Transition Poole’s Abundance project, together with Cafe 34 in Poole High Street, held an apple pressing day outside the cafe in Poole High Street on 11 October 2014. Lots of interest from families, and kids ready to get stuck into scratting the apples, working the press and drinking the produce.

Apple press in action

All ages had a go at turning the press

creating an apple spiral

Great fun creating apple spirals

Apple spiral making

a complete spiral from one apple

apple press in action

Fizz, Andy, Andrew and Gwyn busy at the press in Poole High Street

Everyone declared the juice to be delicious.

As last year, the flavours changed throughout the day. This year, the mix was mostly Bramley Apples, as there seems to have been many trees in Poole with a lack of crop.

We heard from passers by that other areas in North Dorset and Somerset had a great year, it is interesting how yield varies so much.

We did get a couple of downpours, and at one point the wind blew through very hard, but mostly the sun shone, and plenty of people stopped by for a chat and a taste.

Transition BH Music Evening with Alex Roberts at the Green House Hotel
Sunday 22 Jan 2012

Around 40 of us gathered at the Green House Hotel, thanks to Gwyn for organising the evening, Olivia O’Sullivan and her team at the Green House for hosting us (for free), and most of all, Alex Roberts for entertaining us (also giving his time for free), and then leading us in participative music.  You can find Alex music at

Gwyn introduced the session that rather than ‘taking’, we should all be giving of our time, and Alex exemplified this. Alex confessed to be a bit nervous – getting a whole bunch of adults to do participative music, which he normally does for groups of children or youths.

This snipped was from the soundcheck

He  threw into the song introductions of time he spent in India, studying music, nearly a year spent in a tipi on a farmers campsite on the Purbecks, working the land and composing music, but he seems to have drawn inspiration from a wide variety of musical traditions and cultures from across the world.

After a brief set, including a poem set to music and played on his wedding present (a bouzouki brought back from Athens), and a tune on a steel hawiian guitar made in Christchurch, we were all led in deep breathing,  making shared vocalisations that north american Indian tribes might use to make sound together. And then drumming. I caught a short clip (apologies, it is a bit dark, and now I find a bit big to fit onto this site !). So that’s too much to do tonight.

Andrew Hope, from the transition group made some quick sketches.

Alex playing Hawaiian guitar

An entertaining and sociable evening for folk involved in Transition from across the BH area.

If you missed Alex, or want to catch him again, I have just noticed he is playing at the Bournemouth Folk Club Sun 4th March.

Green Open Doors – a glimpse at working green energy solutions

Transition New Forest and the National Park held an open weekend 10/11 September, a variety of houses where the owners have taken strides to reducing the carbon impact of their dwellings.

Gary and Andy paid a visit to three properites, all inspirational in different ways.

The first was a very old mill near Milford. This was the most seaward of four mills on the Lymington River as recorded in the Doomsday book, and it used to have 3 grinding stones. A wonderful rambling house, with masses of character. Jeremy and Fiona have a heat pump using the river water/mud as the source. This snakes up the stream for at least 50 metres. This powers conventional radiators, and they said, has proven very efficient. The second phase is to get the old mill wheel (cast Iron made in Ringwood in the 1800s) going again, with new buckets, probably stainless steel (balancing cost and resilience). The plan then is to generate electricity, but the abstraction license alone has taken 2 years and much form filling to complete. Much careful woodworking has already been done, with it would seem plenty more to do. There was a delightful fly-past of a Kingfisher, which flew down, calling as it went, perched momentarily on a footbridge by the mill leat, and then retraced back up the river. Fiona talked about Transition Lymington, and we shared sympathies on the struggle with engaging folk to come to meetings. Their spring and christmas fayres sound great, though because they are held in a school, tend to get associated more with the school than Transition Lymington.

On the way to the second house we’d picked out, we chanced across the end of Sky End Lane, where a modern eco-home was on the list. Only once I had parked on their drive did we realise we were 2 hours early for their afternoon opening, so we retreated.

Woodcutters Solar PV and Thermal

Woodcutters Solar PV and Thermal

The second property, tucked down a long lane, was aptly named Woodcutters. This was a bungalow that was I think built to the owners specification a long time ago. They had home made solar thermal power (black radiators behind horticultural glass in the roof space), which worked well for 20 years, but had updated to both solar PV and commercial Solar Thermal panels. They run a Reva Electric Car (imported from Bangalore), and generate 6500 units of electricity per year, covering more than is needed for domestic use and 5000 miles travel in the car. After one year using oil fired central heating, they ripped it out and converted to two woodburners. With a small paddock and woodland, they are pretty self sufficient in fuel. Dan also showed us his home-made strawbox for slow cooking (made from polystyrene, similar to one Mark tends to bring food to Tatnam Patch in), and the external insulation that they hung on the house, with vertical tiles outside of it.

For the third property, we motored through Burley and up to Fordingbridge. This is a semi-detatched house, built in 1914. Mark and Valerie had undertaken a range of retro-fitting, on moving in about 6 years ago. The simplest was probably an air to air heat-pump. This was their sole heating the first winter, and has needed no maintenance, but heats the whole house efficiently. They have two woodburners. The Solar Thermal provides most of their hot water needs, and solar PV their electricity. They have documented the projects on

From seeing a water fountain in the garden, we also had a conversation about water. Gary had heard of Dr Emoto, though I had not, where different music or thoughts changed the shape of ice formations.

And further down the garden was a polytunnel, and a greenhouse made from recycled double glazing units, but the greatest innovation was a sauna, with a wood-burner fabricated from a gas cylinder by a friendly blacksmith. Some spare Celotex insulation, tongue and groove, and a drain pipe inlet for cold air to feed the fire, and vent outlet from the Sauna to Polytunnel ensured good airflow. The glass door turned out to be a recycled shower screen.

Rose Cottage Sauna

Rose Cottage Sauna - Woodburning stove

All three couples are involved with transition groups in the New Forest, and it was a delight to be shown how they had made strides to use what was at hand, ingenuity, and varying amounts of money, to reduce their fossil fuel dependancy.


The big green fortnight included a walk on Canford Heath with Jez Martin, a wildlife expert from Borough of Poole. 14 people and 3 dogs came along.

Jezz sharing his enthusiasm

Jezz sharing his enthusiasm

Jez started by attempting to convey scale by comparing heathland to the rainforest. There are 1 million acres of heathland in Europe, but if it disappeared at the rate that the rainforest is being lost, it would all go in about 10 minutes.

Canford Heath used to be the largest heathland in Dorset, and link right down to the harbour, but with housing encroachment, it is now the 6th largest, with about 200 acres of land.

Up until the early 90s, two thirds of it was grazed. Part of the reason this was stopped was theft of the gates ! Grazing is being reintroduced from West to East, and by August, most of the heath will be grazed. Jezz indicated that for conservation grazing, the numbers of animals are low -perhaps 10 cattle over the 200 acres. Too many would trample the ground. They have Shetland Cattle which are black and white. Prevously they had 15-20 ponies over the entire heath.

The population of Dartford Warblers has fluctuated. It had grown to 70 pairs, but with two severe winters, it has dropped to 25. We were not lucky enough to see any of them, and Jezz said that they seemed to have stopped singing, perhaps as they are more spaced out they do not feel the need to maintain territorial song.

At an early point, Jez suggested we were at a great spot for spying the many varied types of electricity pylon (and apparently there are people who do). There area so many crossing the heath that one set of engineers coming to install more was suprised at the numbers allowed. I asked about a set of bare wooden poles marching westward. Apparently the cables were stolen for the copper they contained. Twice. But the easement that allowes Southern Electricity that route exists, so the poles remain.

Jez showed us the Broom in flower, with pea-like pods, it being related to the pea. Broom, birch twigs or heather were all used to make brooms, though he didn’t know which came first – the bush or the brush. There are 3 types of Gorse on heathland, and this differentiates some of the heaths locally. Western Gorse is at knee height, found here more abundantly than on Studland or New Forest. There is just a little Common Gorse, the larger one prevalant at those two, and also Dwarf Gorse, which has an even lower habit.

We passed a little blue flower – heath milkwort, and spindly twigs, not yet flowering but Dodder. Much of the wildlife on heathland is small, or hidden below the gorse and heather layer. Parallel with the path we were travelling were a series of ridges. These were hollow-ways, where once one got too boggy, people moved across a little, evidence of millenia of using the route. He pointed to a small mound – a medieval farmstead, where until maybe 20 years ago, the stone hearth was still extant.

There are 5 types of heather on the heath.

  1. Common Ling Heather – with tiny leaves. 50% of this is found in the UK, 25% in Poland, and the rest around Europe.
  2. Bell Heather – bright green leaves in groups of 3
  3. Crossed Leaf Heather – leaves generally in groups of 4
  4. Dorset Heath – only found around Poole Harbour
  5. Cornish Heath – probably introduced by a builder re-instating some land he shouldnt have dug, but buying ‘local’ heather that was not

Jez then mentioned an old book on local wildlife, which also had Cornish Heather in it on local Dorset heathland. The climate here is obviously congenial, perhaps a little warmer and drier than Hartland Moor on the other side of the harbour.

During the walk, we separately saw two male Roe Deer. Jezz said there were often 3-4 across the heath, because the pickings are thinner, they havea wide range, whereas deer in farmland have a much smaller range to find their food. Both were upwind, so whilst alert, they have become accustomed to company, and did not take flight.

Very near the path were the webs of Labarynth or Funnel Spiders. Although they have a somewhat similar stucture to the lair of deadly Australian funnel spiders, they are much smaller and  not dangerous. Whilst the funnel itself is very small, the webs can grow to several feet across, so the labarynth really comes from not knowing where the heart of the web is.

There are three types of pine tree on the heath. These were apparently introduced by the first Lord Wimborne in the 1850s, for timber;

  1. Scots pine – red bark, fairly straight habit
  2. Maritime pine – bendy tree shape, poor wood generally only useful for pit props
  3. Corscan pine – very straight, with horizontal branches, good for telegraph poles
Three types of pines found on Canford Heath

Scots pine on the left, Maritime pine on the right, and Corscan in the middle


Whilst the historic natural landscape was broadleaf woodland, the pines are invasive, and many small trees were visible across the heath. Jezz said that the Dartford Warblers do enjoy climbing straight from heather onto low hanging branches of the pines. I asked the best time of day/year to see them, apparently early morning in March/April is the best, but a non-windy May day shouldn’t have been bad. Our problem was the wind.

The path ran alongside another bank (and the path was in the hollow for quite a way). But here, it was a boundary bank, until quite recently, the Western boundary of Borough of Poole’s ownership. The land was brought by Poole from Whites Tip, the other main landowner of a small section near Gravel Hill being the Beale Family of local department store fame.

Only two of the grasses on the heath are indigenous to it (others being spread in dog faeces presumably from chewing grass at home).

  1. bristle bent – purple coloured seeds, fairly low habit
  2. purple moor grass – a coarse and taller habit.

As we walked back towards the meeting point at the end of Frances Avenue, Jez highlighted we were on the ‘Old Coach Road’, which was one of, and perhaps the back, drive to Canford Manor House. We joined South Walk, which runs right along the ridge overlooking Poole, and is suspected to form a very ancient route from Heingisbury Head to Badbury Rings (both Iron Age settlements).

There has been little archaeological work on the heath, but when a cutting for a road was mistakenly dug (ie the politicians changed their minds but the engineers didn’t) to the South East of the Crematorium Roundabout, a round barrow was excavated, underneath which was a Mesolithic Flint Factory.

And we talked a bit about windfarms. Apparently bats are attracted to the hub of turbines, no-one knows quite why. The waterworks wanted to ‘go green’ by having a turbine, but of course their water attracts many insects so is a great haven for bats. With the plans for offshore windfarms, there will need to be more known about bird migration routes, and providing corridors where these are mapped. Apparently some of the Norweigan sites have decimated migrating bird flocks. And I thought the height of the windfarms was intended to place them above that of birds in flight.

We gathered like vulctures around the bonnet of his land rover as a variety of leaflets on the heathland emerged.

And as I got back to my bike, attached to the railings of the Water Works, three kids came by on their bikes and stopped. “Someone was trying to remove your bike earlier mister”, and “why did you leave it there” somewhat accusatory. So I said I had been for a walk with the man who looks after the heath, and they quizzed me why, and I tried (having failed to see one) to describe a Dartford Warbler.   They thought that maybe they had, though it sounded like a Thrush. And I wished I had a picture of the rare bird to share with them, or that Jez had in fact abandoned us, and spent his energy on these enquiring young minds of the future, who somehow will probably spend the next 10 years either fascinated by or destroying the habitat that he supports.

Andy Hadley


We held a successful first as part of the big green fortnight, a showing of the film “In Transition 1.0”, powered entirely from solar/cycle-generated source stored in a leisure battery. The session was held in the community room at the Hamworthy Firestation. Despite hopes of burly firemen to pedal the film, this mostly fell to Ian, Andy and John.

Ian powers up the battery before the film

Ian powers up the battery before the film


John explained that he had very carefully selected the term Power Assisted Film.

To invert the electricity from 12v DC to 24oV AC, and run a laptop and projector he calculated needs 322 Watts of power. This may not sound like much more than a couple of incandescent lightbulbs, but that takes quite a lot.

The mechanism uses the motor off an electric scooter, two rollers, and a contraption to hold any adult mountain bike in place. To reduce noise and improve contact, he had fitted a slick road tyre to the back wheel of the mountain bike used.

A single cyclist is probably capable of generating between 40-70/80Watts for a sustained length of time. Thus it would need a minimum of 4 cycles to power the cinema without storing the energy in a battery (or the lights going dim).

There is a group in London, Magnificent revolutions who run an outdoor cinema, using 8 bikes running at the same time. Instead, John opted for a pre-charged battery – solar and bicycle powered. However, he confessed to having tested the whole film earlier in the day, only then realising he had 3 hours to recharge the battery. Andy stepped into the saddle to top up the charge for the second part of the film.

Around 15 people attended. After the film, Andy highlighted some of the elements of Transition that are being undertaken in Poole and the surrounding area, and we had a general chat over coffee whilst several people took the opportunity to recharge the battery.

Well done to John for putting the kit together, and for getting a picture in the Echo with a real fireman earlier in the day, and to Harriet and John for organising the event.

Andy Hadley


Coffee, Cake & Connections

Around 25 local residents stopped by Sylvan Primary on 30th April 2011 to enjoy some tasty homemade cakes, to meet each other and to raise funds for a potential wildlife friendly community garden. Between the refreshments and the enticing raffle prizes, including two day passes at the Haven Spa and a big golden box of Lush goodies, we raised over £80 toward our goal of £300 for a full-scale wildlife survey of Turner’s Nursery. Not a bad start! More importantly, we got to meet each other and start to share our ideas about how we might create a community garden together.

A lot of people have been asking me, what are ‘they’ (the council) going to do with the spit of land known as Turner’s Nursery. It seems to me that what happens depends on what ‘we’ (the residents) decide to do. Both Sylvan and Branksome Heath headteachers have given their support for the vision of a space for school children and adult residents to grow food and to enjoy and wildlife. And many, many local residents are keen to enhance this bit of land. This large field could be many things for many people and for wildlife. Of course, there will be challenges: learning to work together to grow food, protecting the site from vandalism, working with the bored local youth who might be attracted to damaging things and maybe more. There will also be joys, as the people who work together at Tatnam Organic Patch can tell you. In fact, I went down there myself the day after the coffee morning to plant herbs, do some reading, catch up with old friends and enjoy the sunshine, trees and fresh air. It was a beautiful way to spend a sunny afternoon!

If you’re looking for inspiration, to imagine what a community garden in the heart of Upper Parkstone might look like, you might want to check out a couple of local open days coming up. As part of the Bournemouth & Poole Big Green Fortnight ( ), both the Tatnam Organic Patch and Mark Spencer’s forest garden will be open to the public. More details on those below.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on some possible designs for the site for all of you to look at and comment on. If you have any thoughts or expertise to share, please feel free to get in touch!


Jamie Heckert
Friends of Turner’s Nursery

Town Forest Garden Open Day

Sun 22 May 11am-4pm Free

42A Gorleston Road, Branksome, BH12 1NW
Visit an unusual and inspiring ‘forest garden’ designed to encourage wildlife in an urban setting. Over 100 varieties of trees and shrubs. Light refreshments. Stall in aid of WWF.
Mark Spencer 01202 760621

Tatnam Oranic Patch Open Day

Sat 28 May 11am-4pm £1 donation

Tatnam Organic Patch,
Sherrin Close, Poole
BH15 3DZ
An opportunity to visit this thriving half-acre urban community garden and organic allotment in the heart of Poole, recently adopted as a learning centre by the UK Permaculture Association.
Mark Spencer, 01202 760621, or
Gary Finch, 01202 679517,

Story of Stuff – Canford Heath

25th April 2011

Our second meeting at St Paul’s church on Canford Heath.

We watched the animated film ‘Story of Stuff‘ which is a great inditement of how we are trashing the planet, and since the 1950s, this spiralling consumerism of minimally durable products has been a planned aim of corporations.

Andy and Jamie gave a brief summary of what Transition Town Poole is up to, and what it means to us.

There was then a discussion around how, despite lots of advertising, we had attracted so few people to come out on a warm sunny evening.

After a quick break for tea/coffee, we split into two groups facilitated by Gary,

which way for Canford Heath

In order to help the group focus and prioritise Gary gave them some headings in which to place their thoughts

“Must Do”
  • Communicate
  • Start a Canford Heath Transition Group
  • Advertise/reach out to community groups on the heath
  • Have fun

“Should Do”

  • Sustain/continue

“Would like to do”

  • Mapping footpaths
  • walking buses

“Dont do/delegate”

  • Give up

The second group discussed a “Give and Take Event” and largely ignored Gary’s 4 categories.

A give and take event is similar to Freecycle on the internet, or a car-boot sale without the money. Set up an event, have people bring stuff and take other stuff away if they want to. Have arrangements to recycle or bin whatever is left at the end of the day. Both Bournemouth and Christchurch have these happening or planned, but none in Poole so far as we know.

We discussed the various elements, and arranged some actions;

  • Contact Poole Council to see if they have any events planned, or would support us – ANDY
  • Contact Asda with a view to using a corner of their car-park – TREVOR

– possibility of church hall as a backup venue

– idea to programme a series monthly Mid July- Aug – Sept

  • See Bournemouth Events – Kinson St Andrew’s Church, 4th June – CHERRY

– Beaufort Road, Southbourne 21st May- JOHN

  • Advertising the event – tannoy in Asda, Canford Heath Link magazine, A-frames, advertise on Freecycle etc
  • Bournemouth Borough Website – has details of how it works and 7 dates for the rest of 2011
  • W&S Recycling goods at the end of the day
  • Turlin Moor – Bike repair and reuse.
  • Dorset Reclaim – what might they take (furniture etc) – JOHN
  • Produce a leaflet on waste chain & TT Poole to give out at an event – TREVAN to gather info.

Other possible venues around borough – Baiter was mentioned -tie in potentially with garden waste recycling.


Second annual litterpick along path by Turners Field

Friends of Turner’s had a successful litterpick on Saturday 23rd April. Fourteen people picked up 17 bags of rubbish and the Turner’s Nursery perimeter hedge and cycle path looked a lot cleaner when we’d finished.

Litter pickers on path by Turners Field

Litter pickers on path by Turners Field

At the end, the Borough of Poole took away our collected rubbish. Our next event is a coffee morning on Sat 3oth April, at Syvian First School 10-12 noon.

Jamie and collected litter

Jamie and collected litter

In celebration of Dorset Food Week (which involves events films and food tasting all around Dorset during the last week of October)

Transition Poole invites you to an evening of “Film, Food and Friendly Discussion

Thursday 28th October
at Ashley Road Methodist Church Hall, Ashley Road, Parkstone, Poole 7.15pm

We will show the inspiring and beautiful film “A Farm for the Future” in which wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking looks at transforming her family farm in Devon into a low-energy farm for the future and discovers that nature holds the key. (50 min)

Please bring a plate of food to share.
See whether you can create an interesting plate of food based on ingredients sourced from within 30 miles of where you live. Or use a traditional Dorset recipe. Or home-grown produce.

Soft drinks provided (no alcohol).

Free entry but donations will be welcomed.

If possible, please send me a quick email (by Tues 26th) letting me know what food and how many friends you intend to bring so that we can plan.

Any queries: Call Harriet on 01202 735758 or Helen 01202 741148

Please forward invite to friends and colleagues and networks.

There were Three Big Lunches in Poole as advertised via the worldwide map on – all had Poole Transition folk involved in getting them going. 

Sue and Ian ran an event for their street last year, FeltCon Communty Group near Constitution Hill. This year, Sue reports that they had good fun again. 38 people across the entire age range came, and the event ended with a game of giant Jenga. 

Jenga at Poole Big Lunch

Jenga at Poole Big Lunch


Andy and Clare hosted the “Heart of Stanley Green” lunch. We had 18 people come from Stanley Green Road, Hiley Road, Oakfield Road, and Vicarage Road. Many of them had not met before, and though we’ve been here for 18 years, I recognised few faces. Good chatter and far too much good food in the sunshine. 

Big Lunch Cooks at Stanley Green

Stanley Green Big Lunch Cooking underway


Emily and Paul set the Poole Old town lunch going. 

There’s an entry and some pictures on their website at 

Paul says : We had a good day – not massive numbers but great atmosphere and really appreciated by all who came – some possible contacts for the Children’s Centre garden.

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