
By April 2022, the council plans to open a limited area of the site to the public, as community greenspace; and to hold further community events onsite during 2022.
The council is also putting new governance and financial arrangements in place, to meet the Council’s obligations as Trustees for the Blacknest Fields & Holt Pound Oval Charitable Trust.