Otherwise known as SoberNewts

Soberton Down Work Parties - Volunteers Welcome!

Regular work parties on a Tuesday morning throughout the winter have cleared all the patches of scrub on the main slopes, taken out re-growth of areas cut last year and cut access channels through the scrub along the bottom of the slope. A team of volunteers from the South Downs National Park boosted our efforts enormously with a couple of  one day assaults on the thickets along the pathway up to the Down. We are extremely grateful for their help and hope to welcome them back later this year.

Volunteers have worked in all weathers, but mainly bright sunshine, supported by Dexter cattle from Mark Black Farming during the winter months. The most recent sessions have included ragwort-pulling (see pic below) and butterfly and insect surveys.

A track along the top of the Down and an old diagonal track running up from the slope at the back of Birds Eye View now make it possible for visitors to enjoy the Downland flowers and orchids. For full details see our progress report here                                                 


SoberNewts 2015 Report For a full summary of our  work over the past 18 months plus lots of pictures click here 

Aquatic Survey Newtown March 2104 The full survey can be read here

Moth Surveys 2015 click here 2013 click here  2012 click here  2011 click here 

Opening up the moth trap (left) and an elephant hawk moth (right) 

About SoberNewts

We are a group of conservation enthusiasts who help maintain some of our area’s sites of special interest such as Soberton Down - a local Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, or SINC -  local woodland and the village pond. Our expertise comes from chairman, Dr Richard Osmond and secretary Dr Nigel Johnson – both highly qualified natural scientists who ensure excellent stewardship of our natural environment.

In 2011 Soberton and Newtown Conservation Group was delighted  to receive a Mayor’s Award for Volunteers at a ceremony in Winchester in recognition of its service to the community and its important work in monitoring and protecting the local environment.

Known locally as "SoberNewts”  our meetings are divided between practical tasks such as clearing weed from the village pond and clearing blackthorn from Soberton Down and sessions where we enjoy and learn more about the local flora and fauna. For more information about Soberton Heath Pond look at our chairman Richard Osmond’s website

Our programme is included in every issue of the parish magazine and we publish details of our work parties on our Facebook page. We also have an email distribution list for up-to-date information and reminders about our events. If you would like to be added to the distribution list send an email to 

How to Join Us: Membership rates: £2 for individual, £3 for family. You can join at one of our events or by contacting Sarah Walton, Blue Marlin, Liberty Road or email: