Bluebell Heath Project - running notes

Links: HLF, which logo to use, download  PDF of application

Volunteers interested/recruited  Record of updates and refills of leaflet stocks (in NVU, search on "$")
19th January 2012: Activating Bluebell Heath grant
23rd January 2012 email from Phil Cooper, Press Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund about press release
14th February 2012: Press releases about Bluebell Heath Project sent
16th Feb 2012: Payment request and report forms from Heritage Lottery Fund
19th February 2012: Using Veolia facility for Bluebell Heath project training course
21st February 2012 Steering Committee meeting
Project timeline
My notes on meeting including exemplar material from Steven Gregory - statements of significance, interpretation, nature trails
Official minutes
22nd February 2012: Email from Robin Youle about financial and insurance implications of Bluebell Heath project
24th February 2012: Email and phone call from Simon Braidman re. Bluebell Heath
28th February 2012: More on botanical surveying course, including the book the students will have to have
9th March 2012: My email about contractor work at Bluebell Heath and John Dobson's reply
10th March 2012 Simon Braidman and John Dobson re. Bluebell Heath
11th March 2012 Historical document by Isobel Thompson
13th March 2012: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee meeting
Milton Edwards wants to photograph the pillow mounds
John Dobson and Simon Braidman's detailed plan for the works on the site
Work towards Statement of Significance - who is responsible for what
Plant surveying course - now definitely at Bernays Hall, June 26 through 30 2012
Simon on possible bat experts
Publicity - what's to do next
Date of next meeting - 27th April 2012, 7:30 PM, at the tithe barn, Headstone Manor
Official minutes
14th March 2012: GIGL data for Stanmore Common
17th March 2012 Article in Optima magazine
18th March 2012 Working party at Stanmore Common - Simon's report
20th March 2012: Emails to possible contractors for Bluebell Heath work and follow-up
20th March 2012: Simon/Steve meeting about educational materials etc.
Information board
20th March 2012: Robin Youle about how the Heritage Lottery Fund grant operates
25th March 2012: Advert for Harrow Observer
25th March 2012: Email to everyone about logging volunteer time
1st April 2012: Working party at Stanmore Common - Simon Braidman's report
3rd April 2012: message to everyone about first draft of new leaflet
4th April 2012: message from Simon to Alina Congreve about student study at Bluebell Heath
6th April 2012: Date of next meeting
9th April 2012: Harrow Community Radio
11th April 2012: Feedback on draft of on-site information board
12th April 2012: Geology, from Dave Brook of the Harrow and Hillingdon Geology Society, for the Statement of Significance
15th April 2012: Roller banner display for museum
15th April 2012: Simon Braidman's report on working party
18th April 2012: John Hollingdale re. researching old maps of Stanmore Common
19th April 2012: Robin Youle and Tim Killick of HLF on use of the funds - must we choose lowest bid; can we use exceess for training
23rd April 2012 Interview with Harrow Community Radio; Minibus hire from Harrow Community Transport
26th April 2012: Friends of Bentley Priory AGM: Link to PDF
2nd May 2012: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee meeting
9th May 2012 My email to Chris Slack
12th May 2012: Young apple in Bluebell Heath
13th May 2012: Steve's guided walk notes
13th May 2012: Email to a fourth contractor, Alan Scott of Complete Ecology Ltd.
16th May 2012: Email to Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters saying yes, do the work
22nd May 2012: Chris Slack quote for everything except heather seed spreading
5th June 2012 On-site information panel, submission to Contract Signs
5th June 2012: More work on pull-up poster
8th June 2012: More discussion about training courses
10th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party
17th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party
24th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party
26-30 June 2012 Plant identification course
2nd July 2012: More pull-up banners? Location?
3rd July 2012: Bluebell Heath Management Committee meeting
8th July 2012: Email to Tim Killick at the Heritage Lottery Fund
8th July 2012: Working Party report - installation of on-site boards
22nd July 2012: Another introductory walk, and results from feedback forms
25th July 2012: Simon on a pipistrelle roost in Flushing Wood, within the scrape area
26th July 2012: Simon's report of working party at Stanmore Common
1st August 2012: Printing pull-up banner at PIP Kingsbury
5th August 2012: Simon's report on working party at Stanmore Common
8th August 2012: Simon's report on working party at Stanmore Common
8th to 10th August 2012: Pesticide course at Capel Manor
18th August 2012: Simon's report on working party
23rd August 2012: Bat Survey by Simon Braidman
23rd August 2012: Simon's report on working party
29th August 2012: Simon Braidman report on Stanmore Common working party
30th and 31st August 2012: Tree survey by Simon Braidman
31st August 2012: Mark Towers from T + T Earthhmatters about the work, and my response
31st August 2012: Survey of the site by Simon Braidman and John Dobson
1st September 2012: email from Simon Braidman
4th September 2012: Bat report from Simon Braidman
5th September 2012: Report for Assessment Visit from Simon Braidman
6th September 2012: Bat report from Simon Braidman
9th September 2012 Working Party report from Simon
11th September 2012 Management Committee Meeting
12th September 2012: Report on working party from Simon Braidman
14th September 2012: Flushing Wood tree survey by Simon Braidman
16th September Working party report from Simon Braidman
16th September 2012: Guided walk (Fungus Foray) led by Simon Braidman and Elizabeth Stainthorpe
18th September 2012: Sourcing the heather seed, possible extra walks
24th September 2012: New grants officer at Heritage Lottery Fund: Laura Butcher
26th September 2012: Working Party report from Simon Braidman
28th September 2012: Distributing pull-up banners
30th September 2012: "The Challenge" at Stanmore Common
3rd October 2012: Visit to finalize areas to be cleared
7th October 2012: Display boxes for specimens
7th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
10th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
13th October 2012: Three more guided walks
14th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
16th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
17th October 2012: Report on Working Party by Simon Braidman
19th October 2012: Visit by Simon Braidman
20th October 2012: Report on work party by Simon Braidman
21st October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
22nd October 2012: work started
23rd October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman
24th October 2012 Site visit by Simon Braidman
26th October 2012: Steven Gregory is resigning
29th October 2012: Simon Braidman notes on meeting with Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters
31st October 2012 Simon Braidman notes on working party
4th November 2012: Work party cancelled
7th November 2012: Site visit by Simon Braidman
9th November 2012: Site visit by Simon Braidman
13th November 2012: Bluebell Heath Management committee  Official minutes from Margaret Huitson
14th November 2012: Simon Braidman notes on work party, with notes on the Fox Earth and future work
18th November 2012: Vanessa Marlowe notes on working party and new volunteers: Fernandez family, and Marnie
26th November 2012: Simon on TCV workday
27th November 2012: Simon on TCV workday
28th November 2012: Simon report on working party
2nd December 2012: Simon Braidman on working party at Witling Ride
3rd December 2012: Simon Braidman on working party
10th December 2012: Simon report on TCV work part
12th December 2012: Report on working party
16th December 2012: Report on working party (includes nice fungus images)
6th January 2013: Report on working party
1st Feb 2013: Email report from Simon Braidman - contractor work complete
2nd Feb 2013 Completion of work; message to committee about invoice and meeting on Feb 12th 2013.
2nd Feb 2013: Looking around Stanmore Common prior to Woodcraft Folk working party: horse barrier, Bluebell Heath
2nd February 2013: Woodcraft Folk
3rd February 2013: Simon Braidman on working party
7th Feb 2013 Email from Sarah Beazant - she does not like what we have done! 8th March 2013: First Aid course, John Winter
12th February 2013: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee
17th February 2013: Simon Braidman report on working party
20th February 2013: Simon Braidman report on working party
24th March 2013: Generating report to Laura Butcher at the Heritage Lottery Fund
29th March 2013: Creating postcard for feedback   feedback responses
15th April 2013: Spreadsheet of volunteer time
15th April 2013: On-line Progress Report Form for Heritage Lottery Fund
30th April 2013: Bluebell Heath commitee meeting
1st May 2013: Working party in Bluebell Heath
4th May 2013: Flower walk at Bluebell Heath
10th May 2013: Bat Walk at Stanmore Common
25th June 2013: Costs of Nature Trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory
15th July 2013: Alison Torbitt from Harrow Museum
17th July 2013: Sycamore trees
Working party 21st July 2013
Working party 24th July 2013
Working party 28th July 2013
Working party 29th July 2013
Working party 4th August 2013
Working party 7th August 2013
Working party (Simon spraying Asulox on his own) 8th August 2013
10th August 2013: Simon at Bluebell Heath
11th August 2013: Extra work party at Bluebell Heath
18th August 2013: Working party in Bluebell Heath
21st August 2013: Work Party in Bluebell Heath
8th October 2013: Steering Committee meeting
8th October 2013: Financial summary from  Robin - link to PDF
22nd October 2013: Visit of Acid Grassland group - trying to set it up
Initial arrangements
Notes on the visit and messages immediately after the event
23rd October 2013: Power scythe
17th November 2913: Mitzvah Day
7th December 2013 Guided walk led by Neville Day
1st February 2014 and onward: Progress report to Heritage Lottery Fund
19th February 2014 Images from Simon Braidman
5th March 2014: Payment request, and notes and correspondance on finances
12th March 2014: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee Meeting
20th March 2014: Simon Braidman is talking about the Bluebell Heath project to the "Emeritus Club" at Hillingdon Golf Club this evening.
4th April 2014: John Dobson on Salix repens (Creeping willow)
15th April 2014: My email to Laura Butcher at HLF re money
16th July 2014: Steering Committee meeting
16th July 2014: Email from Alison Torbitt (but not read until after I sent out the messages below dated 20th-21st July)
17th July 2014: Message from John Dobson on length of nature trails
20th July 2014: Email to Alison Torbitt
21st July 2014: Email to Margaret Huitson and John Hollingdale
21st July 2014: Email to Simon Braidman, Neville Day and John Winter
21st July 2014: Email to Pat Clarke and Anne Swinson
25th July 2014: Old bottle found by John Winter
26th July 2014: Walking and photographing nature trail
20th August 2014: Email to Shelly Signs re. nature trail roundels
20th August 2014: Email to Heritage Timber re. nature trail bollards
22nd August 2014: John Winter on exhibition
3rd September 2014: John Bugler chainsaw course
7th September 2014: Budget adjustment to allow ordering nature trail hardware
23rd September 2014: Meeting with Hazel Ogilvie, Harrow history archivist
1st October 2014: Voluunteer time on Bluebell Heath project
15th October 2014 Bluebell Heath Committee meeting
17th October 2014: Alison Torbitt on the exhibition
28th October 2014: Using Hailey for childrens activities
28th October 2014: Message to Alison re exhibition
Message from Alison Torbitt 28th October 2014 - style guide and logo
12th November 2014: Can TCV dig holes for nature trail bollards?
30th November 2014: Barbara Lanning on the Kiln and gorse collection at Stanmore Common
16th December 2014: Test of laquer on Scots Pine and gorse
15th January 2015: Private View at museum
22nd January 2015: First draft of roundel art
23rd January 2015: End of grant
Beginning 28th February 2015: Information panel for Nature Trail
29th July 215: Opening ceremony for nature trail

Volunteers interested/recruited

John Bugler Emailed Steve B. 17th March 2012. Came to 1st April working party
David Green Emailed Steve B. 17th March 2012. Came to 18th March and 1st April working parties 
Sue Kabel Emailed Steve B. 21 March 2012 - especially interested in plant surveying. She emailed 29th March 2012: Dear Steve; Thanks for your email. I would be very interested in plant identification course in June, I have done some before but it was a long time ago. Let me know what I need to do to be included. I hope to Join the working parties soon although it might be after the school holidays now and weekdays are better for me. Thank you for all the info. Best wishes Sue Kabel

She intends to come on the working party on Wednesday 12th September
David Talbot Has met Simon B. Is interested in the chainsaw training.
Molly Heal Simon says has come on one work party (March 2012?). Interested in all types of training: chainsaw, pesticide, botany and indeed brushcutter were that available.
Bob Hitchenor He contacted Simon B expressing intereste in the project as a whole but has not been seen in person yet (4th April 2012).
Rajinder Heyer Came to 1st April working party, has been before
Rex Dunwoody Came to 1st April working party.


19th January 2012 Activating Bluebell Heath grant

Tim Killick emailed: Dear Steve,  I’ve put the formal letter confirming your grant award in the post, along with a document which outlines the monitoring procedure and some advice on press releases, etc. Just to confirm the next steps: you’ll need to go into the online portal (where you submitted the application) and complete the permission to start and payment request form. Once complete, this needs to be printed out and signed by all of the people listed on p. 5 and by the person on p. 7, and then the hard copy sent to me. We also need confirmation of your bank details (bank statement, paying-in slip, or such). There’s also an acknowledgement form, which is for ordering HLF-branded publicity items, if necessary. In addition, David Corby needs to print out and sign the attached letter on behalf of Harrow Council, and return the hard copy to me (the standard terms and conditions that relate to the award are also attached). Please do let me know if you have any questions. Best wishes, Tim

On the online portal there are two forms "in progress":
    Acknowledgement Form
    Permission to Start and Payment Request Form (Delivery round)
From Tim's email, the Acknowledgement Form is only in case I need it. For the other, on Jan 29th 2012 I emailed Tim and Steven Gregory independently to ask about the question "Is your project associated with a heritage attraction or facility that receives visitors for at least six months of the year?" I guess I should answer Yes, but I want to make sure that this does not have unwanted implications.

Tim also attached two documents:
 "4041 Bind Owner of Property to YH Contract.doc" and "YH_Terms_of_Grant_April_08.pdf" I've saved both in "HLF material". I edited the "4041 Bind Owner of Property to YH Contract.doc" to read "For and on behalf of the London Borough of Harrow", created a PDF and sent this by email on Jan 29th 2012 to Dave Corby with instructions to print it, sign it and return the paper copy to me. I will start harassing after a week if I have not recieved the letter back.

On the same day a snailmail package was sent. This contained the following documents:
Notification of award, signed by Jane Stancliffe
Standard terms of grant
Managing your grant
Picture this - taking photos of HLF-funded projects
Announcing your grant to the media
Template for media photo call
Template for small grant release
Template for notes to editors

I received the letter accepting the grant conditions from Dave Corby on Tuesday Feb 7th 2012 and submitted the Permission to Start and Payment Request Form on 8th Feb 2012.

23rd January 2012 email from Phil Cooper, Press Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund about press release

Dear Stephen Bolsover,  May I assist in drafting a news release about your Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the project Restoration of Bluebell Heath? As Harrow is a priority London borough for the HLF we would like if at all possible to promote your award as an incentive to other local organisations to apply for funding support. I am happy to send you a draft for checking, amendment and to add in a quote on behalf of Harrow Heritage Trust.

Kind regards 

Phil Cooper
Press Officer
Heritage Lottery Fund
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR

Phone: 07889 949173

Email: phillipc[uppercase']hlf.org.uk

I replied on 29th January 2012: Dear Phil; I'm working on our press release now, and will submit a draft to you. Are you thinking of a distinct release about awards for Harrow in general? That sounds fine; as you suggest, please send me a draft for checking and I'll suggest a quote to come from us. Best Wishes    Steve

He replied on 6th February 2012: What we were thinking of was including mention of the fact that Harrow is a priority area within the release about your project, possibly by fashioning a quote including this message. If you would care to send me your draft when ready I will raise an appropriate HLF quote and add any additional information in as Notes to Editors.

Robin Youle wrote "As regards press releases, you should consider the glossy freebie magazine "Optima" which is circulated in the northern part of Harrow (Stanmore, Pinner and Hatch End) and South Hertfordshire including Watford and Bushey (it's HQ). I will drop a copy through your door at the weekend."

Steven Gregory w
rote: "I was wondering is whether, if Harrow Council are collaborating with the volunteer warden Simon Braidman and assistant wardens David Bailey and John Dobson in maintaining the Common, it might be worthy of seeing if the Council's comms department can help get it publicised around?The other thing I was wondering is whether, if Harrow Council are collaborating with the volunteer warden Simon Braidman and assistant wardens David Bailey and John Dobson in maintaining the Common, it might be worthy of seeing if the Council's comms department can help get it publicised around?"

14th February 2012 Press releases about Bluebell Heath Project sent

Emailed to:
Ian Proctor at Harrow Observer
Suzy Talbot at Harrow Observer
Anna Slater at Harrow Times <aslater[uppercase']london.newsquest.co.uk>
She phoned 15th Feb 2012 and took interview; I should check text on online version of paper; photo session arranged for Tuesday 21st February.
Optima magazine <enquiries[uppercase']optimamagazine.co.uk>
Harrow People <communications[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk>
Chris Hewett at Watford Observer <chewett[uppercase']london.newsquest.co.uk>

16th Feb 2012: Payment request and report forms from Heritage Lottery Fund

They emailed me to say these forms were available on the web site, but when I look these are apparently forms I would fill in after a particular period, e.g. a year. I have put a note in the diary to revisit these in May 2013.

19th February 2012: Using Veolia facility for Bluebell Heath project training course

I emailed Julie Scott <Education[uppercase']veoliawater.co.uk>: 19th February 2012: Dear Julie; I wrote to you in September 2011 about the possibility of using your facilities to run a training course for up to five 6th form students in botanical surveying, with the actual training provided by us. We were successful in our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds to support this idea, so would like to go ahead. Is there a week in June 2012 during which one of your classrooms is available for the mornings? If no, how about the afternoons? Can I confirm that, as below, the cost will be 50 GBP + VAT per morning (or afternoon)? I'll phone you on Tuesday (Feb 21st) to discuss this. Best Wishes     Steve
21st February 2012 Steering Committee meeting

Before the meeting: I sent this email out on 19th February:

Dear Bluebell Heath steering committee;

A reminder that we meet on the coming Tuesday, February 21st, at 7:30 PM the Civic Centre – provisionally in Committee Room 3.



<Link to this timeline as a PDF> How we are organized and what we discuss is for the committee to decide but to set the scene I attach a timeline showing what we should do and when. To my mind the most urgent items on this are:

Item 1, “Alert the public to the project and to the educational opportunities offered within it.” We have sent out the press release to local papers and tried to make sure that the resulting stories include the fact that we offer training and give a link to our web site, but these are unlikely to be noticed by our target audience. We need to generate a poster panel for the Harrow Museum, and we have funds for a quarter page advert in the Harrow Observer. How can we phrase these to attract real volunteers who will benefit from the training that the grant will pay for?

Item 4: “Generate a statement of significance.” We have until the end of the year to complete this, but it will have input from many people and therefore will take time and need an overall coordinator.

Item 8: “Training of five volunteers in plant surveying.” If there volunteers are to survey the site this summer, they need to be trained in June, so need to be recruited as soon as possible. I have contacted Veolia to start firming up the use of their facility.

Item 12: The actual contractor work. We need to firm up the two quotations we have already, and get a third.

Item 15: “Evaluation.” What we said is:

“Everyone involved in the project will contribute to an online project diary (blog) which will document the impact of the project on the site and all interactions with the public and volunteers. Evaluation forms as part of guided walks, together with follow-up surveys, will assess the success of the project in making the public aware of the geology and natural history of Stanmore Common, of the recreational opportunities it provides, and the responsibilities of visitors in preserving this resource. A redacted version of the diary (removing, for example, any commercially sensitive material relating to the contractors) will be published on our web site as the project proceeds and a full summary will be printed for those archives that need a paper copy.”

There’s a lot there! Who will be on the Evaluation Steering Group?


 Other things we need to talk about...

Elliot Bertram has gone - do we need another publicity officer?

How often will we meet?

Finances - £19,200 has been released and should appear in Harrow Heritage Trust bank account.

Reports - the "Managing your grant" document states "You must monitor the progress of your project and fill in a progress report online at the intervals agreed with your Grants Officer." but I don't think any such period has been agreed. Unless I'm told otherwise I'll report after a year, that is, in May 2013. I've put a note in the diary to that effect.

Notes on the meeting: Official minutes from Margaret Huitson

The advert in the Harrow Observer about training possibilities should appear in early May.

Evaluation:
could put comment cards on the panels on the site for people to post back to us.

Simon suggested that Vanessa Marlowe might agree to be Publicity Officer (I'm not sure whether this means for this project or for whole of Forum), he will talk to her.

Survey course: since Simon, David and possibly Vanessa will want to do this, can it be on weekends? I emailed Julie Scott at Veolia asking if this was possible.

Seed sowing: John Dobson was negative on this. Better to see what comes up.

Steven Gregory mentioned the Local History Library, librarian Hazel Ogilvie, which is in the Civic Centre.

The most likely artefacts to be found while scraping the soil are worked flints. Isobel Thompson is happy to be there during this process to look for such objects. We should contact the Harrow Hill Trust and via them the local group who did the dig at the gibbet site. Robin Youle said Judith Mills was the person to contact and via her Don Cooper who did the dig. There is a global email contact address on the Harrow Hill Trust website, but before I email it I should get a better idea of what the committee thinks I should ask.

Display panel at Harrow Museum: Steven Gregory suggested using a pull-up display.

Statement of Significance: Steven Gregory felt that this was what should be worked on first since it underpinned many other items.

Isobel Thompson will be responsible for history

Botany - we have the existing survey by John Dobson

Other biology: Margaret Huitson and the Harrow Natural History Society will be responsible. Denis Vickers will give us GIGL data.

Geology: Margaret Huitson and John Hollingdale will be responsible, via contacts at the Harrow and Hillingdon Geology Society.

Steven Gregory provided a number of Statement of Significance examples and other files:

Other points raised, not specifically about the Bluebell Heath project:

The management plan dates from 1998-1999 and needs to be updated.

We really should be able to get GIGL data -  John Hollingdale knows the person at GIGL to contact.
I looked back (link) and I do have a login: Stephen Bolsover password hirta7454 Verification Code: 0-253. This is still valid and gets me in. WIMBY does not get records in high spatial resolution. It looks as if the way to get the high resolution data is via a report. I tried submitting a request (on 23rd February 2012) for a report for a 2km radius centred on Furze Field, Bentley Priory - this should include all of  Bentley Priory, Stanmore Common and Stanmore Country Park, plus most of Harrow Weald Common. We'll see what we get. Should get it within 10 days, that is, by Sunday 4th March.


Official minutes from Margaret Huitson

Bluebell Heath Steering Committee

 Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 21st February 2012   at Harrow Civic Centre commencing at 7.30pm

 

Present: Simon Braidman (Chair), David Bailey,  Stephen Bolsover (Project Manager),                 John Dobson,   Steven Gregory,  John Hollingdale, Margaret Huitson,  Isobel Thompson,

Denis Vickers and Robin Youle.

Apologies received: Vanessa Marlowe

 
Members of the Committee introduced themselves and Margaret agreed to take the minutes.

Steve has produced a timeline for the 20 elements of the bid.

It was agreed to set up two sub-committees as follows:

The Education Materials Steering Group and the Evaluation Steering Group

The Education Materials Steering Group would be: Simon Braidman, David Bailey, Steven Gregory, Margaret Huitson and Denis Vickers.

The Evaluation Steering Group would be: Simon Braidman, David Bailey, John Dobson and other Stanmore Common wardens.

The two groups will meet regularly and report back to the main committee.

 The 20 items on the bid were discussed.

Item 1 Alert public: The issue of publicity was discussed. Unfortunately the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum’s Publicity officer has resigned. Steve has already produced 2 press releases and will handle aspects of publicity. Steve G. suggested that we work with the Council Communications Team. A single poster panel would be displayed at the museum. Steve G suggested the use of a pull up panel.

Item 2 Photographs: These should be sent to Steve B.

Item 3 Create Panels: This would be done by the relevant subgroup and it was a priority to get the panels on site.

Item 6 Leaflet 1st update: Again this would be carried out by the subgroup.

Item 7 and 14 Seed collection and seed sowing: This matter was discussed and in general the cleared areas will be left to regenerate. However it was agreed that there was a role for working groups to collect and scatter, for example heather seed, as set out in the bid.

Item 8 and 9 Survey training and Botanical surveys: John D. will be running the training course to train the volunteer surveyors. Volunteers will include Simon, David and other wardens. The training will include 5 mornings at the Veolia Education Centre which could possibly be at weekends.

Item 10 and 11: Herbicide and Chainsaw training: Two volunteers would receive training in the use of herbicides and one volunteer would receive chainsaw training. It was noted that the cost for all training was included in the bid. An advert in the local press will highlight opportunities for volunteers and should appear about a month before the training for plant surveying in June.

Item 12 Commercial clearance work: It was noted that this was where a substantial part of the funds would be spent. Two quotes had already been obtained and a third was now needed. It was agreed that where possible a member of the committee should be present when the clearance is being carried out and in this way the presence of unusual finds and plants could be monitored. It was agreed that Steve B will contact Harrow on the Hill Trust in regard to this.

Item 15 Evaluation: This will be coordinated by the Evaluation Steering Group.

Item 16 Interpretation manual and object collection: It was proposed to initially build up a small collection of items to be used on guided walks. Steve G mentioned that old photographs formed part of the Local History collection at the Civic Centre Library.

Item 17 Bracken and herbicide: A proposed timing was indicated on the timeline.

Item 18 Nature trail:  This would strongly feature Bluebell Heath. Denis Vickers will help in any way he can.

Item 19 Permanent panel: The relevant subgroup will be working on this in due course.

Item 20 Exhibition: The eventual aim is to hold an exhibition at Harrow Museum. Steve G recommended that we begin with panels which can be displayed at various venues around the Borough. The museum exhibition space was quite large and in this way the material could be built up through 2013/2014. Steve G offered to sort out the venues but the committee would need to actually transport the panels.

 

Item 4 Statement of significance: Steve G reported that he has several samples of these and he would pass them on to Steve B to circulate. It was agreed to work on the statement of significance and contributions should be sent to Steve B.

Isabel will work on the historical aspects; John Dobson will cover botany, entomology and mosses; and Margaret will liaise with Natural History Society regarding birds and fungi. Denis highlighted the need to address the geology and Margaret will contact relevant experts regarding this.

 
Management Plan

Simon raised the issue of the Management plan which was now out of date. Denis and John D can assist on this.

Finance

It was reported that the Harrow Heritage Trust should receive half of the money immediately. The timeline showed clearly when expenses would be incurred. It was important that expense claims, which should be submitted through Steve B, should include the relevant item number.

 The meeting ended at 9.30 pm and the next meeting of the Bluebell Heath steering committee will be held on Tuesday, 13th March at 7.30pm.

The Education Materials Steering Group will meet on Tuesday, 20th March at 7.30pm.


22nd February 2012: Email from Robin Youle about financial and insurance implications of Bluebell Heath project

Steve,

Further to my comment on insurance last night, I have checked our BTCV policy which expires 0n 31 May 2012. We have public liability cover of £5 million and up to £20K for death or very serious personal accident. The cover is based on up to 500 project days per annum, ie the number of volunteers times the number of days of activity. In other words a project day is "a project day per person".  We are not covered for property, tools, materials and stores.We effectively insure ourselves through HHT's financial strength.
 
As regards the Bluebell project, there is little to worry about as regards our 'property'. We will erect/purchase/create signs and panels and notice boards £636 and 10 pull-up screens £672. We will have to hope these are not damaged or stolen. If so we will have to replace.
 
As regards materials, The asulox is the only item of value £885, and I assume you are storing this in a safe place-your home.  I assume our annual volunteer project days, both normal and bluebell project days added together, will not exceed 500.
 
The outstanding item will be the subcontract work valued at £30K including VAT. We must ensure the chosen firm has adequate insurance to cover to cover all claims that may arise on their work, in particular employers liability and public liability. I take it that you will see to this, as we do not want to be made responsible for accidents or thefts relating to their work.
 
Robin

24th February 2012: Email and phone call from Simon Braidman re. Bluebell Heath:

Hi Steve,  I thought I'd better get some thoughts put down that have run through my head since the meeting on Tuesday.
 
1. The 0.6 hectare scrape :- There has been some concern expressed about the scrape. The exact words of the pre-application document refers to leaf litter removal. Is this is the same as top soil removal?  As regards the exact location of the scrape I assume it is in the adjacent woodland ( The western section of Flushing wood) located to the south east of New Heath. How much will the site of works be defined by the existing ecology?

2. Bats and reptiles.
Bats may be present using the trees of  secondary woodland. David and myself will do the best we can to check the area. We went to the Harrow and Middx BAt group meeting last night and Dr. Jenny Jones ( a bat consultnat)  said we should be getting a someone to check this out. It may be possible to use the consultant who is scheduled to survey the common this spring in reagards to Warren lane street lighting. There is an issue here because it is the Lighting Engineer Dept who have been forced to hire these consultants and they are most displeased. I suggest that Denis Vickers approach them. ( On a seperate point i am concerned that the results from the survey may not even be fed back to Denis or GIGL or the wardens).
In a subsequent phone call Simon said that he would talk to various possible bat experts about doing a survey - hopefully for free. I sent him the contact details for the guy who came out and surveyed from the periphery of Wood Farm: Keith Barker, his email then was  <KeithBarkerB[uppercase']8shelley.freeserve.co.uk>.
Reptiles- David and myself will be checking the area and it needs checking now as temperatures have risen massively. Reptile hibenacular are very sensitive to disturbance  and snakes are very loyal to them.

3. Aspen - there are some mature aspen in Flushing Wood the woodland to the north of Bluebell Heath. This is a critical species as it is the foodplant of the sites rarest moth Light Orange Underwing.

4. I will not be waiting for the next meeting to advance the interpretation and I will be coming up with ideas. I will send out an email for those on the Interpretation sub group to put some ideas on paper.
On the phone Simon explained that he meant we should come with ideas for the boards to go up on the site.

5. The guided walks. I did not cover this at the meeting (my mistake). I have on my existing programe stanmore common walks on sunday 18th March (outside the lottery project time window), Botany walk sunday 17th june, Friday 27th July Bat walk, Sunday 16th September Fungi,. I propose an extra walk to introduce the project on Sunday 27th May. This is just shortly after the project start. It will be a chance for all the stakeholders to have another look at the site. It will also be  a chance for everyone to see the pre-existing features. It will also act as an advertisement for the general public.
On the phone Simon said that he'd like one walk to be mainly aimed at the steering group, this seems like a good idea.

6. Publicity Officer - I will be apporaching Vanessa Malowe today about publicity officer.
 On the phone Simon also mentioned a friend who was interested in coming on working parties and has acted as a publicity officer..
Simon

28th February 2012: More on botanical surveying course

Email from Julie at Veolia on 27th Feb 2012 said that weekends are possible. I emailed the group: Hi all - as below. 2 full days a week apart would seem appropriate, allowing skills learned at each indoor session to be used in the following week. Shall I suggest Saturday June 9th and Saturday June16th, with second best Sunday June 10th and Sunday June 17th, or a combination of one Saturday and one Sunday? Best Wishes    Steve

John Hollingdale emailed: We have down that Simon is leading a walk on SC 1.45 to 3pm on Sunday 17th June. We could do any of these dates but HNHS  is doing a plant ID at Roxbourne Rough on the morning of Saturday 9th June.

On the 3rd of March John Dobson sent details of the identification book and hand lens students should have. He also wrote "We will obviously need to discuss further what else the participants need to bring along (suitable clothing, packed lunches etc.) and what HNCF needs to provide (nominated first-aider, PCs, specimen bags etc etc.). Cheers, John Dobson"

9th March 2012: My email about contractor work at Bluebell Heath and John Dobson's reply

My email: Dear all - I've been diverted from spending time on the Bluebell Heath project because of having to fight the Pear Wood sell-off, but I did start to generate messages to contractors to get formal quotes - but then I realized we were not sure of what we want. John Dobson argued that we should not reseed scraped areas with heather seed but simply allow the seed bank to germinate. I would argue that the public support for the project was very much contingent on our statement that we would get a an attractive field of heather - New Heath, without the heather sowing, would by now be mainly covered in rushes, though I agree there would be interesting plants among them, just as there are plants from the seed bank among the heather on New Heath now. When the London Acid Grassland/ Heathland working group did a tour of the site they were very impressed with New Heath and said "Any of us would be very pleased to have this on our site". I'm hope that we can decide on this question on Tuesday, then I can get three good quotes for the work.

Meanwhile - I attach a lovely article about the project that will be coming out in "Optima". I've reduced the resolution, the pictures will be better in the printed article. Best Wishes    Steve

John Dobson's reply: Dear All, I think that there seems to be a misunderstanding. I did not argue against heather seeding, but against indiscriminate seeding with grassland species and ruderals (Simon mentioned hogweed in this context). The scrape at New Heath has led to the appearance of a range of scarce and very scarce plant species (several grasses and a fern) where only historical records or no previous records exist for the site, or in some cases Harrow.  Having discussed this flora with various people, I am now reasonably confident that they all arose from existing seeds in the soil bank, and were not apparently introduced with the heather. In addition, as long as the extensive bare soil is maintained, New Heath is likely to become a very important site for soil nesting solitary bees and wasps, and due to its extent and situation, quite possibly of importance in a London context rather than just Harrow.  Bare earth is also a Harrow BAP Priority Habitat, and with good reason. The heather is of course very attractive and provides a food source for the solitary bee species etc. I am not aware of any heather-associated fauna surviving at the site, and naturally occurring heather was reduced to a handful of plants at one point before we successfully encouraged its natural regeneration over several years.  I don’t believe however that the heather seeding at New Heath has suppressed the growth of rushes; rushes have grown up en masse towards the base of the slope due to the hydrology of the area, and provide an uncommon and potentially valuable habitat in their own right. In the end, the plants which flourish in any particular area will be those which ‘want’ to grow there given the range of microhabitats and management interventions.  I have no strong objections to heather seeding, but I believe it is important to maintain a clear focus on those elements which truly elevate the quality and importance of Stanmore Common’s wildlife. In the case of New Heath these happen to be some unintended consequences of the scraping work; namely the (re-)emergence of a naturally-occurring community of a genuinely scarce and valuable acid grassland flora, and the extensive bare soil on a sheltered sunward slope. Both of these should be maintained through management (and celebrated!).  Where large-scale off-the-peg management interventions are applied to existing high quality sites, it is unsurprising that considerable detailing and nuancing must take place to ensure that any ecological benefits are genuine and not merely cosmetic, and that significant ecological harm does not occur.  It is also the case that the wildlife management of high quality sites should integrate as far as practicable the interests of all the notable flora, fauna and habitats, and I hope that the Steering Committee will continue to bear that in mind in its considerations. I hope that clarifies! Best wishes, John Dobson

10th March 2012 Simon Braidman and John Dobson re. Bluebell Heath

John Dobson and myself were out on Bluebell Heath and Flushing Wood today. We have discussed the issue and we will have a detailed map by Tuesday.

 The main principles however are:

1. To substantially reduce the scrub element of Bluebell Heath yet retain the windbreak microclimate effect

2. To identify selected trees and other ecological features they will be physically marked on the ground by paint covered stakes .

3. To produce a stoppered scrape. That is to retain a thin tree screen and then scrape behind it. The scrapings will be banked. The tree screen at the far north western produces the wind break from north westerly and westerly winds. At the south east end of the scrape where it joins Blubell Heath a small copse will be kept virtually in its entirety this  will block the far end stopping a wind tunnel effect down into Bluebell Heath.

4. woodland lying to the south of the northern path will be carved into but arcs of trees left again stopping wind chill.

5.Along the eastern edge of New heath the ground drops sharply. Trees will be retained on the high ground and removed from the lower ground.

5. Fallen timber will be left, felled trees if big enough left in situ or moved enough so as to not interfere with machine access.

6. Machine access will be along the eastern boundary across one of the bramble patches.

7. the heavy woodland belt in compartment 20a Bluebell Heath west is to be very heavily reduced. The idea is to work with the larger trees and other interesting features and center retained growth on them, then to keep a thin line of trees linking these points. This will have the effect of thinning markedly the belt of trees but keeping a windbreak. I also want to retain a tiny clump of saplings on the extreme south west corner of this main belt. This is retain some scrub component here but at a very young and manageable stage.

8. To the south of the southern path the path edges to be widened and the heavy scrub north of the turkey oak removed back to the larger tree line. which lies north of the Heathbourne stream.

9. The scrub lying in the southern section of compartment 20a to be severely reduced around the line of large oaks but keeping the existing line of the trees. That is effectively keeping remaining growth in the direction of the old oaks.

10. the woodland edge to be cut back from the southern path but keeping remaining growth running parallel to the path. John and myself believe this will achieve our objectives of reducing the scrub component dramatically but keep enough shelter so as to retain heat within the clearing.

11. John Dobson is currently producing a map of the proposed works which will be available shortly.

Here's the map (this is a reduced size image. The original is "Bluebell Heath clearance plan 12031101.jpg" saved in Maps\Stanmore Common and "SCBluebell Heath Scrub Management Map  v1_1_110312_Page_2 cropped.jpg" saved in Publicity\Posters and Notices\Bluebell heath at site board).



11th March 2012:

Dear Stephen

Attached is a report on the archaeology of the Common, which I hope will be what you need for the statement of significance (text below, link to PDF). The gist of it is that the earthworks belong to a rabbit warren which dates to at least the 17th century and may be a bit older; it is possible that the circular mound is a barrow as well, but there is no actual evidence for this apart from its position.

I have included the contact details for Kim Stabler who does the archaeological advice for the NW Londion boroughs at the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service, and have added at the end a few extracts from the Old Bailey records, which give a bit of extra colour - highwaymen, and nine-pins. (My husband tellls me that nine-pins, the traditional game, got such a bad reputation in America for typifying drunkenness and low behaviour that it was banned. So someone got round this by inventing 'an entirely new game' - ten-pin bowling.)

The Optima piece looks nice - pity it spouts all that rubbish about Cassivellaunus and the 'town' of Sulloniacae on Brockley Hill. I wish we could get the archaeology across, not antiquarian and journalistic fables which were disproved decades ago.

Regards   Isobel

The historic environment of Stanmore Common   Isobel Thompson

Report produced for Harrow Nature Conservation Forum, March 2012

Two earthworks on the Common

The entries for Stanmore Common in the Greater London Historic Environment Record (Appendix 1) are based largely upon notes on visible earthworks made by G F Cole in the late 1940s (Cole 1951). His most prominent site is marked on the current OS 1:10,000 map as a long narrow earthwork labelled Pillow Mound in the archaic lettering used for an antiquity. He identified it as a representing a rabbit warren, a rectangular mound with ‘quite well defined sides, ends and corners…surrounded by a clearly visible ditch’.

About 60m to the SW is another mound, then ‘known locally as the “Fox-Earth”’. Cole describes this as ‘tumulus-like’, sub-circular, and suggests that it could possibly be the remains of a tumulus; by this he means an artificial burial mound, which are usually late Neolithic to early Bronze Age in date (although some can be Roman).
 
In 1985 these two mounds were the subject of a measured survey, as part of the Harrow Archaeological Survey Project (Watkins 1985). The rectangular earthwork, in woodland and dense undergrowth, was plainly a pillow mound (that is, an earthwork constructed for the management of rabbits; see below). It lies on low flat ground, is 42.8m long and 8.6m wide, and has sharp corners and a continuous ditch around it. One end is very slightly rounded. The other earthwork, 60m to the SW, is in a very different location, being a prominent subcircular mound on high ground, which slopes away to the east. This one was found to be 18.2m across, not including the surrounding ditch, and 1.5m high with steeply rising sides and an almost flat top. Both form and position suggest that this could have been a burial mound (apart from the flat top, which could be a later modification), but there are other possible uses. The disturbance in the top might be due to digging into the mound in the past; it could have resulted from the installation and later removal of the timber cross trees of a post mill for turning grain into flour. As Watkins observed, this is, however, a long way from the common fields of the manor, and although a good spot to catch the wind an early mill is perhaps unlikely here (although it is not far to the east of the post-medieval windmill at Bushey Heath). Other uses might be for a beacon, or a gibbet, but there is no record of either in Stanmore. Watkins did not realise that pillow mounds can be circular, and concluded that this was most likely a burial mound unrelated to the rectangular earthwork.  Rabbit warrens do, however, often include round earthworks (Williamson 2006, 40), so although this could be an older mound adapted for the purpose (and burial mounds have often been re-used for other purposes, from windmills to World War II anti-aircraft guns) there is at present no real evidence that it is. It has not been excavated.

Other earthworks
About 200m from Belswood Cottage (at the junction of Heathbourne Road and Magpie Hall Road) Cole noted a ‘triple warren’, also rectangular and surrounded by a ditch ‘formed by the removal of soil for the construction of the mound’. About 100m NE of this earthwork ‘are what may be the remains of a single warren, indicated by a rectangle of ditches’; and ‘in the extreme NE corner of the Common are remains of an earthwork…which have a somewhat similar appearance…i.e parallel ditching’.

So Cole briefly recorded at least four, possibly five, pillow mounds upon the Common. His identification of these mounds as all belonging to a warren is likely to be right, both from the rudimentary descriptions and because a warren rarely if ever consisted of a single earthwork. He assumed them to be medieval (hence the date given them by the GLHER), but Williamson (2006, 32) concludes from archaeological, documentary and map evidence that ‘most surviving pillow mounds were built between c.1550 and 1850’. It is worth summarising Williamson’s relevant conclusions here:

‘The archaeology of rabbit warrens’:
•    ‘Coneys’ (the word used until the 18th century) were reintroduced to Britain in the medieval period, for their meat and fur, but only became adapted to the climate after many generations and needed careful management.
•    A manorial lord could introduce rabbits onto his waste without infringing the common rights of his tenants. Into the 17th century warrens, like fishponds and dovecotes, were important symbols of status, ‘to be proudly displayed beside the main approaches to the mansion, or carefully positioned on the skyline’. It was only from the 18th century that they gradually lost their symbolic and financial value.
•    Around two-thirds of known pillow mounds are found on common land. Their primary purpose was to provide the rabbits with a raised area of loose dry soil with good drainage, in which they could burrow. Most mounds lie roughly at right-angles to the slope of the ground.
•    They are usually rectangular, with an external ditch and neat corners, but come in many forms, sizes and arrangements. They are usually in groups (one warren could contain a great many  individual mounds) and can often re-use existing earthworks.
•    Many warrens were enclosed within boundary ditches, to keep the rabbits from escaping and damaging crops, or within banks of earth and turf on heathland.
•    Fodder for the rabbits was often provided, and piled on top of the mounds to help keep them dry in the rain. Cuttings of hazel, elder and ash were favoured for this.

The above is applicable to the earthworks on Stanmore Common, which appear to represent a standard post-medieval warren. It is quite possible that all the earthworks belong together as a single monument, scattered across much of the present Common. The bank seen by the Ordnance Survey (below) may or may not be one of the features of the warren.

Many warrens had a lodge for a keeper, to guard the rabbits from vermin and poachers and as a place to keep the nets and equipment for the catch, but ‘where small warrens were established on open commons or lay close to a mansion, they were usually absent’. Warren House in Wood Lane may get its name from its proximity to the warren, not because it had any functional link with it.

Who was responsible for this warren is hard to say, although one obvious candidate would be the Duke of Chandos in the early 18th century. But the ‘coney warren’ on Stanmore Common is documented in 1667 (VCH 1976, 102), and could be earlier in origin. There were other wealthy estates on and below the ridge from the Tudor period onwards, as by this date Stanmore, reachable on horseback, was already favoured by City businessmen for their country properties. This is just the period when pillow mounds and their related earthworks become most common, from c.1550 onwards.  The nearest estate, of course, was The Grove just to the east, where the streams issuing from the Common fed two artificial lakes in the grounds. The Grove, however, is largely an 18th century and later estate. The Limes (see the postscript below) is another candidate. 

Bluebell Heath is not the site of any of the recorded earthworks, but clearance may reveal something which could relate to the warren (or traces of past gravel digging, like those seen by the Ordnance Survey). In addition, it is quite possible that objects may be revealed when the topsoil is stripped from part of the Heath. These could include a scatter of prehistoric worked flints, Roman potsherds or even coins, and metalwork of any date relating to past uses of the common. It will be necessary to monitor the clearance, and record any earthwork or artefacts. Advice can be sought from the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service <kim.stabler[uppercase']english-heritage.org.uk> for north-west London).

Postscript
‘Boudicca’s Mound’:  this is said in the Stanmore Common Nature Reserve leaflet to be one of the obvious archaeological remains on the Common (presumably the highly visible round earthwork, which Cole says was known locally as the Fox-Earth), but this is not the case. The name applies to a mound in the grounds of The Limes, which was excavated in 1954. As 17th-century pottery was found beneath it this was evidently a post-medieval prospect mound, a small artificial hill created within the pleasure grounds of a private estate to provide a view, and deliberately given a fanciful name.

Added 2nd April 2012: There is no mileage in associating Stanmore Common with Dick Turpin, who was hanged in 1739. The two men tried for highway robbery in 1777 were Joseph and William Wilson, and the two tried in 1789 were John and William Williams.


References
Cole, Gilbert F (1951): Coney warrens at Stanmore; London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Transactions n.s.10, 60-62
VCH (1976): Victoria County History of Middlesex, vol. 5.
Watkins, C J (1985): A survey of two earthen mounds on Stanmore Common. Harrow Archaeological Survey Project, 2nd interim report. Unpublished typescript in Harrow Local History Collection,Civic Centre Library.
Williamson, Tom (2006): The archaeology of rabbit warrens. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications.

Appendix 1
Relevant entries on the Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER), with their sources:
052049 STANMORE COMMON An area of old gravel digging in the form of lengths of banks and ditches (Ordnance Survey Record Card). TQ 159 135.
052056 BELSWOOD COTTAGE (200 YDS FROM) Rabbit warren (medieval). Earthwork consisting of three banks and surrounding ditches, all rectangular. Similar earthworks in area (Cole 1951). No longer visible in 1975 (Ordnance Survey Record Card).  TQ 156 940.
052039 STANMORE COMMON Barrow of unknown date. A large ditched mound, unusual plan and profile, near circular, with ditch 0.9m in depth and berm 0.5m above ground level, average width 1.5m. Known locally as the ‘Fox Earth’. Doubtfully a barrow, probably a local variant of coney warren of which a conventional example exists 90m to the NE (Cole 1951). TQ 158 937.
052036 STANMORE COMMON Rabbit warren (medieval). Earthworks consisting of parallel ditching, similar to rabbit warrens elsewhere on Stanmore Common (Cole 1951). TQ 158 943.
052038 STANMORE COMMON Pillow mound (medieval). Coney warren, oblong in plan, surrounded by dich 0.2m in depth, on all sides except to north where nearly filled in (Cole 1951). TQ 158 938.
052048 STANMORE COMMON Earthwork (unknown date, or post-medieval). A large bank with flanking ditches, probably a boundary (OS Record Card). TQ 159 940.
There are also records for nearby finds of worked prehistoric flints from Grove Field (052007), an early Bronze Age copper alloy axe from ‘near’ the Common (052021), and an iron ‘woodman’s axe’ from the corner of the cricket field (052085), of a standard form which could date from any period from Roman onwards.

Appendix 2
Stanmore Common in the Old Bailey records, 1674-1913 (www.oldbaileyonline.org)
1719: ‘The Prisoner pleaded that there were a great many playing at Nine-Pins on the Common…’
1777: ‘As I was going from London to Watford in the Watford diligence, I was stopt on Stanmore Common…’ by two men who robbed the coach.
1789: ‘About twelve at noon, going over Stanmore Common, I was met by two highwaymen, one went to my coachman, and held up a pistol to him, before the horses, the other came to the side of the coach…’
1879 ‘..pleaded guilty to setting fire to certain heath grass and furze on Stanmore Common…’

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 09 May 2012), February 1777, trial of JOSEPH WILSON WILLIAM WILSON (t17770219-14).
JOSEPH WILSON, WILLIAM WILSON, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 19th February 1777.

178. JOSEPH WILSON was indicted for that he in the king's highway in and upon Sir William Fleming did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person a guinea, the property of the said Sir William , January 21st .

Sir WILLIAM FLEMING sworn.

I was going to Belfont in a hackney post-chaise upon the 21st of January; when I was about two miles on this side Belfont , I perceived a man riding on the off-side of the chaise, it was then about four o'clock in the afternoon, it was quite light; I thought first that he was drunk; I looked out of the chaise fearing he would get some mischief; upon which the prisoner presented a pistol and demanded my money; I gave him a guinea; he demanded more, I said I had none; I had some letters and a news-paper in my hand perusing at that time, he demanded the letters also; I said they could be of no consequence to him; he said he would have them; I observed he was pulling a handkerchief he had under his hat down over his face; I laid hold of his pistol and took him by the collar, but by some means he got loose from me; he reeled upon his horse; then the postilion got off his horse, ran up to him and seized him, and called out to me, If you are an officer and a man of courage, come out and assist me to take him; I got out of the chaise, and found him struggling with the postilion; I wrenched this pistol out of his hand (producing it); it is a little rusty, it-fell in the dirt; Thomas Stanton , a harness-maker of Hounslow, came up to us; the prisoner returned the guinea as soon as he was taken; he was tied at first, but complaining of the tightness of the ligaments with which he was bound, we released him; he was very tractable, and made no resistance.

JOHN MILFORD sworn.

I drove the chaise; the prisoner bid me stop; he then went to Sir William Fleming , Sir William gave him something; Sir William gave him a check, and then ordered me to drive on; I got off the horse and came up to the prisoner and took him by the collar; then I called out, D - n you, come out and fight like a gentleman; Sir William came out, and took the prisoner, we tied him directly; the prisoner gave the money back.

THOMAS STANTON sworn.

I came up immediately; they had got hold of the prisoner before I came up; Sir William was then out of the chaise, the prisoner was rather taken before I got up; Sir William had wrenched the pistol out of his hand.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I lived coachman with lady Parry several years; I left her two years ago, and kept a public-house; I was cheated of some money, and was arrested and put in prison; I have been out of employment some months: I married the daughter of Mr. Shemelt, a copper-merchant in Thames-street.

FOR THE PRISONER.

ELIZABETH WAXAM sworn.

I am a lapidary's wife; I have known the prisoner from a child, he has behaved very well while I knew him; Mr. Cox the brewer put him in gaol for debt: I hope he will be a good sort of a young fellow if he gets over this.

DANIEL ROSS sworn.

I knew the prisoner when he was a coachman , and when he kept a public-house; he was coachman to lady Parry four or five years, he miscarried in the public-house about two years ago; I don't know how he has got his livelihood since that: he was eleven months in gaol at the suit of Mr. Cox the brewer.

GUILTY . Death .

Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

He was a second time indicted, together with WILLIAM WILSON , for that they in the king's highway in and upon Thomas Deacon did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person a metal watch, value 20 s. a cornelian seal set in gold, value 10 s. an amethyst seal set in gold, value 10 s. a steel watch-chain, value 1 s. and 14 s. in monies numbered, the property of the said Thomas , December 3d .

THOMAS DEACON sworn.

On the 3d of December last, as I was going from London to Watford in the Watford diligence, I was stopt on Stanmore Common ; as the chaise was going on, I heard a voice say, Have you any body within? the driver answered in the negative; I apprehended the person that enquired wanted somebody in the diligence; I put down the fore-glass, upon which two men came up to the chaise, one on the one side and the other on the other; the man on my right hand said, Be quick; understanding what the intention of the expression was, I gave him half a guinea and a sixpence; he said, that is not all; then I gave him two or three shillings; the man on the opposite side was employed in searching the front-pocket of the chaise; as there had been some other robbers on the road, I had concealed my watch under some parcels in the front pocket; after removing the parcels, that man found the watch and took it; he said, Are these your tricks? and went off with it; it was near five in the evening, and so dark, I could not distinguish faces; I cannot say whether either of the prisoners are the persons that robbed me.

JOSEPH HARRISON sworn.

I am a journeyman to a Mr. Gray a pawnbroker in Denmark-street; this watch was pledged at Mr. Gray's by Margaret Lenox upon the 23d of December last; I lent half a guinea upon it; Lenox had pledged things before; her husband is a carpenter and undertaker, and is in a very good way; Lenox was taken up afterwards in pledging something at another pawnbroker's, a duplicate of this watch being then found upon her, led to a discovery; I produced the watch next day at Sir John Fielding 's, and it was owned by the prosecutor.

MARGARET LENOX sworn.

I have known Joseph Wilson about two years; my first acquaintance commenced by my husband being in Newgate for debt at the same time that he was there; I was for four months together with my husband, by that means I became acquainted with the prisoner; after they got out of Newgate, Wilson visited my husband, by which means the acquaintance was continued: I received the watch from the prisoner about Christmas, he desired me to pawn it; I got half a guinea upon it at George Gray 's, and gave it to Wilson; I had frequently pawned things at this pawnbroker's for my husband in his distress: Wilson told me it was his own watch.

Why did you pawn it for him, why did he not pawn it himself? - He was then confined, I went to see him in his confinement; he there gave it me, and I brought him the money.

PERCIVAL PHILIPS sworn.

I was at the Brown Bear in Bow-street, near Sir John Fielding 's; William Wilson came there under suspicious circumstances; I pulled him off his horse, and found a pair of loaded pistols upon him.

JOSEPH WILSON 's DEFENCE.

If I was guilty of this fact, I would at this time own it; two gentlemen that were robbed near the time Mr. Deacon was, were ordered to look at me; and they said that we were not the men.

' William Wilson was not put upon his defence.'

JOSEPH WILSON GUILTY ; Death .

WILLIAM WILSON NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron PERRYN.


Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 09 May 2012), December 1789, trial of JOHN WILLIAMS otherwise MILLER WILLIAM WILLIAMS (t17891209-2).
JOHN WILLIAMS, WILLIAM WILLIAMS, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 9th December 1789.

2. JOHN WILLIAMS otherwise MILLER and WILLIAM WILLIAMS were indicted for feloniously assaulting Richard Capper , Esq . on the 19th of November , on the king's highway, and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will, a watch, with the outside case made of base metal, and the inside case base metal and fish skin, value 20 s. a stone seal set in gold, value 10 s. a brass key, value 12 d. a ribbon, value 12 d. a hook, value 6 d. and two guineas, and ahalf guinea, and thirty shillings, and ten six-pences, his property .

(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)

RICHARD CAPPER , Esq. sworn.

On the 19th of November, about twelve at noon, going over Stanmore Common , I was met by two highwaymen, one went to my coachman, and held up a pistol to him, before the horses, the other came to the side of the coach, and presented a pistol to me; nobody was in the carriage with me; he then demanded my watch and money; I told him I had no fire arms, and begged him to take away his pistol, which he immediately did; I then gave him two guineas and a half in gold; he said that was not all I had; I said, it was all I had; he said, he would see; I told him it was all I had; but he said, I will see; and he put himself into the coach; I said, I have some silver, but that is not worth offering you; he said, I will have it; and I gave him thirty-five shillings in silver; he then asked me for my pocket book; I took it up and opened it, and shewed it to him, and I unfolded all the letters that were in it, to let him see if there were any notes in it; he looked over me, I put it on the side of the carriage; there were fifteen or twenty letters which he opened; he then demanded my watch; and I told him it was a metal one, it would distress me, and do him no good; he then said, I will have it; I held it up, and I thought he put his hand down as though to the pistol, and I then told him, I told you I had no fire arms, and if you will have it you must; it is a metal watch, the inside case is metal, the outside case made of black fish skin; the maker was Thomas Mudge , No. 436; there was a purple ribbon chain, not a common ribbon, there was one seal set in gold, a watch key, and a hook: nothing more passed; and they rode away; I should think this must take up about ten minutes; the person who came to the carriage had no disguise; it was a very fine day; this prisoner, who is indicted by the name of William Williams otherwise Crew, he is the man I had the conversation with, and who robbed me, and took these things from me.

Had you opportunity enough to swear to the other? - No, I had not; I saw very little of him.

Do you believe the prisoner, William Williams otherwise Crew, to be the man, or do you entertain any doubt at all? - I have no doubt at all; I never saw them from that time till now; I had a letter that two men were taken for other robberies, in Hertfordshire, and I went to the justices, who committed them, and the next morning I saw my property in the custody of one Michaels; I saw the horse at Elstree; I had made so much observation of the horse, that the prisoner rode, that I was satisfied it was the same horse.

Have you any doubt of it? - I would not swear to it.

WILLIAM KING sworn.

I am coachman to Mr. Capper; I drove his carriage on the 19th of November; as my master was going to town in his coach, about twelve, he was stopped by two highwaymen, upon Stanmore Common, near Stanmore; one stood before me with a pistol, and the other with another pistol at the coach door, and demanded my master's money and watch; I saw the man sometime with my master, about five minutes, it might be longer.

Did you observe the persons of either of the men that stopped your master's carriage? - The prisoners are the two men; I have seen them; I am certain sure they are both the two men; I never saw them since, before to day; their horses were very wet and dirty; one horse had a star in his face, and his ears put back; I have seen the horses that the prisoners rode, but I cannot swear to them; I saw the prisoner Crew put my master's watch into his pocket.

ROBERT BYGRAVE sworn.

I am a smith and farrier; I live at Elstree;through information of a robbery being committed in Hertfordshire, I pursued these highwaymen, on the 19th of November, between the hours of eleven and twelve, I believe it was when I set out after them: I pursued them from Elstree, from my own door; I took the road about two miles from the St. Alban's-road; I found the prisoners at Pinner; they returned back again, and crossed the Common; it is between three and four miles from Stanmore Common; I found them at a publick-house, in a room together.

What were they doing when you went in? - They were standing with their backs to the fire when I went in; nobody was with them; I found the horses in the stable before I found the prisoners.

Was you present when either of the prisoners was searched? - Yes, close by; that was at a publick house before a magistrate.

Who was that magistrate? - Colonel Miles.

State what was found on either of the prisoners? - I cannot particularly state it, but the property was found on both of them; they are here (produced); there were three watches found concealed in the hat of Crew; and these two purses were found, but I do not know which on either; there is another purse that was found in the room; this handkerchief was found on one of the prisoners; that purse was found in a closet in the room, with pistol bullets at one end, and powder at the other; these keys were found upon them; there was another watch found upon them, which I have not got; and a brace of pistols were found on each of them; I do not recollect any thing was found.

Was East with you at the time? - Yes.

JAMES EAST sworn.

I am servant to Mr. Phillimore; my master was robbed in Hertfordshire; I joined with Mr. Bygrave in the pursuit of the highwaymen; I went with him to the public-house at Pinner, where they were found; I went into the room with him, and saw the prisoners; and I found a purse upon each, and a loaded pistol upon each; the pistols are here; they were loaded with powder and ball.

WILLIAM PHILLIMORE sworn.

I saw the two prisoners searched; they were both dead drunk; one of them took off his hat, and was laying it down on the table; I took hold of it; and in the lining of it, puckered up in the new fashioned way, were three watches; the one I took out, which I knew to be my mother's and these are the other two, which were delivered to Mr. Bygrave.

(The watch deposed to by Mr. Capper.)

I have no doubt of it.

Court. Prisoners, what have you to say.

Prisoner. Our distressed situation prevents us from speaking; I have wrote a few lines, if you will permit the clerk to read it.

Court. Is it your hand writing? - Yes.

(Read.)

"It was not from any desire in us to evade justice, that we, at our arraignment, pleaded not guilty; but from a wish that every circumstance attending the commission of the offence with which we stand charged, might be made known to the Court and the Jury; and that we might have an opportunity of informing your lordships of our conduct and character in life, previous to that day, when we unhappily first thought of resorting to so unjustifiable a means of procuring money.

Our situations in life, since we left home, have been that of servant s to different gentlemen, in which character we faithfully endeavoured to discharge every duty, of which, we hope, those whom we served, will now bear testimony. We are not old offenders. We are not, I assure your lordships, hardened in iniquity; and the grief under which we at present labour, is not because we are detected thus early in the commission of our crimes, but because we have so widely strayed from that golden rule, which from our infancy we weretaught, of doing to others, as we would they should do to us. We fear it is now too late to hope for such an extension of the royal mercy, as to afford us an opportunity of convincing this part of the world, of our contrition of mind, and the reality of our repentance. But we do humbly presume to hope, that the gate of mercy will not be wholly shut against us. We have made no bad connections; we are not experienced in the practices of vice; we are very young men. The distress we have occasioned our parents and friends, is a source of the most painful reflection to us. Every possible lenity and indulgence we have experienced from those who are under the necessity of prosecuting us; and we hope to meet their forgiveness for the injuries we have done them. Should mercy be extended to us, our future conduct shall, as far as it is possible, atone for those offences which have reduced us to the disgraceful situation in which we now stand."

The prisoners alledged, that their trial coming on sooner than they expected, their witnesses were not present.

JOHN WILLIAMS , alias MILLER, aged 19, WILLIAM WILLIAMS , alias CREW, aged 20,

GUILTY, Death .

Prosecutor. I beg leave to recommend the prisoners to mercy; one of them I know has respectable connections; they used no particular violence .

Court. Had they the appearance of being drunk, when they robbed you? - They behaved with no particular violence.

You have reason to believe that they have been reputably brought up? - Yes, my lord.

Jury. We wish to join in the recommendation, on the same ground.

Mr. Wells. My lord, I saw several gentlemen yesterday, who said they would come to speak for them.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.




13th March 2012: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee

Before the meeting

My email pre-meeting: Dear All, a reminder that we have the second meeting of the Bluebell Heath Steering Committee tomorrow, Tuesday March 13th, at 7:30 PM in the Civic Centre.

I hope that we can:

1. Define what we want the contractor to do, so that I can get firm quotations. Email correspondence about this begins at circulated material page 1, and John Dobson's excellent survey and map are on page 5 and 6.

2. Discuss the plant surveying course. See circulated material page 7.

3. Report on progress on gathering material for the Statement of Significance. All I've had so far is an excellent paper from Isobel Thompson - see circulated material page 8. On the subject of the history of the site, I received the emails as below - maybe someone can volunteer to show Milton the "barrow".

Best Wishes and see you tomorrow I hope     Steve

-----------------------------

From:   Milton [mailto:milton_edwards[uppercase']hotmail.com]
Sent:   10 March 2012 12:13
To:     'stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com'
Subject:        Stanmore Long Barrow

Hello Stephen,

My name is Milton Edwards and I am a volunteer at Harrow Museum & Heritage Centre. I have been asked to take photographs of the barrow on Stanmore Common and have been told that it may be difficult to find. I have never visited the common before and Steven Gregory, the museum manager suggested I contact you to find out more information. I was hoping to find out the best place to park, where from there do I have to go. And how will I know it when I arrive? I heard that there might be a plaque in place which would indicate I was in the right place. I am planning on visiting the area and taking my photographs on Monday.

So hope I am lucky to hear from you before then.

All the best,

Milton.

To: <admin[uppercase']harrowncf.org>
Subject: FW: Stanmore Long Barrow
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 19:03:36 +0000

Hi, Tried to find it myself today but instead got terribly lost. Would it be possible for me to meet up with you, or a warden or a working party very soon in order to find and photograph the barrow? Hope to hear something soon.

Regards, Milton.

My notes on the meeting

Apologies for absence: Robin Youle

Actually appeared: Simon Braidman, John Hollingdale, Margaret Huitson and (late) Steven Gregory

We discussed John Dobson and Simon Braidman's plan for the works on the site:

John and Simon's original document in black    My notes on discussion at the meeting in red
1.      To substantially reduce the scrub element of Bluebell Heath yet retain the windbreak microclimate effect

2.      To identify selected trees and other ecological features they will be physically marked on the ground by paint covered stakes .

3.      To produce a stoppered scrape. That is to retain a thin tree screen and then scrape behind it. The scrapings will be banked. The tree screen at the far north western produce the wind break from north westerly and westerly winds. At the south east end of the scrape where it joins Blubell Heath a small copse will be kept virtually in its entirety this  will block the far end stopping a wind tunnel effect down into Bluebell Heath.

4.      woodland lying to the south of the northern path will be carved into but arcs of trees left again stopping wind chill.

5.      Along the eastern edge of New heath the ground drops sharply. Trees will be retained on the high ground and removed from the lower ground.

5.      Fallen timber will be left, felled trees if big enough left in situ or moved enough so as to not interfere with machine access.

This only means existing fallen timber, not the trees to be felled in the actual works. Trees felled in the actual works are to be moved into the surrounding woods, to sites to be indicated by Simon Braidman and John Dobson at the time.

6.      Machine access will be along the eastern boundary across one of the bramble patches.

7.      the heavy woodland belt in compartment 20a Bluebell Heath west is to be very heavily reduced. The idea is to work with the larger trees and other interesting features and center retained growth on them, then to keep a thin line of trees linking these points. This will have the effect of thinning markedly the belt of trees but keeping a windbreak. I also want to retain a tiny clump of saplings on the extreme south west corner of this main belt. This is retain some scrub component here but at a very young and manageable stage.

8.      To the south of the southern path the path edges to be widened and the heavy scrub north of the turkey oak removed back to the larger tree line. which lies north of the Heathbourne stream.

9.      The scrub lying in the southern section of compartment 20a to be severely reduced around the line of large oaks but keeping the existing line of the trees. That is effectively keeping remaining growth in the direction of the old oaks.

10.    the woodland edge to be cut back from the southern path but keeping remaining growth running parallel to the path. John and myself believe this will achieve our objectives of reducing the scrub component dramatically but keep enough shelter so as to retain heat within the clearing.


We agreed that area SM10 would be reseeded with heather.

Area SM09 is the flush supplying the orchid area, and no vehicles or other heavy equipment should go within it. I thought that this meant that the whole of SM09 should be cleared by volunteers with chainsaw, but Simon and John said no, contractors would likely not be using vehicles except for the scraped area SM10.

I raised the question of whether the trees to the east of Bluebell Heath East (20b on map) should be cut back; Simon and John said no.

John and Simon want standing dead trees to be left in otherwise cleared areas. They want to mark these prominently. Although bamboo poles with platic warning tape might be enough, they want me to ask Patrick Prendergast and Dave Corby if they have warning signs or stout brightly painted poles that we could use.
**I need to do this**

On 14th March Simon emailed: One point I forgot to make at the meeting. In SM12 although the total amount of scrub retention is correct the actual work on the ground is different. This is because scrub retention here is based around: a) the largest trees b) other small singular features. This is below the map scale. The idea is that there will be small islands of scrub to stop windchill and maintain large trees and other wildlife friendly features. This is why it is essential to clearly mark retained trees and features.


I need to set up the blog; this can then be used by volunteers to record the time they devote to the project.

Work towards Statement of Significance

John Dobson will write the Statement of Significance for fungi. This will be quite short. He does have an enormously long species list that can eventually be added to the Forum database, but this will need lots of work in bringing the scientific names up to date.

Simon is working on habitats at the moment, then will do birds and mammals.

Plant surveying course: John and Simon have changed their minds, and want to do it during the week. Earlier  Julie Scott wrote "We can offer you any date in June except the following dates when we are fully booked - so NOT - 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 26th June." John ans Simon's first choice would be afternoons of June 25, 27, 28, and 29, and if possible afternoon of Saturday June 30, otherwise Monday July 2 or any other convenient and nearby date. I should phone Veolia and try and arrange this ASAP.

I phoned on Wednesday 14th March and booked the best days available, which were Wednesday June 20, Thursday June 21, Monday June 25, Wednesday June 27 and Thursday June 28. We'd have the Ecocabin, and it is booked for us from 12:30 PM until 4:00 PM, this allows us to have our lunch in there if it is raining. Cost £50 perday. I emailed the group to check they are happy with these dates.
Vanessa emailed to say that she cannot do Mondays. I emailed everyone back suggesting deleting the Monday June 25th booking and replacing it with Friday June 15th, so course runs on Friday June 15th, Wednesday June 20, Thursday June 21, Wednesday June 27 and Thursday June 28. I asked everyone to reply by end of Thursday (March 15).
We've now definitely gone for the Bernay's Hall solution. The small upstairs room is booked afternoons of Tuesday June 26 through Saturday June 30 inclusive. There are little individual desks which work well. There is a whiteboard. We'd need to provide lamps but there are plenty of power points. No one will be in the room in the mornings or evenings so we can leave stuff lying around.

Simon has been investigating possible bat experts who could survey the area to check that no roosts will be destroyed/disturbed. He is hopeful that Ian Cantley may agree.

Publicity: I should create first drafts of
Advert
Interpretation board
Leaflet
to show the rest of the group.

John Dobson can show Milton Edwards the pillow mounds on Monday March 19th. Milton should email John on <bugs[uppercase']jdobson.co.uk> to arrange this.

Date of next meeting: 27th April 2012, 7:30 PM, at the tithe barn, Headstone Manor. Now being retimetabled


Official minutes

Bluebell Heath Steering Committee

 Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 13th March 2012   at Harrow Civic Centre commencing at 7.30pm

Present: Simon Braidman (Chair), Stephen Bolsover (Project Manager), John Dobson,   Steven Gregory,  John Hollingdale and Margaret Huitson

Apologies received: Isobel Thompson, Denis Vickers

1. Statement of Significance

It was agreed that this should cover the whole of the site. Isobel has prepared an interesting and comprehensive historical survey of the site which has been circulated. She was thanked for this. Steven G provided a disc covering interpretative material.

It was noted that a lot of the relevant material was included in the present Stanmore Common leaflet which would need updating. Margaret has contacted the Harrow and Hillingdon Geology Society to see if they can provide any additional information about the site.

 The Common has always been a good site for Fungi and John Dobson is working on the records. John Dobson agreed to show Milton Edwards, a volunteer from Harrow Museum, the “barrow” which he was interested in photographing.

 2. Log of Volunteer hours

Volunteers are asked to log their volunteer hours preferably in Excel format.

 3. Optima Magazine Article

Steve has circulated a copy of the lovely article about the project that Optima Lifestyle magazine is putting out following the press release.

 4. Plant Surveying

It was agreed that the identification and surveying course would run from Tuesday 26th June through to Saturday 30th June. The 3 wardens of the Common had already shown an interest.

An advert for volunteers would go out.

 5. Other Surveys

Simon was working on the organisation of a bat survey. Checking for Reptiles, particularly their skins should be done earlier rather than later.

 6. Online Blog or equivalent

Steve would organise this.

 7. Evaluation Committee

It was agreed that it was important that Steven Gregory attend these meetings.

 8. Education Committee

Material was requested for the first meeting on Tuesday 20th March.

 9. Proposed work and map

Simon and John Dobson have been to the site twice and have produced an excellent survey and map with a list of principles which have been circulated. These were discussed and detailed specifications for the contractors were agreed. 3 good quotes could now be obtained. Posts to indicate trees to be maintained were needed and Steve would pursue this.

 The meeting ended at 9.30 pm and the next meeting of the Bluebell Heath steering committee will be held at Harrow Museum on Friday, 27th April at 7.30pm


14th March 2012: GIGL data for Stanmore Common

Denis Vickers sent a big Excel file, which I incorporated into our main database. I saved the cells that converted from GIGL taxon names to the taxon names I am using as a standalone file "Taxon converter (date).xlsx" He also sent GIS data, which I saved but have not looked at yet.


17th March 2012 Article in Optima magazine

Nice article in Optima magazine of this publication date, including Dave Bailey's image of orchid. Gives details of training and all contact details. Link to PDF.


18th March 2012 Working party at Stanmore Common - Simon's report

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY SUNDAY 18TH MARCH 2012

Present :   David Green (new) and John Winter

Wardens : Simon Braidman and David Bailey 

Work Area : Compartment 19 or Cerrislande

THE LAST WORK PARTY MARCH 4TH WAS CANCELLED DUE TO POOR WEATHER

The weather forecast was again poor but this time the forecast was wrong.

This work party had 3 tasks:

1.     To repair the damage done by the fire

2.     To control young holly growth in the area to the south of Cerrisland called Mound Grove.

3.     To create undulations in the downslope of the newly scrapped ground.

 
1. We had the fire in the clearing for safety reasons. However it was a less than ideal situation as it burnt off the topspoil and left the clay below. According to the ex-warden we have lost the soil acidity. To rectify the damage we transferred acid grassland turves from Oakmeade Compartment 18 onto the burnt area. This should allow the burnt area to recover.

 2. Holly is seriously invading Cerrislande from the south and has badly infected Mound Grove which lies to the south and east. We pulled Holly out and added the pullings to the Holly pile southwest of Cerrislande.

 3. Using a spade and mattock we created tiny undulations in the downslope of Cerrislande on the raked areas around the large Silver Birch. The undulations consisted of small elongated depressions with the excavated material banked up behind facing south. The idea is to create little sheltered pockets and to intercept any surface runoff. This will hold dampness up in the clearing. The little banklets were hand pressed to firm the soil. This will provide sunbathing conditions for insects. Solitary bees and wasps may use the banklets for nesting. A total of 7 depressions were created.

Since the last work party the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers have been to the Common  (March 7th). They also worked in Cerrislande and felled trees around the old Hawthorn just off the western edge of the clearing . The Hawthorn was brought into the light. The hollow oak 8 metres to the east was retained due to the hollow centre and holes all the way up. The felled trees were left in situ as dead wood habitat, although the tops of 2 had the fine branches cleared off. The next weekend workday is the 1st april. The plan is to continue the work in Mound Grove to reduce holly and also to cut down trees to provide stakes for the Bluebell Heath project. For project details goto the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum website.

20th March 2012: Emails to possible contractors for Bluebell Heath work

To Chris Slack <chrisriverview[uppercase']live.co.uk>

Dear Chris;

In November 2009 you walked around Stanmore Common in Harrow with Denis Vickers, John Dobson and myself and we discussed clearance work that could be done on the site. In August 2011 you sent a quotation as below.

We have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for these works so now I need a formal quote. I attach a detailed plan that John Dobson and Simon Braidman have created, which gives the precise areas to be (a) cleared of young trees and scrub and (b) additionally, scraped of topsoil and sown with heather seed. The intention is that this work would be done September through November 2012.

Three additional points:

1. Area SM09 is particularly sensitive since it is a flush supplying water to the area where heath spotted orchids grow. No vehicles or heavy plant should enter this area.

2. Do you have a source of local heather seed - that is, of a genetic type appropriate for the south of England?

3. Don't quote for the Asulox - volunteers will do that work (until end of this year, anyway, after that it's illegal!)

It's a long time since you looked at the site so if you'd like to come out and look at it again contact me.

Yours hopefully    Steve


-------------------------------------------------------

Dear Steve
 
Please find below up an updated quote for works which we discussed at Stanmore Common.
 
The clearance of up to 1/2 ha of trees, to include felling, burning brash, stacking of round timber, stump removal, some to burn others to stack. The scraping of topsoil to approximately 150mm as discussed on site and leave in bunds. - 13,265.00
 
The general clearance of scrub to include cutting down, burning/stacking, stump grinding etc
1/4ha - 2960.00
1/3ha - 3396.00
1/2ha - 4678.00
2/3ha - 6465.00
1ha - 7840.00
 
Collection and application of heather seed to cover 1/2ha of scrape - 3500.00
 
Application of ASLOX hebicide to approximately 1 acre of bracken with ATF and Knapsac sprayer - 698.00 per annum
 
All prices are exclusive of VAT

He replied on the same day: Dear Steve;  Great to hear you have been awarded the grant. As you say it has been a long time since we had a look round the site and I would like another look to get a clear picture before finalising a quote for you. Will look what dates I'm free to visit and get back to you asap. Kind Regards  Chris

I am meeting him at the site on 4th April 2012. 
 
He emailed on 17th April 2012: Hi Steve
 
Here is the quotation for the Bluebell Heath/Stanmore Common works.
 
To clearance of up to ½ ha of trees, to include felling, burning brush, stacking of round timber, stump removal, some to burn others to stack. To scrapping off topsoil to approximately 150mm as discussed on site and leave in bunds: £13,265.00

 To general clearance of scrub to include, cutting down, burning/stacking, stump grinding etc

Up to 1/4 ha: £2960.00
Up to 1/3 ha: £3396.00
Up to 1/2 ha: £4678.00
Up to 2/3 ha: £6465.00
Up to 1 ha: £7840.00
Supply and spread heather seed over 1/2 ha scrape: £3600.00

All prices subject to VAT.

 Kind Regards  Chris

 Chris Slack PgD MIEEM
Ecologist
Mob: 07887410824

To Paul Nicolaides <paulnicolaides[uppercase']yahoo.co.uk> and Steve Baxter <stevebaxter[uppercase']eco-spaces.co.uk>


Dear Paul and Steve;

In September 2011 you came and looked at the clearance work that we were considering carrying out at Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common, and you then sent a preliminary quotation as below.

We have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for these works so now I need a formal quote. I attach a detailed plan that John Dobson and Simon Braidman have created, which gives the precise areas to be (a) cleared of young trees and scrub and (b) additionally, scraped of topsoil and sown with heather seed. The intention is that this work would be done September through November 2012.

Three additional points:

1. 
Area SM09 is particularly sensitive since it is a flush supplying water to the area where heath spotted orchids grow. No vehicles or heavy plant should enter this area.

2. Do you have a source of local heather seed - that is, of a genetic type appropriate for the south of England?

3. Don't quote for the Asulox - volunteers will do that work (until end of this year, anyway, after that it's illegal!)

It's a while since you looked at the site so if you'd like to come out and look at it again contact me.

Yours hopefully    Steve


-------------------------------------------------------

Dear Steve,

Please find below requested prices for works. These prices are not exact but give a very close indication of the costs that these works would incur. Should the funds be raised to carry this work out we would produce a much more detailed quotation and schedule of works etc.

1. One hectare of secondry woodland felled, the wood stacked or burned and the stumps ground down. £126.000. + VAT

2. Additional 1/2 hectare given more vigorous habitat restoration as well as tree removal about 150mm of topsoil scraped off and the land resown with a heath seed mix. £63,000. +VAT

3. One hectare of land sprayed with Azulox for bracken control. £350.00 + VAT per application.

For your information the works would take approximately 2 months to complete and the use of large plant machinery would be involved. The work area would have to be fenced off and adequate signage displayed for the public.. I realise these prices are probably more than you expected but to carry out the works in a correct and competant manner these are the costs that would be incurred.

If you wish to discuss any of the above please contact me on 07963063317.

Best Regards

Steve Baxter

He replied, we met on the site on March 28th 2012 to review the job. I recieved his quotation of £178,000 plus VAT (!)  (sorry, this link will work for Steve only) on 8th April 2012.

To Paul Colcutt <p.colcutt[uppercase']btcv.org.uk>

Dear Paul;

We spoke about contacts you had who could carry out more major clearance works at Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common. I attach a detailed plan that Simon Braidman and John Dobson have produced. 

Area SM10 (0.25 ha) is to be cleared of trees (these are mainly birch). Most of the cut timber is to be left in the adjoining woodland at locations to be shown to the contractor by Simon and John. A few log piles should be left in the open areas as sun traps for animals. Approximately 150 mm of topsoil is to be scraped off and left in bunds at the edge of the clearing - again the precise location would be shown to the contractor by Simon and John. The area would then be sown with heather seeds. New Heath, to the immediate west, was sown with seed gathered from Hounslow Heath, it would be best if the source of seed for this project was local or at least from the south of England.

The other areas hatched in grey and marked "scrub management" on the plan are to have scrub and young trees removed, leaving large specimen trees (mainly oaks and Scots pine) that will be marked up in advance by Simon and John. Cut timber and scrub is to be left in the adjoining woodland at locations to be shown to the contractor by Simon and John. The areas shown in green (Scrub Retention areas) would be left uncleared to act as wind breaks. Simon writes "In SM12 although the total amount of scrub retention is correct the actual work on the ground is different. This is because scrub retention here is based around: a) the largest trees b) other small singular features. This is below the map scale. The idea is that there will be small islands of scrub to stop windchill and maintain large trees and other wildlife friendly features. This is why it is essential to clearly mark retained trees and features."

Area SM09 is particularly sensitive since it is a flush supplying water to the area where heath spotted orchids grow. No vehicles or heavy plant should enter this area.

The intention is that this work would be done September through November 2012. As I said we have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, this work is definitely going ahead!

To discuss this project, and arrange to come look at the site, your contractor should contact me as below.

Yours hopefully     Steve

He replied on 23rd March 2012: Dear Steve,

My manager, Richard Jedrzejczak has a couple of contacts who could do the work one does arboricultaral and forestry work and the other we use for all our digger/bulldozer stuff and he will be contacting them to see if they are interested in tendering for the work.

I met with Denis Vickers last week to discuss a possible project and he mentioned your project at Stanmore Common and said that you were intending to use BTCV for some of the work... I'm not sure if this is the case, but if it is would it be useful if we quoted for the whole project using our contacts as subcontractors, in which case we would arrange with you a day for us all to meet up on site to discuss the project.

We could only do this if there was work for our volunteers as part of the project, otherwise we will be happy to simply pass on the details to our contacts.   Regards Paul

I replied on 24th March: Hi Paul;

The work would be mainly using chainsaws to fell small trees, then stump grinding, followed by topsoil scraping in one of the areas. Although some of the material to be removed is scrub that volunteers could deal with using hand tools, I think the logistics of getting them in at times when chainsaws are not in use would slow the job down. So I think I'm looking for paid contractors to do the whole task and yes, I'd be very interested in getting in touch with the contractors you use. All the best    Steve

I met Mark Towers of T + T earthmatters on the site on Tuesday April 3rd 2012. His phone # is 0795 157 3344. He sent his estimate of £17,160 including VAT (sorry, this link will work for Steve only) on 8th April 2012.

20th March 2012: Simon/Steve meeting about educational materials etc.

This was supposed to be a meeting of the educational materials group, but only Simon and Steve turned up!

On the information board:

We agreed that it would be A1 only. This will be less overwhelming; it also means that we can fix it on a single upright pole.

We'd base the design on my version (of 20th March 2012) but:
 Delete the Devil's bit scabious (because it only flowers for a relatively short time, visitors might be irritated that they cannot find it). Instead add two invertebrates, probably a robber fly and a spider.
Simon emailed later that the invertebrates are the robber fly Dioctria baumhauri and the spider Mangoa acalypha, both recorded on Stanmore Common. I guess he means Dioctria baumhauer and Mangora acalypha. The latter is in the species list but the former is not. On March 27th I wrote to John Dobson to check that these were the correct names, that they were appropriate exemplars, and whether he has images.
John Dobson emailed on March 29th 2012: Hi Steve, Thanks for that: Dioctria baumhaueri is a widespread species of scrubby grassland and sunlit woodland edges, so would probably not be the best exemplar for the current project.  About 1/3 of records for the spider Mangora acalypha are from heather/gorse habitats but it also occurs in many other situations such as dry open woodlands.  Its academic anyway as I have photos of neither.
       I am attaching two of my photos which you may use on the information board if you think they are suitable. The hoverfly ticks all the boxes as it is a species of wet acidic habitats, so the caption could read: “The hoverfly Sericomyia silentis relies on wet acid habitats to complete its life-cycle. By clearing scrub from damp (flushed) areas on Bluebell Heath, we are improving and extending this habitat which is likely to benefit this and other species which rely on these conditions.” The other photo is of a ringlet butterfly (Simon can confirm whether, as I seem to remember, it has been recorded in recent years at the Common?). The caption could read: “We hope to encourage grassland butterflies such as the Ringlet Butterfly by extending the availability of grassy habitats” Please note that I have higher definition versions of these photos if you need them. If you decide to use them, please make the acknowledgement to ‘John Dobson’. Cheers John Dobson
On 1st April Simon emailed that he was happy to use these two exemplars so I emailed John Dobson asking for high resolution versions of the images.
       Another email from John Dobson... Hi Steve, Thanks for sending the draft ‘scrub management’ information panel to me for comment. A couple of things occur to me. The existing clearing now known as Bluebell Heath has been in existence for many decades, at least since the 1930’s and probably well before that.  It became substantially scrubbed over in the 1960’s and was cleared I believe in the 1970’s by council officers and others (you would need to check the dates with Steve Woad).  I think that the current text on the signage is quite misleading in this respect and needs to be revised accordingly. It is nice to see the scrub management map I drew used on the signage. I cannot give the go-ahead for you to use that version however as it was intended for committee use, and is not of publishable quality as it was not developed with public usage in mind. Please find attached a revised version (SCBluebell Heath Scrub Map v1.3), which you can use on the information panels. Its authorship should be acknowledged as “Map donated by Make Natural Ltd (Ecological Services)”. I hope that’s of assistance, and I will see you at the next meeting. Cheers, John Dobson (He sent the map as a PDF, I converted it to a high resolution JPEG imae, it's stored in "Images")



 Include (mixed with or in place of my paragraph "The glade you see in front of you..." the relevant part of Simon's text as below:
The Harrow Nature Conservation Forum has won a lottery bid to improve this clearing for the benefit of the wildlife that lives here. The clearing has become crowded with too many young trees which are shading out the open areas. The open areas are made of two rare habitat types. These are called acid grasslands and lowland heathland. Both habitats have nutrient poor acidic soils which favour the growth of plants adapted to the harsh conditions. Typical acid grassland plants include grasses such as Matt Grass, and other plants such as Pill Sedge and Tormentil. Heathland is characterised by stands of Heather and Gorse. What we are aiming for is a complex mixture of tall and short growth, retaining the major trees and preserving a proportion of the younger trees or scrub. Most of the scrub will be removed from the clearing. This complex mixture gives the maximum range of habitats for wildlife and also keeps the clearing from becoming too wind chilled. As part of the project a small section of the woodland called Flushing Wood will be soil scrapped and then re-seeded with Heather. This has already happened at New Heath which lies to the north-west and has been a great success.

This project can provide training and other volunteer opportunities. For further information phone: 020 8 933 2823 or email stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com

On the leaflet:
Simon brought the printout of his revisions of the leaflet. He will send the file. We agreed these further tweakings of his text:
° Under "Archaeology", "post medieval warren" becomes "old warren".
° Under Natural History, the sentence beginning "The remaining open clearings" needs tweaking to make it clearer.
° Delete "of the rose" before "Common Tormentil".
° Text about volunteering appears in two places, needs to be combined in one place.
The map also needs some work, in particular Boudicca's Mound becomes "Fox Earth" and "Tipula Wetwoods" becomes "The Wetwood"

On the Harrow Observer advert
Simon thinks that it is fine. I emailed it out for other's views. Robin Youle emails that it is fine.

Extra training
A lot of people are interested in the training. Simon mentioned that two volunteers were interested in brush cutter training. There is no funding for this in the HLF grant. In the application to the Council I said that we would train one volunteer in brush cutting at Capel Manor - but the cost of that does not appear in the budget!

20th March 2012: Robin Youle about how the Heritage Lottery Fund grant operates

Steve, I will not be attending this meeting tonight,
 
Last week I attended the Heritage Lottery Fund briefing at their head office near Sloane Square. It was interesting to meet the case officers including the one who is specifically looking after our case.He is Tim Killick, a young level headed man who seemed genuinly intersted in our project.He has not visited the site  in Stanmore:he says they do not normally make such visits. He lives near Chrystal Palace, SE. It might be worth inviting him at a suitable occasion when things are under weigh.
 
The seminar was about the procedure for claiming further instalments. We have now received the first £19,200 advance payment. We will not be able to make a further claim for the next 40% until we have spent the first 50%. We will then have to submit a return setting out our costs to that date, how we have spent the money. Also provide a rough estimate at that time of costs to completion. The final 10% is payable at full completion in 2015.
 
We will not get any funding over and above the agreed grant of £38,400. We are advised to spend it all including the contingency part. If we underspend,the proportion underspent will be deducted pro rata from the final payment.
 
We will be required to send copies of all invoices over £100, and keep full records of all expenditure. So it is important that we have documentation for everything such as fares reimbursed to students etc. I will obtain some petty cash vouchers for this purpose and let you have them.
 
The HLF is a quango and reports to the Dept of Media & Culture, a Government department. It is therefore subject to Government audit.    Robin 

25th March 2012 Advert for Harrow Observer

Text agreed:

(Both logos)

Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common
 

Volunteer and training opportunities

In this Heritage Lottery Fund supported project the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum will clear scrub and secondary growth to restore the open heathland area of Bluebell Heath in the north of Stanmore Common.

We need help with all aspects of this project, from the physical work through surveying the plants and animals to desk-based jobs. Opportunities exist to train volunteers who are committed to the project. In particular we are providing training in:

●     Identification and surveying of the plants of Bluebell Heath - this will run Tuesday through Saturday, June 26-30.

●     Pesticide application (to NPTC accreditation) at Capel Manor College, Enfield.

●     Chainsaw maintenance and use (to NPTC accreditation) at Capel Manor College, Enfield.

We are keen to involve all local residents and users of the Common in the project. You can help, for example, by:

●     Giving us your comments on the plans as they exist now, or on the work as it progresses.

●     Telling us what you know of the natural and human history of the site.

●     Joining the project steering committee.

To learn more see <http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_announcement.html> or contact us at <admin[uppercase']harrowncf.org> or by writing to Bluebell Heath Project, 40 Walton Drive, Harrow HA1 4XA.


1/4 page ad should be sized to fit 5.118" by 6.693 inches. Cost will be £168 + VAT, exactly as budgeted.

Robin Youle confirmed that we can place ad now; Phil Cooper of HLF confirms (email of March 26th) ad is fine and that we can place it now. OK, it's placed - should appear April 05, 2012.

25th March 2012 Email to everyone about logging volunteer time

Dear All; I've just checked  and yes, the Heritage Lottery Fund does want us to "keep a record of the number of hours that each volunteer has worked."

God, how tiresome. So I'll need numbers, however imaginary. Please email me simple notes such as "I did 2 hours paperwork on the week starting 19th March 2012" or similar. Please send emails with subject heading "Bluebell Heath volunteer time". It will make it easiest for me if these are independent emails, that is, don't tack on "By the way, I worked 2 hours at the Common yesterday" onto an email about other topics, rather, send small standalone emails with the subject heading as above.

Thanks and commiserations    Steve

1st April 2012 Working party at Stanmore Common - Simon Braidman's report

Present :   Steve Bolsover, David Green , John Bugler(new), Rajinder Heyer, Rex Dunwoody (new)
Wardens : Simon Braidman and Vanessa Marlowe 
Work Area : Northern corner of Enigma wood just south of the Heathbourne stream, also Bluebell Heath east and west concentrating on the scrape area in Flushing Wood.

A brief overview was done on the Bluebell Heath project first.

This work party had 3 tasks:
1.    To clear fallen trees across paths
2.    To cut stakes for marking kept features for the Bluebell Heath project.
3.    To survey Bluebell Heath, in particular the scrape area in Flushing Wood.

1. Steve Bolsover and David Green cleared fallen trees from paths on the common..

2. A hundred stakes minimum are required for marking features to be retained in the clearance work on Bluebell Heath and Flushing Wood. The tree supply must be close to the project area. I decided that the northern end of Enigma Wood is a good location. There are many young trees of suitable size.  The stakes were cut to a 1 metre to 1 metre 40cm length and up to 5 inches across (although this is very thick). Cutting trees at this location has the added advantage of opening out an increasingly shaded area just south of the Heathbourne  stream. This area may have Heath Spotted Orchid seed as it is only 30m from the orchid field. The ground may need disturbing. We intend to cut an open swathe to the orchid field. Some Honeysuckle is being removed but this plant is superabundant

3. Rex Dunwoody and Simon Braidman surveyed the scrape area  and Flushing Wood in general. Flushing Wood scrape area is bare of significant ecological features in its western half. As one goes further east there are significantly more features in the shape of dead wood stumps and root plates both vertical and horizontal. The best features lie outside the proposed scrape area. No snakes or evidence of them was seen no trees had visible holes. Most of the trees in the scrape area are Silver Birch, there is some young oak and Aspen. Further back outside the scrape area there is new Beech and Holly growth. Here the Holly will become a shading problem in the future. Further survey work is required.


3rd April 2012 Message about new leaflet

Hi all - I attach the first draft of a new leaflet for Stanmore Common that also includes Stanmore Little Common. The PDF I have circulated is low resolution to reduce file size - all illustrations, maps etc will look crisper in the actual printed leaflet.

Please suggest corrections, improvements etc etc. In particular...

Isobel - is what I've written about Spring and Brewer's ponds correct? Can you think of any more that could go in the "Archaeology" section - as you see there's a bit of free space there.

Robert - is there anything extra you'd like put in on Little Common? The obvious location would be a new small introductory paragraph immediately following "wooden footbridges"

Wardens - are there things you'd like shown on the map that I've left out? I left out streams, I felt it would be too cluttered were they put in. The name "Brightwen" is not lost because I've put Brightwen Wood in. I've put in names suggested by the public - Jakes Path, Herne's Walk, Enigma Wood, Holly Brook Rise. The paths are copied from John Dobson's map but leaving out the faintest paths (and adding the new path that David and I created to link the south end of Heathbourne Road  with Jake's Path)

Those who get a printed version, or who print off their own copies, should note that because domestic printers need margins, the columns will not look perfect when the proof copy is folded. Be assured that the original is correct, columns in the final printed leaflet will align correctly.

Please get suggestions, corrections etc. etc. back to me by the end of April.

Best Wishes    Steve

4th April 2012: message from Simon to Alina Congreve about student study at Bluebell Heath

To: Alina Congreve <a.congreve[uppercase']herts.ac.uk>, Steve Bolsover
        <stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com>
Subject: students for stanmore common.
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2012 11:34:50 +0100
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 04 Apr 2012 10:34:50.0776 (UTC) FILETIME=[90AF2980:01CD124E]


Hi Alina,
 
We would like students to visit Bluebell Heath and to carry out:
 
a) To make a record of the existing habitats of Bluebell Heath and the scrape area of Flushing Wood in terms of vegetative cover (both trees, shrubs and ground flora)
we can supply accurate maps I will attach one to this email. identification of plant species in the above 2 areas.
 
b) The students will be kept informed of the project and the practical work by the contractor which starts in September.
 
c) The students can then monitor the changes in vegetation as the project progresses.
 
 
Other Studies.We also can have students analysing the scrape area for invertebartes before, during  and after the contractoral work. The area to be scraped is small. 0..25 hectare.
We may be able to provide identification help. I have some experience plus I know three entomologists one who is already involved with the project. We have no funds alloted in the lottery project  to pay them however.
 
other ideas
 
Monitoring heather recovery in Bluebell Heath and Flushing Wood
Monitoring Bluebell growth on bluebell heath before and after the project
monitoring  Pill Sedge growth and recovery on Bluebell Heath before and after the project
Monitoring Purple Moor Grass and spread on Bluebell heath
Monitoring Devils Bit Scabious on Bluebell Heath
Monitoring grassland recovery in Flushing Wood before, during and after the contractoral work.
 
other plants that could be followed up Wood Anemone and Dense headed Heath Wood Rush.
 
Other work:
 
We certainly could provide help with bird surveys of the area. I have masses of survey experience.
We may be able to provide other survey help:
I have to check the inverebrate help and I do have ideas for moth trapping as well.
I also have bat detectors and digital recorders and software but I and my fellow wardens lack exoperience in call analysis. I am in consultation with a consultant to remedy this.
   
simon

Date of next meeting

Sent 6th April 2012: Dear all - Simon asks that we reschedule the next Bluebell Heath Steering Group meeting. Quite a lot has happened since the last main meeting and it would be good to have another which everyone attended. I guess we should have a meeting at 7:30 in the evening: please indicate which evenings you are free. Once we have a date we can find a venue - Harrow Museum if that is available. Please indicate as many possible dates as you can. If there are dates you could make at a pinch but would prefer not, indicate that rather than just marking them "no". Best Wishes    Steve

John Hollingdale and Margaret Huitson:
Monday April 30th     y   but could go to Ruislip & District NHS meeting
Tues May 1st           y   Margaret away
Wednesday May 2nd     y   
Friday May 4th     Simon's bat walk at 8.30 pm [uppercase'] SCP
Monday May 14th - we're away with Evelyn Crispe
Tuesday May 15th - ditto
Wednesday May 16th   y
Thursday May 17th    y
Friday May 18th    y

Robin Youle
Dear Steve; I am free in May
Friday 4th
Monday 14th
Thursday17th
Friday 18th

Vanessa Marlowe
Monday April 30th         Yes
Tues May 1st                  No
Wednesday May 2nd      Yes
Friday May 4th               Yes
Monday May 14th          Yes
Tuesday May 15th          No
Wednesday May 16th     Yes
Thursday May 17th         Yes
Friday May 18th             Yes
 
Simon Braidman could only do the 2nd of May.
9th April 2012: Harrow Community Radio

Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 15:24:19 +0100 (BST)
From: Sarah Kersey <sarah[uppercase']hcrfm.org>

Hi all at HNCF; I present a show on Harrow Community Radio on Monday nights from 7-9pm called All About The Happiness. http://hcrfm.org/happiness.  The show aims to inform local residents about all the great voluntary action, local support groups, organisations for community benefit, volunteering and community events and activities which are going on in Harrow. The show is also a local action for happiness campaign group linked to the movement www.actionforhappiness.org. Would someone from HNCF be interested in coming into the studio and being interviewed on the show? This would be on a Monday evening at 8pm. The studio is based in The Wealdstone Centre, 38-40 High Street, Wealdstone. I also saw this good news on your website and thought you might like to tell people about it via the radio show. <http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_announcement.html> If you would be interested in coming in I can send you some available dates. Kind regards, Sarah  Volunteer Radio Presenter  www.hcrfm.org  Follow All About The Happiness on twitter [uppercase']happyharrow

I replied saying OK. Simon Braidman says he will be there too.

11th April 2012: Feedback on draft of on-site information board

Note that Simon and I agreed on the 20th of March that it would be A1 size.

11th April 2012: from Denis Vickers: I think the temporary interpretation is great - one small thing 'The open areas are made of two rare habitat type...' of course type should be plural.

12th April 2012: from John Dobson: Steve, I have edited and marked-up the draft of the information board (attached). It’s looking very good, and I think a few adjustments to the text may be all that is required.

1. References to Lowland Heathland should be removed as this habitat does not occur at the Common and we are not creating it with this project. I discussed this in the 2010 botany survey report, and the heather (and gorse) at the Common are components of the important acid grassland habitat.  I have highlighted the relevant text requiring attention on the pdf. (I’ve just realised that one of the highlighted areas should be on the line below its present position i.e.  “while heathland is characterised by stands of heather and gorse”. Sorry.)
2. I have placed the credits for the map and photos in more suitable locations.  In asking for my contributions to be credited I was applying widely acknowledged best-practice, in community projects and elsewhere. I believe that all photos etc. should be properly credited, and in this case that applies equally to the flora photos; I have assumed that they are yours Steve but of course change that as necessary.
3. I have made minor edits to the text accompanying the photos of Tormentil, the hoverfly and Ringlet.
4. It’s a shame that Simon’s work in bringing the native heather at the Common back from the brink of extinction (late 1990s to early 2000s) doesn’t get a mention, and I think perhaps it should. Perhaps removal of the Lowland Heathland stuff from the body text will make room for a sentence or two on that? e.g:- “Heather was rescued from the brink of extinction at the Common in the late 1990’s, when changes to the timing of grass-cutting together with considerable work by volunteers resulted in the eleventh-hour recovery of the site’s original heather population”

I hope that is helpful, and please let me know if you require any clarification.  Cheers, John Dobson

My thoughts are that we want to retain "Heathland". When the Heathland and Acid Grassland group visited on 24th August 2011 I asked them what they would call the habitat on New Heath and they said that it depended on management, but if the heather was allowed to continue to grow it would be heathland. Since the grant talked about heathland it ought to stay in. Hopefully we can decide this at an early May meeting, otherwise it'll have to be discussed via email.
See notes on meeting of 2nd May 2012John Dobson is happy that the term heathland appear on documents for the public. However, more official documents should not use the term. Simply having lots of heather is not enough to make a landscape heathland - there is a whole spectrum of plants that ought to be present.

15th April 2012 from John Hollingdale: no changes suggested.

16th April 2012: Elizabeth Stainthorpe - no suggestions except do we want to say that we plan to put in a Nature Trail?

2nd May 2012 (at steering committee meeting): Steven Gregory - reduce text if possible (but not first paragraph, which is good).

12th April 2012: Geology, from Dave Brook of the Harrow and Hillingdon Geology Society, for the Statement of Significance

Margaret Huitson forwarded this on April 13th 2012. Original is in \Statement of Significance\Geology

Stanmore Gravel Formation - Sand And Gravel. Superficial Deposits formed up to 2 million years ago in the Quaternary Period. Local environment previously dominated by rivers.  Gravel and sand, clayey near base. Gravel mostly composed of flints, up to 150mm in diameter, with a little quartz, quartzite and Lower Greensand chert in the fine fractions. Matrix of orange-brown, pale grey, red mottled clay and sandy clay, with pockets of coarse sand. Locally with layers of silt, clay or peat. Interpreted as offshore or beach gravels (Ellison et al 2004), or possibly fluvial (Bridgland 1994).

Setting: rivers. These rocks were formed from rivers depositing mainly sand and gravel detrital material in channels to form river terrace deposits, with fine silt and clay from overbank floods forming floodplain alluvium, and some bogs depositing peat; includes estuarine and coastal plain deposits mapped as alluvium.

            Hilltop occurrences of gravel at between 130 and 150m OD in the extreme north-westof the London district have been named the Stanmore Gravel.  This typically contains well rounded pebbles of flint, with lesser proportions of quartz pebbles, subangular to nodular flint, quartzitic sandstone and some other types.  These are set in a clayey, sandy matrix with some pockets of coarse sand. The deposit is up to about 5m in thickness.

            The Stanmore Gravel is of uncertain age and origin.  It has been proposed as river deposits from south bank tributaries of the proto-Thames (ie when the Thames flowed north of London to the sea at Colchester prior to the Anglian glaciation), rather like the older of the Thames terraces.  However, its distribution suggests it is a westwards correlative of the Red Crag of East Anglia and that it therefore comprises marine deposits of latest Pliocene to earliest Pleistocene age.

            As such, it could yield significant information about the early Quaternary palaeogeography and climate and about the long-term rates and patterns of vertical movement in the London region.

            There are very few natural exposures (and none at Stanmore Common?) though it is exposed at Harrow Weald geological SSSI.

Claygate Member - Clay, Silt And Sand. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 34 to 55 million years ago in the Palaeogene Period. Local environment previously dominated by shallow seas.

Setting: shallow seas. These rocks were formed in shallow seas with mainly siliciclastic sediments, comprising fragments or clasts of silicate minerals, deposited as mud, silt, sand and gravel.

            The Claygate Member is the uppermost part of the London Clay Formation and corresponds to the upper part of the last of the 5 sedimentary cycles in that formation.  It typically comprises interbedded fine-grained sands, silty clays and silts.  The proportion of sand tends to increase upwards.  The clays are generally blue-grey where fresh and brown where weathered.

            The Claygate Member deposits are of tidal marine origin and represent a transition to the overlying Bagshot Formation (absent at Stanmore and Harrow Weald but capping Harrow Hill and Hampstead Heath).  They occur only as scattered outliers throughout the Thames Group outcrop.

London Clay Formation - Clay, Silt and Sand. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 34 to 55 million years ago in the Palaeogene Period. Local environment previously dominated by deep seas.

Setting: deep seas. These rocks were formed in deep seas from infrequent slurries of shallow water sediments which were then re-deposited as graded beds.

            The London Clay typically comprises bioturbated or poorly laminated, slightly calcareous, silty to very silty clay.  It commonly contains thin courses of carbonate concretions – “cementstone nodules” – and disseminated pyrite.  At depth, where fresh, it is grey, blue-grey or grey-brown in colour.  Near the surface the uppermost metre or few metres typically weathers to clay with a distinctive brown colour produced by the oxidation of pyrite,  The London Clay may contain thin beds of shells and fine sand partings or pockets of sand, which commonly increase towards the base and towards the top of the formation.  Glauconite can be present in the sands and in some clay beds.  White mica grains may be present.  At the base and at some other levels, there may be a thin bed of black well rounded flint pebbles.

            5 sedimentary cycles have been recognised in the London Clay, each recording an initial sea-level rise and marine transgression followed by gradual shallowing of the sea.  The base of each cycle of deposition is typically marked by a sparse pebble bed.  This is covered by thick clays, which become progressively more silty and sandy upwards. 


I superimposed this map onto the Stanmore Common map with the following result. It is reassuring that the area we propose to scrape is on the gravel. However the geology map cannot be perfect since Oakmead west of the north-south path is the best habitat for heather on the Common, yet would appear from this map to be London Clay.



15th April 2012: Roller banner display for museum

This company, plusdisplay, looks to make the sort of thing Steven Gregory was talking about: <http://www.rollerbannerstands.com/banner-stands/roller-banner-lite.html>. I emailed him to check this and ask which of 600, 800, 850 or 1000mm width was best. All are 2040mm high. Here is the PDF describing how to create the artwork file (link will work for Steve only). From this company, 800mm wide banner is £80 and 850mm wide is £85, in each case plus £12 postage..

I spoke to Steven Gregory on 16th April 2012. He suggests making the display 850mm wide. He recommends 3SG printers, Village Way East Rayner's Lane. I should go there, at the least to see the type of materials available.

I went and talked to 3SG. They do one size of banner, 820mm wide, 2200mm high of which 2000mm is the visible banner. The cost is £99 plus VAT. The artwork should be 820mm by 2200mm, with the bottom 200mm being background colour only, no content. There should be a 5mm margin all around this usable area in the background colour, and crop marks at each corner of the 820mm by 2200mm usable area. Maybe plusdisplay would be slightly cheaper but I think it's worth going with 3SG so that I get the chance to take the artwork to them and get told of any problems with it.

Comments on the draft, mostly at the Bluebell Heath meeting of May 2nd 2012:

Denis Vickers' comment by email: I like the photos used.  Might work better if 'Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common' was a little more striking - possibly a different colour text/or textbox with different background colour, or font.  Maybe move the various logos to the bottom.

We agreed at the meeting:
HNCF needs a proper logo
Use Trebuchet font, which is clear at a distance
Minor text edits, as made in Corel file dated 5th May 2012 (including no <> around web address - Steve says people find this confusing)
Perhaps use colour for "RESTORATION... COMMON"
Add "Follow us on Twitter"
If possible, have three circular images. The one of heather is too detailed and people will assume it is a picture of a butterfly and squint to make that out. Possibilities:
Gorse
Heather, close up
Tormentil
Butterfly, e.g. John Dobson's one
Ladybird
Toadstool
Mention of training comes off the banner. Rather, the accompanying leaflet can mention training.

15th April 2012: Simon Braidman's report on working party

Present :    David Green , John Bugler and John Winter,
Wardens : Simon Braidman and Vanessa Marlowe, David Bailey 
Work Area : South west area stretching to central area of Flushing  Wood 

This work party had 1 task:
1.    To Dig up Holly .
The work done on April 1st in the scrape area of Flushing Wood revealed huge amounts of Holly invading this block. Holly is an invasive species which although an important sheltering evergreen , an ancient woodland indicator species and a supply of winter berries (female tree) is a species which is rapidly spreading across the common, probably spread by birds but also by vegetative reproduction around existing stands.
Holly outcompetes and shades out other species.
To control the Holly it was decided to dig it up for 2 reasons:
1.    Removes chance of regrowth
2.    There is a requirement for Holly on another site.
     
The Church House project is an independent project outside the remit of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum. This project is to install an educational facility in the grounds of Church House on Old Church Lane. There is a requirement for Holly as a screening tree and also to prevent access by children using the facility to stray into unauthorised areas. The Holly was difficult to remove. The roots were deep and required much effort. Some fragments were left behind. A large amount was successfully dug out. A selection of this was put into 2 pots and taken home by Simon Braidman for installation in Church House.

18th April 2012: John Hollingdale re. researching old maps of Stanmore Common

Hi Steve, We went to the local history section of Harrow's refence library yesterday. A bit disappointing. An enclosure map of Gt. Stanmore was missing (misfiled maybe?) and also a poster put up by 'the bailiff' of Stanmore Common in the early 18c. Who was paying for a bailiff on Stanmore Common? No old maps of Stanmore Common or Stanmore Heath as it was named on a Victorian map of Middx that I have. Miss Olgilvie is in charge but she only works part time. She is usually there on Monday and between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday but it would be wise to check before any visits are made she said. Most of Harrow's maps are copies of originals held by either the British Library or the London Metropolitan Library (Miss Ogilvie) which would probably be a better bet for research. John


19th April 2012: Robin Youle and Tim Killick of HLF on use of the funds - must we choose lowest bid; can we use exceess for training

To: "TimK[uppercase']hlf.org.uk" <TimK[uppercase']hlf.org.uk>
Cc: StephenBolsover <stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com>

Harrow Nature Conservation Forum
Your ref. YH-11-02351
Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common
Grant Awarded 14th February 2012
 
Dear Tim
You may recall that we met on 16th March this year for the Monitoring Workshop. I have a small query which I trust you can settle. Our bid of £35,196 plus Vat included a major cost heading of £25,000 for repair and conservation work. This is the fourth item of Appendix 1 of the letter dated 19th January 2012 signed by Jane Stancliffe. We have gone out to tender for this work and obtained three quotations. The middle one seems likely to be preferred, and the quoted cost is £22,745 plus vat, leaving a surplus of £2,255 plus vat. We would like to utilise some of this latter sum on additional training for volunteers, for example an extra one or two persons on a chainsaw course. One course is already included in our bid -item 6 for £885. I seem to recall that you said that we could utilise apparent unneeded funding on other headings if this seemed appropriate aand sensible. I will be obliged if you will confirm that the above principle I have outlined applies in this case and in any future similar situations. We intend to take a decision on the award on 2nd May. Could you please copy your reply to Stephen Bolsover (stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com) as I shall not be available after this weekend. Many thanks in anticipation. Robin Youle

Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 22:23:35 +0100 (BST)
From: E YOULE <robin.youle123[uppercase']btinternet.com>

Dear Steve, I think that funds can be switched as Simon wishes and I have asked out HLF contact to confirm by email-request copied to you just now. As regards the three bids, the first is clearly out. The choice is between the second and third. If you choose the second you will need to have good reasons for turning down the lower bid in case HLF ask for justification. I assume previous experience, competence, trust and reliability, value for money will come into the equation. There is always the possibility of a cost overrun over and above the quote so the extra or some of it may be needed later to supplement the contingency already built in. If the chosen quote were to be above £25K, the excess would have to come out of the contingency or savings elsewhere in other headings. As a last, resort out of HHT general funds. I trust all this is helpful to you. Robin

Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 08:46:58 +0100
From: "Tim Killick" <TimK[uppercase']hlf.org.uk>
To: "E YOULE" <robin.youle123[uppercase']btinternet.com>
Cc: <stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com>

Dear Robin, I’m happy for you to spend any money remaining from the repair and conservation budget on additional volunteer training – as long as you are confident that the money won’t be needed for any unforeseen conservation work. In general, this kind of budget transfer is fine, though we do ask that you run any changes of this nature past HLF before you go ahead. I’m glad to hear the project is progressing, and good luck with the rest of the work. Best wishes, Tim  


23rd April 2012 Interview with Harrow Community Radio; Minibus hire from Harrow Community Transport

Simon Braidman and I were interviewed by Sarah Kersey at Harrow Community Radio. Afterwards Sarah mentioned Harrow Community Transport. I checked and they hire minivans but don't provide drivers,one needs to have a Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) certificate to be the driver, and the training for this costs £70. Might be worth thinking about for the future.

26th April 2012: Friends of Bentley Priory AGM: Link to PDF


2nd May 2012: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee meeting

Denis Vickers wrote (17th April 2012): Hi Steve,  Let me know if you really need me on the 2nd - I will attend if I can actually contribute by being there and it is not something I could advise on before the event. For example, I will be pleased to assist with nature trail, nature trail leaflet and sourcing materials and biodiversity advice. It's not that I am unwilling to do my bit but if I were to leave at 7:30 I could expect to get home at 9:30 etc. Thanks, Denis

Points to discuss:
My notes after the meeting in red

Provisional choice of contractor.
See circulated documents pages. Note that we have budgeted £25,000 + VAT = £30,000. Chris Slack's is unacceptably vague, and if we provisionally decide to go with him, I will insist that he submit a proper quotation on headed paper that says "as per specification". I suggest that we say to him that we would be happy to pay £22,745 including VAT but that this is clearly generous, since he has quoted to scrape and resow ½ acre and we only need ¼ acre, and that in return when the work is done we expect minor changes and corrections on the ground to be accepted without quibbling.
Yes Chris Slack is our provisional choice but only if he provided a satisfactory response when I contact him:
Get a proper quotation (On May 7th Robin Youle said ask him to quote for the areas we actually want, since this should be smaller).
What equipment will be used?
Check that he has public liability insurance

Otherwise we should contact (both John Dobson and Sally Reeves independently suggested him):
Complete Ecology Ltd, - Alan Scott Director
76 Tankerville Road, London, SW16 5LP
 Tel 020 8764 7292 and mobile 07710 317 469
Email asec[uppercase']talktalk.net


Use of underspend on additional training.
If the contractor work costs £27,294 then there will be a £2,700 underspend; there's also the £3,200 contingency money. Once the contractor work is complete we should therefore be able to fund more training if that is what we'd like to do (but it would be very foolish to commit any of the money before the contractor work is complete). The Capel Manor chainsaw course costs £918. Tim Killick of Heritage Lottery Fund wrote on April 20th 2012: "Dear Robin, I’m happy for you to spend any money remaining from the repair and conservation budget on additional volunteer training – as long as you are confident that the money won’t be needed for any unforeseen conservation work. In general, this kind of budget transfer is fine, though we do ask that you run any changes of this nature past HLF before you go ahead. I’m glad to hear the project is progressing, and good luck with the rest of the work. Best wishes, Tim"

Publicity
Pull-up banner: discussion on artwork above, in section on the banner
Where it can go:
Foyer of Civic Centre Library
Foyer of Civic Centre - contact Brenda Beazeley or Brian Wilson at Access Harrow

Information panel, leaflet (but people have already emailed me comments on these).
Let's discuss whether we have, or will have, heathland/lowland heath. In the application we said "Throughout this application we use the term heathland/acid grassland. Although these appear as distinct
terms in the UK BAP, they are really a continuum, as reflected in the amalgamation of the working groups for the two London BAPs into the Heathland and Acid Grassland Working Group... We propose to restore Bluebell Heath as a continuous open space dominated by heather at the northwest end (“heathland”) grading to a dominance of grass and acid grassland herbs at the southeast end (“acid grassland”)".
John Dobson is happy theat the term heathland appear on documents for the public. However, more official documents should not use the term. Simply having lots of heather is not enough to make a landscape heathland - there is a whole spectrum of plants that ought to be present.

What do we want to advertise at the May Day at the Manor show?
The upcoming events. Steven says that we should have 500 copies of a programme to hand out - I'm sure that this is a gross overestimate. We never normally hand out more than 30 or so!

Shall we have some guided walks specifically about the project? Shall we perhaps run one at 4PM on the May Day at the Manor day (Monday May 7th), and offer lifts up to the site for those without cars?
No - families do not want to do more than one thing per day. But do run one soon afterwards. We agreed that if I am free, I should lead a walk on the following Sunday (May 13th) at 2:30PM with David Bailey along too if possible.

On 22nd July the HNCF events list has "Botanical Survey of work area". What is this - is it something we want to invite the public to at all, if yes, I need more details. Also, should it be in the "fun" top part (as it is now) or in the working parties section:?
It's a botanical walk led by Simon, concentrating on the Bluebell Heath area and the results of the survey work.

Other publicity: Steve Gregory says start Tweeting our events.

Where are we with new volunteers? How many are becoming regulars?
Simon reckons volunteer numbers are up by seven comparted to last year.
Many of these volunteers are coming via the Do-It site, and regular work parties (for the whole HNCF) should be added to this site, which at present only carries the adverts for warden posts.

Can we finalize who will go on the training courses?
This is the situation as I understand it:
Pesticide course (to NPTC certification): 2 places. Molly Heal might be interested, but has she shown sufficient committment?
Chainsaw course (to NPTC certification): 1 place. David Hall and Molly Heal are interested, have either shown sufficient committment?
Surveying course: 5 places
Simon Braidman
David Bailey
Vanessa Marlowe
Sue Kabel  ?
Molly Heal ?
In the next week Simon will contact people and decide on who should go on these courses. I (Steve B) would like to do the pesticide course.
Link to course and feedback

Statement of significance
We have contributions on history and geology
We have John Dobson's 2010 botanical survey
We have the complete GIGL listing (integrated with the main listing and available on the website).
Are we going to get a more user-friendly report on fungi and vertebrates or should I try and generate a statement of significance from what we have now?
Immediately before the meeting John Dobson circulated a near-complete draft that just needs parts from other people slotted in. We still need Simon's contribution on vertebrates - birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

Evaluation - should we generate a form to hand out on the guided walks? Maybe on a stamped addressed postcard? Can we do anything useful at our May day at the Manor stand? What else do we need to do?
Steven says that each approach to the public should address one aspect of what one wants to know, e.g. what sort of people are we reaching; what have they learned/enjoyed.
He liked the idea of a preaddressed, prestamped card. This should have only a very few questions - he said three. So the first set of cards, for adults, might ask:
  • Have you been to Stanmore Common before
  • Have you been to any of the wild spaces in Harrow before (list them)
  • Tell us one thing that you have discovered about Stanmore Common today
while a card for children might ask them to draw one thing that they enjoyed, and the resturn address should be "Stan the Stonefly, Bluebell Heath Project...". Simon created a sketch of Stan the Stonefly but has so far only (on 8th May 2012) sent a low resolution image.
We created one. Here are the responses.

Then the second set of cards might ask:
  • How far have you come?
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
Should we buy Simon a mobile phone?
He has one but has to be persuaded to take it to the reserve!

Other points from meeting:

Steven said that children really enjoyed being given eggs to handle. I wonder if we should buy some imitation eggs of different relevant birds.

Colin Cosimini at Avesovum makes replica eggs. I emailed on May 4th 2012: "Dear Colin; I am thinking of buying some of your eggs as props for guided walks on our nature reserves. How sturdy are they - could one hand them out to children for them to examine without worry? Yours hopefully    Steve" He replied on the same day "hi, yes i can make them solid, so they feel about the weight of a un blown egg, so there would be no problems i hope this helps. thanks and best regards colin"

I suggest:
  2 of buzzard at £11.92 each (because the biggest relevant egg)
  2 of blackbird at £7.98 each (because a bird that most children should recognise from their gardens)
  2 of siskin at £7.50 each (because small, a different colour than blackbird, and a bird common on Stanmore Common but one non-ornithologists will be unfamiliar with)
  plus £3.75 postage and packing
  Total £58.55

I emailed the group for their opinion on May 10th 2012.

For the course (Tuesday June 26th through Saturday June 30th):
John Dobson will email me details of the hand lens he recommends
I should buy five copies of the ID book (used, from Amazon). This is the Collins Field Guide. I will also get five hand lenses. I emailed John on 10th May 2012 to check the book title and ask for details of the lens.
John will teach the students how to assess species abundance on the DAFOR scale.

Date of next meeting: 3rd July 2012 at the Tithe Barn.
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9th May 2012 My email to Chris Slack

Dear Chris;

Our steering committee met on May 2nd and reviewed the quotations for the work on Bluebell Heath. Because of your previous experience on the site our provisional choice is for you to do the work but we do need more from you before we can make a final decision.

First, we need a proper formal quotation on headed paper (or a digital equivalent) that quotes one specific price for whole the job “as per specification” that I attach to this email.

The individual components should then be listed with their cost, these are:

1. General clearance of 0.81 ha of scrub to include, cutting down, burning/stacking, stump grinding etc. The work to take place within an area comprising 0.91 ha; small areas of scrub totalling 0.10 ha to be left as marked out on site by voluntary site wardens.

2. Clearance of an additional 0.25 ha of trees, to include felling, burning brush, stacking of round timber, stump removal, some to burn others to stack. Topsoil scraped off to approximately 150mm as discussed on site and left in bunds.

3. Supply and spread heather seed over 0.25 ha scrape.


Note that the area of the scrape is 0.25 ha, not 0.5 ha as in your email quotation.

Second, can you tell us what equipment you would use on the site and how many people would be involved in the work?

Third, please estimate how long the work would take and confirm that you can definitely do it sometime in the period September through November 2012.

Fourth, please confirm that you have all appropriate insurance including public liability insurance.

Fifth, what payment terms would you want? Out treasurer suggests that on completion of each of the three components we pay you 90% of their individual cost, with complete payment on satisfactory completion of the entire job.

Please get back to me as soon as you can on this - we do want you to do the work but need proper documents to show the Heritage Lotttery Fund!

Best Wishes    Steve


12th May 2012: Young apple in Bluebell Heath

While preparing the walk for tomorrow I found a young apple tree in bloom, immediately south of the path at TQ15846 94129, immediately opposite a large rowan that lies north of the path in the scrape area. Probably worth preserving.

13th May 2012 Steve's guided walk on Stanmore Common concentrating on the Bluebell Heath project May 13th 2012

Car park
●    Welcome
●    In 18th century Stanmore Heath was the name for the whole area of hilltop here above Stanmore; by the early 19th century the Common had assumed pretty much the dimensions it has now (source - map of 1822, in “The Village London Atlas (1986), ISBN 0-946619-26-3).
●    Stanmore Cricket Club on the south side of Warren Lane is an example of improved grassland, dominated by perhaps three grass species (ryegrass Lolium perenne, fescue Festuca rubra and meadowgrass Poa pratensis (source - Seed Grass Store website))
●    The focus of this walk is the project we have to restore Bluebell Heath in the north of Stanmore Common, funded by a £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. I’ll lead you on a tour through Stanmore Common, and we’ll get to Bluebell Heath quite late in the walk.


Jakes path
●    Rounded stones underfoot: Stanmore gravel: rounded stones within a body of sandy clay. Laid down about 2 million years ago, that is, very recent in geological terms. However, there’s still arguments about the conditions that created it - is it river gravel - fits with what is known about the landscape, but why are the stones so nice and round - or an ancient beach?
From Dave Brook of the Harrow and Hillingdon Geology Society: This typically contains well rounded pebbles of flint, with lesser proportions of quartz pebbles, subangular to nodular flint, quartzitic sandstone and some other types.  These are set in a clayey, sandy matrix with some pockets of coarse sand. The deposit is up to about 5m in thickness.
            The Stanmore Gravel is of uncertain age and origin.  It has been proposed as river deposits from south bank tributaries of the proto-Thames (ie when the Thames flowed north of London to the sea at Colchester prior to the Anglian glaciation), rather like the older of the Thames terraces.  However, its distribution suggests it is a westwards correlative of the Red Crag of East Anglia and that it therefore comprises marine deposits of latest Pliocene to earliest Pleistocene age.
●    Talk about tree succession. The fallen logs are silver birch (yes, I checked - the birch here are not downy birch). There are plenty of birch trees here - but can you find a young silver birch? No - all the young, and many of the mature, trees are oak and beech (with other smaller understorey trees)

Bridge over Holly Brook
●    This is Holly Brook. All the streams on the Common were named by John Dobson, a local ecology expert and naturalist. They are lovely and clean, and contain a rich variety of invertebrates including stoneflies.
●    Shape of the Common - half of a bowl, with streams running centripetally and meeting at the lowest point, which we’ll reach towards the end of our walk.
●    Angelica grows here - familiar from baking.

(take small path down to Herne’s walk. There’s wavy bitter-cress in flower on the side of the stream)

Fox-earth
●    A rabbit warren. Probably dates from about 1550 (Source - Isobel Thompson’s report for Harrow Nature Conservation Forum, March 2012). Rabbits were brought to England by the Romans, but died out when they left, and were re-introduced in medieval times. A Mediterranean species, they had to be protected from the English climate in artificial warrens.

Oakmead
●    Show the exhibits: skulls of fox, badger, squirrel. Grass snake skin.
●    Point out tormentil, heather, gorse. Hawthorn in bloom at eastern end.
●    This is acid grassland - a relatively rare habitat. About 0.1% of the UK surface is acid grassland (source - statement in the London BAP that London’s estimated 1300 hectares contribute about 4% to the national resource - so total national resource is 1300 * 100 / 4 = 32500 hectares; total area of UK is 24,361,000 hectares). Acid soils are found anywhere that the soil drains quickly, and grasslands were maintained by grazing, originally by wild animals, then by sheep and cows. However most of England’s acid grassland has now been lost - either built on, or improved by fertilizers like the cricket pitch so that the number of species present is drastically reduced.
●    Here there is plenty of young birch. If we did not maintain this area, in a few years it would become a scrub of willow and birch. This is what happened over much of Stanmore Common in the late 19th century. In “Quiet Hours with Nature, published in 1904, Eliza Brightwen wrote (this is section starting on page 151):

“About five and twenty years ago our Stanmore Common was thickly overgrown with gorse, and each spring it was one of my special pleasures to watch the golden sheen of the furze blossoms spreading over more than two hundred acres of undulating ground. Here and there, through stretches of woodland, the rich colour melted away into blue distances with exquisite effect. Then was the time to enjoy what Coleridge describes as "the fruitlike perfume of the golden furze." A passing breeze would bring those exquisite wafts of scent which, seem to be the very breath of nature, health-giving and life-inspiring. It was very difficult to leave such an enchanting spot, and many a happy ramble have I enjoyed on our common as it used to be, but alas ! all is now entirely changed. Year after year fires broke out, and large portions of the common were laid waste by them. Nevertheless the gorse would revive and spring up again, until at length a fiercer fire than usual consumed even the roots of the furze beyond recovery. After a few years the dreary waste began to be covered by low green bushes, which we discovered to be young birch-trees, springing up in countless numbers. It will always remain a mystery how the seed was sown; it can only be conjectured that a high wind must have swept over some birch-trees in the adjacent Priory woods just when the seed was ripe, and conveyed and distributed it over the common. Thus in the course of five and twenty years we have exchanged our sweep of furze for clustering birch woods, and although there is no denying the delicate beauty of the young plantations, especially in their early spring foliage, still I shall always long to enjoy again the rich colour and perfume of our former surroundings.”

Actually I think she is falling into the common mistake of thinking that what you experience in your childhood is the norm that has existed for centuries. I think the transition was already well under way when she was young - sheep grazing had declined, so the grass and heather was being replaced by gorse.

●    This area, Oakmead, and the one we just walked through to get here, Cerrislande, are maintained entirely by volunteers.
●    The big oak is the shape it is because it was coppiced. Maybe estimate the age at which it was coppiced from the circumference of the trunks.
●    The area we are about to pass through was named Enigma Wood by a member of the public, because they almost always got lost in there!

On path through Enigma Wood (I’ll take the northwest path out of Oakmead, ignore the first right turn, then take the second right turn and turn right at every junction thereafter. This brings us out on New Heath.)
●    Immediately after right turn - good example of gravel digging.
●    After boggy bit - lots of male fern. Contrast with baby rowan to left of path.

New Heath
●    In about 2000 this was covered with young birch. Then there was a fire and they were all killed.
●    In 2007 area scraped of topsoil and heather seed (collected at Hounslow Heath, 20 km to the southwest) sown. Anything else that has come up was already present in the seed bank.
●    Two more ferns: hard fern; bracken
●    We’ll now walk on through a number of open glades. These are what remains of the original single open area of Bluebell Heath. We intend to restore them as one open space.
♣    Trees will be cleared
♣    One area will be scraped and sown with heather, as here
♣    Narrow windbreaks of scrub will be left

Bluebell Heath
●    Young apple tree (worth pointing out if it is in bloom. Otherwise go via orchid area where there is also a hawthorn with berries that could be opened to count seeds to determine species)
●    Bluebells in Bluebell Heath, tormentil in the grass.
●    As we leave Bluebell Heath, describe how this will be open all the way back to where we entered New Heath.

Pynding Mersc
(Garlic mustard, Cow Parsely, Creeping buttercup, Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans), field horsetail (Equisetum arvense).
●    Created in its present form in August 2010.
●    Nymphs of dragonflies and damsel flies (the large ones I have are Emperor Anax imperator)
●    Roads north through Stanmore Heath - the Stanmore-Watford road, now the A4140; Watling Street, Roman road from London to Birmingham, now the A5; M1 from London to Leeds.
●    Highwaymen as laminated sheets

Old Bailey Proceedings December 1789, trial of John Williams and William Williams for Violent Theft. Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.

Testimony of RICHARD CAPPER , Esq. sworn: On the 19th of November, about twelve at noon, going over Stanmore Common, I was met by two highwaymen, one went to my coachman, and held up a pistol to him, before the horses, the other came to the side of the coach, and presented a pistol to me; nobody was in the carriage with me; he then demanded my watch and money; I told him I had no fire arms, and begged him to take away his pistol, which he immediately did; I then gave him two guineas and a half in gold; he said that was not all I had; I said, it was all I had; he said, he would see; I told him it was all I had; but he said, I will see; and he put himself into the coach; I said, I have some silver, but that is not worth offering you; he said, I will have it; and I gave him thirty-five shillings in silver; he then asked me for my pocket book; I took it up and opened it, and shewed it to him, and I unfolded all the letters that were in it, to let him see if there were any notes in it; he looked over me, I put it on the side of the carriage; there were fifteen or twenty letters which he opened; he then demanded my watch; and I told him it was a metal one, it would distress me, and do him no good; he then said, I will have it; I held it up, and I thought he put his hand down as though to the pistol, and I then told him, I told you I had no fire arms, and if you will have it you must; it is a metal watch, the inside case is metal, the outside case made of black fish skin; the maker was Thomas Mudge , No. 436; there was a purple ribbon chain, not a common ribbon, there was one seal set in gold, a watch key, and a hook: nothing more passed; and they rode away; I should think this must take up about ten minutes; the person who came to the carriage had no disguise; it was a very fine day; this prisoner, who is indicted by the name of William Williams otherwise Crew, he is the man I had the conversation with, and who robbed me, and took these things from me.

●    That’s the last stop on our tour - now we return to the car park. We’ll pass some mature beech trees, the ground is covered with beech mast. When we get to the car park, I’ve got various leaflets for anyone who is interested.

Takes 90 minutes

Props:
Skulls of fox, badger, squirrel
Grass snake skin
Cast skin of nymphs of dragonflies and damsel flies
Flintlock pistol

13th May 2012: Email to a fourth contractor, Alan Scott of Complete Ecology Ltd.

Dear Mr Scott;

I've been given your name independently by Sally Reeves of Harrow Council and John Dobson as someone who might be interested in doing a conservation project for us.

We have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for works on Stanmore Common. The work has three basic components:

1. General clearance of 0.81 ha of scrub to include, cutting down, burning/stacking, stump grinding etc. The work to take place within an area comprising 0.91 ha; small areas of scrub totalling 0.10 ha to be left as marked out on site by voluntary site wardens.

2. Clearance of an additional 0.25 ha of trees, to include felling, burning brush, stacking of round timber, stump removal, some to burn others to stack. Topsoil scraped off to approximately 150mm as discussed on site and left in bunds.

3. Supply and spread heather seed over 0.25 ha scrape.

I attach a description of the work with a map. The site can be reached by vehicles using a horse ride. We intend that the work be done sometime in the period September through November this year, 2012.

Would you be interested in this work, if yes, do you want to come and look at the site?

Yours hopefully     Steve

16th May 2012: Email to Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters <markearthmatters[uppercase']live.co.uk> saying yes, do the work

Dear Mark;

Sorry for the delay but yes, we would like you to do the work at Stanmore Common. So could we firm up dates to do it? As discussed we want the work done some time in the period September through November 2012.

I don't think your quote includes stump grinding in the areas cleared of small trees and scrub but not scraped of topsoil. We do want the stumps taken down flush with the ground, so that there is no trip hazard or fouling of mowing machines - I don't know if this requires stump grinding or not. Anyway could you send a revised quote/estimate including this if necessary. This is just so that we can keep track of expenses - we are no longer considering other contractors for the work.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the site come the Autumn. All the best    Steve

He replied the same day: Dear Steve, That is great news, we look forward to doing the work for you. We would would like to start end of september  beginning of October looking to complete towards the end of November. Regarding the stumps we can cut to ground level, treating could be an option to prevent regrowth. Many thanks again   Mark

22nd May 2012: Chris Slack quote for everything except heather seed spreading

Chris Slack emailed:

Delivered-To: stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of chrisriverview[uppercase']live.co.uk designates 65.55.90.239 as permitted sender) smtp.mail=chrisriverview[uppercase']live.co.uk
X-Originating-IP: [2.96.224.195]
From: Christopher Slack <chrisriverview[uppercase']live.co.uk>
To: <stephenbolsover[uppercase']gmail.com>
Subject: FW: Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common
Date: Sun, 27 May 2012 19:26:01 +0000
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 27 May 2012 19:26:01.0702 (UTC) FILETIME=[8D214860:01CD3C3E]

Hi Steve
 
Pleaase find attached the details and quotation from the contractors I intend to do the scrape and clearance work for you  (this link will work for Steve only), will send over my quote for the heather spreading in due course.
 
Kind Regards
Chris
 
Chris Slack
Ecologist
Flat 6, The Arches
Heathcote Road
Bordon
Hampshire
GU35 0FG
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: admin[uppercase']agri-estateservices.co.uk
To: chrisriverview[uppercase']live.co.uk
Subject: RE: Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common
Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 15:18:21 +0100

Chris

As requested please find our revised quotation attached.

 Please note:

The works would require the following equipment

Chainsaws, brush cutters, Tractor & chipper, Excavator and up to 4(no) operatives.

The works would run for up to 3 weeks and can take place in late September / early October dependant upon weather conditions.

I can confirm AES holds public liability insurance with cover of up to 10, 0000000

Item 1&2 - It is acceptable to receive a 90% payment on each item and the balance upon successful completion.

Best regards

John Western
Managing Director
Agricultural & Estate Services Ltd

Tel: 0845 120 4911 or +44 (0) 118 971 4455 | Fax: 0845 120 4912

I replied on 1st June 2012: Dear Chris; As I wrote on May 9th, I did need a formal quote quickly. We have now arranged for another contractor to do the work. I hope we can work together on another project in the future. Best Wishes    Steve

5th June 2012: On-site information panel, submission to Contract Signs


To: <sales[uppercase']contractsigns.co.uk>

Dear Contract Signs;

I need two (2) identical A1 ABS plastic boards using artwork that I have sent today by YouSendIt (file "Bolsover June 2012.pdf"). The boards should be delivered to me at:

40 Walton Drive
Harrow
HA1 4XA

I don't need any fixing holes or fixing hardware. Please could you send an invoice for this work, I'll pay by cheque or bank transfer as soon as I get it..

Thanks     Steve


5th June 2012: More work on pull-up poster

Comments on the draft, mostly at the Bluebell Heath meeting of May 2nd 2012:

Denis Vickers' comment by email: I like the photos used.  Might work better if 'Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common' was a little more striking - possibly a different colour text/or textbox with different background colour, or font.  Maybe move the various logos to the bottom.

We agreed at the meeting:
HNCF needs a proper logo
Use Trebuchet font, which is clear at a distance
Minor text edits, as made in Corel file dated 5th May 2012 (including no <> around web address - Steve says people find this confusing)
Perhaps use colour for "RESTORATION... COMMON"
Add "Follow us on Twitter"
If possible, have three circular images. The one of heather is too detailed and people will assume it is a picture of a butterfly and squint to make that out. Possibilities:
Gorse
Heather, close up
Tormentil
Butterfly, e.g. John Dobson's one
Ladybird
Toadstool
Mention of training comes off the banner. Rather, the accompanying leaflet can mention training.

Creating circular images is easy in Corel. Draw the circle, then click the image and use effects/powerclip/place inside container. To resize, rotate, move etc the image within the circle right click on the circle and choose Edit Contents.

Publish to PDF did not work. However exporting as an image does work as long as one accepts the page size it suggests and does not try to adjust to the real size. Or one can export as EPS then right click on the EPS file and choose convert to PDF. The results of this look OK to me when magnified.

8th June 2012: Email to Simon Braidman about who is being trained

Hi Simon;

First, do you still have the drill? I had forgotten about it.

Second, do we now have a definite list of the people who are coming to all the courses? At the meeting on the 2nd of May you said that you would contact people and decide on who should go on these courses. This means...

Plant course 26 though 30th June 2012

Chainsaw course - on the 9th of May you emailed me "I have resent an email to the bluebell heath volunteers. I have had a response from Bob Hitchenor. I only sent the response today and if no one else comes forward by end of tommorow I am happy to go with Bob.". I replied on 16th May: "Hi Simon - has Bob been to any of your working parties? Is he likely to be available to do chainsaw work for us on the Common? If you are happy that the answers are yes, can you give me his email address so I can arrange for him to go on the course." As far as I can tell, you have not replied.

Pesticide course. I want to go - who else should go? If you have a name, tell me and I'll contact them. I guess I should go ahead and book my own course.

If you will be at the working party at Stanmore Common on Sunday I'll come a little before 10:30 to meet you, so please bring...

the drill
5 names for the plant course, and tell me whether they all know or whether I have to contact them (it's a bit late if the latter!)
contact details for Bob Hitchenor, if indeed it is him for the chainsaw course
thoughts on who should go on the pesticide course

All the best    Steve

We spoke on Sunday 10th. Simon's list for the plant surveying course is:

Simon Braidman
David Bailey
Vanessa Marlowe
Sue Kabel
Molly Heal

but I'm not clear that he has confirmed this with them so I'll do so independently.

Dear David, Vanessa, Sue and Molly;

I think that Simon Braidman has contacted you directly but this is to confirm that we are expecting you for the Stanmore Common/Bluebell Heath plant identification and surveying course Tuesday June 26th through Saturday June 30th at Bernays Hall, Stanmore <http://www.bernaysmemorialhall.org.uk/>. We will provide identification books and hand held magnifiers; John Dobson will contact you soon with a list of other, basic things to bring along.

If you are not able to attend please contact me ASAP so that we can offer the place to someone else.

Best Wishes    Steve

David Bailey and I will do the pesticide course - I spoke to Dave on June 10th and he confirmed this. I will try and book it on Monday.

I also asked Dave if he wanted to do the chainsaw vourse again, he said he'd think about it.

10th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party

Present :    John Winter, John Bugler, Kevin Pettifer
Wardens :, Simon Braidman 
Work Area :  Area south of the Heathbourne stream  Willow copse just across Hetabourne from Orchid Field.

This work party had 1 task: To create stakes for the Bluebell Heath project .

To protect ecological features in Flushing Wood and Bluebell Heath that might be destroyed because of the clearance work from the Bluebell Heath restoration project, it is proposed to make those features with wooden stakes which will be tape marked or painted. To generate the stakes straight, young understorey trees were selected for felling. Then once felled the trees were cut into 1.5m length plus lengths. The stakes were hidden under fine leaf covered branches.

This work has the secondary and important role of opening out the closed over area south of the heathbourne, creating a small sheltered clearing. This area is now worked out. Felling also started in the woodland further to the south in Enigma Wood, one tree was felled in on the edge of Stonefly Wood and the Hawthorns.

It is proposed to move to a new area to generate material. One area springs to mind woodland lying to the west of the orchid field (The Aspens).

17th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party

Present: John Bugler, Kevin Pettifer
Wardens: Simon Braidman  Vanessa Marlowe
Work Area:  Orchid Field and the Aspens.

The original purpose of the workparty was to create more wooden stakes for the Bluebell Heath project. However the area immediately south of the Heathbourne had been worked out. It was decided to source wood by felling trees in the area of woodland called the Aspens which lies to the west and northwest of Bluebell Heath West. The intention was to fell tall straight trees on the lower ground on the eastern edge of New Heath but retain trees on the higher ground so keeping a windbreak. There had been heavy rain and the Common was growing fast. Bracken had climbed to a  large height and although creating a sheltered microclimate beneath, it was considered to be too thick.

Of particular concern was the orchid field itself. Around 5 spikes of orchids were found care had to be taken not to damage them. Vanessa and Kevin were sent to crush the bracken by manual bending by hand and foot. John worked on Silver Birch in the eastern boundary between the orchid field and the Aspens. Simon worked on Silver Birch in the lower ground location described above. Once Kevin and Vanessa had smashed down the Bracken to a large extent, Vanessa sharpened the ends of the cut timbers to make stakes. Kevin helped Simon in  the more northern work area.

Work finished early at around 1.15pm to allow time to get back to the car park for the guided walk at 1.30pm.

The walk was attended by around 16 people many from the Harrow Natural History Society.

Lots of good plants seen but the best thing was a Longhorn Beetle Stenocorus meridianus a fairly common species in diseased timber.


24th June 2012: Simon Braidman report on working party

Present: John Winter
Wardens: Simon Braidman  Vanessa Marlowe
Work Area:  New Heath, the Horse Ride along the north east edge of Bluebell Heath East and Druids Walk.

The Priority task was to remove a fallen Silver Birch on the north eastern edge of New Heath which had fallen on the Common’s rarest plant Green Ribbed Sedge ( as reported by John Dobson). There was due to be a botany course and so the priority was to rescue the Sedge. As we passed through Cerrisland on the way we checked the winterwork areas.  Virtually all the high stumps were regenerating. There was quite a lot of bracken growth but the re-grassing was excellent. The transplanted acid grassland in the burnt area had successfully taken. After a check with John to ensure we had the right location which was on the eastern bulldozed mound we set to work. The area was quite hazardous with piles of Silver Birch which had been bulldozed when the clearing was created. Only the smaller branches needed removing. A close inspection revealed the Sedge and it was further forward on the mound on its southern face and actually not directly under the tree.

After ensuring the Sedge was safe, We started a second task to remove Silver Birch and Conifer regeneration in New Heath itself. The larger saplings were attacked but needed digging out with spades (forks may have been better) the smaller saplings could be hand pulled. It was extremely hard work but we were proceeding when the rain came down very heavily indeed. Work stopped and the shower stopped and work re-started but 15 minutes later there was another heavy shower followed by steadier rain. I decided to call it a day and we collected the tools and started to move back. Our route back along the Horse Ride was impeded by large limbs from a big oak which had come down in the high winds and blocked the Horse Ride. It was probably a chainsaw job but we managed to clear it with a new blade in a bowsaw.
 
We then moved onto Druids path and there were lots of overhangs from trees which I quite like but they were too thick and so we lopped them back from the path leading to Hollybrook Rise.

More work on New Heath is required. The Foxgloves in New Heath in the south west section are fantastic (Vanessa sent images, stored on disc).

26-30 June 2012 Plant identification course

Dave Bailey did not attend, instead the five participants were

Simon Braidman
Tony Gourdin
Vanessa Marlowe <vmarls[uppercase']hotmail.com>
Sue Kabel <suekabel[uppercase']yahoo.co.uk>
Molly Heal <molly.heal[uppercase']gmail.com>

All wanted to buy their plant book and magnifying glass at a total cost of £21. I received this as cash from Sue Kabel, Tony Gourdin (on the 30th) and Vanessa Marlowe (on July 3rd). Molly will send me a cheque - yes, received.

So so far I've received £63 cash which I owe to the Forum. Remember I also owe the Forum the £4 donation I received from Chris Taylorson (when I gave hime the two Korean textbooks).

On July 6th I sent a cheque for £88 (4 * 21 + 4) to Robin Youle. So Simon owes me £21.

Link to feedback from the 5 students (link will only work for Steve).


2nd July 2012: More pull-up banners? Location?

The amount budgeted in the grant is £560 plus VAT, which was supposed to pay for ten. In fact 3SG changed £99 plus VAT. So to come in under budget we could only afford four more (5 * 99 = 495) or we could go slightly over with five more (6 * 99 = 594). To go to a total of ten would cost £990 plus VAT.

Email to Steven Gregory 2nd July 2012: Hi again Steven; Tomorrow I'll bring along the pull-up banner for the museum and we should talk about printing more for other locations. It would be good to contact Council people to ask where they should go and get permission, but I cannot find any contact details on the Council's website. You should have access to the email/phone directory so please could you find out for tomorrow as many contact details as possible including:

Chief librarian at Civic Centre Library
Brenda Beazeley or Brian Wilson at Access Harrow, for Civic Centre Foyer
Harrow Council publicity department

In 2008 we circulated a display around Harrow libraries, my contact then was Timothy Bryan <tim.bryan[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk>. Is he still the appropriate contact? Best Wishes     Steve

 
Email to Timothy Bryan <tim.bryan[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk> 2nd July 2012: Dear Tim; In 2008 you organized that a display about Harrow Nature Conservation Forum circulated around Harrow libraries. Are you still the appropriate person to contact about that system? We have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore an area on Stanmore Common and have created a pull-up banner to advertise this (see attached). One is going up in the Harrow Museum this week. It would be good to circulate one or more around Harrow libraries, with some accompanying literature. Is this possible? Yours hopefully    Steve

He replied on the same day: Dear Steve,Thank you for your email. Yes we can certainly arrange for the banner and accompanying literature to be circulated around the libraries. The material can be left at any library - please ask the manager in charge to contact me about what needs to be done with the material and I'll get a rota organised. Regards, Tim Bryan, Library Services Manager, Civic Centre, PO Box 4, Station Road, Harrow HA1 2UU Tel. 020 8416 8639

3rd July 2012: Bluebell Heath Management Committee meeting

My notes

Reporting on what's happened

Botany course.

Pull-up banner done.

New leaflets done.

On-site boards done. Can someone help me put them up this weekend?
Yes - it's a scheduled working party so there will certainly be people available to help. We did this on Sunday 8th July 2012 - in the pouting rain!

Publicity

Statement of significance with details - is circulated version OK? If yes, I’ll post it on the open website.
Yes, as long as the exerpts from Old Bailey records are moved to the end. Done.

More pull-up panels? We can circulate one around regular libraries. Two more could go in Civic Centre library and Civic Centre foyer (Steven - contact details please!) respectively. Others could be hawked around, e.g. in sports centre, for these it would be easiest to create the banner then hawk it around. Should there be two different texts - perhaps three more with existing text, for Civic Center foyer, Civic Centre library, and circulating around different libraries, where there is a reasonable chance that we can offer leaflets, and others without the offer of leaflets for other sites? I underestinated the cost of pull-up banners - the amount budgeted in the grant is £560 plus VAT, which was supposed to pay for ten. In fact 3SG changed £99 plus VAT. So to come in under budget we could only afford four more (5 * 99 = 495) or we could go slightly over with five more (6 * 99 = 594). To go to a total of ten would cost £990 plus VAT.
Yes, lets get four more of the present version and two without reference to stuff to pick up.

Last “walk to introduce the project” was a complete failure! Should we do another but advertise it more thoroughly? If yes, is the scheduled slot on July 22 appropriate or does that have a more rigorous scientific slant? Where would we advertise? Possibilities:
Props for walks - show the gun and the eggs; I need to buy an embedding kit for future objects
Steve Gregory suggested playing birdsong. Vanessa will investigate apps for her smartphone. Steven Gregory will investigate other sources of MP3 files and players.

Physical

Spraying the bracken: when should we do it? One farmer notes “Once it's got over waist height, it gets harder to apply the herbicide properly by hand. This could be July onwards.” This means Simon would have to be the operator - David and I do the course August 8-10. What equipment do we need? I can look on the internet but if Simon had a list from his course it would be helpful.
 Simon gave me some paperwork on Sunday July 8th. We'll need helmet, disposable overalls, long rubber gloves. Each person needs wellington boots. Simon has checked and one does not need a respirator to work with Asulox. An item one must remember is a big water carrier that one can fill up at home, transport in a car and get to the site from the car park! 

I’ve had two offers of corporate working parties: Celgene, 40-50 adults, a day during the week commencing 20th August 2012, comes with £350 budget / The Challenge, 65 young people plus 12 members of our staff, Sunday 30th September, comes with £400 budget. My inclination is to use the Celgene party at Bentley Priory and The Challenge at Stanmore Common doing birch digging on New Heath, bramble clearance on New Heath, scything and raking bracken on New Heath (if no spores; we don’t want to spray Asulox there because of the Hard Fern), scything and raking on the orchid area, collecting seeds on Bluebell Heath.
 Yes, we agreed this. Simon added that the young people could also do invertebrate collection. I emailed Chris Morris on July 4th "Dear Chris; I wrote earlier about possibly using "The Challenge" group on Stanmore Common. We would like to do this. We suggest that we split the group into three cohorts so that each young person spends 2/3 of their time pulling/digging up birch saplings from a newly created area of heathland and 1/3 of their time collecting invertebrates as part of our species survey of the site."

Once the visit is definite I should contact the Cricket Club to ask if we can use the toilets.

There was a sheduled working party on this date. We will not advertise this on our website, newsletter etc. but Simon will try and get the regulars to come - they can helpsupervise.

Should we raise question of sourcing the heather seed with T + T earthmatters now? I'm more inclined to leave them alone until mid-August, then write saying "OK, the work is coming up soon, here's points we need to clarify".
No, ask him now. I emailed Mark Towers <markearthmatters[uppercase']live.co.uk> on July 6th 2012: Hi Mark; We are looking forward to the clearance work you will be doing on Stanmore Common in October/November. Simon Braidman, the warden, is concerned that the heather seed to be sown on the scraped area is as local as possible. Do you have a source in mind? If no, I'll do some research for myself to see if I could locate a source. Yours hopefully    Steve
He replied 8th July 2012: Hello Steve; We are looking forward to doing the work also. Regarding the heather if you have a local source in mind let me know and I can order. I can source some in Kent I think I need to confirm. Regarding the work we would like to start on site quite early in the morning and finish early so we can avoid traffic each way, do you think this will be a problem? I think during August I will be paying a visit to the site to plan the work, source a digger etc, if you would like to meet to tie up any loose ends do let me know. Thanks Mark tel 07951573344
I replied 11th July 2012: Hi Mark; when you say "Source in Kent" do you mean that it is a natural area of heather, or a nursery, or a distributor? Regarding early start and finish times, I'm sure that's fine. Best Wishes    Steve

After reading <http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/local-to-you/london-and-south-east/view-page/item777885/> I wondered about emailing Matthew Cusack <matthew.cusack[uppercase']nationaltrust.org.uk> Head Ranger for the Southwest Surrey Hills and generated this email, but then realized that contacting the London Heathland and Acid Grassland Group would be more more appropriate, so I have not sent this email: DearMr Cusack; I aplogigise for bothering you. I've just read about the restoration work on the old A3 at the Devil’s Punch Bowl, and in particular that heather seeds were used. We are carrying out a Heritage Lottery supported project to restore an area of acid grassland with heather in Stanmore Common, Harrow (see http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_announcement.html). 1/4 hectare of the site will have the topsoil scraped to expose the gravel underneath, then heather seed will be sown. The work will be done by T +_ T Earthmatters. We'd like to use heather seed that is as genetically appropriate as possible. I wonder where you obtained the heather seed used at the Devil’s Punch Bowl...
The email from the National Trust on  10th July 2012 says that their email is now <nationaltrust[uppercase']e.nationaltrust.org.uk> so <matthew.cusack[uppercase']nationaltrust.org.uk> may have changed equivalently.

I emailed Nigel Reeve on 11th July 2012: Dear Nigel; On August 24th 2011 you arranged for the London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group to come out and look at Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common, and you later wrote a letter of support for our Heritage Lottery Fund application, for which many thanks. The application was successful and we are going ahead with the work - the main contractor work will take place in October/November 2012. Mark Towers of T and T Eathmatters is doing the work. 1/4 hectare will have the topsoil scraped and heather seed sown. We'd like to use as natural, and as local, heather seed as possible. Can you or other members of the working group suggest where we could obtain (for money, since we have a budget) heather seed from a natural location in the London area or not too far away? Yours hopefully     Steve
He replied on 12th July: Dear Steve,  I am very glad that you were successful in getting funding for your project. I do hope all goes well. Regarding heather seed, I was on the look-out for it myself and ended up with success when I approached Chris Slack in Hounslow, email: Chris.Slack[uppercase']laing.com  Chris will be cutting in mid October and may perhaps be able to help both of us. I don’t need much – only enough for 1200m2. See what Chris says when you contact him, Best wishes Nigel
On August 23rd I emailed Mark Towers: Dear Mark; Sorry for the delay in replying. For local heather seed, Nigel Reeve of the London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group suggests contacting Chris Slack <Chris.Slack[uppercase']laing.com> who will be cutting heather on Hounslow Heath, 20 km to the southwest, in mid October. Nigel has already arranged to get some from Chris but only needs enough for 1200 square metres. Can you try contacting Chris and see what he thinks - or would you rather I contacted him?

You write that you'd like to pay a visit to the site during August - when do you want to do that? Do you want to phone me to arrange a time?  Best Wishes    Steve

Other

Someone to go on chain saw course?
Molly Heal was interested so ask her (yes - I emailed her on July 7th 2012). Once we know if we have leftover money for extra training, Simon would like to be trained.

Robin Youle suggests that I write to Heritage Lottery Fund saying what we have done so far and in particular saying that we have chosen a contractor - allows them to say “no, we know that contractor is unreliable”; if they don’t, we are in a better position if things go wrong. See below.

Evaluation
Public: We should do evaluation for the walk on the 22nd of July. Steve will send samples of National Trust stuff.

Botanical: We should try and get the 5 now trained surveyors back for a survey immediately before work starts in September and then again in April 2013, to get the plants that flower early.

Next Meeting
Tuesday 11th September

8th July 2012: Email to Tim Killick at the Heritage Lottery Fund


re: Bluebell Heath Project

Your reference YH-11-02351

Dear Tim;

I thought I'd write to bring you up to date on what we've done so far on this project.

The steering committee has met four times. We have put together a Statement of Significance incorporating our researches on the site. This now forms the text on the web page describing Stanmore Common (at http://www.harrowncf.org/SC_home.html). In generating the statement we created a larger document with a lot of detail, and this is available as a link from the Stanmore Common web page.

We held discussions on the site with three contractors (a fourth possible contractor, Complete Ecology Ltd, did not return my email) and have chosen T + T Earthmatters (http://www.earthmatters.gb.com/) to do the main restoration work this autumn. We have generated information panels alerting visitors to the work that will occur and have erected them at the two main routes into Bluebell Heath. There's a picture at http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/7527127740/in/photostream.

We have revised the leaflet about Stanmore Common in light of our researches, describing the work that is to be done at Bluebell Heath. A copy can be downloaded at http://www.harrowncf.org/Stanmore_Common_leaflet.pdf. We have created a pull-up banner advertising the project, which is now installed at the Harrow Museum, with a stack of the new leaflets and a flyer describing upcoming events. More pull-up banners will be printed soon for use in other locations about the Borough.

In June we ran the botanical surveying course for five students, taught by John Dobson. The feedback from the students was very positive, and all have agreed to return later this year and in subsequent years to study how the botany changes in response to the restoration work.

Articles about the project have led so far to six new volunteers becoming involved at Stanmore Common. One of these (Molly Heal) will be trained in chainsaw use to NPTC accreditation and will then help in the clearance work.

Best Wishes    Steve

He replied on July 9th: Dear Stephen,  Many thanks for the update, and I’m glad to hear the project’s progressing well. Do keep me informed about any developments and get in touch if you have nay questions. Good luck with the rest of the work. Best wishes, Tim 

8th July 2012: Working Party report - installation of on-site boards

Simon's report: In very poor weather, the set task was abandoned and we did an installation of 2 temporary signboards for the Bluebell Heath Project.
The signboards were installed at both entrances to Bluebell Heath. The signboards went in easily due to the soaked ground. The ground was not the only thing that got soaked as we rain really came down. Once installed the weather improved but by then we were soaked and I decided to call it a day and dry off.

Steve Bolsover the chairman of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum brought the boards and we met John Dobson by chance. He is an ex-warden for the Common but has still got a very close interest. He ran the recent Bluebell Heath Project Botany Course and was checking on the students surveys.


15th July 2012: Equipment for Asulox spraying

Simon liked the look of the "Handy" but this is comfortably held at knee height - for bracken one would be constantly hefting it up to shoulder height. We need a regular backpack sprayer.

I downloaded Bayer's New Zealand manual on Asulox. This says that for bracken, needs to be mixed with PULSE PENETRANT but I cannot find that product. "Mixture B" from Amega Sciences (e.g. from Pitchcare) looks to be the right sort of stuff. I have ordered this online.

Sprayer: See if I can go look at them at Palmerson or Gayways before buying online. Gayways says they have them.

Water carrier - 40 litre rolling water carriers are easy to find on line. There's the implication that I might be able to find a store that sells them - I'll try on Monday.

Helmet with clear waterproof visor: Gayways says it has them.

Disposable overalls: B + Q should have them.

Long rubber gloves - any store.

We'll also want a measuring jug, from any store.

My email to Simon 15th July 2012: Hi Simon; I looked at sprayers. The "Handy" that you found is designed to be carried at knee height - on bracken higher than that one would have to lift the entire unit, including tank, to shoulder height, which would be very tiring. So I think we need a standard backpack carrier. Gayways claim to stock them so I'll try and have a look. Does that sound OK with you? 40 litre rollable water carriers are sold for campers, I'm hoping to find one in a camping store rather than having to buy it online (with attendant delivery problems). Hopefully we could fill this at the cricket pitch.
Remember that you owe me 21 GBP - could you post me a cheque? I've already paid Robin Youle so the cheque should be payable to me. All the best    Steve


22nd July 2012 - another introductory walk

Email to Anna Slater/Ian Proctor at Harrow Times/Observer <aslater[uppercase']london.newsquest.co.uk> <ianproctor[uppercase']trinitysouth.co.uk>: Dear Anna/Ian;

On Sunday July 22nd we are putting on a special guided walk to introduce the Heritage Lottery funded Bluebell Heath project at Stanmore Common. Simon Braidman, the warden of Stanmore Common, will point out some of the special plants that are found on the site such as the Heath Spotted Orchid and Hard Fern, while Stephen Bolsover, Bluebell Heath Project manager, will talk about the history of Stanmore Common. There will be interesting objects for children to handle while for adults we will explain the aims of the project and how the site will look once the work is complete.

The walk starts at 10:30 AM in the Stanmore Common car park off Warren Lane in Stanmore (grid reference TQ 1600 9354, nearest postcode HA7 3HJ) and will last about two hours. For more information people should contact Stephen Bolsover at admin[uppercase']harrowncf.org or by phone at 0779 483 7302.

I attach the Statement of Significance that says a bit more about Stanmore Common and why it is special.

It would be great if you could advertise this walk in the Harrow Times/Observer, perhaps in a little article. If you’d like illustrations, there are two nice ones at <http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/5080100789/in/photostream> and <http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/7447277796/in/photostream>. Please get back to me is you’d like more information or more pictures.

Yours hopefully    Steve

We got seven people, which is not too bad. I handed out questionaires (original file, to fit on postcard, is "Evaluation\Walk 12072201.docx")
    ne. Here are all the responses we've received from these cards.

We need to tell the Heritage Lottery Fund how we are doing so we’d be grateful for your feedback.

What is the first half of your post code?
HA7
blank
HA1
HA5

How many adults were in your party? How many children?
Six plus two leaders (I think question was misunderstood!)
One
Two
Two adults

Have you visited Stanmore Common before? If yes, how frequently? If no, will you come back again?
Yes, once or twice a year
Yes, several times (3 - 4 times)
Yes, once, for moth evening. This is first visit in daylight
No; yes, we will return

What was the most interesting thing that your party learned on the walk?
The need to keep some zones clear as unimproved acid grassland. Interested to see the appearance of rarities such as the Hard Fern.

Exactly what the project involves, and information about flowers, trees and insects on the site.

Learning to differentiate between different but similar plants and insects.

We very much enjoyed hearing about the botany and wildlife of the Common.

What could be improved - either in Stanmore Common itself, or in the guided walk?
Very muddy! Gravel on boggy areas to improve walking conditions and more information and route posts, i.e. way back to car park.

Paths need to be treated to make them firmer and less muddy. Undergrowth needs to be cleared or thinned in some areas.

There could be notice boards at entrances to the Common with colour pictures and descriptions of some of the wildlife that can be seen there - and something about the Common's history.

Marked paths would enable us to retrace the route with confidence on our own.

From December 2013 all feedback on all our sites is collated here

25th July 2012: Simon on a pipistrelle roost in Flushing Wood, within the scrape area

 Email from Simon 25th July 2012: hi Guys; Just to say David and myself are fairly certain we have found a single male Common Pipistrelle roost in Flushing Wood we were on the Common before dawn this morning and got a single Common (45KHz)  pipistrelle it appeared to fly into a Silver birch on the western edge of Flushing Wood. It is inside the proposed demolition area. I think it is probably a batchelor male roost. Davidf and I will confirm and we will mark this tree which has many holes as an ecological feature to be preserved. We will be back up on site Thursday predawn and on friday predawn. simon

26th July 2012: Simon's report of working party at Stanmore Common

Attendees  Simon Braidman and John Bugler
The original task was to continue to produce wooden stakes for marking out ecological features to be preserved. It was considered that many of the existing cut stakes were too spindly or thick.
The importance of the task was underlined by a bat survey pre-dawn Monday. A silver birch inside the demolition zone is probably a bat roost. A single Common Pipistrelle was seen flying into a Silver Birch. There is a re-survey due pre-dawn on Friday to confirm rssot and to try to see if others are present.
To generate more stakes an area close to the project site just on the edge of one of the clearance areas was chosen.  This area is in the top North east corner of Bluebell Heath East just 15m east of the Horse Ride ( Map reference 51 38 03.48N  0 19 33.14 W) and is marked on the Bluebell Heath Management Map as the eastern edge of SM08. Here are straight Silver Birches growing up in close competition, creating  fairly shady conditions. Straight trees of the right dimensions  about  10-12 cm wide were selected and felled. Trees were cut  at a height of between 1-2 foot , side branches removed and the finished stakes stacked in a pile 8metres north of the work site just inside Flushing Wood. The side branches were stacked just east of the Horse Ride.  Huge limbs off a large Oak had come down in high winds a few months ago and had been cleared eastwards by a ditch  just  off the Horse Ride o n the work party on 24th June 2012. The newly cut branches was stacked on top of the smaller Oak branches.
The stacking removed a source of undesired nutrients from the grassland. The stacking was carefully done onto only the smaller Oak branches. This ensured the larger Oak limbs to remain exposed in the dappled light. Exposure means easy access for colonising insects into longer lasting thicker decaying timber. The smaller Oak branches are less important. Dead wood in dappled light measn it does not get too wet or too dry.
The felling was hard work in very hot conditions, the work area now is now much lighter. The surrounding trees keep wind shelter and we created a tiny glade.
After lunch we were a bit knackered and there were 2 more work tasks which we moved on to:
1.    The removal of cans, bottles and other waste from some sort of a party just off the horse ride at Map reference 51 37 53. 56N 0 19 25. 18 W. This is close to the Bently Grove estate pedestrian entrance and it can be surmised the people who left the mess and the remains of a fire  came from there. On the way we found a large Silver Birch had fallen across the Horse Ride and had been caught up in a tree opposite. After a lot of trouble with saw blades pinching we cleared the tree. Thirty metres on and there was another fallen tree. It too was cleared. There was massed of rubbish but we had brought sacks and a wheel barrow and the area was cleared. A young beech had fallen (been pulled down across the horse ride and the blockage was removed. The remaining part of the tree could be used as a seat and normally I would have left it as such.  However this is where the woodland had been trashed and leaving a potential seat might seem to much of a temptation so the rest of the tree was removed and the timber thrown into the ditch just north of the Horse Ride. The removed material was kindly taken by John to the municipal tip in Harrow.

2.    I was asked by Denis Vickers (the Biodiversity Officer for the Borough of Harrow) to measure Witling Ride. This is the glade leading north from the car park. The widening/improvement of Witling Ride has been selected by Harrow Council as a Green Grid objective. Harrow Green Grid is the council’s version of a national initiative to carry out targeted  environmental improvments.
The money comes from Section 106 agreements. Section 106 agreements  are monies a developer has to pay as part of the planning permission
The motivation behind the Green Grid is try to link up Green spaces to create a network,  Most Green Grid improvements are designed  to increase  public access, giving the ability to walk from one to the other or creating a more welcoming environment.
Stanmore Common has been identified for  Green Grid money. Witling Ride has closed as the trees have encroached. I personally like it as the narrowing ride creates a lovely view-line, it accentuates the wildness of the reserve and makes the Common look mysterious.
The Council considers the narrowness of the ride unwelcoming. They also point out that rides which are badly encroached by trees are not ecologically sound in the longer term. The picnic benches are decaying and there is no bin.
The points they make a valid and new picnic benches are needed and a bin would help although it is a sad indictment when people cannot be bothered to use the car park bins or take their rubbish home with them.
The proposal which I have agreed with Denis is to clear YOUNG trees back for a distance of 6m each side of the glade.
Three new picnic benches (very strong ones ) will be installed in the same place as the originals and a bin which Harrow promises will be emptied regularly will be installed.
 The wardens will  identify the trees but bat survey work will have to be done(see above).
The work will happen in the autumn/winter.
The work is still not fully approved a capital works committee has to approve the fund release.
Between Jon and myself we measured Witling Ride.

WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
Baby frog on Horse ride
Marbled White Butterlfy on Marsh Thistle Orchid Field
Buzzards calling from east of Bluebell Heath East.


 1st August 2012: Printing pull-up banner at PIP Kingsbury

Their standard size is 850mm wide x 2000 mm visible height. They were vague on bleed margins - I'll generate what seems reasonable and take it in. Cost is £75 each plus VAT, so total of £90.
Later that day he sent me a PDF template. This assumes that one will create a 1/5 size version at 6.77" x 17.01" (172 mm x 432 mm). The bottom 30 mm (150 mm at full size) is hidden in the roller mechanism.

I'll create this on a Corel page 176 x 436 mm, allowing margins of 2mm in the small version, becoming 10mm full size.

Note that Publish to PDF fails to represent the circular images properly if you choose Acrobat 3 compatability. The images come out fine when Acrobat 5 compatability is chosen. I used JPEG compression, quality 2, bitmap downsampling 600 DPI. At this resolution, the images in the PDF are indistinguishable from those in the Corel original.

5th August 2012: Simon's report on working party at Stanmore Common

PRACTICAL WORK
Attendees 
Wardens David Bailey and Simon Braidman
Volunteers John Winter, John Bugler, David Green
TASKS
Task 1
To make more wooden stakes.  This work is linked to the Bluebell Heath Restoration project.
Site Location Bluebell Heath West  (Compartment 20a ) south west corner inside the dead hedge just north of the Heathbourne stream  51 38 00. 65 N and 0 19 39 .86 W and also the area immediately south of the Heathbourne stream which is the northernmoste edge of Compartment 23 The Hawthorns.
More suitable trees with a diameter of around 8- 12 cm and straight were felled and chopped to lengths of 1.5m. There were two teams a felling team of Simon , David Green and John Bugler and a stake sharpening team of John Winter  and  David Bailey.
Side branches were removed and all the brash and unsuitable timber was added to the dead hedge which had really decayed.
There were three positive results of the work
1.    More wooden stakes made and sharpened
2.    Reinforcement of the dead hedge
3.    Increased light levels inside the dead hedge, now dappled light from shady conditions
There are now large number s  of wooden stakes.
These will be used:
1.    To mark ecological features to be preserved during the restoration works in Bluebell Heath and Flushing Wood
2.    To mark the blocks of scrub to be preserved in Bluebell Heath.
Features to be preserved:
Flush lines
Dead Trees
Diseased trees
Trees with significant dead timber
Trees with holes/sap runs

Task 2
BAT ROOST MARKING
A bat roost  at  51 38 03. 17N and 0 19 41 .03W was found during one of the pre-dawn bat roost surveys. This tree was inside the demolition zone in Flushing Wood. This tree was marked out for preservation with stakes on all sides  by Simon and John Winter and David Green . The stakes went in easily as the ground was soft but the height of the stakes plus the lack of height of the 3 workers made using the sledgehammer difficult.! The use of a fence post maul would be useful.
The stakes will be painted and the tree marked directly to ensure preservation.
Another bat roost SURVEY was performed predawn on Sunday 5th august by David Bailey and Simon Braidman working between 3.40am and 6am.
Bats were using the east west path flying north at dawn  in the south of Bluebell heath flying towards PYnding Mersc and Bentley Grove and  bats were over PYnding  Mersc feeding.
Bats were also detected in the woodland either side of Witling Ride.
Common Pipistrelle was definitely detected.
The search for roosts concentrated on scrub management blocks SM04 and SMO7 nothing detected.
There will be another pre-dawn  bat survey  on the morning of Tuesday 7th august this time working the northern east west path across Bluebell heath .

NEXT WORK PARTY WEDNESDAY 8TH AUGUST

NEXT WEEKEND WORK PARTY SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST

8th August 2012: Simon's report on working party at Stanmore Common

Present :     John Winter,
Wardens : Simon Braidman and Vanessa Marlowe,
Work Area : Northwest corner of Compartment 5 Stonefly  Wood
 51 38 00.29 N  and 0 19 39.62 W


This work party had 2 tasks:
1.    To tidy up the area from the Sunday work party.
The lengths of timbers and sharpened stakes were moved out of the dead hedge area to the main stake dump which lies at 51 38 00 54N
 and 0 19 40. 40 W at the north east corner of Compartment 4 (Enigma Wood)
2.    To control Holly in Stonefly Wood. The Sunday workparty moved from the dead hedge area over the Heathbourne Stream and on moving out the timber it was apparent that Holly and Yew was getting a hold on this section. Both are ancient Woodland indicator species but both are rapidly spreading probably through birds. They shade out the woodland.
Holly was cut down and suitable lengths used for stakes. Most were unsuitable and they and the small branches were used to reinforce the dead hedge.

The dead hedge itself needs further work with reinforcement by upright stakes. However it is not an urgent job.

Observations
The Heathbourne was dry although The Speiring Stream was flowing.

Other Notes:
Bat pre-dawn surveys were carried out on the mornings of the 7th August and the 9th of August. There is another due on the 12th August.
The next workparty is Saturday 18th August
The next weekday workparty is Wednesday 23rd August.

8th to 10th August 2012: Pesticide course at Capel Manor (exam on Monday August 13th). Dave Bailey and I attended and both passed, including the additional "spraying near water" module.


18th August 2012: Simon's report on working party

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST
10.30 am to 3.30pm
Present  John Bugler, Vanessa Marlowe  Simon Braidman

TASK
To label trees for preservation for the Bluebell Heath Project
A tree survey the day before by Simon Braidman and David Bailey had identified trees for preservation because of:
a)    They were mature trees
b)    They were middle aged and will form the successors to the old ones
c)    They were dead or dying and in a safe position
d)    They had lots of dead timber
e)    They had holes or bark lifting or cracks which may be a bat roost
f)    The tree species is of interest in its own right :- Aspen

Repeated bat roost location surveys are being carried out in Bluebell Heath and Flushing Wood to locate bat roosts. So far only one has been located.

The tree survey located single trees of stands of trees in the following scrub management blocks :
SMO1, SMO3 and SMO5

These trees are to be marked for preservation by wooden stakes manufactured from felled small trees. The bark is then stripped from the top of the wooden stake and painted in a shiny mid range red colour and the bottom is sharpened for driving into the soil.

We have created a stock  of wooden stakes.
This work party selected wooden stake and marked all the trees to be preserved in SMO5.

It was found that the stake length was too high at 1.5m. It made using a sledgehammer difficult to control and get enough force into it.

The day was spent : shortening the stakes John Bugler
Bark stripping, painting and hammering the stakes into the ground:

Simon Braidman and Vanessa Marlowe.

NOTE:- A conversation with John  Dobson will result in a modification to the trees to be preserved.

23rd August 2012: Bat Survey by Simon Braidman

BAT REPORT FOR VISIT WEDNESDAY 23RD AUGUST 2012
Weather cool 12 degrees , damp and windy
Arrived  5am
SIMON BRAIDMAN
Equipment duet bat detector/ headphones/torch/notebook/pens/binoculars/telescope
Walked quickly straight to Bluebell Heath west and went to dying Oak in SMO12 at
51.38.02.29N        0.19.35.02W
This time stood east of tree clump in the line of the large bat flight seen on the last visit.
5.23am in position
5.32am faint call very brief with tone 45Khz unidentified Pipistrelle  sound seemed to come from Flushing Wood
5.33am  Very faint call , tinny with tone at 45KHz off zero point  Soprano Pipistrelle

No more activity for 40 minutes

Nothing  after this time Changed position  to eastern edge of Bluebell Heath east but still nothing walked down horse ride.  Nothing at all back to car park


23rd August 2012: Simon's report on working party

Present : Steve Bolsover, Simon Braidman, Vanessa Marlow and Viskhal vekaria and David Green
10.30am to 3pm  and 11am to 4.30pm
Tasks:
1.      Continue with stake production.  We are now using stakes up and so I decided to use this workparty to make some more.
Everyone except Simon and Steve were doing this task and trees of the right dimensions 8-10cm thick were being felled and trimmed (to a lower height) and sharpened at the bottom end and flat at the top.
Felling was in SMO3 ( Bluebell Heath West) towards its western end

2.      Steve and Simon were spraying Asulox. Asulox is a herbicide which is fairly specific to Bracken. It will kill other ferns and can also kill Docks and retard Moss growth . It can also retard saplings and distort their growth. It is a toxic as Glyphosate with low mammalian toxicity. The main risk is for surface waters and for free draining soil into the water table.
Bracken is a dry tolerant native ferm or pteridophyte. It spreads both by airborne spores which emerge from organs called Sporangia under the fronds of the fern or through buds formed on underground runners. on Stanmore Common on the later method is known.
Bracken is an aggressive invasive plant. It can form dense stands up to 6 foot high, shading out everything underneath.
It is also food for 35 species of insect in Britain, so it has a biological value
Bracken stands can create stable microclimates by forming a protective canopy, stopping wind chill and trapping heat.
Some of the UK rarest Butterflies and Moths have an association with Bracken.These are the species of Fritillary Butterlfy whose caterpillars feed on Violets in Bracken. The rare Double Lined Moth is partly  associated with grassland with bracken canopy.
Despite the above, it is considered that the Bracken on Stanmore Common is out of control and is overdominant
To combat the bracken, over the years various methods have been employed on Stanmore Common :
1.    Cutting by scythe4
2.    Trampling
3.    Bending/bruising

Other methods will work but there has never been a continual effort.

Asulox (active ingredient Asulam a class of chemicals called Carbamates) is applied in July and August shortly before the bracken starts to die back for the year.
Bracken sends food down to the roots which is stored as starch for next years growth.
The Asulox goes down to the roots  and one will not see an effect until next year.

Protective equipment (disposable chemical suit (6 times use) Nitrile long sleeve gloves, latex gloves, wellington boots helmet with faceshield, respirator with double cartridge (suitable for droplets)
Spray equipment Havelock 12 litre backback sprayer with variable  nozzle.  Asulox in 20L container and Detergent Mixture B (Amega Sciences) for acting as a  surfactant  (ability to solubuise in water, water insoluble compounds)
I measuring cylinder, 1 wheelbarrow as collecting tray for spillages, 1 rollable 40L water carrier.
The dilution rate was for 12L 120ml Asulox 240ml  detergent and then water to make up to 12Litres.
The backpack was shaken to mix the contents.

APPLICATION SITE:
HOLLYBROOK RISE  COMPARTMENT 17
The wind direction was variable but low. The spraying was done in parallel rows. Rows were marked out with metal road pins topped with bright purple latex gloves. At times the second operative had to hold up the road pin to see the line as the bracken was so tall.
Areas Sprayed:
Southern section south of the path that runs west to east.
Reference points from south east corner
51.37.52.38N      0.19.31.41W
51.37.52.78N      0.19.31.49W
51.37.33.08N      0.19.33.36W
51.37.53.70N      0.19.32.72W
  The lowest section was sprayed first . Drift varied according to the wind and height of spraying lance.
Technique generally was to move backwards so one was not moving into an area just sprayed.
The going was very difficult indeed due to the thickness of the bracken.
We ran out of water and Steve collected more from the Cricket club.
In the meantime I checked on the volunteers in Bluebell Heath. Everyone was ok.
One refill of the 40 Litre drum and we continued.
Eastern section east of Druids path 
51.37.52.38N      0.19.31.18W 
51.37.54.22N     0.19.29.67
The whole of this area was sprayed. The Heather bushes were invisible under the bracken. I did not even seen them. I sprayed up to the fallen tree.
Centre section
51.37.53.20N     0.19.31.74W
51.37.52.83N     0.19.31.06W
51.37.53.84N    0.19.31.24W
51.37.53.68N    0.19.30.43W

The bracken here was not as dense especially in the south of this section and here spot spraying was applied rather than blanket.
Unavoidably insects were being sprayed such as predatory flies and grasshoppers.

As one moved northwards the bracken got higher and denser. An area lying east of the diagonal copse running across Hollybrook Rise running to the northern end of the Copse was sprayed .
Total area of Hollybrook Rise sprayed 50%  0.22hectare.

No spraying took place with people passing. We answered the inevitable questions and got positive responses.

Once we had exhausted ourselves. We cleaned up the equipment.
The measuring cylinder was washed out with water into the sprayer. The sprayer  was washed out with water and sprayed out onto high dry ground
The spillings into the wheelbarrow were diluted down with water and poured out onto grassland at the work area.

The sprayer pumping lever nut and washer dropped off during operations  and were lost.

These will be replaced.
IMPROVEMENTS
New water container for washing out .
            It would be useful not to spray all of Hollybrook Rise. Then one can see the effect of not spraying.
The next workparty is now Wednesday 29th august
The  next Sunday workparty is  2nd september


29th August 2012: Simon Braidman report on Stanmore Common working party

Attendees: Simon Braidman, Vanessa Marlow (wardens) Mohindra Wadhwa and John Winter
Equipment      loppers, billhooks, bowsaws ,GPS, Binoculars,Telescope, Maps, Stationary.
Weather forecast uncertain.

2 Tasks
1.     Making stakes – Felling trees to make stakes. Straight tall young trees in Scrub Management Block 3      SMO3. Opening up woodland to light.
Vanessa and John

2.     Surveying trees -  Important trees and blocks of trees to be preserved.
Mohindra and Simon

Trees in SMO12, SMO7,SMO2, SMO8 and part of SMO11.
The GPS readings were not very accurate when measured against Google Earth.
Readings were checked against the 19th August tree survey of SMO12 and were generally close to those results.

SM02    3 trees identified of interest.(1Oak , 1 Grey/Goat Willow, 1Aspen) The rest were small and could be removed.
There is an area of native oak in the mid south of this management block which could be preserved to maintain age structure.

SMO7   5 trees of interest 2 Oaks, 1 Sycamore, ! clump Silver Birch, 1 Hornbeam clump)
John Dobson has identified the north centre of this block for retention however much of the scrub all down the centre of the large block of woodland formed by SM012, SM02, SMO4 and SMO7 is Turkey Oak an undesirable species.
2
SM08   0 trees of interest all can be removed. The interesting tree is a huge Beech tree lying 9 metres to the south of SMO8.

SMO12  7 trees or clumps of trees of interest ( 5 Oaks , 1 Silver Birch and 1 Crab Apple)
Again the area selected for scrub tree retention infested with Turkey Oak.

SMO11 part   5 trees of interest ( 1 Oak, 2 Silver Birch, 2 Scots Pine )
Rained very heavily and survey and work party abandoned at 1pm.

Recommendation: a rethink is needed for the areas of scrub to be retained.

Also advice from John Dobson about the fell areas.

30th and 31st  August 2012: Tree survey by Simon Braidman

Simon Braidman  7am to 3.30pm

Survey of trees in SM11 Flushing Wood working from east to west.

Tree 1 51.38.04.03N  0.19.33.59W Oak Height 14metres girth 150cm 1metre NEE of horseride
Tree 2 51.38.04.22N  0.19.39.51W Oak  Height 18metres girth 137cm 2metres NEE of Tree1
Tree 3 51.38.04.58N 0.19.33.50W Oak Height 16metres girth 170cm 4metres NEE of Tree 2
Tree 4. 51.38.04.46N 0.19.34.08W Oak Height 17metres girth 145cm 1.5etres SW of Tree 3
Tree 5 51.38.04.45N 0.19.35.28W Silver Birch stump Height 4.5metres girth 80cm ivy covered 6.5 metres west of Tree 3
Tree 6 51.38.04.52N    0.19.34.88W Silver Birch stump Height 5.5 metres girth 87cm 3 metres south of Tree 5
Tree 7 Silver Birch Height 17metres girth 100cm 4 metres south of Tree 4 6 metres up on east face of tree broken branch –hole
Tree 8 Silver Birch stump Height 1 metre girth 90cm 2 metres south of Tree 7
Tree 9 Silver Birch stump height 4 metres girth 72cm 7 metres south of Tree 8
Tree10 Silver Birch stump height 8 metres girth 80cm 2.5 metres west of Tree 9 drill holes
Tree 11 Silver Birch Height 16metres girth 86cm 3.5metres west of Tree10
Tree 12 Beech Height 9 metres girth 70cm 1.5metres west of Tree 10
Tree 13 Silver Birch Height 13metres girth 95cm 1.5 metres west of Tree12
Tree14 Silver Birch Height 14meters girth 160cm  3.5 metres west of Tree13
Tree 15 Scots Pine Height 18metres girth 220cm 6 metres west of Tree 14
Tree 16 Silver Birch Height 10.5 metres girth 125cm 6.5 metres north-west of Tree 15. 7metres up hole facing west no sign of stain.
Tree 17 Scots Pine  Height 7metres girth 118cm 5.5 metres east of Tree 15 and 7 metres north of Tree 16

IDENTIFIED TREES IN BLUEBELL HEATH

Tree 1  south of SM01 Large Silver Birch Hollow 11m high 185cm girth
Tree 2  SMO2  11m west of north tip of SMO1 Grey Willow 11m high
Tree 3 SMO2  6metres at 70 degrees magnetic Aspen/Oak double
Tree 4 SMO2  7metres 100 degrees magnetic from Tree 2 Ancient Crab Apple
 Monitoring Tree
Turkey oak 4m at 330 degrees magnetic from apple tree. Huge wound with hole under top lift no sign of stain around hole but trees is bleeding sap. Marked with 3 white dots.
Tree 5 SM12  11.5metres and 62 degrees magnetic from Apple tree a double Oak  height 18metres . 18metres and 144 degrees magnetic to Tree 6 . Holes in south face of tree 2 at 3metres up and 1 at 4metres up
Tree 6 SM12  Oak
Tree 7 SM12 3metres west of Tree6 Oak
Tree 8 SM12 3.5metres north of tree 7 Triple Oak tree
Tree 9 SM12 2metres north of Tree 8 Double Oak
Tree 10 SM12 4metres south of Tree 9 Oak
Tree 11 SM12  8 metres south of Tree 10 Hawthorn with heartwood rot
Tree 12 SM12  1 metre south east of Tree 11 triple Silver Birch bent over each other.
Tree 13 SMO7 10 metres east of Tree 12 Sycamore Hollow.

SM03  very varied tree structure and very wind sheltered. Lots of bat activity .SMO3 due for cutting along to bulge cut out bulge. Considerations
Take out bulge but cut deeper to pond line, retaining line of Aspen to north and old hawthorns,  brings part of heathboune stream into light (David Bevan suggestion) extends bluebell heath keeps mature aspen an hawthorn. Also cut a scallop 20 metres to east this will keep a wind break and maintain complex woodland edge but open up bluebell heath still further.
Sycamore in SMO3 has a hole in side branch north facing 5metres up but cobweb in hole.
Tree 14 SMO3 Aspen mature opposite the western edge of SMO4.
Tree 15 SMO6  Silver Birch 2 meters south of path which goes east west across the north of Bluebell Heath. Tree split right down main stem.
Tree 16 Scots Pine 7 metres from Tree 15
Tree 17 European Larch 7 metres from Tree 16
Tree 18 European Larch 6 metres from Tree 17
Tree 19 Scots Pine huge 6 metres from Tree 18
Tree 20 Silver Birch 10metres north of Tree 19
Tree 21 Scots Pine 2.5 metres north of Tree 20
Tree 22 Silver Birch 4 metres west of tree 21
Tree 23 European Larch 4 metres south of tree 19
Tree 24 Scots Pine 5.5 metres south west of Tree 23
Tree 25 European Larch 6.5 metres south of Tree 24
Tree 26 European Larch 4 metres south east of Tree 25
Tree 27 SMO9 Scots Pine
Tree 28 Scots Pine 3.5 metres north of Tree 27
Tree 29 Scots Pine 4 metres north of Tree 28
Tree 30 European  Larch 6 metres west of Tree 29
Tree 31 European Larch 7 metres west of Tree 30
Tree 32 European Larch 8.5 metres north of Tree 31
Tree 33European Larch 9 metres west of Tree 32
Tree 34 Scots Pine 5 metres north west of Tree 33
Tree  35 Scots Pine 5 metres north of tree 34.


31st August 2012: Mark Towers from T + T Earthhmatters about the work, and my response

Dear Steve
Will contact Chris regarding heather. Think will pay visit next Friday to source digger and look at site again. I look after my son,freddie on Fridays so will have to bring him along if ok. Looking at diary will prob start work mid oct looking to finish late November this way there will be less leaves on trees. We did mention having a fire on site, is this still an option. I will provide all relevant method statements and risk assessments for all work that is carried out, I will also provide copies of public and employers liability insurance. Will ring over week to arrange time for Friday if you want to meet up....Sorry forgot to mention do you know what kind of access we have for the area that needs scraping and large trees removing. I need to source digger and I expect that a large machine will be necessary. Many thanks Mark

My reply sent 1st September 2012: Dear Mark; I can't be there on Friday. Phone me if you'd like to fix a date to meet on site. A mid October start for the work is fine, and as far as I'm concerned having a fire is fine - perhaps on the area to be scraped, so that the ash can be scraped up with the soil to avoid adding nutrients to any of the soil on the site. A short while before you start we'll mark out trees to be preserved and areas of scrub to be left as wind breaks. If you give us a date that you would like that done by we will make sure we do....You saw one access - along the horse ride from the south. There is an alternative route in from the west which I will explore and report back to you. The map at http://www.harrowncf.org/SC_home.html shows all the paths and the horse ride. All the best    Steve

31st August 2012: Survey of the site by Simon Braidman and John Dobson

REPORT FOR HABITAT AND TREE SURVEY FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST 2012
ATTENDEES     WARDENS   SIMON BRAIDMAN         VANESSA MARLOW
CONSULTANT  JOHN DOBSON
10.30am to 7.00pm

TASKs
1.    To re survey  all management parcels on Bluebell Heath
2.    To gain advice on the management maps
3.    To mark all major retained trees in Bluebell Heath



1.    Bluebell Heath had been divided up into habitat parcels to allow the clearing to be surveyed. The survey will allow the Bluebell Heath project process to be monitored. John Dobson produced the habitat parcel map:


(The original is \Maps\Stanmore Common\Bluebell Heath Botanical Recording Map 12091801.pdf)

He also trained Simon Braidman, Vanessa Marlow, Tony Gourdin, Sue Kabel and Molly Heal in the DAFOR survey method.  On Saturday 30th June 2012. The trainees were sent out to survey the different habitat/management parcels of Bluebell Heath to record :
a)    The indicator/monitoring plant species selected by John Dobson
b)    The DAFOR scores of the individual parcels.

John  reviewed the results of the DAFOR survey and thought the figures produced did not accurately reflect the reality on the ground.
DAFOR scores are a subjective judgement and for novice recorders differences are expected.
The work basically involves estimating percentage cover of different habitats. The difficulty is that you have to imagine you are looking from above and that an area covered in Bracken by 100% will not be recorded if the bracken is completely shaded by canopy from trees.
Also there is some flexibility in interpretation over habitat categories.
As a test John sent Simon and Vanessa to redo the parcels and compare them to John’s scores. It was not an easy process and many figures were very, very different.
Some difficulty was found by all in finding the edges of the habitat parcels.

2.    Simon Braidman sought advice on the management map. The retained belts and clumps of scrub outlined in green are only meant as an indication of retention. Also the preservation of Turkey Oak is to be resisted as it is an invasive non-native species but the retention of Aspen was confirmed. The retained clumps in SM012 should be based around the existing line of huge Oak trees. There is a good case for tacking Holly Growth around these ancient trees in SM012.
The bulldoze line was rewalked and most importantly the flush line.
The flush line arises on New Heath and runs eastwards along an almost vanished path running through Flushing Wood about 18 metres north of the bulldoze line.
The flush is marked by clumps of rushes and sometimes a faint channel. It runs eastward for around  50 metres before partly carrying onm and partly doing an abrupt right hand turn. You can clearly see the southwards channels grooved by the running water.
The flush emerges about 20m east of the bulldoze line in quite a broadsweep. The flush then continues down southwards across SMO12 and SMO2 in a southeastwards direction and feeds the wetground  lying just north of Pynding Mersc.
It is vital that the flush is not damaged by the work but the scrub  along its southward stretch running internally through SM12 can be removed by the Bluebell Heath project.
The scrub of RTO4  should be retained in a length long enough to screen the flush as it enters SM12.  This is to ensure the flush is not used as a path.
The line of bulldozing will change to preserve the clump of mature aspen at 51.38.03.07N   0.19.37.85W.
.
3.     After Vanessa and John left, Simon continued on and marked all the trees in Bluebell Heath with green stickers, ready for the workparty on Sunday.

1st September 2012: email from Simon Braidman

Hi Steve,

Are there details on the methodology of the proposed works. Flushing wood is so thick with vegetation that visibility is poor. We would want the trees to go precut down before the bulldozer goes in. That way the line of bulldozzing is clear. The stumps may have to be ground down to allow the bulldozzer a clear path.

I have finished my tree survey of Bluebell Heath it self and I have identified 35 individual trees for retention. These I have pre-marked with stickers and will be marked properly with stakes/tapes and road pins if I can get the latter.
Also there are a few additional clumps of scrub these will be marked as above.

The tiger tape seems to be missing from the lockup. I will check again tomorrow. If it is we will need addtional tiger and hazard tape for marking areas of retention.
If the forum cannot provide it I will buy it and I hope to get reimbursed.
I am also considering addtional felling in SMO3 but it all depends on:
how much marking we get done more bat surveys for activity along the south edge of bluebell heath.

I will need the direct contact for Mark Tower so I can co-ordinate the work with him. I would want wardens on site during process.

Finally the cut for the common is coming up. I feel that the only area to cut is the eastern half of Bluebell heath. The other clearings will be worked on by ourselves on winter works

The Challange   bracken  bashing ==   the bashing can be of the "bare earth banks at the north edge of New Heath.( ajohn dobson idea)

also bluebell heath has been re-surveyed for habitat by the DAFOR method (john dobson, simon braidman and Vanessa marlow).

david bailey has re-surfaced he will be present tommorow

simon

I replied: Hi Simon; We should try and get you, me and maybe John Dobson on the site to get a more detailed view of what will be done at Bluebell Heath. If John comes on Tuesday then we could try and fix a date then. Dave Bailey and I have more than enough work to do grass cutting Oakmead and Cerrislande. The Council should cut the whole of Bluebell Heath and Holly Brook Rise. Best Wishes    Steve
He replied on September 3rd: hI Steve

john is to busy to make this Tuesday.  I have a good vision of what is required at least within Bluebell Heath itself. I disagree with the Holly brook rise cut as the area  has already been sprayed and so one could lose the translocation effect of the toxin. I need to see the effect of the toxin and want to see the remainder of the area uncut as a control.  The recommnedation is at least a month is left after spraying before any further treatment of the sprayed area.
No cutting must be done without rake off. The brushcut should be restricted to the areas of scrub regrowth which is in the mid section of Oakmead and the near eastern section of Oak mead. Brushcutting should be patchwork to maintain internal structure.
Cerrislande has heavy bracken growth in its mid northern section and along its western and eastern boundaries. The  northern section and eastern should be sprayed and the western section brush cut ( prescence of Giant Horsetail precaution)
Yesterdays visit to the common revealed the poor state of Bluebell heath in its easternmost section and the cut should be restricted to that.
all the trees in Bluebell heath have now been marked up by stakes although they need painting.
I will be surveying Flushing wood for trees bats etc this week.

simon

2nd September 2012:  Working Party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER

ATTENDEES     WARDENS   SIMON BRAIDMAN         VANESSA MARLOW

VOLUNTEERS   JOHN BUGLER AND JOHN WINTER and DAVID GREEN
10.30am to 3.00pm

TASK
To mark all the major retained trees in Bluebell Heath.

Simon Braidman had marked up with green coloured stickers 35 trees in Bluebell Heath to be retained.

Retained trees   because of age and access holes or heartwood rot or interesting species. The work involved the use of pre-prepared wooden stakes (see reports for previous work parties).  Many of the stakes were too long and needed sharpening and their tops flattened to allow hammering into position. Also bark stripping of their topsd to allow painting . John Bugler and Vanessa  worked on this aspect. Simon, David and John Winter worked on hammering in the stakes adjacent to the 35 trees. All 35 trees were marked up. The next step is to ensure all are bark stripped and painted. Some will need rehammering in, as they loosen on stripping. This partly completes the work in Bluebell Heath itself.

The remainder is the following: To mark off the areas not to be cut along the easternmost section of Bluebell Heath. This will be done with more stakes/and or road pins and tiger tape. Retained trees will also get large discs fixed onto them shortly before work starts .

I am considering to include a further area of scrub along the easternmost section of Bluebell heath to be cut  and a scallop along the southern edge of Bluebell heath and bring the cut line back to the edge of the ponds, at the same time preserving the line of Aspen north of this line. Also some scrub will be retained Retention Block 04 in its entirety  plus an extension masking the flush entrance to SM12. A line of scrub Rt09 along the ridge just east of New Heath, a line of scrub through SM06  (retention line Rt06) one or two tiny clumps  on the edges of SM03  and a small clump in SM07. These will be marked out with stakes/road pins and tiger tape.

Any additional areas to be cut will be marked with harzard tape and retained trees in these areas will be Tiger taped. There will be people on site to monitor the work. Any help with monitoring will be gratefully received.

The next workparty is this Wednesday to complete the individual tree marking.

More bat and tree surveys are running this week

4th September 2012: Bat report from Simon Braidman

Bat report Wednesday 4th September 2012
Simon braidman
Equipment binoculars, headlamp, stationary, duet bat detector headphones
Arrived  Warren Lane Car Park  4.15am
Weather clear sky gibbous moon , temp 11 degrees centigrade see breath wind light
4.34am  45Khz off zero call Soprano Pipstrelle  1pass
No signals  and getting colder
Decided to give up but go back along horse ride going south east. Nothing until I reached pedestrian  path from Grove Estate.
At 45Khz
4.34am  Myotis species 1 pass call is quiet suggestive of Natterers bat crackle noise
4.57am Myotis bat 1 pass fast repetition rate suggestive of Natterer’s
2 passes 
5.49am  Off zero call Soprano Pipistrelle 1 pass
5.02 am Soprano Pipistrelle 1 pass
5.12am Myotis bat quiet crackle fast repletion rate 1 pass
5.14am Myotis bat as above 1 pass
5.25 am Myotis bat as above 1 pass
5.36am  Myotis bat as above 2 passes
Nothing after this point stopped at 6.20am


5th September 2012 Report for Assessment Visit received from Simon Braidman 7th September 2012

REPORT FOR ASSESSMENT VISIT STANMORE COMMON THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2012

David Bailey and Simon Braidman

Post discussion with Steve Bolsover on Thursday night.

1pm to 3pm

ISSUES

    Witling Ride

Green Grid Work   we looked at the number of work days needed to do the clearance and we came to 4 work days by TCV  taking account of poor attendance with past  TCV work parties.

 2  TCV Workdays


1.  Work collect cuttings from brushcut Oakmead and Cerrisland estimate 1 to 2 days

2.    Extra work turn back to bare soil south facing banks the bulldozed banks at the northern edge of New Heath.  We will strip off the Bracken cover

3  Extra Extra Work   a new clearing extension to New Heath at Point A just north west of  New Heath  51.38.04.10N  0.19.46.84W.

 If the TCV do not get to tasks 2 and 3 we will carry it out as part of winter works programme.

THE CHALLENGE

They will be :

Pulling saplings New Heath

Bracken trampling down western edge and extreme north western edge of New  Heath

Insect collection in Flushing Wood Bulldoze section

Next workparties clear bracken bare earth banks northern edge of New Heath

                                  Clear bracken Orchid Field parcel 4

                                   Spray upper slope Bluebell Heath

OTHER

CUT MAP OF THE COMMON  HOLLYBROOK RISE AND BLUEBELL HEATH

 

SURVEYS

TREE SURVEY FLUSHING WOOD

 

BAT SURVEYS

PEDESTRIAN PATH TO THE GROVE

FLUSHING WOOD

WITLING RIDE SURVEY

TREES ON EASTERN EDGE OF BLUEBELL HEATH


MARKING

Preserved trees and  tree lines/clumps  need to be marked in Flushing Wood


6th September 2012: Bat report from Simon Braidman

BAT REPORT FRIDAY 6th September 2012
Simon Braidman and David Bailey
Equipment 1 Duet bat detector, 1 Batbox 3 bat detector, recording device headphones , headlamp, binoculars, GPS
Weather 10 degrees centigrade cold moon half and clear wind 2-3
Arrived  3.55am Warren lane Car Park
4.08am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass bottom of Witling Rideas one gets into the parkland area.
4.14am Very quiet call dry clicks Brown Long Eared Bat just north of Pynding Mersc1 pass
4.16am Brown Long Eared Bat 1 pass
4.17am Brown Long Eared Bat VISUAL DAVID saw bat in the light of my headlamp clearly ears obvious and prominent bat flew off northwards
4.20am Soprano Pipistrelle 3 passes  in above position
4.28am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass in above position
4.30am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass just south east of Sycamore in Bluebell Heath East.
4.32am unidentified low thudding type call Bluebell Heath west western end of SM05.
4.42am arrived at point A 51.38.04.10N  0.19.46.84W just north west of Bluebell Heath
No signals nothing
5.22am arrived in Heathbourne Road
5.28am Myotis species call quiet with fast repetition rate on Heatbourne Road 100 metres west of junction with Stanmore Hill 1pass
5.30am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass down heathbourne road calls seem to come from gardens
5.34am Soprano Pipistrelle Heathbourne Road 1 pass same position
5.38am Myotis bat  1pass western end of Heathbourne Road
5.42 am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass same position
5.44am walking back towards Point A along path
5.49am Common Pipistrelle 1 pass bat
5,53 am Common Pipistrelle 2 passes no visual David positioned other side of New Heath failed to see bat
OTHER WILDLIFE
Twany Owl calling from somewhere close to 51.38.04.72N  0.19.47.80W
Sparrowhawk flew into Double oak in SM12  51.38.02.36N  0.19.35.27W stayed momentarily and then flew off again heading east.
Buzzard calling repeatidly from clump of trees on Mountbatten land 51.38.02.93N    0.19.25.54W
Muncjac calling cannot locate position
4




9th September 2012 Working Party report from Simon

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY SUNDAY  9TH SEPTEMBER 2012  ATTENDEES  WARDENS :   SIMON BRAIDMAN AND VANESSA MARLOW

10.30am to 3.30pm

Task  to clear bracken from Management Parcel 4 ( The Orchid Field) Bluebell Heath

Originally we were going top clear bracken from the bare earth banks lying to the north of New Heath.

Due to lack of numbers we prioritised the Orchid Field. We used scythes to clear the bracken and most of the  bracken in the mid section was cleared. The arisings were piled adjacent to one ofour stake stores which lies just to the west of the Orchid Field in the woodland edge.

The ground thatch was removed, care was taken to preserve other flora eg Marsh Thistle ( Cirsium palustre), Betony (Betonica offcinalis) Wood Sage (Teucreum scorodonia) and Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris).

The slope opposite the Orchid Field Management Parcel 5 south west section was heavily covered in bracken and scrub.

I decided to clear this area working up the slope, reaching opposite the conifers. I uncovered extensive heather looking healthy but shaded.

I removed the covering scrub by scythe with care and heavily thinned out Sallow scrub adjacent to the heather.

Vanessa cleared around the heather to ground level with loppers

I then scythed as much bracken in the upper section of parcel 4 but had not time to collect the cuttings.



11th September 2012 Management Committee Meeting

John Dobson has created a map of Bluebell Heath with compartment numbers.


Link to higher resolution original as PDF (will only work for Steve)

1.chainsaw training

Simon suggests that training be offered to David Bailey, Molly Heal and Simon Braidman himself in that order.

2. bracken /annual cut

Sue Kabel said she would come tomorrow; Simon is intending to cut bracken in Bluebell Heath Area 7 with slashers.

Simon will take the map of requested council cut areas to Dave Corby. Simon wants Dave to cut Bluebell Heath Areas 9 and 10, and selected areas of Holly Brook Rise.

3. volunteers

Simon will send me details of volunteer time he knows about

4. surveys     

Botany

John Dobson has this. I emailed him on September 15th asking for the data

Bats

Trees

 I should get the survey results from Simon to add to the spreadsheet

5. marking  tiger tape

I've left messages with Dave Corby about road pins. To hire from Hire Shop they are £3.15 + VAT each per week, so 30 for 9 weeks would be £1021 including VAT! There are some 54" long on sale on eBay for £1.29 each plus delivery - if Dave can't supply them I think we should buy 50 of these. There will be a delivery charge so maybe I could be authorized to spend up to £200 on these.

16th September 2012: I ordered 1.3 metre long 60 road pins for £89.90 from Shop-n-Easy and two 500 metre rolls of red/white tape for £11.95 from Falcon Workshop Supplies.

6. site vsit 3rd oct

7.  evaluiation    and feedback

Simon will hand out feedback postcards at his fungus foray. He edited the version I had for the 22 July walk to make it relevant to the fuungus walk - file saved as "Evaluation\Walk 12091601.docx"

8. fungus walk     16th September

9. contractor start date  and methodology

I created a PDF of all the correspondence with Mark Towers.

On Saturday September 8th I scouted out the western route into New Heath - it's about 300 metres in total of which about 100 metres is off the horse ride. A four wheel drive vehicle could do it, although it would require removing a few small trees.

10. heather seed

Other business:

Simon notes that we need: (1) Bowsaw blades, all lengths, but especially 21". (2) Five garden rakes (3) Two scythes.

Robin Youle discussed options for paying the contractor. We could pay every two weeks, as long as we received progress invoices that we could check and OK for payment. Robinb suggests three payments: end October, half way through November, and at the completion of the job.

Additional points I wanted covered:

OK to have one BTCV day to create bare earth banks in New Heath?
Yes, Robin is happy with this

OK to spend £236 on two scythes?
Yes, Robin is happy with this


12th September 2012: Report on working party from Simon Braidman

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY WEDNESDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2012
ATTENDEES   WARDENS :  Simon Braidman
VOLUNTEERS  Sue Kabel and Mohindra Wadhwa
10.30am to 3pm
TASKS

Bracken control
Bracken in Management Parcel 7 of Bluebell Heath was controlled by a mixture of cutting with slashers and pulling.

A large section of the parcel was cleared and the arisings added to the heap line just under the treeline in SM03.(Scrub Management Block 3)

Then the remainder of the cut bracken in Management Parcel 4 (The Orchid Field) which had not been collected (cut Sunday 9th September) was collected and added to the arising pile in tree line just west of the Orchid Field.

Finally tree surveying was re-started for the last 15 minutes in SM11 Flushing Wood.

Wildlife sightings
Red Admiral Butterfly

14th September 2012: Flushing Wood tree survey by Simon Braidman

 FLUSHING WOOD
Complete tree list composite of 2 visits
I am marking trees for conservation by green sticky labels
Tree 1 Oak 1.5metres west of Horse Ride 11m high girth 87cm
Tree 2 Oak 1 metre west of Horse Ride 11m high girth 92cme 3 Oak 1 metre west of Horse Ride 12m high girth 115cm
Tree 4 Oak 2 metres east of Tree 3 11.5m high girth 95cm
Tree 5 Silver Birch 3.5 metres east of Tree 4  11m high 78cm
Tree 6 Silver Birch stump 2.5 metres east of Tree5 1m high
Tree 7 Silver Birch stump 4 metres SEE of Tree 6  3m high
Tree 8 Silver Birch stump holed 2 metres NWW of Tree 7  6m high
Tree 9 Beech 4 metres NWW of Tree 8  deep hole on west face 7m up
Tree 10 Silver Birch 2 metres west of Tree 9 leaning towards Tree 9
Tree 11 Silver Birch 3.5 metres NWW of Tree 10 huge hole on south east face
Tree 12 Silver Birch stump  4metres south of Tree 11  5.5m high
Tree 13 Silver Birch stump 2metres south east of Tree 12  2m high
Tree 14 Scots Pine Huge 51.38.03.80N   0.19.34.35W 2 m girth
Tree 15 Scots Pine 4metres NWW of Tree 14
Tree 16 Silver Birch 6 metres West of Tree 14 and 5.5metres south of Tree 15 deep hole in south face 5m up.
Tree 17 Silver Birch stump 4 metres NWW of Tree 16  4 m high
Tree 18 Dead Silver Birch 4.5metres south of Tree 17 plus 18a the dead stump nest to it
Tree 19 Giant Silver Birch “ The Curly wurly with a huge hollow trunk 5metres west of Tree 18.
Tree 20 Beech huge 3 metres west of Tree 19
Tree 21 Oak large 0.5 metres south of Tree 20
Tree 22 Oak large 1 metre NW of Tree 21
Tree 23 Downy Birch 3.5metres north of Tree 17
Tree 24 Silver Birch stump 9metres north of Tree 22 and 7metres west of Tree 23
Tree 25 Aspen 5.5metres north of Tree 22 and 7metres south of Tree24 also keep aspen babies around it
Tree 26 Silver Birch stump 5metres south of Tree 24 and 3 metres north of Tree 25.
Tree 27 Silver Birch sickly looking 5 metres east of Tree 25
Tree 28 Silver Birch sickly looking  2metres north of Tree 27
Tree 29 Silver Birch stump 3m high  5metres NW of Tree 26
Tree 30 Silver Birch stump 2.5m high 2.5 metres North of Tree 29
Tree 31 Silver Birch stump 2.5m high  2.5 metres NW of Tree 30
Tree 32 Silver Birch dead 9m high  3 metres South of Tree 31
Tree 33 Oak 4 metres south of Tree 32 twisted tree stunning side branch going west split open on south face
Tree 34 and 34 a Silver Birch stumps 6 meters south of Tree 33
Tree 35 Silver Birch stump 4m high  5.5 metres west of Tree 22
Tree 36 Oak 2 metres NW of Trees 34 and 34a leaning towards Tree 33
Tree 37 , 37a and 367b Aspen 9metres west of Tree 38
Tree 38 Silver Birch stump  3m high 7metres NW of Tree 22

BULLDOZE ZONE
Tree 39 huge Oak on edge of Flushing Wood 51.38.02.74N  0.19.39.60W
Tree 40 Silver Birch stump 7m high  4metres east of Tree 39
Tree 41 Silver Birch stump 8 metres NNE of Tree 40 hole in east face
Tree 42 Silver Birch 8 metres NNE of Tree 39 split up trunk in west face
Tree 43 Silver Birch stump 11 metres NW of Tree 42  holes up tree
Tree 44 Silver Birch stump 4 metres NW of Tree 43 holes up tree
Tree 45 Silver Birch 18 metres NW of Tree 44
Tree 46 Silver Birch 3 meters North of Tree 45
Tree 47 Silver Birch stump 10 metres east of Tree 46
Tree 48 Silver Birch infected with fungus 2 metres north of Tree 45
Tree 49 Silver Birch 10 metres SE of Tree 48 deep hole low on SW face and another on south edge
Tree 50 Silver Birch stump with holes
Tree 51 Silver Birch with deep trunk split  7 metres east of Tree 39
Tree 52 Silver Birch stump deep wound hole 4.5metres NNE of Tree 51
Tree 53 Silver Birch stump 1metre NEE of Tree 52
Tree 54 Silver Birch hole 8 metres up on south face  8 metres east of Bat roost

16th September: Working party report from Simon Braidman

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY

SUNDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2012

ATTENDEES:

10.30am to 1pm
Wardens Simon Braidman  and Vanessa Marlow
Volunteers Chris Lajer

TASK:  BLUBELL HEATH PROJECT

To count number of stakes and to prepare them for installation in Flushing Wood.
The maximum number of trees to be marked is 54 in the Flushing Wood Area of the Bluebell Heath project.
There is at least 80 stakes in 2 locations.
Stakes were sharpened and also the bark scraped off at the top in preparation for installation.
Work will be completed Wednesday.
Other Wildlife
Bullfinch heard calling in SM03
Chiffchaff heard calling in SM03

16th September 2012: Guided walk (Fungus Foray) led by Simon Braidman and Elizabeth Stainthorpe

Simon notes that there were 12 attending, including Sue Kabel and Vanessa Marlowe


18th September 2012: Sourcing the heather seed, possible extra walks

Mark Towers emailed: Steven Hope are well, could you contact Chris for me as I have emailed about heather and had no response. Thanks  Mark

On the same day I emailed Simon Braidman: Hi Simon;
      I have 60 road pins, they are in my garage as I write! They cost 90 GBP including shipping, which is not too bad. I've ordered the red/white tape but it has not arrived yet.
      Mark Towers wrote today "could you contact Chris for me as I have emailed about heather and had no response". I could try phoning Chris Slack, but perhaps you know him better? Tell me whether you'd like me to phone him or whether you'd be willing to try first.
      I've now got the 4 additional pull-up banners that say "Join us on guided walks through Stanmore Common and Bluebell Heath: please take a programme." I could simply hold onto these until next spring, but if I am to distribute them there do need to be some walks on the programme! How do you feel about running two more - maybe one on Sunday October 6 or Saturday October 13, so the areas are marked out ready to go, then another in December to show people what has been done? We could make quite a good spiel about how all the surveying (mainly by you) means that we now have more information to share with the public. We could either split them - you do one, I do the other - or share as we did on July 22nd. What do you think? If you don't want to I fully understand!
      I've also got two pull-up banners that don't mention a programme, so they can be distributed as soon as I get time to do it.
All the best    Steve

Chris Slack cannot provide the heather seed. On October 3rd  2012 John Hollingdale suggested looking at Flora Locale re. heather seed. They have a listing of suppliers, I copied the local ones. On October 8th I tried these suppliers:

Herbiseed - Steve Morton. This sounds the most promising. They are in process of harvesting from a site on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border. However he has a contact with a site in the St Albans area, which would be excellent - St Albans is closer than Hounslow Heath. The seed would cost £60 to £70 per kilo and we'd want 2 kilos.
I left reminder phone and email messages on 17th October 2012. He replied that day by email: Hi Steve; Yes I think I can help. The capsules are not fully mature but we have a brush harvester arranged for the St Albans site for the 1st week in November. If it fits with your schedules we should have seed / capsules ready to delivery to deliver to you on 2 – 5th November. Please email as we are currently out of the office until Friday. Many thanks Steve
Steve Morton, Herbiseed, New Farm, Mire Lane, West End, Twyford, Berkshire, RG10 0NJ
Tel: +44 (0)118 934 9464    www.herbiseed.com

Simon replied on the 18th: Hi Steve; This is a registered flora locale supplier and in Hertfordshire, I have been on the website and I cannot trace the origin of the Heather seed and the company claims the seed to be tracable to wild stock. It is the location of the wild stock and the number of generations from the wild stock collection that is an issue. If these concerns can be satsified I would be happy to accept the seeds from this source. simon
Simon tried to reach Steve by phone to ask these questions but never got through. On October 29th 2012 I emailed: Dear Steve; Simon Braidman and I have been trying to reach you by phone but no luck. Can you tell us where exactly the St Albans source is, and whether the heather is native to there or was introduced. If the latter, how many seasons ago and where did that seed come from? I'd like to finalize this soon and I expect you do soon since you are about to harvest - so if you want to phone me at home this evening or on the mobile tomorrow that would be good. Best Wishes     Steve
Weald Meadows initiative - message left, they have not got back to me yet.

Wildflower Wizard - Andrew Downes called back. His usual sources are not within 100 miles of Harrow but he will do some investigating to see if he can locate a closer source.

Wild Flower Lawns and Meadows - Colin Reader. He has in stock seed from the Nottingham/Derbyshire border; we'd only need 625 g at £210. This is not at all local.

24 September 2012: New grants officer at Heritage Lottery Fund: Laura Butcher

From Tim Killick: Our Ref: YH-11-02351 Dear Stephen, Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common. I am writing to inform you that following internal re-distribution of projects currently being monitored by HLF, your project has been re-allocated to a new Grants Officer, Laura Butcher. Please be assured that Laura will be fully briefed by me about your project, and the discussions we have had to date. Please note that if you are planning openings, events and activities related to your project, we would like to be informed of the dates well in advance in order to ensure, where appropriate, that HLF is represented by a London Committee member and/or members of staff. I have very much enjoyed working with you and your team on this project and wish you all the best for the future. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laura on 020 7591 6084 or email LauraButcher[uppercase']hlf.org.uk. Best wishes, Tim Killick, Grants Officer    Direct Line:  020 7591 6084     Email: TimK[uppercase']hlf.org.uk

26th September 2012: Working Party report from Simon Braidman

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY WEDNESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER 2012

Attendees :   Wardens     Simon Braidman
Volunteers  Dianne Cran,  Imram Ahmez (new) John Bugler,  John Winter , David Green

Task to mark the trees in Flushing Wood

10.30am to 2pm
All the trees in Bluebell Heath have been marked and we now had to repeat the exercise in Flushing Wood .
Trees were marked with red topped painted wooden stakes and hammered into position.
The whole of the Flushing Wood project area was covered.
Flushing Wood project area:
1.    Bulldoze area extending from Holly Bush at 51. 38.03.38N    0.19.40.96W
And extends from there eastwards veering NEE and then curving  south eastwards to terminate at 51.38.02.13N  and 0.19.38.17W.
2.    The thin strip of scrub lining the southern edge of Flushing Wood called SM11 in John Dobson’s Scrub Management Map.
3.    I have decided to cut deeper into Flushing Wood at its eastern end up to a depth of 18m with a lot of tree retention.

BULLDOZE AREA
The Bulldoze area is overmarked  and when we marked it I knew it is impractical to get the machine to ,miss all those trees. However a few trees in the bulldoze area will be retained and these have been identified.

These trees are being retained because:
1.     A bat roost identified in bat survey
2.    A silver birch stump which has decades old bracket fungi on it

3.    A silver birch stump with woodpecker entrance holes which is dry on the inside

  SM11
 The scrub line is to be cut back to the line of Aspen lying behind . The line will be ,marked by tape.

THE DEEPER CUT
To open up the woodland and to create an uneven edge more trees are to be felled especially on the flush line, however the huge trees on the slightly higher ground lying just to the west of the flush line are to be retained and have been marked up. These trees will benefit from the scrub being removed from around them.

THE ASPEN
There is plenty of Aspen outside the project area ( 47trees counted ) in all and so even if some small Aspen in the bulldoze line and  in the flush area were lost through bulldozing or deeper removal a substantial population would remain.
Large Aspen in the flush line and the larger aspen forming the line of older trees parallel to the southern boundary will be retained.

OCTOBER 3RD
There is to be a review of the works on the 3rd and the final marking up of tape of tree lines to be retained or cut.
The lines are basically as per the john Dobson map but in addition:
1.    A deeper cut into SM11 as outlined above
2.    A small additional clearance of scrub along the line 51.38.02.47N  0.19.44.21W to 51.38.02.38N   0.19.43.09 W
This is to the Aspen block here which is retained.
3.    The scrub line 51.38.01.77N  0.19.33.39W  to 51.38.01.13N   and 0.19.33.18W  is to be removed
4.    A  deeper cut into SM03 at 51.37.59.90N and 0.19.34.42W  and a slightly deeper cut along the edge of SM03 just to the north of the line of the instream and off stream ponds.

OTHER WORK
John Bugler and Imram Ahmez , cleared Holly in flushing Wood.
The marking was completed but the Workday  was curtailed early as I lost my car keys. Thanks to JB for rescuing the situation.


28th September 2012: Distributing pull-up banners

I dropped one of the with leaflets banners off at the Civic Centre reference library, together with 60 events leaflets.

I dropped one of the with leaflets banners off at Wealdstone Library, with Helen Physick, together with 60 events leaflets and the remaining Stanmore Common colour leaflets. I emailed Tim Bryan <tim.bryan[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk> "Dear Tim; I've finally got the banners printed, so I've dropped one off with Helen Physick at Wealdstone Library. It would be great if you could set up a rota and circulate the banner and the accompanying leaflets around Harrow libraries. I've put a second banner at the Central Reference library at the Civic Centre that can stay as long as they are happy for it to do so, so there's no need to include that library in the rota. It's in the ground floor lobby if you want a look. Do please tell me the rota so that I can check on the supply of leaflets and replace the ones giving the current programme of events as that gets out of date. Thanks for organizing this - I hope we attract some attention.   Best Wishes    Steve
On 16th October Fiona Mehta <Library.GroupManager[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk>  sent me the rota:

Stanmore 5/10/12 – 19/10/12
Bob Lawrence 22/10/12 – 2/11/12
Kenton 5/11/12 – 16/11/12
Wealdstone 19/11/12 – 30/11/12
Gayton 3/12/12 – 14/12/12
North Harrow 17/12/12 – 4/1/13
Roxeth 7/1/13 – 18/1/13
Rayners Lane 21/1/13 – 1/2/13
Pinner 4/2/13 – 15/2/13
Hatch End 18/2/13 – 1/3/13


I  asked at the Civic Centre lobby (this would be for one of the no-leaflet banners) and they told me to contact Leroy Bellingy <leroy.bellingy[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk> tel 8863 5611 extension 8567. I emailed him on the 28th of September: Dear Mr Bellingy; We are running a Heritage Lottery Fund supported project to restore an area of heathland in Stanmore Common in Harrow. With the help of Steven Gregory at the Harrow Museum we've created pull-up banners to make the public aware of this project and invite them to participate. I attach a PDF showing the banner. I wonder if we could display one of these banners in the lobby of the Civic Centre, either immediately or whenever there is space. It's a standard self-supporting pull-up banner, 850mm wide and 2 metres high. Yours hopefully    Steve
He did not reply. I tried phoning 2:40 PM and again 4:45 PM 13 November 2012, no reply from that extension. I resent the email on the same day, November 13th 2012.
He replied on November 22nd: Hi Steve,  Sorry about the delay in replying to you, I am having a lot of problems receiving my mail and accessing my e-mails, IT are currently looking into it for me. Yes that would be fine. You can drop it off when you are free and come to Civic 1 and leave it at the main reception desk. Kind Regards Leroy

I asked at Tesco's, showing the A4 print to show what I meant - they said no to the banner but took the print to put up in the Community Noticeboard.

I updated the events leaflets at the Harrow Museum.

I forgot to try the sports centre for the other no-leaflet banner - I'll do that Monday if not before.

The events leaflets list the three Bluebell Heath walks - October 13, November 24 and 12th January 2013 - and working parties to 14th November inclusive.

9th October 2012: I topped up the events list at the library banner, which at present is in Stanmore library. I offered the no-leaflets banner to Harrow Leisure Centre - they said no, but gave me the email address of the manager, Duncan.Cogger[uppercase']gll.org, so I emailed him... it bounced as undeliverable. I then offered it to the Aspire Centre - unequivocal no.

24th October 2012: I took the multi-leaflet display and a selection of site leaflets, plus an updated events schedule, to Bob Lawrence library. I offered a no-leaflets display to Harrow Sports Centre but got an unequivocal no.

$ So as of 20th November 2012:
One with leaflets banner at Civic Centre library  Leaflets updated 20th November 2012
One with leaflets banner on library rota  Leaflets updated 20th November 2012
One with leaflets banner at Harrow Museum Note that Harrow Museum is closed on Tuesdays; open 12 noon to 4:00 other weekdays, 10:30 to 4:00 weekends

Leaving unused as yet:
Two with leaflets banners
Two without leaflets bannersq

30th September 2012: "The Challenge" at Stanmore Common

From John Hollingdale 29 Jun 2012 20:59 Has this guy contacted you? I also have the same request on our answer phone. Can anybody cope with this number of volunteers? John

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Chris Morris <chris.morris[uppercase']the-challenge.org>
Friday, 29 June 2012, 15:39
Subject: The Challenge and Harrow Heritage Trust

Good afternoon, I have recently met with Navin Shah who recommended that I contact the Harrow Heritage Trust as he felt our charity and your organisation could work well together.

I work for a charity called The Challenge which is a youth and community charity which runs a summer programme that exists to inspire and connect young people across Britain to strengthen their communities.  We bring together sixteen-year olds and challenge them to connect with people from different backgrounds, learn key skills for the workplace, and make a difference in their community.
 
Where do you come in? We are looking for charities and community organisations to partner with. This partnership involves a group of 65 young people plus 12 members of our staff coming to your site on Sunday 30th September to do a day of conservation volunteer work. The volunteering day will last between 11am - 4pm. The Challenge will provide up to £400 seed money for the day. This is a great opportunity to get a mass amount of young people to do some conservation work in your area.
 
We have set up similar projects successfully in other areas in previous years and I would very much like to meet with you to discuss this opportunity further.
 
I very much look forward to hearing from you.   Kind regards, Chris Morris  Assistant Programme Manager, The Challenge Network t:  020 7921 4365  m: 07584 232 765
www.the-challenge.org/font>

Could we use these pulling/digging birch at New Heath? Two people scything bracken then raking it up, a few digging up bramble, the rest pulling/digging birch. At present we have 1 fork only. There are small B +Q forks for £15, we could get 26 of those.

When New Heath was truly clear we could move to Holly Brook Rise and trample bracken. However this is feasible only if the bracken has not formed spores (John Dobson says it almost never does, and certainly won't on a cool Summer like this one).

Could also scythe and rake the orchid area. No - Blubell Heath committee says don't let children have scythes! We agreed to have the young people spend 1/3 of the time collecting invertebrates that Simon would either identify there and then or pickle and identify later.

I replied to Chris Morris on 4th July 2012: Dear Chris; I wrote earlier about possibly using "The Challenge" group on Stanmore Common. We would like to do this. We suggest that we split the group into three cohorts so that each young person spends 2/3 of their time pulling/digging up birch saplings from a newly created area of heathland and 1/3 of their time collecting invertebrates as part of our species survey of the site. The site is described at http://www.harrowncf.org/SC_home.html and there's a picture of an earlier group pulling birch (with, I suspect, smaller young people than you will bring!) at http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/6182051375/in/photostream.
Yours hopefully    Steve
We met and reviewed the site and task on August 22nd 2012.

Email to Ross Chiese at Stanmore Cricket Club <ross.chiese[uppercase']tiscali.co.uk> on 22nd August 2012

Dear Ross;

In October last year I wrote to you about our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds to restore Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common, and asking if on a very few days per year young volunteers working on the Common could use the toilets in the cricket club. You kindly agreed that this would be OK as long as the dates were suitable.

As you may have seen in the papers we were successful in our application and are going ahead with the project. We have a group of 16 year olds coming on Sunday 30th September, and it would be very helpful if they could use the toilets on that day. The idea is that they would work at a remote part of the Common during the day, but come back to the car park on Warren Lane for lunch and at that time any who needed to could come over to the Cricket Club to use the toilets. Is that possible? The actual group is 60 strong, but I cannot imagine that more than 20 would need to use the Cricket Club toilets..

Yours hopefully    Steve
He replied: Stephen; I am impressed by your diligence in achieving your goal! Yes you can use the toilets,we may have a game up there that day but that's fine we are happy to help such a worthwhile cause.they should remove their boots if that is what they are wearing. Rgds Ross
Link to the formal agreement of what we said we'd do

Email to Stanmore Common volunteers 1st September 2012:

To: David Bailey
      Vanessa Marlowe
       John Bugler
       John Winter
       David Green 

Dear David, Vanessa, John, John and David;

It's some way ahead, but I want to warn you and put in a plea for your help on Sunday September 30th. Stanmore Common is going to be visited by a group of about 60 young people (about 16 years old) plus five supervisors from an organization called The Challenge Network. The plan is that they will pull up birch saplings on New Heath in the morning and perhaps the first part of the afternoon, then split the rest of the time between trampling bracken and collecting invertebrates. They will turn up at 11AM and leave at 4PM. They'll have lunch back at the car park, and the cricket club has kindly agreed to let the group use their toilets as long as they take off their boots as they go in. Simon will provide the invertebrate collection hardware but will not be there. I will be there, but I need as much help as possible - if possible four of you.

They are giving us 400 GBP as a contribution to tools, which I'll use to buy some more forks to help in digging up the larger birch saplings.

So please put this day in your diary and plan to come if you can. I'll contact you again closer to the date.

Yours hopefully    Steve
John Bugler emailed back on the same day to say he'd be there.
John Winter emailed back on September 2nd to say he'd be there.
Vanessa Marlowe emailed on September 17th to say she'd be there.

On 26th September 2012 I bought 51 pairs of gloves and four forks at B + Q. I checked the stock of gardening gloves at the tool store and threw out some horrible ones, leaving 12 good pairs. So the total of gloves is now 63 pairs, plus 8 pairs of lightweight gloves.
The forks, made by Joseph Bentley, have a "lifetime guarantee", meaning 10 years. I registered them at www.josephbentley.co.uk and recieved confirmation - see email from no-reply[uppercase']solusgl.com dated 27th September 2012. Note that all four had the same Batch Checked No.
On 15th October 2012 I sent a message to Joseph Bentley on their web site: I bought four of your digging forks with lifetime guarantees at B + Q on 26th September 2012. I registered them: my Guarantee Ref Number is 101919. I used them on 30th September. One broke - I could send a picture if you like! Please advise on how to get a replacement or get a repair of this one.
I  eventually just took it to B + Q and they exchanged it with no problem.

Invoicing them for the £400

On 13th October I emailed Robin Youle:
Dear Robin; On September 30th 2012 we hosted a large group of young people from an organization called "The Challenge" http://www.the-challenge.org/ registered charity no. 1129239. They promised to make a contribution of 400 pounds to our costs (I did indeed spend this much on gloves and tools, but they don't need to see those receipts). Please could you send an invoice for £400 "for materials provided for work event at Stanmore Common" to "The Challenge Network" attention Chris Morris at:
75 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HS
and tell me if there's any problems or if they don't pay up! Thanks   Steve

Chris Morriss emailed me on Octber 17th reminding us to send the invoice. I forwarded the message to Robin Youle.

3rd October 2012: Visit to finalize areas to be cleared

The initial idea was that Simon Braidman, John Dobson and Denis Vickers would come; John Hollingdale (perhaps Margaret too) and Vanessa Marlowe have also said they's come. Meet 10AM at the car park.

We argued over a big sycamore at TQ 15961 94068. Denis Vickers argued strongly that it should be removed, because its seeds will otherwise germinate all over the cleared areas. But Simon said that there was a possible bat roost in it. We agreed that it should be ring barked (two chain saw cuts a few inches apart, as close to the ground as possible, then remove the bark and cambium). This will kill it but leave it standing - if anything, even better for bats as holes develop. Steve B can do this.

We phoned Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters - we agreed that work would start on Monday October 22nd, and that we would meet him and his team in the Warren Lane car park at 8AM that day.

John Hollingdale suggested looking at Flora Locale re. heather seed. They have a listing of suppliers, I copied the local ones.

Simon Braidman's notes: PRESENT :-   WARDENS    Simon Braidman
Steve Bolsover, Denis Vickers, John Hollingdale, Margaret Huitson.
Volunteers   John Winter, Dian  Cran, Nick Cran, David Green .
Initial meeting to discuss  the finalised marking of Bluebell Heath/Flushing Wood.
Marking up the reserve.
All designated areas of scrub control/management according to the Lottery scheme and the map drawn up by John Dobson  were discussed in detail.
It was made clear that the path going north south demarcating the eastern edge of Bluebell Heath marked the end point of the project at its eastern end south of Flushing Wood with the exception of the additional block of scrub opposite SMO1. This block was discussed between John Dobson and Simon Braidman on an earlier visit. 51.38.02.06N 0.19.32.96W

There were other additional control areas in Bluebell Heath. Going from east to west:
1.    Removal of an Yew in SMO3 at 51.37.59.99N 0.19.34.57W
2.     An extra deeper cut west of SMO3 at 51.38.00.51N 0.19.39.63W bringing the scrub belt back to a line just north of the in-stream pond
3.    A scrub removal north north west of the orchid field stopping short of the Aspen clumps at 51.38.02.17N 0.19.41.97W.

There was considerable discussion and at times disagreement as to the retention of major trees.
The principles were that significant trees are to be preserved and that includes non –native species. Exceptions were when trees were directly in the flush line.
The greatest dissention was over the direct linking of New Heath with the new scrape.
I believe that a line of trees does allow filtration of organisms from open area to open area. However a direct open link was produced. It was since then agreed (between simon and the contractor) that adjacent lines of scrub adjacent to retained lines will not be poisioned. This will allow  a scrub belt to gradually develop which will be coppice controlled
Lines of retained scrub were as defined.

FLUSHING WOOD
Simon had to mark Flushing Wood on the hoof and as a result had a much deeper cut than anticipated in the eastern most section of Flushing Wood to a depth of 30 metres over double the original distance. This was because of pressure and the inability to orientate with the front of Flushing Wood. This has put up significantly the cost of the work but it has been turned into an advantage. It allows the chance to open up the wood here.
This is not clear fell. All significant trees and dead trees are to be kept standing.
This is a thinnng. It is not envisaged this area will return to grassland. This area will always be woodland albeit in a more open state.
The area has been visited twice more since this meeting to ensure all the dead trees were identified for retention and  that ALL significant trees are to be retained.
Denis, Steve, John Hollingdale  and Margaret Huitson left  leaving Simon and the Volunteers to continue marking up.
All parties seem satisfied at the amount of scrub removal.


7th October 2012: Display boxes for specimens

Steven Gregory gave me the name of a supplier of boxes and packing stuff for display of specimens but I've lost the details and he is off sick.

The best I've found are:
   http://www.littlegemsrockshop.co.uk/  but they only have small size boxes, intended for rocks
   http://www.plasticboxshop.co.uk/  better range but no nice clear acrylic boxes

Today I'll get boxes that will work for the snake skin and the eggs - we can get clear acrylic ones for smaller items when we need them or when Steven can give advice.


7th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

ATTENDEES  WARDENS :
SIMON BRAIDMAN AND VANESSA MARLOW
10.30am to 4pm

Simon and Vanessa went to the Common to review the marking up for the Bluebell Heath project on Sunday 7th October.
All areas in Bluebell Heath reviewed plus all areas except the bulldoze area in Flushing Wood were reviewed.
TASKS
1.    Notices were put up warning the public of the date of the start of the project. The notice also contained warnings of the Witling Ride Green Grid project.
In effect Bluebell Heath will be sealed from public access over the project period.
Also Witling Ride will be sealed off on the dates of November 22nd,26th, 27th and December 3rd. with users recommended and with direction arrows encouraged to use Jakes path.
Notices were installed at either end of the car park and on the Horse Ride just before it enters Bluebell heath and on the footbridge at Pynding Mersc.  Further signage will be installed at the footpath entrance from Heathbourne Road,  and the bridle path entrance onto the Common from Warren Lane.

2.    In Bluebell Heath :
No change in SM01
No change in SM02

3.    we reviewed SM03 and removed one tree from preservation as it was intwinned with 2 others for removal . We also put in a back  cut line and a extra scallop cut line in the eastern end of SMO3 to remove the Yew tree and its surround.
4.    SM04  One tiny clump of scrub selected for preservation
5.    No change in SM05
6.    No change in SM06 but 2 new cut lines will be put in place either side of the preservation line Rt06
7.    No change in SM07
8.    No change in SM08
9.    No change in SM09
10.    No change in SM010
A detailed review was done of the trees in the eastern removal section of Flushing wood. Additional trees were selected for preservation
Almost all of these were dead stumps
Additions were made to the existing cut line in SM11 to take in Holly along the flush line The Aspen with the bark lift is to be preserved and the cut line was very slightly changed bringing this tree out of the cut zone
   There is no change to the additional cut zone south of New Heath.
        Trees were marked again to make it quite clear what is to be retained and removed .
TO IMPROVE VISUAL SIGNAL TO CONTRACTORS
      Trees to be kept are all taped and in retention lines trees wrapped with tape are to be kept.
    Trees marked for preservation were found outside the cut zones and these were demarked to avoid confusion.
.
FURTHER WORK
More taping is required and notices to:
1.    Indicate the bulldoze zone
2.    To clarify the cut lines in SM06
3.    To indicate interblock tree removal and preservation
4.    To indicate to users of the contractoral work


PHOTOGRAPHY
Fixed point photography is to be  established and before photography is to be carried out.
The digital camera has an adapter hole and I have 2 tripods.
Each management zone will have at least 1 fixed point position.

10th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

Attendees:
Simon Braidman, David Green, Imran Ahmed, Martin X, Marion Sartin, Margaret Huitson, John Hollingdale.
Location Stanmore Country Park
10.30am to 2.30pm

An arrangement has been made between Simon Braidman and John Hollingdale in that if there is a clash on Wednesday work parties between the two reserves, the Stanmore common work party will transfer to the country park.
This was one of those clashes.
TASKS
1.    Cutting back of Willow/rose  from the southern edge of the balancing pond as growth is pushing ;footpath into grassland

2.    Felling scrub from an area in a field called
Carried on working after work party finished .

A reasonable amount of scrub was cut down and the cuttings stacked.

Burning is scheduled on the brash .

A very enjoyable session. A big thanks to Imran Ahmed, David Green and Martin Elliot for making a very entertaining work party ( we discussed life, the universe and marshal arts).


13th October 2012: Three more guided walks

I'll do one on Saturday13th October 2012
Simon will do one on Saturday November 24th 2012, concentrating on fungi but also looking at the Bluebell Heath work
Simon will do one on Saturday January 12th 2013, concentrating on biirds but also looking at Bluebell Heath

I sent emails to Anna Slater <aslater[uppercase']london.newsquest.co.uk> and Ian Proctor <ianproctor[uppercase']trinitysouth.co.uk>:

Dear Anna/Ian;

You have in the past done a great job of writing about our initiatives and events, for which thanks very much. I’m hoping that you can advertise three guided walks that we will be leading on Stanmore Common.

Of all the open spaces in Harrow, Stanmore Common gives the greatest sense of wildness. Below I include the Statement of Significance that describes the most important aspects of the site.

 As you know we received Heritage Lottery Fund support to restore Bluebell Heath, an area of heathland and acid grassland in Stanmore Common. The most noticeable part of this work, the clearance of areas of scrub and sapling trees by a contractor, will begin in late October and last about 6 weeks. In preparation for this work we have carried out intensive surveys of the birds, invertebrates, fungi and plants of Bluebell Heath. We’ve found rare plants, interesting insects and an old tree with a bat roosts in its trunk. We will run three guided walks to share our findings with the public. The first will be on Saturday October 13th, immediately before the contractor work begins, to show what the site looks like now. The second will be on Saturday November 24th, during the clearance work, while the third, on Saturday January 12th 2013, will show the clearance completed but the task of nurturing new heathland only just beginning. The November walk will have as a special focus the many fungi to be found on Stanmore Common, while the January walk will have bird life as a special focus. All three walks begin at 2:00 PM in the Stanmore Common car park off Warren Lane, Stanmore and last between 90 minutes and two hours. There will be plenty to interest children including exhibits to hold. For more information people should email admin[uppercase']harrowncf.org, look at our website www.harrowncf.org or phone 0779 483 7302.

 There are a number of images on our Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/ that you could use to illustrate the story. In particular, these three:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/8030206693/in/photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/7447277796/in/photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/7527127740/in/photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/7937486696/in/photostream

are relevant to this project as well as being pretty - well, three of them are pretty anyway!

Please contact me if you want to discuss this or need for information.   Best Wishes    Steve


14th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

Attendees:
Simon Braidman, Vanessa Marlow, David Green, John Winter
10.30am to 3.30pm

PHOTOSURVEY

To record what is going to happen better a photographic fixed point survey was set up.
The fixed points were set up with road pins marked with black and yellow sticky hazard tape flags.
In all 18 points were set up covering the entire project areas.
At each fixed point a 360 degree panorama was taken by digital camera mounted on a Cullman tripod via an adaptor.
Each strip of photos needs to be separated so that each point could be determined in retrospect.
The photographs were then analysed by John Winter who used photoshop to link the pictures into a panorama.
The Following was discovered:
1.    One needs to level the tripod to get a better fit
2.    Better labelling of the photographic strip was required, the best thing is to photo the flag.
3.    Due to poor numbering one point was missed out entirely (point 8) and due to getting better coverage on a subsequent photographic visit by simon and John Winter a’s and b’s were introduced. And a great deal of effort was required to match the pictures to the fixed point location.
4.    Camera batteries ran out (simons) in the end John winter and david green used their cameras.
   
  POINT 1 WAS NOT MARKED WITH A ROAD PIN AS IT WAS IN A ZONE ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED FOR THE COUNCIL ANNUAL CUT.
( This never happened as the council were slow to get around the reserves (poor weather did not help)


16th October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

Attendees:
Simon Braidman,  John Winter
10.30am to 3.30pm
TASK
   PHOTOSURVEY AND EXTRA TAPING
More photopoints were put in. Plus marking up Block SM06 .

Used John’s camera. Concentrated on putting more phtopoints especially around bulldoze zone and the eatern end of Flushing Wood.

The tripod was levelled off first.


17th October 2012: Report on Working Party by Simon Braidman

Attendees:
Simon Braidman
10.30am to 2.30pm
TASK
Matching photograph work

Due to poor numbering simon went back to the project area to match up the pictures.
Also spoke to Council ground maintence staff. They were on site because of annual cut.
They were keen to get involved in more interesting work in their quiet season on Stanmore Common. I said that there may be a possibility of joint work in the future depending on how the project goes.
We have in the past done joint projects with council staff. They helped put in a new path between Oak mead and Bluebell Heath.
Spoke to contractor who was cutting Hollybrook Rise. He wanted the extra work of cutting the eastern belt of Bluebell Heath but I said he was out of time.
I was disappointed to see it was a cut and a later collect.
Ground conditions very poor ans wet underfoot.


19th October 2012: Visit by Simon Braidman

11am to 2.30pm

Extra visit to match the fixed point photographs taken on 14th and 16th October. Due to numbering confusion poor labelling and extra points. A re-visit was done to match up the photostrips with the points.
This was successfully completed.

On entering car park saw Council contractor vehicle trailer  vehicle plus 2 harrow council vans.

Went off to Hollybrook Rise. Met contractor cutting Hollybrook Rise. Towed cutter behind tractor with no collector. Spoke to him. Very poor conditions. He wanted to continue cut into Bluebell Heath as per the cutting maps. I said it was too late the contractor for Bluebell Heath is due to start on 22nd. I asked when the cuttings were due to be collected. He said early next week. I then asked who was on site from the council he said grounds maintenance were on site  but he had not seen them for ages.

I went back to the car park and waited and met council employees from the grounds maintenance team. They were just having a look around and we discussed the possibility of a team from them working at the common some time in the future in the winter season. They all fear for their future in these hard times.

Then I started the photomatch work which I successfully completed.


20th October 2012: Notes on work party by Simon Braidman

ATTENDEES :;
David bailey and Steve Bolsover
AND
Separately
SIMON BRAIDMAN and  later Vanessa marlow
TASKs

BRUSHCUT light scrub in Cerrisland and oakmead David Bailey and Steve Bolsover 10.30am to  4pm
and then fixing signs warning people of up coming works on all entrances to bluebell heath plus entrance to reserve off Heathbourne road and horse ride off Warren lane.

Taping off all entrances to bluebell heath from all directions.
Then marking up interblock trees in Bluebell heath with Vanessa

EXTRA TASK
Vanessa and myself checked on Grove Pond south and found two masses of Himalayan Balsam ( a highly invasive species)  on the field to the west of Grove Ponds. These were promptly pulled up and destroyed.

GUIDED WALK Only 1 person turned up Mrs Saddiqi . We had a nice walk around the site.


21st October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

WORK PARTY Sunday 21st October
SIMON BRAIDMAN and  later Vanessa marlow
TASKs
Bat survey simon  Braidman early morning.
6am to 9am

SIGNAGE  PUTTING UP SIGNS AT HEATHBOURNE ROAD ENTRANCE AND HORSE RIDE ENTRANCE FROM WARREN LANE
ENTRANCE TO HORSE RIDE TO WEST OF pedestrian exit from the Grove estate.


22nd October 2012: work started.

Simon Braidman and I met the group from T + T Earthmatters up on Stanmore Common. Points discussed:

On Tuesday October 23rd I saw them as they were leaving, David and I, and independently Simon, looked at what they'd done, they left a neat pile of logs but two enormous brash piles. In subsequent eails they agreed to remove the brash to the woods adjoining Bluebell Heath.

SimonBraidman notes: meeting with Mark Tower and six of his team from T+T earthworks.
After introductions head off to look at access to the work site. Will go on foot from car park to avoid site damage.
Bulldozer will access along horse ride and come out though gate.
Simon then accompanies Mark and shows him the work site.
Then go around all the project site.
1.    Mark is pleased at the quality of marking up. Thanks guys.
2.    Cost will rise as the extra areas are added in
3.    Timbrel was not factored into costs.
4.    Heather still being sourced not possible from Hounslow Heath.
5.    Bulldozer hired for 5 unspecified days with a qualified driver
6.    Simon explains Greengrid project in Witling Ride (4 days)  and that it should not impinge on Bluebell Heath project.
7.    Simon explains that Harrow are due to collect cuttings from Hollybrook Rise,(annual cut) again it should not affect Bluebell Heath Project.
8.    T+T work Monday to Thursday  7.30am until 3-4pm
9.    MOT due on their vehicle this week can only do Monday, Tuesday
Once the team starts Simon leaves team to it.

23rd October 2012: Report on working party by Simon Braidman

Steve Bolsover and David Bailey
10.30am to 4pm
Brushcutting in Oakmead

24th October 2012 Site visit by Simon Braidman

Took photgraphs of work.  Unsatisfied at amount of brash and log piles on clearing. It was agreed to have a few but this is overkill.
Stressed the cut material must go into the woodland edge.
Sent email to mark Towers the same day. They agree to move material into woodland edge.
Steve gives the Ok for extra expenditure.
Time consuming dragging heavy wood.
Agree to meet up with mark on site  on the Monday.to discuss issues.
Found Grass Snake hibernacula just outside Bulldoze area.  Saw 2 snakes enter root plate.
Root plate photographed and marked with Road pin.
Moved line of bulldozing  7m to the south.
Indicates hibernacula could be modelled on root plates.
Following email exchange on Thursday 25th agreed to keep bigger timber in small discrete piles on clearing
Still awaiting precise costing of extra work.


26th October 2012: Steven Gregory is resigning

A message from Martin Verden to Steven dated 24th October 2012: Dear Steve, All at Harrow Heritage Trust are very sorry to learn that, following your most unpleasant car accident, and the protracted healing process, you have decided to resign from your position at Harrow Council. You have a serious amount of experience in the field of heritage, museums and historic buildings etc., which you generously shared with us during our
many meetings together. We shall miss your invaluable input, and send our best wishes for your progress within this sector, which has so much influence on the quality of life, that we are all trying to improve. There are so many doors for you to open, and we wish you good luck in whatever avenue you choose for the future. In the meantime we hope you are restored to good health as soon as possible. All the very best and kind regards, Martin Verden

Robin Youle added the note: Stephen is resigning officially on 16th November. He may not be returning to Harrow .

29th October 2012: Simon Braidman notes on meeting with Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters

Met with mark discussed:
1.    Having fires in Flushing wood bulldoze area to get rid of huge amounts of brash.
2.    Discussed leaving possible tiny bits of scrub in SM012 to shelter old oaks
3.    Leaving lines of cut scrub immediately adjacent to retained scrub unpoisoned to get a thin scrub belt which can then be put into a coppice cycle.


31st October 2012 Simon Braidman notes on working party

ATTENDEES ;
Simon Braidman and Martin Elliot.
Task to open up the area known as Fox Earth Mound.
10.30am to  3.30pm
This was discussed at the meeting at the Traveller’s Rest on Tuesday 23rd October.
It is a John Dobson suggestion.
Fox Earth mound is an artificial earthwork of uncertain date or function:
The theories are it is:
1.    An ancient burial mound
2.    A post medieval rabbit warren
The structure is circular with a surrounding ditch. No archeological work has been carried out on the mound.

English Heritage would like the mound cleared of trees.

There are some very hefty trees growing on the mound, especially very large Silver Birch. There is also Aspen, Hawthorn, Sycamore and young Oak.

Some of the trees are chainsaw jobs.

Off to the east of the mound is a good population of Aspen and to the south a good population of young Hornbeam.

To the south at around 20 metres is another clearing and the intention is to create an open area to join to the existing clearing.

A very large Oak restricts some of the light coming in but it is obvious that felling the Hornbeam to its east will allow lots of light in. The line of clearance forms a quadrilateral.
Martin and myself felled the Hornbeam south of the mound. The timber was cut into workable lengths and marked with its tree species. This is for use for a Forest School programme and stored in neat piles.

We  had to change saw blades and we are going through saw blades at a rate.

Asked mark not to timbrel first line of scrub along the south east and south edge of SM012.

Emailed mark Towers again about brash piles, he is moving them in bits. He is only coming on Tuesday 5th and Thursday 7th November next week.

4th November 2012: Work party cancelled

WORK PARTY CANCELLED DUE TO POOR WEATHER .HEAVY RAIN

7th November 2012: Site visit by Simon Braidman

Checked project area and it looks great. Still lots of work to go. Took Photos.

Hollybrook Rise arisings have been collected not effectively in the western lower slopes.

Took pictures of Hollybrook Rise , Pynding Mersc and Bluebell Heath.

9th November 2012: Site visit by Simon Braidman

11AM TO 11.4OAM
A quick visit to discuss the marking of Witling Ride for the Green Grid project and also to show Vanessa Fox Earth Mound  and the line of tree fell as she is taking the task.


13th November 2012: Bluebell Heath Management committee  to official minutes from Margaret Huitson

Contractor work: We agreed T + T Earthmatters quotation for the additional work. This brings our surplus down to about £5000 (or £8000 when the contingency money is included), so still nice, but no longer so large that we don't need to be careful. Here is the email I sent to Mark Towers on Thursday 15th November 2012:

Dear Mark;

Following the steering committee meeting on Tuesday I confirm that we are happy to go ahead with the additional work at Bluebell Heath, that is,  Timbrel treatment of stumps, and felling of trees in an additional area of Flushing Wood, at the price you quote.

This means that the total cost of the works you are carrying out will be

14300 original quotation
850 Timbrol treatment
4300 Additional tree felling
=========
19450 plus VAT

--------------------------------------------------

Both Simon Braidman and I are very happy with the work done to date. In particular I was very pleased on Tuesday to see one of the big pines, and one of the big oak trees, beginning to stand as specimen trees, no longer hidden by a clutter of small trees and brush.

I'm also happy with the way that the brash, and the majority of the logs, are now being removed to the edges of the main work area.

Best Wishes     Steve

Second seat: Simon will be creating one on his work party of 7th July 2013: This will be done by one of his volunteers who likes to do that sort of thing. So I'll need to do a second one in the style of the one in Oakmead before the end of March. I hope that I can get David Bailey to help me with this - perhaps after 15th March 2013, the last deadline for Green Grid work. I've put a note in the diary to this effect.

Next Woodcraft Fold working Party in January/February 2013 can pull birch saplings in the bracken areas of New Heath, and sow the seeds collected by The Challenge.

I need to buy 10 more of the shortest (533 mm) bowsaw blades. Note that at the last meeting we agreed that I would buy five garden rakes and two scythes. Ayletts nursery is the closest place that sells Bulldog brand, it is suggested that I get these.
John Hollingdale researched rakes and feels that wide wooden rakes, of the type that the TCV use, are better. On 25th November 2012 he emailed: The Bulldog Wooden Hay rake at TCV is £35.70 inc. VAT; elsewhere it is £5 cheaper. Another brand, Faithful, is less than £20. The difference being the material used to brace the head is wood in the Bulldog rake and thick wire in the Faithful.
I'll find out if Ayletts stock either, or can order them. The possibilities in the Premier range are:
Hay Rake, Wooden Head, Product Code: 0247167080
Hay rake, alloy head,
Product Code: 0246187280
14 tooth garden rake Product Code: 1121-14N

I need to research First Aid Courses then tell Simon.
On November 17th 2012 I emailed Simon: Hi Simon, The Red Cross one day first aid course, which looks to be good for us, is on...
At Islington Wednesday 5th December 2012
At London Bridge Thursday 20th December 2012
At London Bridge Friday 4th January 2013
At Islington Thursday 17th January 2013
At Harrow Monday 28th January 2013
At London Bridge Monday 11th February 2013
Tell me if you want me to book places on any of these.   All the best    Steve

On 20th November Simon suggested the TCV. There is indeed a TCV course in Brighton on December 3rd. I gave Simon details of this.

Brushcutter course - David Green would like to go on this. I emailed Capel Manor to this effect on 17th November 2012.

Suggested locations for pull-up banner see above for how many remain
Harrow Arts Centre - Margaret Huitson will ask them - I sent her a low resolution PDF of the with-leaflets banner.
Gayton Road library - I should ask
St John's Church Hall/Victoria Hall, central Harrow (this is where the Woodcraft Folk meet) - I should ask
Downstairs lobby, outside gift shop in West House. People going from the cafe to the toilet will see it. Martin Verden emailed 17th November 2012 to ask whether he could take one.
Bernays Hall - Carole Lis emailed 17th November 2012 to ask whether she could take one
She replied that there is no space at Bernays Hall for a banner, but that she could take an A4 poster and leaflets - so I'll take her a general HNCF poster rether than a specific Stanmore Common one. She also says that Stanmore Library would be good for a banner and that she would ask them.
St. John's church Stanmore - Simon will ask - I sent him a low resolution PDF of the without-leaflets banner.
Beacon Community Centre - I should ask
South Harrow Community Centre - Simon will ask.
Wealdstone Centre - I should ask

Nature Trail - Simon and I will do this together. I have put a diary note to start thinking about this in April 2013.

14th November 2012: Simon Braidman notes on work party, with notes on the Fox Earth and future work

WARDENs  Simon Braidman
John Bugler, Rick Cran, Diane Cran, Kebin Thalpa, Zubair Aziz, Martin Elliot
10.30am to   3.30pm

TASK
To fell small trees on and around Fox Earth Mound at TQ15869381
Fox earth mound is listed as an Ancient Monument by English Heritage. It is a sub circular mound of earth 18.2m across, not including the surrounding ditch, and 1.5m high with steeply rising sides and an almost flat top.
Its function is uncertain. It could possibly be a ancient burial mound but It could also be an unusually shaped Rabbit Warren. Rabbits were bred for their meat in specially designed warrens looked after by a Warrener.


Above image embedded in Simon's report (replaced with a higher quality version from legendarydartmoor.co.uk website)

The ditch surrounding the structure could be keep the rabbits in.
The mound was commonly and mistakenly  called Boudicca’s mound. The real Boudicca’s mound is a prospect mound in the ground of Limes House which is over  400m to the east. This mound was a viewpoint.
English Heritage want to keep the trees off the mound. A careful look in the area reveals a natural clearing to the south and by opening up the mound and its surrounds and joining it to the existing clearing should create a sheltered sunny spot which will be great for wildlife.
The trees were neatly cut up to manageable lengths and separated off into species so that the wood can be used for a Forest Schools programme.
Thin slices were taken off the wood again for Forest Schools.
Thin brash were kept separate in small discrete piles.
Aspen was kept (rare insect associates) as were selected specimen trees.
Dead trees (there were only a few  small ones) were kept standing as common policy as on this site
A few trees were chainsaw jobs.
This is the 3rd work day on this task and the task is virtually complete.
A big thanks to the volunteers .

The next work party is Tomorrow Thursday 22nd November. It is a TCV (Trust for Conservation Volunteers) workday and the task is to fell small trees in Witling Ride, the first glade from the car park.
There is a guided walk on the Common on Saturday 24th Nov at 2pm
Then it is more work in Witling Ride on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th November.
Then we are back at Fox Earth Mound to finish off on Wednesday 28th November and then we move to the area known as the Hawthorns which is the ride between Oakmead and Bluebell Heath.
Here we will be re-opening up pathside scallops which is exsiting small clearings.


18th November 2012: Vanessa Marlowe notes on working party

ATTENDEES
Vanessa Marlow, Monte Fernandez, Alberto Fernandez, Manuel Fernandez, John Bugler, Rick Cran, Zubair Aziz, Marnie

Hi Simon,
 
We had three new volunteers who joined the work party Sun 18th Nov.
Montse and Alberto came with their son Manuel. They found out about the Stanmore Common work party from their son Manuel, who received a Herts. & Middlesex Wild Life Trust mail out.
 
Here are their contact details so they can go on the mailing list. They would like to attend future work parties.
 
Montse's contact details:
configuracion71[uppercase']hotmail.com
Mobile number: 07947 470139
 
Alberto’s contact details:
info[uppercase']speedy-fernandez.co.uk
Mobile number: 07949 803409
 
Their son Manuel joined the party too.

Marnie attended the work party. She expressed an interest in gaining more knowledge about plant species and ecology.  I told her that we sometimes have workshops for volunteers such as the Bluebell Heath Botanical Surveying Workshop we attended. Perhaps she could be kept in the loop of future workshops/training.
 
General Work Party Report

Assistant warden: Vanessa Marlowe
Work party attendees: John Bugler, Rick, Zubair, Marnie, Montse, Alberto and Manuel.
 
Rick, Zubair continued to fell trees on Fox earth Mound, placing cut up brash, branches and logs onto allocated piles.
 
John B, Marnie, Rick, Alberto, Montse, Manuel and Vanessa felled trees at area across from the mound, broadening and connecting the open space area and allowing more sunlight in. Manuel later joined Rick and Zubair to work on the mound.
 
Logs, branches and brash were collected, cut smaller and placed on piles.
 
Witling ride has been closed off with barrier tape enclosing marked up trees to be felled.
 
Please find a photo of an insect taken by Alberto. It camouflaged so well with the branch of a tree. Could you identify?
 
Kind regards,
 
Vanessa

26th November 2012: Simon on TCV workday

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY
MONDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2012
10am to 3.15pm
TCV WORKDAY
ATTENDEES:
WARDENS:  Simon Braidman Vanessa Marlow and David Bailey
TCV VOLUNTEERS:
LEADER DAVID BAILEY
Tony Littlejohns/ Rui Migamoto/ Richard Davey
OUR VOLUNTEERS
David Green

This was a continuation of the workparty on Thursday 22nd November.
The number of TCV volunteers was far too low. This was noted and TCV are giving us (and Harrow as it is their money) another day free Monday 10th December.
Considering we are paying for this group we expect volunteers coming through TCV to work reasonably hard. One member of this group disappeared for much of the workday.
This I would normally ignore but as there was only a few of them this is unacceptable.
( cost of TCV North London £325 plus   20per cent VAT =£390.)
Despite the poor numbers the work continued working either side of the glade.
Cut material went in neat piles east and west of the marker tape
The marked Aspen lying close to the car park on the western side of the ride was retained.
Straight wood was saved for the Forest school in Chiswick.

27th November 2012: Simon on TCV workday

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY TUESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2012
10AM TO 3.30PM
ATTENDEES:

WARDENS   SIMON BRAIDMAN/ VANESSA MARLOW/ DAVID BAILEY
TCV GROUP
TCV LEADER PAUL COLCUTT
CHRIS LANGSDON/TONY LITTLEJOHN/TONY O’ DEA /RUI MIGAMOTO/ DAVID BAILEY
OTHER VOLUNTEERS
DAVID GREEN

TASK
One point was AGAIN low turnout. ( ONLY 5 PEOPLE FROM TCV THEMSELVES) The work day was advertised on my work program and I had two regular volunteers turn up.
The weather was atrocious and it poured down but we just had to grin and bear it.
Work  now started towards the end of the ride.
A fallen Silver Birch on the west side was cut back and the bracken scythed down.
Rui did a grand job on both Monday and today  days scything bracken all down the eastern side of the ride.
The young Ash growing around the old picnic table was preserved. No sign of Chalara fraxinus.
The Hawthorn with the low curved branch on the east side was preserved. It is covered in Ivy an important nectar plant. The horizontal ivy bank on the fallen tree on eastern side was preserved for same reason.
Vanessa scrapped off the leaf litter over a huge area adjacent to existing grassland, hopefully grass will creep into the scrape.
There may be scope for sowing the seed collected from the challenge (a project where young people do voluntary work, one of their jobs was to collect seed from Bluebell Heath )  in this area 30/9/2012 .
The only problems would be:
a)    Is the soil acid enough
b)    Will there be too much leaf litter in future years  for plants to thrive
c)    Will flowers be picked (close to car park)
David Green worked down eastern side and Tony O Dea and Tony Littlejohns down western side.
Lunch was taken in the TCV van.
Then Denis Vickers Harrow Biodiversity Officer came to see the work and was very pleased.
He recommended poisoning stumps close to ride.
He also said mark out the bench positions and putting the bin close to car park.
Other matters Lighting Warren Lane were raised with him.
After Denis left we carried on.
It was horrible wet and cold and Vanessa had to leave early she was soaked through.
Then David Bailey had to leave because of a home emergency.
Tony LittleJohn used the TCV van to take him.
The work was completed and we got down to the end of the project area.
We did not go for a walk as conditions were now atrocious , everyone was soaked .
We did find an interesting beetle. This was a snail eating beetle which belongs to the same family as the Sexton Beetles which bury dead bodies. (Silphidae).
The genus is Silpha and there are 6 british species all pretty similar. Illustrated is Silpha atrata, the commonest species.
 
There are different colour versions of the same species.
This beetle lives under the bark of dead wood.
If I find it again I will get hold of a key and key it to species.


28th November 2012: Simon report on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY WEDNESDAY 28TH NOVEMBER
ATTENDEES :
WARDENS :    Simon Braidman
VOLUNTEERS:  John Bugler, Zubair Aziz, Martin Elliot, Rick Cran
TASK  FOX EARTH MOUND TREE CLEARANCE.
10.30am to 3.30pm
The first task was to mark the position of the replacement benches in Witling Ride( Green Grid Project). The white spray paint can refused to work :- no propellent or the propellent was not discharging.
The main task was a continuation of the work of the 18th November. Further trees were felled on the mound and small trees to the north of the mound. (Richard )
Certain trees are bring retained on the mound:
A Hawthorn on its south western edge, A rotting Silver Birch near the top, Two huge Silver Birches along the southern edge.
Trees along the ditch edge on the western side of the mound were removed (Zubair and Simon)
A fair sized young beech was taken down to widen the light line to the east.
The thin screen of small trees 15m south of the mound was removed. (Martin)
The cut material was put into tidy piles separated on size. Straight timber was saved for Forest school work.
John Bugler worked on getting the large Pendunculate Oak tree 16m south  of the mound into a feature by removing the Holly growing up around it.
Afterward the tree looked fantastic and removed invasive Holly.
Thanks for a brilliant job the mound is largely clear of trees and the trees around the ditch have been thinned.
Hopefully the ditch will stay damp.
The clearing is now fully formed but a bit more can be done.
Further thinning around the mound.
Taking out a thin line of tiny trees 20m south of the mound.
Taking a few small trees off the eastern end  of the clump of small trees immediately to the south of the mound.
Mammal shelter
I took a lot of the Holly that John chopped down and used the material to create a waterproof and windproof roof to a shelter made of small branches and brash. I also excavated a chamber inside the pile. The waxy cuticle and interlocking nature of the Holly Leaves will protect the internal structure.
The shelter lies 10m to the west of the mound.
The light going in to the mound is now fantastic and we will have:
Strong features (mound with ditch, huge oak tree, fallen trees covered in mosses with Broad Buckler Fern, Mammal shelter)
Wind break
Sun trap

The next task on Sunday 2nd December is to recycle the wooden stakes made for the Bluebell Heath project for a new task which is to protect the wetland area at the very northern end of Witling Ride.



2nd December 2012: Simon Braidman on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY SUNDAY 2ND DECEMBER
10.30AM TO 2.30PM
ATTENDEES:   WARDENS: Simon Braidman.
VOLUNTEERS: Zubair Aziz, John Bugler, Rick Cran, David Green, Sarah Kersey (New)  and Rajinder Hayer.
TASK:  To recycle the wooden stakes from the Bluebell Heath project and to use these timbers to:
1)    Close off the path going through the wetland at the very northern end of Witling Ride
2)    Make the secondary path which runs in a dog leg and parallel to this path more attractive and accessible.
The very northern end of Witling Ride (Compartment 16a) and the area beyond known as Witling Marsh (Compartment 16b) form an important wetland area.
The stream called the Witling Beck flows across this area and the very atractive Lesser Spearwort ( a member of the Buttercup family) thrives here.

This area has been damaged by the tractor cutter used by the contractor used by Harrow Council to cut the open areas. The cut was very late in the year in October.
However damage can be a good thing. The tyre gouges are effectively ditches which will holdwater/ moisture.
I am determined to retain these new ditches in their present definition and to do that I must discourage public access along this path and to encourage them to use the woodland, dryer and more attractive to the eye secondary path.
We spent the morning collecting the wooden stakes which were fairly easy to remove.
We set up a relay system with a half -way house in Witling Wood West just east of the main access path to Hollybrook Rise (Compartment 17).
Simon went around with Sarah a new volunteer and a community activist who works with Harrow’ voluntary sector and is a presenter on Harrow Community Radio a local radio station based in Wealdstone. Simon showed her the site and she interviewed John.
John, Rajinder, Simon and Sarah brought the timber to the first staging post and Rick, Zubair and David took the wood adjacent to the work point.
About 40 -50 timber stakes some very heavy and all freezing cold were moved. Almost all these timbers have been painted red at their tops ( to ensure the Bluebell Heath contractors would see them) and I thought this would help act as a psychological barrier.
Around 17 –stakes was all it took to create the barrier. A sledgehammer easily knocked the stakes in.
The existing crossing of the Witling Beck, an old railway sleeper was moved 10metres south opposite the secondary path and 4 of the stakes jammed into the mud beside it to form a second crossing point.
Gaps between the stakes were filled with brash form an old brash pile nearby and sealed with clay.
We all tested the crossing to see if it was stable and it was.
There was some particulate  pollution from the disturbance of the stream bank downstream but it largely disappeared within 10metres.
OTHER ISSUES :
1)    The crossing of the Pynding Mersc was very slippery at its eastern end due to the heavy frost. Putting chicken wire may cause problems with dogs but a matting roll which could be carried to the site or stored in the lock up would work.
2)    A second attempt was made to mark the places where the new benches in Witling Ride would go and the second paint canister (yellow) failed to discharge. Instead we used the many excess wooden stakes. The chairman will be notified.
3)    Zubair enquired about the chainsaw course. Simon said he will pass on Steve’s email details and email steve.
4)    The 4 stakes (footbridge) will probably need to be replaced as there may be a pollution problem with the painted tops. . This can be done on Monday 3rd December



3rd December 2012: Simon Braidman on working party

ATTENDEES:
WARDEN : Simon Braidman
TCV    Leader Paul Colcutt
TCV VOLUNTEERS;  Tony O’ Dea, Tony Littlejohns, Rui Migamoto.

I was disappointed only 4 TCV people turned up. This is a chronic problem. Their best turn outs are on Thursday’s. However the work they did was excellent.  There were two main tasks .

1.    More work on the path alteration done on Sunday 2nd December
2.    Starting work on the ride known as the Hawthorns which lies between Oakmead and Bluebell Heath.

On Sunday 2nd December the wetland area between Witling Ride and Witling Marsh  was blocked off from the south and a crossing put in across the Witling Beck.
On reflection I thought the red paint from the wooden stakes we used for the Witling Beck crossing might cause a pollution problem and so I removed when I first arrived at the Common.

The volunteers removed all the marker tape from Witling Ride as the project is complete.
They also moved most of the painted stakes into the woodland.
The sign for Jakes path was removed.
Then a fair sized oak tree was felled (simon)
Paul and Tony Littlejohn built a new crossing across the Witling beck from the oak tree wood, securing it with stakes. The railway sleeper was turned upside down and it was intact on this side.
Rui and Tony O Dea scythed down the brambles at the end of the secondary path where it enters Witling Glade (compartment 16c)
Then Rui and Tony put in a second line of stakes blocking access to Witling Marsh from the north.

Hopefully this will discourage people from crossing the wetland and this will preserve the features formed by the contactors tractor.
People can now use the secondary path which is widened and dryer.

After lunch we proceeded to the Hawthorns.

Paul and myself worked on the new scallop along the north eastern edge of Oakmead produced on a previous TCV workday under Steve Bolsover/David Bailey.
They did a great job but I felt that the scallop is too shallow and Paul and I moved the cut timber pile 16 metres further back. There were indications of the use by wildlife of such piles. A few Tortrix moths were sheltering in the brash and there were mouse/vole droppings in the crevice in a willow branch. The new pile position is still not ideal and I may move it further back or shift it eastwards as it blocks a dead tree which I would like in full view both for asthetic and biological reasons:  nesting for dead wood insects.

Now the scallop is a lot deeper. Deeper scallops will hold sunlight and keep out the wind. A largish Turkey Oak will be felled to open the canopy , the understorey here is Aspen which will be retained.

I intend to keep the scrub lines to create a gradual clearing edge.

Two largish Oaks to the west of the ride could be felled to open the canopy.I want to definitely identify the  Oak species.

There is a beautiful fallen Silver Birch which makes a lovely feature just to the east of the ride.
 
There is a lot of Yew and Holly in the area which are good wildlife plants but are invasive and Tony L and Rui were clearing Holly and Yew, Tony just west of the ride and Rui east and further north along the ride.

Tony O scythed out the bramble in an area just east of the ride.
There is scope here to scrape this area hard and get down to a nutrient poor layer . This could be sown with seeds collected from the Challenge.

A walk eastwards down the valley slope revealed the huge amount of young Holly and yew. A clearance is an objective.
I
The task is now to continue this work. The next work party is Monday 10th December.

OTHER NEWS :

I now have a date for the meeting with Harrow Council regarding the lighting along Warren lane . This is Wednesday 12th December between 11am and 1pm.
Steve Bolsover, chairman of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum, Huma Pearce the bat consultant and myself will be going.
Denis Vickers the Council’s Biodiversity Officer will be there.
This is an extremely important issue over half the UK bat species use Warren Lane.

This means that someone needs to cover the work party



10th December 2012 Simon report on TCV work party

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY MONDAY 10TH DECEMBER 2012

ATTENDEES:

WARDENS :  SIMON BRAIDMAN

TCV  LEADER PAUL COLCUTT

VOLUNTEERS (ALL VO’s (Volunteer Officers): Rui Migamoto, Tony Littlejohn, Tony O’ Dea,

10am to 3.30pm

TASK: working on The Hawthorns – The ride between Oakmead and Bluebell Heath.

This is a continuation from the work done on Monday December 3rd.

Tony Littlejohn has been  working on a newish mini clearing just off to the west of the ride. This is about 15m in from the edge of the woodland.  The idea is to create a light path even if it is dappled in from the south. The work involved a lot of small tree and Holly removal which was left in small piles. The intention is to re-use these to waterproof and windproof the largest brash piles.

Rui Migamoto  and Tony O Dea working on Holly clearance to the east of the ride. There are huge amounts of Holly to the east of the ride.

 Paul was working further along the ride closer to the path here he is attacking cut Holly stumps to prevent re-growth.

Simon was working in the scallop just east of The Hawthorns. He felled a very large Turkey Oak, creating  a canopy hole.

The brash pile at the end was moved again and re-aligned north-south to make a windbreak and the brambles cleared around a dead tree base to expose it as a feature and bring the tree into the light and encourage more invertebrate use. The inlet is now long and thin and hopefully will be well sheltered.

The Turkey Oak will possibly be harvested for another project.

This is the last of the TCV work days booked for the Green Grid project.

A big thanks to Harrow (Denis) for this work. It has benefited Witling Ride, Witling Marsh and The Hawthorns.

The normal volunteer groups will continue. On Wednesday 12th December we will be carefully clearing the earth banks on the northern edge of New Heath. We want to return these banks to bare soil to create basking and nesting opportunities for invertebrates.

The work along the ride known as The Hawthorns will continue. We will be reviewing the work at Fox Earth Mound to see if more work is required.

OTHER NEWS:

Today Wednesday 12th December there is the meeting between Harrow Council and Harrow Nature Conservation Forum over street lighting along Warren Lane.

Warren Lane has always been unlit and it is the last unlit road in the borough. As a result of the development at the Grove,(the old BAE site) money is available to improve road safety and the council want to put street lighting all along it.

There is no legal requirement to light the road. Tree roots block putting pavement so people on foot share with pedestrians.

Over half the UK bat species use this road ( There are 9 species in the area, a recent survey found 8 using Warren Lane ( out of 16) for feeding and commuting with incomplete evidence of roosts adjacent to the road. Bat roosts are strictly protected by law. Street light surpresses bat activity for many species and some species such as Brown Long Eared Bats will not cross brightly lit streets. Slow flying species such as Daubenton’s  and Brown Long Eared bats are particularly effected and both use Warren Lane. The reasons for bat suppression are unclear, predation by owls is a possibility and also bats may be blinded by the light (bats have no cone cells  in their eyes) and therefore are adapted for vision in dim light, Brown Long Eared bats hunt by passive vision and hearing (often not using echolocation) and hover and pick insects off leaves and vegetation so they will be highly disturbed by lighting.as bright light will cause spotting on the retina also insects will see them coming The survey  picked up hardly any records of this species which is not surprising as their echolocation callas are so quiet (so that noctuid moths and other insects cannot hear them) that you have to be right next to them to detect them so the survey under-detected them. There is also the danger of street lights pulling insects towards them (by Ultra violet light) and depopulating the surrounding habitat.

All the bat species on the survey were affected by what lighting there is along Warren Lane they all avoided it to a large but varying extent. Even when they flew in the lit region they used a broken street light (no light from this point) to forage around.

The list of species found was in Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Nathusius Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s Bat, Brown Long Eared Bat, Leisler’s Bat, Noctule Bat and  Serotine Bat.

Bentley Priory Nature Reserve detected Natterer’s Bat last year. This is another light sensitive species. Bats do not keep to one site they forage over between 0.5 to 25 square kilometres a night depending on the species and time of year.

The survey found a very rare species Nathusius  Pipistrelle but only a few records.

There are a number of solutions:

1.       No street lights  2.light during winter  3 only light for part of the light 4. Use masks,UVfilters, shields,or louvers on lights, use LED’s, leave parts of road unlit.

2.       There is also the issue of pedestrian safety when tree roots preclude a footway along Warren Lane. A solution would be a raised wooden path such as you see on many wetland nature reserves and which already exist on the common at Pynding Mersc.

I will inform you guys how it goes. Denis Vickers the Biodiversity Officer for Harrow will be there plus Steve Bolsover the chairman of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum , Huma Pearce the bat consultant who did the survey and myself.

Also we have had an enquiry from Hertfordshire University for student environmental projects.

I suggested to the course tutor a number of topics and we agreed on the following possibilities:

A survey of the Grove Ponds

A study of the environmental factors and invertebrate use of woodland edge scallops

A study of pedestrian use of Warren Lane and the public use of Stanmore Common


12th December 2012: Report on working party

 REPORT FOR WORK PARTY WEDNESDAY 12TH DECEMBER 2012
ATTENDEES:
WARDENS :  No Wardens available due to Council meeting on Warren Lane lighting.
VOLUNTEERS: John Winter (standing in for Simon Braidman), Rick Cran and Zubair Aziz
10:30am to 2.30pm
TASKS:  1.     To clear the banks on the northern edge of New Heath and bring the banks back to bare soil.
2.    To create dips in soil level of cleared area to collect rainwater.
The weather on Stanmore Common was very frosty with a temperature of 040C which made the ground frozen and too hard to dig. Therefore Task No. 2 was not attempted.
All three volunteers worked on the mound on the northern perimeter of New Heath, clearing bracken and brambles and dead leaves as much as was practical. The spoil from this clearing was heaped onto two piles of felled trees to the back of the mound. Where growing plants were found under the bracken such as grasses and heather they were retained with the exception of holly and small trees. The work party finished earlier than planned due to the harsh working conditions.



16th December 2012: Report on working party

REPORT FOR WORKING PARTY SUNDAY 16TH DECEMBER 2012

ATTENDEES   WARDENS  SIMON BRAIDMAN,  VANESSA MARLOW
VOLUNTEERS   RAJINDER HAYER, JOHN WINTER, DAVID GREEN AND ZUBAIR AZIZ
TASK
It was agreed to proceed on building the steps to the lockup but the wood for the steps, from the large Turkey Oak chopped down on Monday 10th December was just too heavy.
Instead work continued on The Hawthorns the ride between Oakmead and Bluebell Heath.
Much of the work focussed on redistributing the Holly and Yew cuttings produced from the TCV work days on Monday 10th of December and Monday3rd December .
A number of small to medium piles had been formed which Simon thought to be better used as a single windproof, waterproof pile which could be used by mammals or even Grass Snakes which are known to use the woodland edge nearby..
The idea was to line the north western and western sides of the inlet/light corridor formed by the felling of the large Turkey Oak .
By building on the initial pile of cuttings it was hope to windproof the sides of the corridor
John and Zubair worked on scraping the leaf litter on the area immediately to the west of the construction. Brambles were pulled to open up the scrape , to see what will regenerate. If the same stuff comes back there is to still scope to grasses and plant  species within the site
Whilst Rajinder, Simon, Vanessa and David demolished almost all the small piles and constructed the new pile line. The pile line was entended westwards  as it was felt wind was still cutting in from the south.
The work was not completed and will be continued in a bid to create a sheltered area just off the ride.
Whilst working in the ride, Simon felt the path is too straight at its southern end and allows the wind straight in.
There is scope to make a new entrance just to the east of the present entrance and with a small amount of clearance to take it in a curve to rejoin the original path line.
Then the original path line will be sealed by hedgelaying the Sallows which line the western side of the original entrance.
This will create a living barrier of biological vale which will get full sun.
There is an awful lot of Holly and yew in the ride and there is scope for some clearance .
It is important to keep the understorey intact as this will create shelter and bat foraging conditions.
Whilst doing the work Vanessa found a fantastic Yellow Brain Fungus Tremella mesenterica 

This fungus is parasitic on another fungus of the genus Peniophora and Vanessa’s picture shows the unfortunate crust fungus  as the pink-blue mass in the top right corner of the picture.
Also visible are bluish green lichens of the genus Parmelia Lichens are themselves fungi which combine with an algae to form a mutually beneficial arrangement, so we have symbiosis and parasitism on the same small branch.


 
John and Zubair said they had uncovered slime mould ( not a fungus but a group all of their own)  but from the picture it looks like another  Tremella species perhaps T. lutescens.



(Images by David Winter and Vanessa Marlowe) Whilst moving piles we disturbed this moth (image not shown). This tiny moth is from a large group called the Tortrix moths there are many species but the cross dark marks and the network marks on the forewings , narrows it down to two species Acleris ferrugana and Acleris lantana. A careful look at it revealed a few black scales just down from the head which makes it A. ferrugana (it does not always have these scales and the alternative is dissection to look at the genetalia). The caterpillar of this species feeds on Oak and it uses silk to bind two leaves together and feeds within, there are two broods per year a midsummer and an autumn brood which overwinter as the adult moth.

We finished work at 2.40pm, slightly early as we wanted to go and have a look at Bluebell Heath.
It is amazing it does not look like the same place. The openness of the area is fantastic , the scrape looks like a scene from WW1 .
They have done a fantastic job. Work will continue in the new year.
We will move many of the piles of timber into dappled light/woodland edge.
T+T Earthworks will start again in second week of January.
We also had a look at Fox Earth mound and it looks fantastic but even better is the light that pours in, it is like shining a torch into the woodland.
We also had a look at the bare earth banks in New Heath which were the work task for Wednesday 12th October in terrible frozen conditions, John said he could see the frost spreading as the temperature dropped. Despite the cold they did a fantastic job with the banks being down to bare soil and the timbers moved behind and covered in bracken.
These south facing banks will hopefully be colonised by solitary bees and wasps and may become snake basking points. Foxgloves now have colonised the eastern bank.
The banks are now definitive features and we will call them Bonzo’s Bank East and Bonzo’s Bank West after John’s dog.
The depressions on New Heath are full of water and with their rushes growing out of them look amazing we all wondered what animal life these ponds have. More will be constructed.

Finally a big thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard this year .
The reserve looks amazing and we are getting positive comment from the public. We met Marylyn Raymond from the Stanmore Society and the Education Group of what is now called the Harrow Environmental Forum and she said what a good job had been done on the reserve particularly the alternative path we provided leading from Witling Ride to Witling Glade.

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.  The next work party is Sunday 6th of January for a photosurvey of Bluebell Heath but what we will probably do is carry on work on the Hawthorns as T+T Earthworks have not yet finished.
Finally there is a social event at the Traveller’s Rest pub in Kenton on Tuesday 18th December.  I will be there from 7.30pm


6th January 2013: Report on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY SUNDAY 6TH JANUARY 2013 (images not included)
10.30AM TO 3.30PM
Weather 10/10 cloud wind light south westerly 8 degrees centigrade.
Attendees: Warden Simon Braidman
David Green, John Winter, Rajinder Hayer, Sarah Kersey, Zubair Aziz
Task: 1     To carry out a path adjustment at the southern entrance to the ride known as The Hawthorn’s Walk. (Compartment 22)
Task: 2      To cut down invasive Holly going down the valley slope in a north easterly direction starting from the east side of The Hawthorn’s Walk.
 The idea behind these tasks is to:
a)    Create a curved entrance to the ride. This is to stop the wind blowing straight up the ride causing wind-chill which is bad for invertebrates.
b)    To control Holly an invasive species which is shading the woodland floor and dominating the understorey layer in the woodland called Stonefly Wood (compartment 5)

Task 1 was looked at first. A close inspection showed the idea conceived on the work task of the 16/12/2012 was problematic. The site chosen for the new entrance; the closest woodland edge inlet to the west of the present entrance had a number of tree stumps which would need removal down to ground level and more trees would need cutting and these might regrow. An alternative entrance in the new narrow corridor inlet created just to the east of the old entrance (on the work task of the 10th December 2012) was even worse due to the very large number of tree stumps.

It was decided not to change the path entrance but to put a curve in the path about 4 metres in. This was possible as an area had been cleared in the work task of the 16th December 2012. This area was almost free of stumps and had already been partly scraped in the hope that grassland might re-establish itself (or we might have been able to use acid grassland seed bank from elsewhere on the reserve).
 
This picture shows where the new path section joins the original path with the Holly dead Hedge behind and the ‘living’ Turkey Oak above it )

Bramble was pulled out of the ground and the few remaining stumps were also pulled out. The ground was raked again and cut lengths of tree trunk used to delineate the new path line. A fallen rotten Silver Birch was also moved. The resulting path line now curves to the east for 6 to 7 metres before re-joining the original path line. Two stumps virtually level with the ground were attacked by saw and billhook to get them absolutely level.

To close the existing straight line section of the ride it was decided to fell Silver Birches immediately to the west of the ride just behind the start point of the new curve. These Birches were deliberately not felled in the classic “birds’ beak” and back cut method but cut in a single plane just enough to let the weight of the tree take them slowly down. This leaves the tree not fully severed. The hope is there is enough vascular connection still intact in the hinge so the tree survives and will continue to grow, this will create a living barrier and eventually an effective windbreak . Three trees were felled in this manner. The felled trees were trimmed to length and were reinforced by a small amount of Holly Brash.
 
The “living “ fence block to the old path line

Within minutes of the new stretch of path being constructed people were using it with no problem.

Whilst John and Simon were carrying out task 1, Zubair, Rajinder, David and later Sarah were carrying out Task 2.
Holly was cut down, progressing in a NE direction. The cut Holly was either stripped of its side branches with the lengths of Holly trunk loosely piled or cut whole or dragged off to join the side branches in the rapidly growing Holly dead hedge lying almost immediately to the east of the new path section.
This Holly brash bank had all the new and old Holly brash moved to it. Sarah moved  the brash piles created by the TCV on the 3rd and 10th of December.
This dead hedge is now a huge structure which is seven foot high in places and 3 foot wide it runs north south and curves slightly to the west and then does an abrupt turn to the west and continues for 4 metres. It lines the western side of the corridor type inlet created on the 10th of December and has a tiny alcove in its far south east corner.
The idea is that this hedge will act as a wind break.

A Turkey Oak growing between the new path section and the dead hedge was felled in the same manner as the Silver Birch on the opposite side of the ride and this should add a living wind break as the adventitious buds along the trunk will hopefully send out new branches to reinforce the Holly.

A view looking north along ride north of new section with cleared Holly and Holly still to clear note how open the ride is with high structural complexity including wet grassland.

The Holly clearance was extensive and a large area has been opened up. This will allow more light in from a southerly direction, there is enough understorey of other tree species that should still give enough wind shelter and maintain the integrity of the second tree layer.

This area will need regular work to stay on top of the Holly as there  are a lot of tiny Holly saplings.

The path divides into two just slightly further north as a result of the work done on 11th February 2006 where a big volunteer day created a new dryer path and a lower wetland path. The dryer path is very narrow and winds amongst the trees.

There is scope to widen the narrow path, remove shading trees  and to create miniclearings off the ride  to the west.
    Zubair and John clearing Holly

WILDLIFE
Siskin heard calling at the far northern end of  The Hawthorn’s Walk and a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling from Mound Grove (Compartment 8) north of Herne’s Walk. On The Hawthorn’s Walk just next to path was a fallen log covered in the moss Hypnum cupressiforme,  Brachythecium  rutabile and ,possibly Kindbergia praelong and had the brackets of Many zoned Polypore Coriolus versicolor growing out of it. 



1st Feb 2013: Email report from Simon Braidman - contractor work finished

The contractors finished yesterday. Both sets. They have done a fantastic job. I have kept up the warning signs. We will remove this, this Sunday plus all the tape.

I have deliberately kept the south eastern Flushing Wood work untidied because i want to imitate storm damage like 1987. Also saves time and money. The new 14 ton bulldozer ripped through the scrape, it even surprised the driver Chris. He finished early yesterday as I was arriving on site. I used him to work on New Heath and we have re-scrapped the bare earth banks north of New Heath, created a new bare earth bank and then scraped a new scrape just south of the bare earth banks on land that was not regenerating properly to acid grassland due to topsoil. I then got him to create a series of pools down the western rim of New heath on degraded Bracken covered land (missing the Hard Fern) and finally got him to create a sunny pool in the middle of the bottom of New Heath. The vegetation here is almost all Soft Rush (very common) and this also removed some bramble, so any differentiation would be useful.

I had intended to use the machine to move the timber piles into the woodland edge but the trunks piles back over the bucket and jammed against pneumatic piping. Chris said thAT IS DANGEROUS, and if the pipework went his vehicle would be stranded.

I agreed and said that's fine. Both T+T and Lynch ( the dozer company) did a fantastic job. I will be writing to both companies asap.    Simon

2nd Feb 2013 Completion of work; message to committee about invoice and meeting on Feb 12th 2013.

On 2nd February 2013 Mark Towers sent his final invoice of £11,700 + VAT. Combined with the invoice dated 21st November 2012, for £7,150 + VAT, ths makes an invoice total of  £18,850 + VAT.

The original estimate that he sent on 8th April 2012 was £14,300 + VAT, and the quotation for the additional work dated 10th November 2012 was £850 + VAT for Timbrol treatment and £4,300 + VAT for felling of extra area in Flushing Wood, giving an overall estimated total of £19,450 + VAT.

He has therefore come in £600 + VAT under his estimate.
My email to committee 3rd February 2013: Dear All;

We have a meeting of the Bluebell Heath Management Committee on Tuesday Feb 12th at 7:30 PM. John Hollingdale has booked Committee Room 3 in the Civic Centre, but as usual check on the board to the left of the lifts as you come in to make sure that they have not altered the venue.

Mark Towers of T + T Earthmatters has sent in his final invoice, as attached, for £11,700 + VAT. Combined with the invoice dated 21st November 2012, for £7,150 + VAT, this makes an invoice total of  £18,850 + VAT.

The original estimate that he sent on 8th April 2012 was £14,300 + VAT, and the quotation for the additional work dated 10th November 2012 was £850 + VAT for Timbrol treatment and £4,300 + VAT for felling of extra area in Flushing Wood, giving an overall estimated total of £19,450 + VAT.

He has therefore come in £600 + VAT under his estimate. I emailed to say that I'd reply after our meeting on the 12th but I can't see us having any problem with paying. We might, however, want to do a site visit as a committee before giving a final OK to payment. I looked around the site yesterday (Sunday Feb 2) and it looks good to me.

Please can as many of you as possible come on Tuesday - email me if you can't. This meeting marks an important milestone, the end of the contractor work and the onset of maintenance (and fulfilling our obligations to the Heritage Lottery Fund about publicity, exhibitions, nature trail, etc. etc.).

Do have a look at the ongoing notes about the project at http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_ongoing_notes.html

Best Wishes   Steve



2nd Feb 2013: Looking around Stanmore Common prior to Woodcraft Folk working party: horse barrier, Bluebell Heath


This was a quick visit to check that there was indeed birch for us to pull up on New Heath. The path from Holly Brook Rise to Pynding Mersc is very muddy and there are lots of horse tracks. The barrier between the horse ride and the pedestrian path has been completely removed - it needs to be rebuilt.

At Bluebell Heath, there were some aspects of the work that surprised me. I phoned Simon so I have some of his comments:

At the eastern end, there are some trees still present that were earmarked for felling (my image 13020201).

My image 13020202 shows the new scraped area - looks fine.

The southern connection between New Heath and the orchid area is not yet cleared - my images 13020203 and 13020204.

At the southeastern part of Bluebell Heath there is a tree marked for removal (at least, marked with a yellow cross - I think this means remove - there's no note either way in the notes I made on the day) - my image 13020205.

I was also surprised at the bulldosed scrape along the south side of New Heath, I was worried that this had gone over the Hard Fern, but Simon said that he had specifically requested this and that it had only removed bramble.


2nd February 2013: Woodcraft Folk

The main job was pulling and digging birch in New Heath. They did a great job, only a small patch of unusually large saplings remain south of the new scrape/pond. They also sowed the seeds collected by "The Challenge" in September 2012.


3rd February 2013: Simon Braidman on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY SUNDAY 3RD FEBRUARY 2013
10.30AM TO 3PM
Weather cold, wind dry
Attendees Wardens Simon Braidman and Vanessa Marlow
Adam Goodman, Ashley Warner, John Bugler, Rajinder Hayer, Zubair Aziz, Margaret Griffin and David Green.
Task:   To clean up Bluebell Heath after the contractors have finished.
The contractors T+T Earthmatters Ltd and their subcontractors Lynch Plant Hire finished work on Thursday 31st January 2013.
All areas have been treated to my satisfaction. The result is very dramatic with a real sense of openness but maintaining wind shelter from the west and north- west with some internal scrub and the preservation of the major trees which have become visual landmarks.
There is certainly ecological connectivity within Bluebell Heath and through to New Heath. The scrape in the south western section of Flushing Wood is very raw but the mineral clay and pebble is exposed and there are large expanses of bare earth banks at the scrape edge.
As the bulldozer finished early I got the driver Chris Kent to scrape parts of New Heath that had not regenerated or needed more work. Bonzo Bank East was half scraped back to bare soil and Bonzo Bank West was fully scraped back to bare soil. A crescent of topsoil was scraped between the two banks plus another area and pushed into two new bare earth banks. Then the western boundary of New Heath was scraped in a series of descending steps or pits and a new depression scrapped in the wetter bottom of New Heath, removing bramble and soft rush.
The Bulldozer left a lot of track damage but this will heal and allow new plant regeneration opportunities and the development of new mini-wetlands .
A big thank you to both companies (letters sent) they did a fine job.
There is left behind all the marker tape, a huge amount of it which was used for marking individual trees and blocks for retention or removal and for marking off fire sites.
The piles of cut timber on Bluebell Heath were to be moved by the Bulldozer but it proved too difficult as timber piled back over the bucket, and struck hydraulic piping on the vehicle and it was concluded it was too risky to try again.
 I do not want lots of timber piles in the clearing. This is because dead timber in full sunlight and not touching soil loses too much moisture and becomes less value as dead wood habitat. It is also a magnet for fires.


 
John and Zubair moving Silver Birch

The task was to remove as much of the tape and signage as we could plus move as much of the cut timber and to scatter it into the woodland edge or into the cleared area in the south eastern section of Flushing Wood. This area was extra clearance on top of the original John Dobson scheme. It has deliberately not been tidied up, so trees are left where they are felled ( but all the felled trees are safe on the ground) or the stumps poisoned. This mimics storm damage. It was this area that received 95% of the moved timber.
The weather was very cold and the work very tiring so we took time to show people the work done both on Bluebell Heath before lunch and New Heath after lunch.
Soup was provided for volunteers.
A small quantity of cut timber is being selected by Margaret Griffin, a new volunteer for her Forest School work at Devonshire Day Nursery in Chiswick.

WILDLIFE
We found some cut timber stained with a deep blue-green colour in Bluebell Heath.
The colour is caused by the cup fungus Chlorociboria aeruginascens.
 
The colour comes from a chemical, Xylindein, secreted by the fungus Xylindein is under investigation as an anti-cancer drug. Wood stained by the fungus is prized by artists working in wood for centuries
Inlay work using fungal stained timber ( 15th century Italy shows Little Owl)
 
OTHER NEWS:
Zubair starts his chainsaw course on Monday 4th February which has been paid for by the Bluebell Heath project. There are training opportunities and David Green will hopefully be doing his brushcutter course this summer.
There is due to be a visit by local experts on mosses, liverworts and lichens to Stanmore Common a date has not yet been set.
There is also due to be 2 surveys on the Grove Ponds ( the area just north of the Common)  this Spring:
1.    A fish survey
2.    A Great Crested Newt Survey
Dates for both will be set shortly.

6th February 2013: Simon Braidman on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY WEDNESDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 2013
10.30am to 1.15pm
Weather dry, cold 2 degrees Centigrade, northerly wind then started to sleet 1pm
Attendees:  Wardens: Simon Braidman
Martin Elliot and John Bugler
Task:   To Continue clearing up Bluebell Heath.
More tape was removed and more timber moved to south eastern clearance area.
Weather got very poor and we finished early in sleet which gradually got worse.
Next Tasks   Finish clearing tape and timber removal. If weather ok (warmer) will do photosurvey.

OTHER NEWS
Friday 8th February visit by Leslie Williams of Brent Council to look at Bluebell Heath project and its applications to Fryent Country Park.
Pubilicity drive for Stanmore Common, Bluebell Heath and other harrow reserves using posters, leaflets and standing pull up banners. Areas Covered so far parts of Stanmore, North Harrow, Edgware, Harrow, Pinner. Areas to cover Harrow, South Harrow, Hatch End, Bushey Heath, Bushey, Rayners Lane. Anyone interested in helping contact Simon


7th Feb 2013: Email from Sarah Beazant

From: "sarah beazant " <teamtot[uppercase']hotmail.co.uk>
To: "Harrow nature conservation " <admin[uppercase']harrowncf.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2013 10:05:49 +0000
Subject: "Restoration" of Bluebell Heath
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 07 Feb 2013 10:05:49.0292 (UTC) FILETIME=[B4528AC0:01CE051A]

Apparently work on this area of Stanmore Common is now complete.
 Partly I am relieved as the site has been subjected to downright vandalism and is now spared further attack, and partly I am fuming as the plot looks disgraceful, particularly the new area of scrape and he section I shall rename  "post storm" land.
Simon Braidman informed me that the new scrape area will be left to self seed. This is contrary to the information on your board which implies that seed would be laid. New Heath has probably taken a decade to get to the level of planting it has now, the new scrape area will presumably take similar time.
I recently visited the common with a friend who had not been before and who was shocked by the state of the site and has expressed a wish to never visit it again. If your operation and band of volunteers continue until 2015 decimating the common I doubt that she will be alone in opting to go elsewhere.
I wish that my concern would be taken seriously and you reconsider some of your development plans before you irreversably render Stanmore Common a genteel suburban parkland.

From Sarah Beazant- commoner for 25 years

My reply same day:

Dear Sarah; I have been trying to source local heather seed. I failed this year but hope to find some next year. In the meantime I hope to harvest seed from New Heath to sow on the new scrape. Are you available to help harvest the seed? Yours hopefully    Steve

Her reply same day: Dear Steve
I'm unsure as to your role regarding the Common or the project, perhaps you could inform me? I was under the impression that Simon Braidman was warden?
My previous e mail raised several concerns which you have either chosen to ignore or have no authority to respond to?
I may, depending on other commitments at the time, be available to assist if seed needs gathering. Please feel free to contact me with details.
What a shame the project wasn't postponed until some could have been sourced more efficiently.
With thanks
Sarah Beazant

Simon's email to her 28th March 2013: Dear Sarah, Thank you for your honest and heartfelt comments. They are not ignored, they are taken seriously. We have had positive comments about the Bluebell Heath project. The paths on Bluebell Heath were damaged as a result of the machinery used combined with the wet conditions. Other projects elsewhere in Harrow did not involve the use of this type of kit. This type of project is typical of acid/grassland/ heathland restoration. This is a small-scale version of similar habitat restoration projects elsewhere. The success of the original restoration of four years earlier on the adjacent land to the West(New Heath) prompted this project. This project was always going to more difficult as a fire had cleared the existing trees on New Heath.
If the Bluebell Heath project or a similar large scale tree felling project had not been carried out, the clearing would effectively been lost to the invading trees. This was the opinion of all those concerned with the management of the site as well as external expertise. The acid grassland is the rarer habitat.

I am aware of the issues of paths on the site and we will be working to clear those asap.

We are carrying out Bracken control. Bracken is an invasive species which can shade out others, in places it is impenetrable. Yet it is an important wildlife plant. There is no intention or possibility to irradicate Bracken; we recognise its importance as cover and as an umbrella producing sheltered conditions below it. In Hollybrook Rise large areas of Bracken are left untreated for just this reason.

Work on the reserve is not ill considered. I love the reserve and I would not carry out the operations if I felt what we are doing was damaging the site.The priorities are to get light into the woodland, keep the clearings open and lengthening the edge between the woodland and the grassland, and to control invasive species such as Bracken, Holly and Yew. Large areas of the reserve are left unmanaged, I do not wish to manage every section of woodland

I am open to any positive suggestions that you or others may have. We will be carrying out work to improve paths on the reserve. Yours Sincerely  Simon Braidman



8th March 2013: First Aid course, John Winter

John attended a First Aid at Work course at St. John's Ambulance on this day. I have a PDF copy of his certificate.

12th February 2013: Bluebell Heath Steering Committee   To formal minutes by Margaret Huitson

Mention Stanmore College Heritage, Culture and Nature Event on 1st May - does Simon want to come? Either way can I get the object collection?

Finances: By my reckoning (see "Rough accounts Bluebell Heath project 13020301.xlsx") we are at present £5845 underspent - this does not include the £3200 contingency money. Robin confirmed that this is about right.

T + T have left a lot of log piles - Simon estimates about 15.
He's been trying to move them with volunteers but it is hard work and Vanessa Marlowe is worried about injury. We agreed to ask T + T to move them to the edge of the site - in particular, they can be moved to the "post storm" area.

On 13th February Simon emailed Mark at T + T: Mark,
It was too dangerous for the digger  to move them the timber spilt over the bucket and jammed between the bucket and the supporting arm potentially damaging the hydraulic pipes. Chris, the driver said he could not risk it as if they were damaged then that was his vehicle stranded. I used him to do some work in New Heath rather than risk breakdown.
I am trying to get the cut timber off Bluebell heath not neccesarily all of it, just most of it.
I had hoped that the bulldozer would do it, then I thought that my own volunteers could do it and we have started and will contnue. No new trees have to be cut down. I am
I am aware you are busy as you have the Bromley contract.
Last night the Bluebell Heath meeting approved the balance of the money. That is the second payment which if I remember( I am not the administrator of the finances) is for £11,000.
You will be paid forthwith.
I am very happy with the work you did, I just want to remove some of the timber piles.
There is no urgency in my view of your return and if I cannot remove the cut timber in the short term, so be it.
Any extra work will be chargable.
simon
I emailed Mark Towers of T + T on 14th February 2013: Dear Mark;

We had a steering committee meeting on February 12th. We agreed that although we are very happy with the clearance work, too many log piles have been left on the cleared area. In our original discussion before work commenced we spoke of two or three log piles left on site, but Simon Braidman estimates that there are at least ten and perhaps 15. We need these to be removed to the woodland at the edge of the site. One good location would be the area at the north east of the site where trees were felled but left where they fell, the area we are calling the "post storm" area.

We note that the total amount that you have invoiced (8580 including VAT on 21st November 2012, and 14040 including VAT on 1st February 2013) is 720 less than the total of your two estimates (8th April 2012: 17,160 including VAT; 10th November 2012:  stump treatment = 1020 including VAT; extra clearance = 5160 including VAT). We would not be unhappy if the total cost of the work rose to the amount in the estimates if you felt that was appropriate.

Tell me how you'd like to handle the invoicing for this. We could wait until the log moving was done then pay in full or pay a second tranche now with some payment reserved until the log moving is complete.

Best Wishes    Steve

He replied on the same day: Dear Stephen; Have spoken to Simon and agreed will move some of log piles, however at present very busy so may have to wait a while. The invoice is less as I deducted what we didn't use of the digger estimate I gave originally. If you could pay as much as invoice as possible now and keep some back until we have returned I would appreciate this. Many thanks   Mark

On 18th February 2013 I emailed Robin Youle: Dear Robin; I attach the invoice from T + T Earthmatters. Below is my email to Mark Towers of T + T and his reply. I suggest that we pay him 10,700 GBP + VAT = 12,840 GBP now, with the balance of 1,000 + VAT = 1,200 to be paid when the log piles are moved to our satisfaction. Does that sound OK? Best Wishes    Steve

Feedback Postcards Margaret Huitson showed a postcard that is being used to get feedback on the Lowlands Recreation Ground scheme. We agreed that we would generate a similar postcard for the Bluebell Heath project - one that could be used repeatedl;y at all our events so that we do not need to thicreate a new set of questions each time. I said I'd do this but in April 2013 or later.


Nature Trail: there's no great hurry - we should have the route planned and objects of interest noted by this time next year.

Chainsaw course: Zubair has done the course and is awaiting the assessment.

Bat detector: We agreed in principle to buy a bat detector to be used on public bat evenings and for other purposes. Simon will investigate the cost.

Date of next meeting: 30th April 2013.



17th February 2013: Simon Braidman report on working party

ATTENDEES:  WARDENS:- SIMON BRAIDMAN AND VANESSA MARLOW
RAJINDER HAYER, MARGARET GRIFFIN, YUNXI SHI, JOHN BUGLER, JOHN WINTER, DAVID GREEN, ALLAN SMITH, MARIANNE SMITH.
FROM STANMORE COLLEGE: DARIO CELASHI, PALLY PANDI, NATHANAEL MANIR.
10.30AM TO 3.40PM
WEATHER 3.5 DEGREES CENTIGRADE  SUNNY EASTERLY WIND
TASK
To carry on the cleanup of Bluebell Heath post contractoral work.
BACKGROUND TO BLUEBELL HEATH PROJECT
The £41,000 lottery project is a 3 year project to restore acid grassland habitat in the largest clearing on Stanmore Common Local Nature Reserve.
Acid grassland is a very rare habitat in London. The soil is of low quality; poor in nutrients, but because it is nutrient poor it supports a unique suite of plants and animals adapted to the harsh conditions.
 The clearing had become degraded as trees invaded the grassland threatening to shade out the ground layer plants and their fallen leaves rotting, fertilising the soil, reducing acidity levels and promoting common plants such as Nettles, Docks over much rarer species such as Tormentil.

This habitat has already been successfully restored on an adjacent parcel of land called New Heath which was done in 2008.
This is the first year of the project and the major works on the clearing have just finished (October 2012 to February 2013)  Contractors with chainsaws have cleared many of the trees from the clearing and a sub-contractor with bulldozers have stripped off the fertile topsoil from areas just north of Bluebell Heath creating areas known as scrapes.
The volunteers will henceforth control the tree level on the clearing, maintaining an open, grassy/flowery environment, yet still retaining all the old trees and some young trees.
The scrapes will have their original acid grassland seedbank exposed to the light and new plants will appear and insects will take advantage of the bare soil to nest in and sunbathe on.  Heather seed from New Heath will be used to sow in the new scrapes.
The contractors had left lots of neat piles of cut timber all across Bluebell Heath. Dead wood piles have value for lots of wildlife but in full sun they dry out, especially if not in contact with the soil. Dry dead wood attracts less variety of wildlife. Also the piles of timber are in the open and present an attraction for those who want fires.
The Bulldozer tried to shift the piles but almost broke down so we decided to move the timber. Most of the timber was moved into the clear-fell area in the south east section of Flushing Wood or the downslope leading to it.  A small amount was scattered into the woodland edge on the eastern boundary of Bluebell Heath and some over the brash dead hedge that fronts the southern edge of Flushing Wood.
A number of piles have been moved but a number about 7 remain.  We will be calling back the contractors to move the rest.
After lunch we changed the work.  We stripped out the remaining marker tape used for marking trees and blocks of trees for retention or removal.
All the road pins except those used for marking the fixed photographic points were removed.  The fixed photographic points are positions where 360 degree photographs were taken before the work started.
Simon and John Winter went around checking the location of those points and driving the pins deeper into the ground. The work took them into the far west and north- west of the project area which had been largely unstripped of tape and pins and this material was removed. They did not complete going around all the photopoints.
By the end of the task all tape and pins were removed. The tape was thrown away and the pins returned to the tool store.
Margaret Griffin was working on her own collecting timber for her Forest School Project in Chiswick.
WILDLIFE
A pair of Buzzards over the far eastern end of Flushing Wood, being chased by Crows.
   
Late in the afternoon, perched on a map case  was a jumping spider.  Careful noting of the size shape and body pattern meant identification was possible. Of Britain’s 36 species of Jumping Spider (Family Salticidae) this was Marpissa mucosa
This species occurs under loose tree bark. I have seen it once before on the top rail of a wooden footbridge at Bedfont Lakes Country Park.
   The Jumping spider Marpissa mucosa
This may be a new record for the reserve.
A Big thank you to all of the volunteers.  The clearing looks far better and clearer.
I hope Dario, Pally and Nat can make future work parties.
THE NEXT TASK IS TO MOVE TO THE CLEARING CALLED HOLLYBROOK RISE AND WE ARE FELLING TREES TO CREATE SUNTRAPS/LIGHTPATHS  AND AN ELONGATION OF THE WOODLAND/GRASSLAND EDGE.


20th February 2013: Simon Braidman report on working party

REPORT FOR WORKPARTY WEDNESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2013
ATTENDEES:   WARDENS  :-   SIMON BRAIDMAN
JOHN WINTER, JOHN BUGLER AND DAVID GREEN
10.30AM TO 3.40PM
WEATHER  2.5 DEGREES CENTIGRADE CLOUDY, CLOUDS BREAKING SUNNY, EASTERLY WIND
Soup was provided as well as hot drinks
TASK
Removal of trees to create suntraps and lightpaths along the edges of Compartment 17, known as Hollybrook Rise.
Background
Part of the key management of the reserve is to manage the edges of the open clearings. By creating little inlets by felling trees you improve the clearing by:
a)    Elongation of the woodland/clearing edge
b)    Creating suntraps usually south facing (to catch maximum sunlight)

On the 8th of January 2013 I spent 45 minutes studying Hollybrook Rise looking for opportunities to improve this area, creating a sketch map and taking photographs.

1.    REMOVAL OF LARGE TURKEY OAK
 At 513755N 01929W There is a large Turkey Oak along the southern edge of the clearing. Felling this tree would create an inlet. This is a chainsaw job.

John Winter worked on the internal scrub block at 513754N  01932W. This scrub block has been left unmanaged for around twelve years. The intention is to retain the block but with careful felling a south eastwards facing pocket was created. This will catch the sun but keeping the western side of the block should help to screen out the wind.

John Bugler and Simon Braidman worked on the scrub projection at 513752N 01931W. This block of mostly Silver Birch is highly attractive but it does block a light path to the grassland to its south. Instead of removing the projection a sunlight path was cut through the projection. The tallest trees were removed. Some of the younger trees were deliberately cut very high. Creating canopy height difference helps wildlife by keeping windshields, trapping sunlight and it encourages sidewards growth.

The effect was immediate and the sun blazed through the new light path putting more light into this very sheltered section of the clearing.
John Bugler practised his horticultural skills as he “lifted” the large Silver Birch adjacent to the work area. “Lifting” is removal of the lower branches. “Lifting” is done for public access reasons (not applicable in this case), to bring the lower trunk into light and to encourage horizontal dormant bud growth. In this case it will allow light to pass below onto the ground.

The cut timber was moved into the surrounding woodland, each piece was individually scattered on the woodland floor rather than creating a pile. Areas of grassland within the woodland were avoided to stop bramble growing over the timber to smother grassland. The timber was scattered in all directions up to a  maximum distance of 20 metres within the woodland down to close to the woodland/grassland boundary.
In doing so a fair quantity of litter was discovered and recovered; including two more interesting glass bottles. These were old thickened glass bottles with stoppered lids on internal threads. One still had its original stopper. This bottle must date before 1960, as it has the label Camwal embossed on the outside and Camwal Ltd stopped trading with that name around that time. The stopper has the logo R Whites.
R Whites is Robert White and Sons, founded 1845. The Company was bought by Whitbread and Co in the 1960’s, and then Britvic in 1986. R White’s Lemonade is remembered for a famous advert from 1973 where a man sneaks downstairs to drink the Lemonade. The song “Secret lemonade Drinker” was written and sung by Ross Mcmanus father of Elvis Costello who as Decclan Mcmanus provided backing vocals.
 
The clear bottle has been retained so that more research can be done, regarding the date. Other interesting litter included a section of gutter pipe, covered in moss which was retained in situ as mammal habitat.

Just to add that thanks to the guys on Wednesday also did a lot of good work in the car park cutting back a Blackthorn which as hanging down and scrapping off mud along the curb.

THE NEXT TASK IS TO CONTINUE THE WORK IN HOLLYBROOK RISE.


24th March 2013: Generating report to Laura Butcher at the Heritage Lottery Fund

To generate this I reviewed the notes above and generated this summary:

Information boards were installed July 8th 2012
Guided walks were run on 22 July 2012, 16 Sept 2012, 13 Oct 2012, 24 Nov 2012, 12 Jan 2013.
Pull-up banners were printed in August 2012 and distributed in September 2012.
Simon did bat surveys on 23 Aug, 4 Sept, 6 Sept, 21 October.
Simon and John Dobson did tree surveys on 30th Aug, 31 Aug, 14 Sept.
Management Committee met on 11 Sept 2012, 14 Nov 2012, 12 Feb 2013.
The final site visit to decide what to clear was 3rd October 2012. Contractor began 22 Oct 2012 and finished 1st Feb 2013.
Display boxes were bought 7th October.
Stephen Gregory formally resigned on 16th November 2012.
There have been 39 working parties on Stanmore Common from 8th July 2012 to 20th March 2013 inclusive, mostly on Bluebell Heath. This includes one Woodcraft Folk day; the rest are Simon's volunteers.

Simon emailed on 26th March that his core volunteer group was 18 people.

I sent the revised report on 29th March 2013.

I then had to fill out the on-line Progress Report

29th March 2013: Creating postcard for feedback

The idea is to be something like the one for Lowlands Recreation Ground, as discussed at the meeting on 12th February 2013:


However I think we want to be able to post it. I'll try general text mixed with images on the front, with feedback and address on the back.

Size - the consensus seems to be that the standard postcard size is A6, 148 x 105: ratio of 1.4095

My camera images are slightly squarer, so I'll cut the bottom of the standard image 11072508 to fit this size.

Front side text: first draft:

Restoration of Bluebell Heath, Stanmore Common

The Harrow Nature Conservation Forum is leading a project to restore this open heathland area in the north of Stanmore Common.

As well as improving the site for human visitors, the project should improve the environment for plants and animals of wild open country that are under threat, especially in southern England.

To find out about our programme of guided walks and working parties visit www.harrowncf.org.


Back side text: first draft:

We welcome comments, feedback and suggestions. Use this card, or email BH[uppercase']harrowncf.org

I sent it out for review on 29th March 2013.
On 21st April John Hollingdale and Margaret emailed that it was fine as is.

On 4th June 2013 I took it to PIP. I took a PDF that was exactly A6; in fact they want the image to be 154 x 111  mm, giving a 3mm bleed on all sides. Furthermore, no important contant should be within 3mm of the edge of the A6 card, that is, no closer than 6mm of the 154 x 111 image. Done in Corel file dated 4th June 2013.

Responses

Card left at car park in June 2013:
1. Bluebell Heath needs time to settle after such an extensive development.
2. Need a litter strategy if visitor numbers are increased (5 bags and 2 barbecues collected this week!)
3. No Nature Trail! Keep the Common wild, there are plenty of walks, trails and routes in the vicinity.

Cards left at car park August 2013:
1. Someone needs to let the council guys know about the new bin on the picnic area, it never gets emptied.
2. How about getting the rubbish off the picnic area! Been a week at least!
3. Someone needs to let the council guys know about the new bin on the picnic area, it never gets emptied.

At Harrow in Leaf show, August 26th 2013:
Yes I support any work to restore green spaces! Anita Amies


From December 2013 all feedback on all our sites is collated here

15th April 2013: Spreadsheet of volunteer time

Since this now includes work on all parts of the site, not only work towards the Bluebell Heath project, I have moved it to \Personnel matters\Volunteer time at Bluebell Heath.

15th April 2013: On-line Progress Report Form for Heritage Lottery Fund

How many people have volunteered for your project? 39 people are listed in the volunteer spreadsheet as having worked on Bluebell Heath related tasks, plus 6 Woodcraft Folk on 2nd February 2013 = 45 in all.

Skilled: Me, Simon Braidman, John Hollingdale, Elizabeth Stainthorpe, Isobel Thompson + Sue Kabel, Tony Gourdin and Vanessa Marlowe, because they were on the plant identification course = 8 in all

Professional: John Dobson and Robin Youle = 2

Leaving 29 unskilled.

When did we "award the contract" to John Dobson? I have put down the date of the first Committee Meeting, 21st February 2012, since the minutes state "John D. will be running the training course to train the volunteer surveyors".

I sent the report out for review on 16th April 2013. Comments:

Simon Braidman: Hi Steve

Regarding photographic consent, I am certain there will be no problem I never use a picture of individuals if they do not want to be in the report. I ask TCV groups routinely and my own volunteers are always having pictures  being taken. The only compliant I have had is from one person who was missed out and was NOT photographed.
I did get an issue over emails and address use and a volunteer requested addresses be in the BCC format. This I now do.

I have looked through the report. It is fine just 2 things:

1. In the section on progress of the project as reported on the website
" It can be seen at http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_ongoing_notes.html but is not intended as it presentLY stands to be available to the general public"
THE CORRECTION IS IN GREEN
Also if this is on the website of the HCNF is it NOT ALREADY AVAILABLE TO GENERAL PUBLIC.

2.  As for a new management plan I see no real progress. It is something that should be done by the people that know the site best. I would like to involve John Winter in some way, he is a real driver to site improvement.
The principles of management of the site do not depart from the general principles of the 1999 plan. But there are new problems  such as the Holly invasion which was not recognised in that report and it means that untouched remote areas which John Dobson says should be low intervention areas will need management to keep them special. The ponds remain a concern.  Also I see no date is in the schedule for this item.

Unconnected with the report, who is going to check the land ownership around Grove Ponds?    simon

John Hollingdale and Margaret Huitson

21st April 2013: "Looks fine to us."

30th April 2013: Bluebell Heath commitee meeting

Official minutes by Margaret Huitson

My notes:


Simon said that the log removal was now complete. T + T Earthmatters have not invoiced us for the remaining £1000 + VAT - they probably don't need to, since there was no new invoice after the one of which we paid all minus £1000 + VAT. Robin will check and pay if that's the case.

Feedback cards - fine as is. I should print 200.

Bat detector: Simon will send me exact details of what he wants.

Heather seed? We agreed to try and get the Acid Grassland/Heathland group back and ask their advice. If we do want to seed the new scrape, Simon would prefer that we simply collect seed from New Heath. A leaflet from Flora Locale/English Nature says "Seed of Caluna vulgaris ripens by about mid-October and can be collected from then to the end of November (sometimes into December). Seed is ready when dark brown and loose, with (ideally) 10-15 seeds per capsule: sample a few capsules to check for the abundance of seed"

Acid Grassland/Heathland group: yes, we should invite them back for a visit.
I emailed Nigel Reeve <nreeve[uppercase']royalparks.gsi.gov.uk> to that effect on 5th May 2013.

First Aid Courses: John Winter has done one (on 8th March 2013). Simon thinks that Vanessa will be doing one too.

Banners - we should leave all the ones we've distributed in place,; the leaflets need topping up.

Sewa Day, 6th October 2013: Mr Varsani will bring a team. Contact him on 07958 233136. Sadly, this will probably be too early to harvest Heather seed, but check seed condition.

Plant survey: John Dobson will resurvey the area some time soon.

Tools required: we still need the scythes!

Also, I should buy tools:
Bowsaw blades: 10 of 21" and 2 of 24"
2 of the largest size of bowsaw itself
Bowsaw guards if available
One of the bowsaws needs repairing - take to Ayletts?
5 good anvil loppers
2 pole saws
1 foldaway saw
and two scythes


Next meeting: 8th October 2013.

1st May 2013: Working party in Bluebell Heath

Simon's notes: Steve Bolsover met us at the car park and we had to move the railway sleeper to be used for installing the new bench on Bluebell Heath. It was very, very heavy, especially over the undulations. It took three of us with samina pushing the wheelbarrow of tools. We hid the wood ready for installation. Someone had moved the metal pole marker for its position. The intention was to carry out Holly control in an area to the northwest of Bluebell Heath.

Our route took us past the clear fell area in the south east corner of Flushing Wood. Investigation of the clear fell area revealed masses of Holly and new Bracken emerging. The work was very successful we have removed almost all the emerging Holly and controlled the first Bracken shoots.

We moved on just south of the clear fell area onto Bluebell Heath itself and cleared Holly growing around the old Oak Trees along the north eastern corner and then we cleared Holly growing into the regenerating grassland areas in the north east corner. Holly was removed by its roots if at all possible and even larger Holly Trees were attacked in this manner using Mattocks.

The new bracken will need controlling especially in the sensitive areas such as the Orchid field, the re-scraped areas on New Heath and their associated bare earth banks. Also urgent work is required to control the new Birch saplings in New Heath.

Images of this day in complete PDF file of Simon's reports

4th May 2013: Flower walk at Bluebell Heath

Simon notes that he had 13 people attending.

10th May 2013: Bat Walk at Stanmore Common

Simon notes that he had 16 people attending.

25th June 2013: Costs of Nature Trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory

Denis sent details of what the hardware used for these trails cost.


15th July 2013: Alison Torbitt from Harrow Museum <Alison.Torbitt[uppercase']harrow.gov.uk>

On this day Alison emailed that she was happy to be on the Bluebell Heath steering committee. She wrote "Dear Steve, Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your HLF project application. I've sent it across to Jo as well.  I am absolutely still fine to sit on the committee and am happy for you us to meet on the 8th of October, and we can absolutely meet at the Museum. Do you have a time as yet? Is there anything you would like me to focus on, or how you see my role? Thanks again, it was lovely to meet you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Alison Torbitt

I repled on July 17th: Dear Alison: thanks for offering the Museum for the meeting on October 8th, that's great. We usually meet at 7:30 PM.

On your role - at the meeting we can show you what we've done so far to elicit feedback from members of the public; your advice on this would be welcome. We'd also welcome your views on whether we should try and keep the project in the public eye until the events to mark its completion (formal opening of the nature trail, exhibition at the Museum if we can do that) or let it go quiet until then. If we should try and keep up public interest, how might we achieve that?

17th July 2013: Sycamore trees

I emailed the streering group: Hi all - when we did our pre-work tour of Bluebell Heath on 3rd October 2012 we discussed a big sycamore on the southern border of the open area at TQ 15961 94068. Denis Vickers argued that it should be removed, because its seeds will otherwise germinate all over the cleared areas. But Simon said that there was a possible bat roost in it. We agreed that it should be ring barked to kill it but leave it standing.

I've got the chain saw back and could do this. But there's now a second, smaller sycamore left as a standing tree in the open space of the Heath a few tens of metres north of the one we agreed to ring bark - I think the image below is of that tree.
If we are leaving the one that's right out in the open, there's not much point in killing the one at the edge of the open space, is there? Shall I leave them both alone (or at least leave them both alone until any problem of sycamore seedlings becomes apparent)?

All the best   Steve

Working party 21st July 2013

ATTENDEES:  Simon Braidman, Noelia Alegre, Reuben,  David Green, Neville Day, Margaret Griffin, John Winter and John Dobson.
Weather:  Sunny and warm.

TASK
This was another training session for the botany survey. This time we had the original trainer, John Dobson, an ex-warden of the reserve and now an independent ecological consultant.
The toolshed was still welded shut after the break-in
I had produced a new photoguide for the key plant species which met John’s approval.
We covered all the 25 species on the guide although we found one; Lilly-of-the- valley off  Bluebell Heath.
The session was very useful and it confirmed that some of the key species were very difficult and that one had to group them together and also young plants do not necessarily resemble the adults.
We also found a stunning grass which seems to have increased greatly.
This is Wood Small-Reed (Calamagrosis epigejos)
It is very pretty with a cloud of pale pink flowers  arising from dense tussocks.
This plant is found in damp woodlands and rough grasslands on heavy soils.
It was suggested and agreed that this would be another species to monitor.

We also saw the lovely Mint, Betony Betonica officinalis.  This is not a survey species but it is a pretty one. The flowers look orchid like

Besides the flowers there were lots of butterflies and the best ones were Small Skipper and Marbled White.

For images see the full document: link for my use
Working party 24th July 2013

ATTENDEES:  Simon Braidman, John Bugler, Musaret Saddiqi, John Winter, Neville Day, Johnathon Asquith.

TASK
The intended task was to carry out Bracken control however John Winter has been trapping (trying to) Crayfish in Great Brewer’s Pond and finding lots of rubbish in and around the pond. The Crayfish are reported to be American Signal Crayfish, an introduced species which eats everything . John has a licence from DEFRA to catch them and has constructed a trap which so far until the end of this week been unsuccessful. Now we have an identification problem as we have a doubt that the Crayfish caught is the Signal Crayfish.  We will keep you informed. The rubbish is drinks bottles, lumps of concrete, a mattress and most of all fence posts, railway sleepers and other timber to be used for fires. We spent the morning clearing this material and taking it to points to be picked up by the Council’s flytip operative. We then litter picked the Cricket Club car park which also had another flytip of tiles which we cleared.

We had lunch at Bluebell Heath with Steve Bolsover the chairman of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum. He is installing a new feedback form box for the Common and he also was waiting for new keys to new locks for the Toolshed which has now been repaired.

After lunch Johnathon and Neville scythed bracken down in Parcel 10 at the extreme east end of Bluebell Heath whilst John Winter and myself tried to relocate the old photosurvey positions using a map and the panoramic photostrips. It proved extremely difficult. Many posts have been lost or submerged in bracken and the pictures from last year do not match the scenes in front of us. In the end we gave up and will try again by clearing more vegetation plus using individual pictures to re-locate our positions. It was getting hot again and we stopped early.


Working party 28th July 2013

ATTENDEES: Simon Braidman, John Winter, Neville Day, David Green

Weather: Sunny intervals with showers

The task was to carry on with working up the botany survey on Bluebell Heath. New copies of the photoguide had been produced including the extra new species, bringing the key species to be monitored to 26. The survey was discussed and the habitat assessment survey using the DAFOR survey system was covered. The habitat survey sheets give a list of key habitats and the idea is to assess each survey parcel of land in terms of percentage cover of the different habitat types e.g Native Broadleafed Woodland. The method is to imagine one is looking down from above and so ground layer   under dense trees would not be counted.  The figures should add up to 100%.

There were difficulties. The parcel boundaries for the first parcel we looked at were unclear and we found that one path no longer exists having been swallowed up by vegetation. The best way of estimating cover was to draw the extent of the broadleafed trees on a habitat parcel map. We came up with 60% Native Broadleafed Trees, 34% Bracken, 5% Acid Grassland and 1% bare earth for Parcel 10. We then had to do the same for the 26 key species of plants but we were just discussing initial survey problems when the first rain shower came down. It stopped and we tried to re-start but a second rain shower came down, soaking survey papers and we decided to give up.

We met Silas the Deerhound and her owners who we had last seen a month earlier and she looked even bigger. We all made a fuss of her. Then we fell in with a family out walking the common and we looked at the many tiny frogs and toads hopping around. We walked back to the car park showing interesting things, including a rather stunning hoverfly.  This bee mimic is Volucella pellucens and it lays its eggs in social wasp nests where its larvae eat debris and dead wasps, larvae and pupae.

We all then walked to Great Brewer’s Pond to check the Crayfish trap. On the way we said hallo to Allan and Dave, two fishermen who seem almost to be permanently camped by the pond.
By now John and David appeared to have almost adopted one of the children of our accompanying family! The crayfish trap had around 15 crayfish in it. This was a trap found abandoned by the two fisherman mentioned above. John’s own trap did not have a soft mesh internal collar and John thought that this was the reason it was not successful.

With crayfish in the hand we could check the identification of the animal. There are 5 recorded Crayfish species in the UK. Only one the White Clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) is native to Britain. A key feature for this species is a single pair of small ridges called the sub-orbital ridge just behind the eye. The caught specimens had 2 pairs of suborbital ridges which meant it was not our increasingly rare native species.

Three species of Crayfish have 2 pairs of sub-orbital ridges. The Crayfish caught also had white patches at the joints of the fingers of the claw which indicates these were the Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) a pest species from the US. Signal Crayfish eat everything in a pond they also carry a disease which they have partial immunity to which our own Crayfish are vulnerable, a similar story to the Grey Squirrel. The White-Clawed Crayfish despite its name has not got these patches, its name refers to pale flesh colour not white along the lower part of the underside of the claws. John has been freezing these Crayfish but he cannot eat them as he is allergic to shellfish.

The next official work party is Sunday 4th August. However there will be an extra work party this week to clear bracken in Bluebell Heath to locate the photographic survey points. There is also a guided walk on Stanmore Common on Saturday 3rd August at 10.30am.


Working party 29th July 2013

ATTENDEES: Simon  Braidman

11.30 am to 5.30am

Weather  Sunny intervals with one light shower and thunder rumbles

TASK:  To uncover photopoint markers

The intention was to uncover photopoint markers in Bluebell Heath. However the car park was in a terrible state with overflowing bins and rubbish strewn everywhere. I spent an hour clearing in and around the car park and the picnic area clearing rubbish. My rubbish sacks were thin. I called the Council but they could not say when exactly when they would come. Recovered mattress.

Moved off towards Bluebell Heath but stopped at Hollybrook Rise and spent another hour clearing Bracken and then hauling it into the woodland edge.

I got to Parcel 10 at the eastern edge of Bluebell Heath and cleared a mass of Bracken working in the approximate area of photopoint 2.  The area cleared was large and generated a ton of bracken cuttings. I piled the cuttings in front of the bench intending to move it. By now my wrists ached from collecting the bracken up and exhausted I decided to move the cut bracken next visit. It was just as well I stopped as the rain came down in a huge intense shower just a short time after I got home.

Working party 4th August 2013

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY SUNDAY 4TH AUGUST 2013

ATTENDEES: Simon Braidman, John Winter, Margaret Griffin, Sachin Kanadier, John Bugler, David Green

10.30am to 3.30pm

Weather Sunny periods 23 degrees centigrade

There were mixed tasks. John Bugler worked on path widening along Druid’s path and after lunch helped with Bracken removal. The bracken was the pile I had made on my extra visit on Monday 29th July. I had exhausted myself cutting bracken in Parcel 9 looking for photopoint 2.

Margaret Griffin helped with the plant survey which was not going well due to the difficulty of fixing the boundaries of the habitat parcels of Bluebell Heath. Also estimating habitat coverage under the DAFOR system was proving slow. John Winter and I struggled through parcels 10 and 9 and struggled with parcel 8. Sachin and David arrived later. I showed Sachin some of the key species. David helped with Bracken removal and also worked with John on path widening.

OTHER NEWS
John Winter has caught more Crayfish but when he tried to cook them they sprouted white mould from the joints and went a horrible blotchy colour. John has been approaching two key fisherman at Great Brewer’s Pond to see if they are interested in managing the water body.

Someone stole the main access gate and gate post for vehicular access to Bluebell Heath. This was a real undertaking as the gate is huge and very heavy.

Harrow council is applying for to the Rural Payments Agency for funding for work on Stanmore Common. I have drawn a map and awaiting a second opinion from Denis Vickers, the Biodiversity Officer.

The chainsaw has been serviced and is now ready for use.

Next stages are to redefine on the ground the habitat parcels of Bluebell Heath and the photopoints of the photosurvey.

Also the bracken is starting to show signs of natural die back where they send their food reserves down to the roots. It is the time to spray the Bracken with the Bracken herbicide Asulox. Repeated bracken cutting has had an effect but it is still very limited.


Working party 7th August 2013

ATTENDEES:  Simon Braidman, John Winter and Johnathon Asquith
Weather sunny intervals warm

TASK
Johnathon scythed bracken in Parcel 9 in Bluebell Heath East. John and myself put marker tape in corner positions of the habitat parcels of Bluebell Heath. Between the two of us we can lead the plant surveyors so that we can define the habitat survey results correctly.

We then looked at the photopoints. Almost all the original photopoint survey markers have been taken but from the photostrips we are able to relocate the positions. However the clear fell area point strips were impossible to match.

We then finished up by clearing the Bracken cut by Johnathon.

WILDLIFE
We heard Sparrowhawk and Buzzard and saw 3 Buzzards together over the fields to the North of the reserve. There were lots of Butterflies especially Gatekeepers.

A nice find was a Devil’s Coach Horse in the car park (Staphilinus olens). This is actually a Beetle.  A member of the Rove Beetle family the Staphilinidae. There are over a 1000 species of this group in Britain. The Devil’s Coach Horse is one of the largest beetles in the UK. It habitually raises its tail and opens it’s jaws as a defense mechanism. To back this up it can also emit a foul smelling odour from a pair of white glands in the abdomen. The animal is a fierce hunter and attacks worms, woodlice and other invertebrates, mostly at night. It cuts with sharp jaws and then repeatidly swallows and regurgitates the food, covering it with a brown secretion until it becomes a liquid when it is finally ingested. The larvae emerge from eggs laid in moss or under stones and they are as fierce as the adult, taking on prey many times their size. The lifespan for the beetle is one to two years, older survival is achieved by hibernation over a second winter.

Working party (Simon on his own) 8th August 2013

ATTENDEES: Simon Braidman
WEATHER warm sunny wind southerly strength 1 to zero
REPORT FOR EXTRA WORK PARTY THURSDAY 8TH AUGUST 2013
The task was to spray Bluebell Heath with the anti-bracken herbicide Asulox.
 
This is a carbamate herbicide used on Bracken, Dock, Creeping Buttercup  and Chickweed species. It can temporarily stop sapling growth and can effect some grass species.It works on Bracken by being absorbed through the leaves  into the root system. The herbicide inhibits an enzyme involved in the formation of a chemical called Folic Acid (Vitamin B9). This Vitamin is a vital precursor of many components of DNA  and blocking of this process will lead to cell death and eventually the death of the plant. This herbicide can affect other fern species and also mosses.

It has low insect and mammalian toxicity and is safe to use in the environment. The only proviso is it is dangerous to aquatic life and so should not be directly sprayed on water bodies or near ditches.

Asulox was recently nearly withdrawn from legal use within the EU due to the costs of extra safety testing. Pressure from Grouse Moor managers has resulted in a Emergency Use Authorisation being granted to land managers. This lasts only for a year and will need to be re-applied for on a yearly basis until the extra safety data is gathered.

Spraying should be done on a dry day with little or no wind.

EQUIPMENT 
12 LITRE HAVELOCK BACKPACK SPRAYER with grey Course Droplet size  feed nozzle 2ml/sec
40 litre water reservoir on a metal transport trolley
Asulox herbicide in 25 litre containers.( 180ml transferred to plastic bottle)
For Bracken 60mls of Asulox to 12 litres of water.
Adjuvant : a chemical designed to help Asulox dissolve in water add 1 part to 50 parts water
Measuring Cylinder
Measuring jug
Disposable protective paper suit with hood
Plastic gloves
Nitrile chemical resistant gloves
Respirator with Class A filters (organic gas/liquids)
Wellington boots

Water was obtained from Stanmore Cricket Club, permission was sought both the day before and confirmed on the day. There is an outside tap for horticultural use. The reservoir is easy to transport and it was wheeled down the horse ride to Bluebell Heath and stored in heavy cover in Bramble in Parcel 10  in the south east corner of Bluebell Heath.

The rest of the equipment was transported with a wheelbarrow and stored in the same position.

The sprayer was checked out and tested using pure water. A leak was found due to cross-threading of the lance mounting which was corrected.

The water barrel reservoir came with a tap which was screwed into one of the two access caps on the barrel. However due to air bubbles the rate of water flow was low.

Water was collected by the measuring jug and added to the knapsack sprayer reservoir after removal of the reservoir cap.

After addition of about 5 litres of water. 60mls of Asulox and approximately 5mls of adjuvant were added by the measuring cylinder  to the knapsack reservoir.
It is essential that the knapsack reservoir filter is kept in place in the knapsack reservoir entrance to prevent dirt particles from entering the knapsack reservoir. Due to the location dirt was picked up and the filter intercepted it.

Pure water was used to keep the measuring cylinder clean and the washings were added to the knapsack reservoir.

The reservoir was topped up with pure water and the reservoir cap screwed down tightly to produce the pressure
In retrospect loading the maximum capacity was a mistake due to the extreme weight. It was difficult to lift and get it strapped into place by the lurches would help mix the contents.

In fact there was some overflow of the tank at such a high volume and part of my upper back was soaked

Spraying started from east to west and so parcel 10 was sprayed first. Spray was only heavily applied to solid bracken stands. Areas clear of bracken were not sprayed and isolated bracken plants were spot sprayed.

Spraying of high stands of bracken are difficult and it would be recommended to trample a heavy stand a bit to make it easier.

It is important to get over the top to spray to get a bit of drift so that one can maximise the depth of the application.

On dense stands I tried reverse spraying, that is going into the stand and spraying the deepest bit first and then spraying as one reversed back.

Where the stands had already been partly cut it was difficult to remember which stands had been sprayed due to the complexity of the stands. Freshly sprayed bracken can glisten due to the droplets but this quickly dries.

It is important to keep moving to use the spray efficiently. I did feel the height of the bracken and my closeness to it was making the spray less efficient and that the spray was hitting the nearest bracken hard both literally and metaphorically and less was getting to the backs of the stands.

I did go both sides of the stands. Normally I try to take account of wind direction but there was so little wind and I was also struggling with the weight.

On the second loading I only filled to 10 litres and then to 7 litres and finally 6 litres.

I was concerned about people but there were very few people on the site and I encountered no one at all whilst spraying.

The whole of Bluebell Heath was sprayed, including the upper stretches of the Orchid field. I took care when around sensitive plants such as the Orchid field and the area where the Wood Small-Reed grows.

Having sprayed Bluebell Heath.  I then sprayed the new scrape and the bare earth banks produced from the bulldozing. A lot of new Bracken was coming up.

The whole of the new scrape was covered.

I then moved onto New Heath and sprayed the northern edge including Bonzo Banks East, Centre and West. The bracken here was about 12 metres deep.

I also sprayed the southern section of new heath and along the western and eastern edges of New Heath.

I finished by re-spraying Bonzo Bank Centre.

By now I was exhausted and almost out of water. I kept some back so I could ensure the measuring jugs and cylinders could be cleaned and also to add to the Knapsack sprayer once it was empty so the sprayer could be “sprayed out” with clean water.

This was done in a non sensitive location adjacent to the storage area in the bramble zone in parcel 10.

The equipment was taken back the same route and stored. I was spotted by a young cyclist as I was loading stuff in the lock up and he rode off quickly (hope that is not significant).

I had hoped to spray other areas but this will have to wait.

10th August 2013: Simon at Bluebell Heath

Time is moving on and the botany survey is running late. I go up to the reserve and carry out a habitat percentage survey and plant abundance survey on habitat parcels 6,7 and 8 on Bluebell Heath.
Parcel 8 needs averaging as it covers 2 separate areas as agreed with John Dobson ( The consultant) who set up the management parcels.

11th August 2013: Extra work party at Bluebell Heath

REPORT FOR EXTRA VISITS SUNDAY 11TH AUGUST 2013

ATTENDEES:  Simon Braidman, Rajinder Heyer  David Green

TASK   BOTANY SURVEY

I go up to the reserve at 8am and survey parcels 5 and the habitat percentages for parcel 4. Leave reserve at 10.15am
I go back to the reserve at 2.30pm and meet up with Rajinder. She wants to do practical work and she litter picks the car park and picnic area. Thanks Rajinder for that.
I finish off surveying Parcel 4 doing plant abundance for the 26 key species. I then complete the two surveys on Parcels 3 and 2 with David.
We meet a lovely family and we show them around the reserve.
We finish at 5.30pm


18th August 2013: Working party in Bluebell Heath

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY SUNDAY 18TH AUGUST

ATTENDEES:  Simon Braidman, Neville Day, John Winter, David Green

10.30am to 4.20pm
Weather Sunny and hot

TASK     BOTANY SURVEY

We continued the botany survey and we finished it doing surveys on parcels 1 and the new habitat parcel 11. This last parcel was not surveyed last year as this was one of the extra fell zones. This is the clearfell area on the northeast edge of Bluebell Heath. This area originated from a desire to maximise the scrub clearance and the contractors were asked to fell the trees but instead of clearing the timber and stacking it they just left it where it was felled. This was to save money and time but also a mimic of storm damage.
This area has regenerated with regrowth from unpoisoned stumps including Holly and Bracken. The Holly has been controlled and the Bracken has been pulled but needs spraying. This area was the one area of Bluebell Heath not sprayed with Asulox on the 8th of August. Here too there is acid grassland regeneration with Green Ribbed Sedge, Tormentil and Purple Moor-Grass appearing all members our 26 species to be monitored. There was also lots of Prickly Sow-Thistle a common weed of gardens and roadsides but a valuable nectar resource and a member of the Daisy family.


The ground here is very difficult to traverse due to the sheer mass of fallen timber. We added to the timber volume when we cleared contractors wood stacks from the main section of Bluebell Heath last winter.
We have delineated the habitat parcels with little strips of tape but some have gone missing so we are using coloured sticky dots which are less conspicuous and they do last as last years dots are still present on the trees in Flushing Wood. We marked out the boundary of the new parcel  11 and we included the section of broadleaf woodland over acid grassland and the horse ride and the woodland boundary strip over nettle.
We then tried to locate the photosurvey points in parcel 11 but the tree removal is so great it is almost impossible to relocate these points. We finally made a decision and marked them up.
The photosurvey consists of 19 fixed points scattered around Bluebell Heath, New Heath, the New scrape and the extra survey parcel, number 11.
The photosurvey was done in October 2012, before the Bluebell Heath contractors started to fell the trees and the photo positions marked with road pins with a numbered yellow and black safety tape as a flag attached.
Over time these started to go missing despite us hammering the road pins deeper into the ground. Now only a hidden fee survive.
From the original photos plus a map showing the original photopoints we are remarking the photopositions.
The huge felling, map inaccuracies and the regrowth plus the difference in the times of day and year make difficulties in establishing the original photopoint positions.
After relocating photopoint positions behind the New Scrape we moved to Parcel 1 on New Heath and carried out the Botany survey on the last parcel left to do.
New Heath looks fantastic the regeneration is amazing and now the Heather is in flower. There are large numbers of bees, wasps  and butterflies swarming over the Heather.
It augers well for the new scrape and it does suggest that internal seed transfer from New Heath to New Scrape is probably the wise thing to do.


We had a discussion on the interpretation of the habitat designations and the parcel boundaries and some corrections will be necessary.
The exercise is an excellent one as this is the first time that such a survey has been done by the team itself rather than by external consultants and we have learnt a lot by our mistakes.
We then go through all the remaining photopoint positions re-establishing them.

OTHER NEWS
We are still awaiting tool replacement for the tools stolen. On Bank Holiday d Monday some of us will be manning a stall at the Harrow Show at Headstone Manor from 12am  to 6pm.

21st August 2013: Work Party in Bluebell Heath

REPORT FOR WORK PARTY WEDNESDAY 21ST AUGUST (see Word original or PDF for full version with map and images)

ATTENDEES: Simon Braidman, Neville Day, John Winter

10.30AM TO 4.20PM

Weather   hot and sunny

TASK
The task was to carry out the photographic survey for 2013. In October 2012 a photographic survey of Bluebell Heath and New Heath and the extra clear fell area (Parcel 11) to the north east of Bluebell Heath was carried out before the contractors started. Nineteen fixed photographic points were selected and photographs taken over the entire 360 degree view. John Winter then used a program to link all the pictures from each photopoint together to make an panorama. At the time all the points were marked with road pins with numbered yellow and black marker tape attached.
A map below shows the approximate photopoint positions (see Word or PDF complete version for the map).
 
We now went across all the positions and carried out a second post contractor photosurvey. At each position we used 2012 panoramas to ensure the exact same position was used. A big thanks to Sue Winter for the loan of her tablet and her camera as we could not have done this without her. With the ability to expand each 2012 panorama using the tablet we were able to refix the original positions as many road pins marking the original points had been lost/stolen. One problem was that the bracken was so high in places we had to flatten small sections to get a view. The positions were remarked with Blue circle stickers. The camera was tripod mounted and a spirit level used to ensure the best chance of success. A few photopoints such as position 5, still had their original road pin markers.

The greatest difficulty were the points in the new clear fell area as the tree removal was so comprehensive it was very difficult to match the 2012 phots with the perceived positions. We had done some work on this on the Sunday work party but we decided the locations were not accurate.

We saw 4 Buzzards soaring in the sky over the reserve and heard what was possibly a Hobby, a type of falcon calling. We also heard Muncjac Deer.

When we got to taking photographs across the scrape from Flushing Wood southwards we had to take a second set as the new bare earth banks formed from the bulldozed soil blocked our view. The second set was taken from the top of the bank. These points were marked with blue circle stickers.

The new scrape looks amazing with a great deal of regeneration. There are sedges and rushes, Bluebells and Tormentil, Fescue and Purple Moor Grass and of course Bracken which has been sprayed with Asulox.

The last section the clear fell area or Parcel 11 was the hardest due to the difficulty of finding the original photopoints and the mass of timber on the ground.

A big Thanks to all of the volunteers. Any time you can spend here is valuable.

I will send out the survey results when they are all collated.
We will be doing some path opening works and also looking at areas to open up as part of the winter works programme.

I will be spraying Parcel 11 with Asulox and re-spraying Bluebell Heath.

Oakmead will need checking at its western end for Bracken levels.

15th September 2013: Trying to reach the Acid Grassland/Heathland group

Nigel Reeve is no longer at Royal Parks. Denis wrote on 4th of September:  Hi Steve, Try Sam Wilkinson (Ecology Officer - Royal Parks) email swilkinson[uppercase']royalparks.gsi.gov.uk - got a feeling you might be out of luck without Nigel present! We shall see. Could also copy Chris Slack in Chris.Slack[uppercase']laing.com. Let me know how it goes, Denis

I realize I still have the list of everyone Nigel emailed to set up the meeting on August 24th 2011, so first I'll try that: Dear London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group, apologies for the blanket email. I'm hoping that the London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group still exists; on August 24th 2011 some of you came out and looked at Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common, and Nigel Reeve later wrote a letter of support for our Heritage Lottery Fund application. The application was successful, and we've done the major clearance work, so now I'd like to arrange another visit by the working group to have a look at the site and advise on what we need to do to encourage the ground to become acid grassland. If there isn't a formal working group any longer, perhaps an informal group of you could come and advise. Suggestions please! As before I could book a room for a formal meeting of the group after the visit, if that was appropriate.Yours hopefully   Steve

I got replies:

From: Valerie Selby <VSelby[uppercase']wandsworth.gov.uk> Stephen, Many thanks for the email.  The group has not (to my knowledge) met since Nigel Reeve retired however I think it is a generous offer and give us an impetus to continue to share knowledge.  I, for one, am keen to visit the site and to talk through options to encourage more acid grassland – I have a bid into HLF at the moment which includes elements of acid grassland restoration so I am keen to keep in touch with others doing the same. If you get a positive response from others do let me know so we can come along on a day that suits you – I am open to views from others as to whether we need a room for a meeting or whether a “walk and talk” would suffice.
Valerie Selby
Principal Parks Officer (Biodiversity & Parks Development)
Wandsworth Council
Tel: 020 8871 7019
Fax: 020 8871 7533
Web: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/biodiversity
Post: Parks Development Office, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

From: Jeremy Dagley <Jeremy.Dagley[uppercase']cityoflondon.gov.uk> Dear Valerie and Stephen, I would be very interested to discuss acid grassland projects such as yours as we face similar issues here at Epping Forest and also we have not been in touch with the group for a while, since Imogen Wilde left the Forest. I (and/or my colleagues Andy Froud and Sally Gadsdon) would be interested in such a meeting and discussion of management techniques and options – and any results from work so far. Jeremy                                       
Dr Jeremy Dagley
Head of Conservation
Open Spaces Department - Epping Forest
City of London
The Warren, Loughton, Essex IG10 4RW.
Telephone: 020 8532 5313
Fax:  020 8508 2176
e-mail: jeremy.dagley[uppercase']cityoflondon.gov.uk
Website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

From: Mike Hildesley <hildesley[uppercase']aol.com> Stephen, Valerie, I also am keen that we do not lose the benefits of the regional approach, with all the networking and information sharing  it provided, as well as regional funding and other initiatives.  Subject to date / diary allowing,  I would be pleased to join any meeting and share what we are doing on Barnes Common, where our LAG cover has been increased from 5ha to 7ha  over the past six years, with the proportion which could qualify as Cat A species rich now around 1.5 ha (but in patches, not contiguous!). Our plans include further expansion to around 10ha by 2020, mainly by pushing back boundaries, scrub control and some thinning of encroaching woodland, while we hope to increase the cat A to around 3ha. FOBC are in negotiations with Richmond to take on '3rd sector' management responsibility on behalf of Richmond, who remain the legal manager of the site.  If this is agreed, part of our remit is likely to include a significant increase in the educational role, and we are hoping one of the sports pavilions will become our office and a centre for information on Barnes Common and more generally on Lowland Acid Grassland (and perhaps London's historic heathlands and commons). Best wishes Mike Hildesley, Chairman, Friends of Barnes Common

From: Nicholas Garbutt < nicholas.garbutt[uppercase']hrp.org.uk>: Dear Steve and all; I would be keen on keeping in contact. We manage Home Park at Hampton Court Palace, acid grassland grazed by fallow deer.  Home Park along with Bushy Park (Royal Parks) are currently being considered for pSSSi designation for acid grassland. Kind regards  Nicholas
Nicholas Mallory Garbutt
Tree & Wildlife Conservation Manager
Historic Royal Palaces
Gardens & Estates Office
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU
Tel  +44 (0)20 3166 6480
Fax  +44 (0)20 3166 6478
nicholas.garbutt[uppercase']hrp.org.uk

From: Eszter Deri <d_eszter[uppercase']yahoo.com>: Dear all, I am only an informal volunteer member of the working group not managing any Acid Grasslands or Heathlands (in the past I was involved in grassland restoration in Hungary) but I agree that it would be nice to keep the group running. Amongst others I was at the Stanmore Common visit in 2011 and I would love to go back and take a look at the site and its succession. Best wishes, Eszter Deri
Conservation Ecologist
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/derieszter
Website: http://ecology.science.unideb.hu/ConsEcolGroup/Eszter_en.html

I emailed John Winter and Simon asking their availability on WeTuesdays and Wednesdays through October. Simon did not reply even after prompting, John Winter emailed: Hi Steve, I am sorry but I missed your previous e-mail as I had a flurry of them come in on that day and must have assumed I had read it. My daughter is expecting a baby any day now but the actual official day is the 27th of September. I would therefore prefer a date towards the end of October as my services may be required elsewhere. Tuesdays are usually OK for my. John

I therefore emailed the five who responded on 22nd September 2013: Dear Valerie, Jeremy, Mike, Nicholas and Eszter; You five responded to my email about the Acid Grassland group. It sounds as if we should try and organize a meeting - once we find a time good for us, I can broadcast the time to everyone on the big email list I used before. Simon Braidman would like to meet this autumn to get your advice before the winter work season. Can I get availability from all of you for two Tuesdays, October 22nd and October 29th? Last time I booked a room but we never got there. However it sounds as if the group will have a lot to catch up on so I will book a room again and hope that we can get there after the site visit. To speed matters up, let's say that those coming by public transport should come to Stanmore Station at the end of the Jubilee line and we will ferry you up to the site from there. So please tell me if you are available on either of those two Tuesdays, perhaps for a site visit starting at 11AM or so followed by an indoor meeting from 2:30 PM or so. Yours hopefully    Steve

Mike Hildesley replied either day OK, though may have to leave in afternoon.
Valerie Selby replied either day fine

I emailed the five who responded on 25th September 2013 fixing the date as 22nd October. I checked with John Hollingdale that he is free that day.
I sent the same email to the big Acid Grassland email list.
I told the Bluebell Heath group about the visit.
I told John Winter about it.


I also emailed the custodian of Bentley Priory museum Keith Arnold <bentley-custodian[uppercase']bentleypriory.org>: Dear Mr Arnold;

I was at the preview of the museum on September 14th, and was very impressed. I wish it well.

On that day, John Williams and I spoke to the education officer and emphasized that we would very much like to use the education facilities for ecological visits by local schoolchildren and other groups. They would use the space in the museum for an introductory talk, then go through the gate in the fence onto Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, returning to the museum before leaving. I hope this is within the remit of the educational space and that therefore you have access to and keys/access codes for the gate that leads through the fence.

On a more immediate note, I have organized a visit by a small group (about ten) ecologists to Stanmore Common on Tuesday October 22nd, and after the site visit we need an indoor meeting room (from about 2:30 until about 4:00). Would it be possible to use a room within the education space at the museum for this? We are happy to pay a (reasonable) fee. I would emphasize to the group that outdoor shoes would have to be changed before we enter your space!

Yours hopefully    Steve

8th October 2013: Steering Committee meeting

I wrote to Alison Torbitt on 17th July 2013: Dear Alison: thanks for offering the Museum for the meeting on October 8th, that's great. We usually meet at 7:30 PM. On your role - at the meeting we can show you what we've done so far to elicit feedback from members of the public; your advice on this would be welcome. We'd also welcome your views on whether we should try and keep the project in the public eye until the events to mark its completion (formal opening of the nature trail, exhibition at the Museum if we can do that) or let it go quiet until then. If we should try and keep up public interest, how might we achieve that? Best Wishes    Steve

She replied on 23rd July 2013: Hi Steve,  That all sounds great, I think we should definitely put publicity on the agenda for the 8th, and we can have a proper discussion, and I will have a think about it between now and then.  Kind regards, Alison

Dear Bluebell Heath committee: There is a meeting of the Bluebell Heath Steering Committee at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 8th October, at the Harrow Museum. Alison Torbitt from the museum will join the team. I attach a timeline of where we are supposed to be with the project, which implies that all we need to think about is the nature trail. In fact I think we need to talk about:

Report from Simon about progress to date

More precise timeline for creating nature trail

Should try and keep the project in the public eye until the events to mark its completion (formal opening of the nature trail, exhibition at the Museum if we can do that) or let it go quiet until then?

Responses from feedback cards

Start thinking about an exhibition in winter 2014-2015, how large might it be?

Finances

Visit of Acid grassland/heathland group on October 22nd - shall we invite HNHS?

Add: path improvement south of Pynding Mersc

Questions about site management:
    Heather seed collection + sowing
    Should we get T + T Earthmatters back to clear the scrub developing on much of the cleared ground and treat the stumps? Should we perhaps delay thinking about that until after the grassland/heathland group visit and have a meeting of a smaller group specifically to cover that point?
    Shall we start to generate a detailed management plan for Bluebell Heath - or indeed for the whole of Stanmore Common?


Notes on meeting  to formal minutes from Margaret Huitson

Present: Neville Day, John Winter, Simon Braidman, Alison Torbitt, John Hollingdale, Margaret Huitson, me.

Neville Day, John Winter and Simon Braidman will work on the nature trail. We agreed that by the end of May 2014 they should have generated a route and points of interest. I emphasized that they should take as many pictures as possible, and that we want things to notice all year round, not just spring.

As far as keeping the project in the public eye - John Winter is doing a great job with the Facebook site. I emailed him suggestiong how he can put a link to the website on the Facebook page.

Exhibition in winter: yes, Alison Torbitt is positive. We can have a full scale exhibition taking about half the area of the tithe barn. The cabinets are large, with glass on all sides, suitable for quite large objects that you look at horizontally. We agreed that each of us would write at least one suggestion of what we might show.
At the meeting we had these suggestions:
Simon Braidman suggested a sandpit or similar structure where children could recapitulate the clearance and scraping. It's not clear how serious this suggestion is!
Neville Day suggested soil profiles of typical Harrow garden (London clay) and Stanmore Common (sand and pebbles).
John Winter emailed an Ebay link where one can buy replica animal skulls: <http://dsa.ebay.co.uk/sch/crimsonrichdesire/m.html?item=170708577952&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562>
At Apple Day on 13th October 2013 Margaret Huitson and John Hollingdale talked about displays at Burnham Beeches - piles of different objects, e.g. different types of acorns.
Alison talked about activity sheets for children: colouring for the youngest children, word search for slightly older, actual activities relating the exhibits for the oldest children.

Controlling the scrub: Simon still wants to try and control it all by hand. Neville Day and John Winter agreed this is possible and that the aim is to clear all of Bluebell Heath in the coming winter (2013-2014). I should buy Timbrel (sic) to apply to the cut stumps to prevent regrowth (T + T seem to have done well at killing oaks and other big trees, it is the willow scrub that is regenerating so quickly). I ordered 3 litres of Timbrel on 13th October 2013. At the next meeting, which we timetabled for March 12th 2014, we can review how this has gone and get contractors in if necessary.

Notes on the site:
Simon says that heather is coming up naturally around the edges of the new scrape - tiny plants at present, but unmistakable. There is also wood rush and tormentil. So the Mitzvah group should plant in the central regions. (Margaret suggested that the Mitzvah group could also pull birch - easier in November when the ground is wetter). Simon collected seed of bell heather and cross-leaved heath on Catherton Common, Shropshire and sowed it in the new scrape.

Simon and the team have carried out visual surveys - essentially a Phase 1 survey - of the whole of Bluebell Heath, dividing it into many individual compartments. This shows the amount of scrub cover. They will create a "before clearance by contractors" equivalent then send me both surveys.

Simon is not happy about the amount of fungus collection on the Common. He'd like the information panel we put at the car park to say that it is OK to collect small amounts but not lots. I checked the bylaws (on 10113002 Open spaces bylaws.jpg) and there is nothing about picking flowers or collecting fungi.

Next meeting to be March 12th 2014 in the Granary at Headstone Manor (this is it's new name, it is no longer the Harrow Museum!)

8th October 2013: Financial summary from  Robin

Link to PDF file
22nd October 2013: Visit of Acid Grassland group

To: now all firmed up, arrangements for the day

Nigel Reeve is no longer at Royal Parks. Denis wrote on 4th of September:  Hi Steve, Try Sam Wilkinson (Ecology Officer - Royal Parks) email swilkinson[uppercase']royalparks.gsi.gov.uk - got a feeling you might be out of luck without Nigel present! We shall see. Could also copy Chris Slack in Chris.Slack[uppercase']laing.com. Let me know how it goes, Denis

I realize I still have the list of everyone Nigel emailed to set up the meeting on August 24th 2011, so first I'll try that: Dear London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group, apologies for the blanket email. I'm hoping that the London Acid Grassland/Heathland working group still exists; on August 24th 2011 some of you came out and looked at Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common, and Nigel Reeve later wrote a letter of support for our Heritage Lottery Fund application. The application was successful, and we've done the major clearance work, so now I'd like to arrange another visit by the working group to have a look at the site and advise on what we need to do to encourage the ground to become acid grassland. If there isn't a formal working group any longer, perhaps an informal group of you could come and advise. Suggestions please! As before I could book a room for a formal meeting of the group after the visit, if that was appropriate.Yours hopefully   Steve

I got replies:

From: Valerie Selby <VSelby[uppercase']wandsworth.gov.uk> Stephen, Many thanks for the email.  The group has not (to my knowledge) met since Nigel Reeve retired however I think it is a generous offer and give us an impetus to continue to share knowledge.  I, for one, am keen to visit the site and to talk through options to encourage more acid grassland – I have a bid into HLF at the moment which includes elements of acid grassland restoration so I am keen to keep in touch with others doing the same. If you get a positive response from others do let me know so we can come along on a day that suits you – I am open to views from others as to whether we need a room for a meeting or whether a “walk and talk” would suffice.
Valerie Selby
Principal Parks Officer (Biodiversity & Parks Development)
Wandsworth Council
Tel: 020 8871 7019
Fax: 020 8871 7533
Web: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/biodiversity
Post: Parks Development Office, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

From: Jeremy Dagley <Jeremy.Dagley[uppercase']cityoflondon.gov.uk> Dear Valerie and Stephen, I would be very interested to discuss acid grassland projects such as yours as we face similar issues here at Epping Forest and also we have not been in touch with the group for a while, since Imogen Wilde left the Forest. I (and/or my colleagues Andy Froud and Sally Gadsdon) would be interested in such a meeting and discussion of management techniques and options – and any results from work so far. Jeremy                                       
Dr Jeremy Dagley
Head of Conservation
Open Spaces Department - Epping Forest
City of London
The Warren, Loughton, Essex IG10 4RW.
Telephone: 020 8532 5313
Fax:  020 8508 2176
e-mail: jeremy.dagley[uppercase']cityoflondon.gov.uk
Website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

From: Mike Hildesley <hildesley[uppercase']aol.com> Stephen, Valerie, I also am keen that we do not lose the benefits of the regional approach, with all the networking and information sharing  it provided, as well as regional funding and other initiatives.  Subject to date / diary allowing,  I would be pleased to join any meeting and share what we are doing on Barnes Common, where our LAG cover has been increased from 5ha to 7ha  over the past six years, with the proportion which could qualify as Cat A species rich now around 1.5 ha (but in patches, not contiguous!). Our plans include further expansion to around 10ha by 2020, mainly by pushing back boundaries, scrub control and some thinning of encroaching woodland, while we hope to increase the cat A to around 3ha. FOBC are in negotiations with Richmond to take on '3rd sector' management responsibility on behalf of Richmond, who remain the legal manager of the site.  If this is agreed, part of our remit is likely to include a significant increase in the educational role, and we are hoping one of the sports pavilions will become our office and a centre for information on Barnes Common and more generally on Lowland Acid Grassland (and perhaps London's historic heathlands and commons). Best wishes Mike Hildesley, Chairman, Friends of Barnes Common

From: Nicholas Garbutt < nicholas.garbutt[uppercase']hrp.org.uk>: Dear Steve and all; I would be keen on keeping in contact. We manage Home Park at Hampton Court Palace, acid grassland grazed by fallow deer.  Home Park along with Bushy Park (Royal Parks) are currently being considered for pSSSi designation for acid grassland. Kind regards  Nicholas
Nicholas Mallory Garbutt
Tree & Wildlife Conservation Manager
Historic Royal Palaces
Gardens & Estates Office
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU
Tel  +44 (0)20 3166 6480
Fax  +44 (0)20 3166 6478
nicholas.garbutt[uppercase']hrp.org.uk

From: Eszter Deri <d_eszter[uppercase']yahoo.com>: Dear all, I am only an informal volunteer member of the working group not managing any Acid Grasslands or Heathlands (in the past I was involved in grassland restoration in Hungary) but I agree that it would be nice to keep the group running. Amongst others I was at the Stanmore Common visit in 2011 and I would love to go back and take a look at the site and its succession. Best wishes, Eszter Deri
Conservation Ecologist
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/derieszter
Website: http://ecology.science.unideb.hu/ConsEcolGroup/Eszter_en.html

I emailed John Winter and Simon asking their availability on WeTuesdays and Wednesdays through October. Simon did not reply even after prompting, John Winter emailed: Hi Steve, I am sorry but I missed your previous e-mail as I had a flurry of them come in on that day and must have assumed I had read it. My daughter is expecting a baby any day now but the actual official day is the 27th of September. I would therefore prefer a date towards the end of October as my services may be required elsewhere. Tuesdays are usually OK for my. John

I therefore emailed the five who responded on 22nd September 2013: Dear Valerie, Jeremy, Mike, Nicholas and Eszter; You five responded to my email about the Acid Grassland group. It sounds as if we should try and organize a meeting - once we find a time good for us, I can broadcast the time to everyone on the big email list I used before. Simon Braidman would like to meet this autumn to get your advice before the winter work season. Can I get availability from all of you for two Tuesdays, October 22nd and October 29th? Last time I booked a room but we never got there. However it sounds as if the group will have a lot to catch up on so I will book a room again and hope that we can get there after the site visit. To speed matters up, let's say that those coming by public transport should come to Stanmore Station at the end of the Jubilee line and we will ferry you up to the site from there. So please tell me if you are available on either of those two Tuesdays, perhaps for a site visit starting at 11AM or so followed by an indoor meeting from 2:30 PM or so. Yours hopefully    Steve

Mike Hildesley replied either day OK, though may have to leave in afternoon.
Valerie Selby replied either day fine

I emailed the five who responded on 25th September 2013 fixing the date as 22nd October. I checked with John Hollingdale that he is free that day.
I sent the same email to the big Acid Grassland email list.
I told the Bluebell Heath group about the visit.
I told John Winter about it.


I also emailed the custodian of Bentley Priory museum Keith Arnold <bentley-custodian[uppercase']bentleypriory.org>: Dear Mr Arnold;

I was at the preview of the museum on September 14th, and was very impressed. I wish it well.

On that day, John Williams and I spoke to the education officer and emphasized that we would very much like to use the education facilities for ecological visits by local schoolchildren and other groups. They would use the space in the museum for an introductory talk, then go through the gate in the fence onto Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, returning to the museum before leaving. I hope this is within the remit of the educational space and that therefore you have access to and keys/access codes for the gate that leads through the fence.

On a more immediate note, I have organized a visit by a small group (about ten) ecologists to Stanmore Common on Tuesday October 22nd, and after the site visit we need an indoor meeting room (from about 2:30 until about 4:00). Would it be possible to use a room within the education space at the museum for this? We are happy to pay a (reasonable) fee. I would emphasize to the group that outdoor shoes would have to be changed before we enter your space!

Yours hopefully    Steve

Dear Sarah <sdinsdale19[uppercase']gmail.com>;

Re the 22nd, that's great, thank you. Shall I send you a cheque, if yes, tell me who it should be payable to and what the postal address is.

On the day, shall we come to the basement entrance to the teaching area or the main entrance to the museum? I expect that we will be there about 2:30 PM but I can't be sure. Will there be someone there all afternoon to let us in?

Best Wishes   Steve


At 16:55 27/09/2013, you wrote:
Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your email which Keith has passed on to me, as we chatted at the open day the other week.

I have spoken to Erica about the access to the gate, and at the moment we are unsure about who has control over that - this is something we would need to look into. In answer to your more immediate query, we would be happy to loan the room for October 22nd, at a fee of £40. In terms of future use for your educational groups, we would be happy for you to come in and have a chat with us at a later date when we have a better understanding of the access to the gate.

Best wishes,
Sarah Dinsdale.

Wed, 2 Oct 2013 : Dear Stephen, Thank you - cheques are to be made payable to 'Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust' and can be sent to Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Museum, Manor House Drive, Stanmore, HA7 3FB. I will be here that day and therefore can let you in at the downstairs entrance if that's easiest for you. The museum's number is 020 8950 5526, but it might be easier to call my mobile as my office is downstairs and I am currently awaiting a direct line. My number is 07507 673 956. In terms of tables and chairs - what will you require in the room? Best wishes, Sarah.

On Oct 8th I sent snailmail with cheque and letter reading: Dear Sarah; I enclose a cheque for £40 for use of (some of) the teaching area on 22nd October 2013. There won’t be many of us, probably ten but perhaps we should allow for 15. The optimum configuration would be a table we can all sit around, but a room with just seats would do fine if you don’t have tables. We don’t need any other equipment. As you suggest I’ll phone 07507 673 956 from outside. As I wrote we will probably be there at about 2:30 PM. Best Wishes

Once firmed up I got these replies....

Nicholas Garbutt says sorry, has another appointment
Mike Hildesley writes: Stephen, It's in my diary and I am looking forward to it. I will come by public transport, unless my early departure (I reckon I will need to leave by 2pm) is likely to cause a problem.
I replied: No, that's fine, see you at 10:45 in the Stanmore Station car park (after passing the ticket barrier, branch right to find the car park) and will give you a lift up to the site. I'll have my phone with me, number as below.
Eszter Déri writes: Dear Steve, Thanks for the invitation. I will be there and will also come by public transport. See you there. Best wishes, Eszter
I replied: Excellent, I'll see you Oct 22 at 10:45 in the Stanmore Station car park (after passing the ticket barrier, branch right to find the car park) and will give you a lift up to the site. I'll have my phone with me, number as below.
Valerie Selby writes: Brilliant thank you Steve. I will definitely be coming by public transport so will meet you in the car park (what sort of vehicle are we looking for?)
I replied: Very good, I'll see you then. It's a blue Honda Insight. Phone the mobile if there's any problem.  Best Wishes   Steve
Jeremy Dagley writes: Thanks very much. I’ll be coming by public transport as well – so will see you in the car park. If I bring a colleague would this present a problem for lifts? Jeremy
I replied: Dear Jeremy; Excellent, see you then (October 22nd at 10:45, Stanmore Station car park). We'll make sure there are lifts for all comers so yes, it's fine if you bring a colleague.Note my mobile number at bottom of message. Best Wishes   Steve

Second car to help ferry people: at the Bluebell Heath meeting on October 8th 2013 John Winter said he'd do this.



Notes on the event, and communications after the event:

London has a target to create 25 hectares more acid grassland London-wide.

They were generally positive about the site and in particular about the heather restoration on New Heath. They were less happy about the other areas, that is, the old Bluebell Heath. They suggested that we contact Paul Losse, who has created a quick grassland quality assessment guide. However they were clear that if we wanted the unscraped areas of the original Bluebell Heath to be botanically acid grassland/heathland we would have to reduce nutrient levels in the soil. They said that we should to test digging: if the turf/soil is three inches or less deep, then cutting and removing should deplete nutrients and encourage the retuirn to acid grassland/heathland. If the thickness is greater than this then scrpaing off the soil will be necessary. It was suggested that we do soil analysis to see which nutrient is high (and hence supporting growth of ruderals such as bramble). Do this at one site that one wants to work on. Valerie Selby has details of how to do this.

The major driver to soil nutrient enrichment is leaf fall onto the ground. Leaves give nutrients and tend to make the ground neutral in pH rather than acid. In addition, removing leaf cover helps evaporation thus making the ground drier and encouraging acid grassland/heathland plants. There was universal agreement that the scrub needed to be tackled; some visitors went further and said that more of the mature trees needed to be removed. There was argument over the validity of the idea that windbreaks were needed; some visitors said that our sites were effectively glades which did not need windbreaks within their extent. Only when open runs exceeded 500 to 600 feet did one have to worry about wind cooling effects.

The sprouting stumps need to be cut before they drop their leaves, and the stump treated with herbicide to prevent regrowth.

Mike Hildesley from Barnes Common was very positive about a power scythe, similar or identical to a device John Hollingdale has talked about in the past. See message from Mike below. Mike said that they use it set 3 or 4 inches high. Two cuts a year for three years will greatly discourage bramble. The life of the machine is seven to ten years. Operators must be trained.

There was a suggestion that 5% of the hard fern plants should be moved from their present location in case something disasterous happened at that location, but John Dobson was against this idea.

There was a view among the visitors that we reinstate the Council's cut and remove regime on Holly Brook rise, so that they continue to feel that they are neeeded at the site. If they are relieved of the need to cut at the site for a number of years then if at a future date they are needed they may not have the resources to do so.

It was suggested that we do soil analysis to see which nutrient is high (and hence supporting growth of ruderals such as bramble). Valerie Selby has details of how to do this.

The visitors emphasized that we really must have a management plan. We should include the whole acid grassland/heathland group in this.

John Dobson pointed out an area dominated by purple moor grass, he feels that this grass is an invasive species that could overwhelm the site, and the general view among the visitors was the same. It is at the north of the original Bluebell Heath area, immediately south of the east-west path and immediately south of the easternmost extent of the new scrape.One of the visitors suggested that each tuft could be killed by putting some salt in the centre of the tuft. I should find out what sort of amount!

My feeling after the event are that the more extreme actions talked about on the day - removing more mature trees, soil testing and perhaps scraping areas of the original Bluebell Heath - are neither possible nor desirable. The original idea as described to the Heritage Lottery Fund was to create a sweep from acid grassland/heathland in the west to neutral grassland in the east. We do not aim to create acid grassland/heathland where there was none before, and the new scrape means that much of the area that is underlain by pebble beds is now scraped. The eastern part of Bluebell Heath is on London Clay.

The visitors had a largely botanical viewpoint, and John Dobson's greater liking for windbreaks and diversity of habitat perhaps reflects his appreciation of the site's invertebrate population.

However we clearly need to address the growth of scrub and bramble on the site. The problem is not only that these plants will physically take over, but that by dropping leaves onto the ground they increase the nutrient status of the soil. This is why one gets areas of bramble around small trees.


From Mike Hildesley 23rd October 2013: Dear Stephen, 

Many thanks to you and your colleagues for making yesterday morning such a pleasant occasion, with lots to discuss - and for being the catalyst to get together some of the regional HAP people from across London: hopefully that will also have some lasting results.

It fascinates me how different each site is when you visit and it is therefore dangerous to translate ideas from one to another without more detailed thought and planning - for instance, Barnes common is very flat, and, probably through ant hill formation over centuries, we tend to have a fine sand overlying gravels giving a very free draining soil - the only surface clay is where soil has hiistorically been imported and dumped, although we do have some seasonal ponds where tests have shown clay from three quarters to one metre below the surface.  I suspect that some of your areas are not as free draining as ours, but others clearly are. The mass of willow shoots is possibly linked to the drainage - we do not suffer that except in one small area, and consequently I have no idea how to eliminate that over time!   Again, your seed-bank appears to be very different, with a mass of tormentil, much as we have a mass of sheep sorrel, but you do have heather! 

Given the similar conditions needed, I would encourage you to major on heathland  restoration as much as acid grassland, so you are working with rather than against nature!

There are clearly also issues of local emphasis to consider: most of us have specific interests - flora, fauna, and within these trees, grasses, lichens, mosses, flowering species, invertebrates, small mammals, birds,  etc.  There is no way to please everyone all of the time and nature is used to the constant battle for resources: I hope that I was not thought to be attacking the case for protecting micro-climates - they are important to many invertebrate populations - but since we had been asked to give views on how lowland acid grassland might be improved, I wanted to pass on my own opinion that you may need to open up further, pushing back boundaries , as Valerie was saying, and further reducing shade and leaf fall in the interior.  Where I do see similarities in our sites, is the need to test soil depths and nutrient levels to determine is removing arisings, scraping or other treatments may be needed or help.

If you want to look into a power scythe further, the importing agents are Tracmaster, and if you google them, then click on power scythe  or bank commander you will get more information.  We opted for the twin wheel bank commander, which gives greater traction, in turn useful for dealing with heavier bramble and scrub.  We opted for the wider blade as we have quite a bit of grass cutting, but you would get less damage to the blades with the smaller option.  You might also opt for a lower powered machine if you only want to use it as a scythe and possibly for raking (although with your site a mechanical rake might have limited use due to stumps.  The power is needed for a chipper attachment (we have one, but rarely use it - it is not man enough to tackle what we need to clear - and I am sure that would be true for you also) or the baler (again, I would doubt the economic benefit for you given the high cost, and the temperamental nature of this machine - it needs really dry hay and not too many twigs , bramble etc to work). You will need a suitable trailer (I would suggest 8x4 ft bed for smaller blade size, 8x5ft for larger, although I rest the blade on the trailer side with our small 8x4 trailer!) to get it to and from site, plus somewhere you can store it.
You will need to consider running costs: fuel will only be a few pounds - with our area we spend around Â&pounnd;100 per year.  Repair and maintenance depends on use and abuse, but will be a few hundred pounds a year: it helps if you have someone who is mechanical  and can do regular maintenance, blade adjusting etc. or you will be back to workshop a lot!  Another major cost is insurance - both for use of power tools in a public space, and for the equipment itself.  Allow some cost for training and safety equipment - signage, steel toe work boots, gloves, ear protectors etc if you do not already have these. You are probably looking at around £1,000 - £1500 per year. 

If you want to have a trial and see what it can or maybe cannot do, I could arrange to bring one of our machines over for a session.  Let me know.

Best wishes and many thanks
Mike     More on the Power Scythe below


Simon Braidman wrote this piece (sent to me 26th October 2013): Steve Bolsover, John Winter, John Dobson and Neville Day went to a field visit by the Acid Grassland Habitat Group of the London Biodiversity Partnership at Stanmore Common on Tuesday. I could not make this meeting as I was working.
This visit was to give an assessment of the Bluebell Heath Project.
I have spoken to Neville since the meeting. He felt that in general they were pleased with the state of the Common and the progress of the Project. They were particularly pleased with New Heath.
However they felt there were issues:
1. The Nutrient levels in the soil may be too high. They suggest doing soil tests across the project area.
2. They felt there were too many trees including large trees in the project area. They felt that the windbreak argument was a false one in that having lines of trees actually increased windspeed through the narrow gaps. This argument was countered by John Dobson (he is an ex-warden of the Common and he designed the Bluebell Heath project) as the trees formed an important habitat component especially for invertebrates (all the other experts were botanists and were looking at the project from purely a botanical viewpoint). I do not know Steve's view, I have always opposed the loss of the larger trees as I see John Dobson's viewpoint as an important one. However the mooted  idea of keeping the large trees but taking off the lower branches may be a good one as:
a) It will reduce windspeed as there is a wider gap for the wind to pass through
b) It will give more sunpath to the ground
c) It will reduce the nutrient loading slightly from falling leaves.

Another idea about nutrient reduction was triggered by the dead hedge put in at the south west corner by the BTCV. They said such dead hedges were a good thing as they intercepted leaves.

3. Interestingly they were against the general principle of turf stripping to reduce nutrient levels. I think this might be because you have to get the soil removal level just right as if you go too shallow there is still too much nutrient rich top soil and if you go too deep you remove the seed bank but as I was not there, that reasoning  is just my speculation. It is certainly true that the naturally regenerating Heather on New Scrape (The Bulldoze zone) is coming up in places where there is a  tiny top soil layer still present.

4. Their view on nutrient reduction is rotational cutting and they suggested a machine to do that. This machine is like a giant lawnmower. It has adjustable blades so the cut height can be varied which will be critical to create the varied profile in vegetation height and structure we are all looking for. It also cuts and collects at the same time. This is also critical as it removes the vegetation, hence the nutrient level and removes the need for raking up. (yesterday Neville and I spent all day raking uncollected cuttings from the brushcutting of Oakmead) The basic machine costs £6000. Steve is thinking of purchasing the machine. I worry about the blades being damaged by stumps in Bluebell heath, but apparently the machine can be raised to go over them. I think despite this blade damage does happen. New blades cost £60. We would all be trained to use the machine.

Other points raised were the long term maintenace of the project. That is what happens when the money runs out. An opinion was expressed that the council should still be involved in cutting the Common. They suggested Hollybrook Rise. Their reasoning is twofold:
It keeps council involvement which allows access to some grants
It allows council supervision of the management of the Common.
I think this suggestion came from a Council Officer (I think they were from Hounslow) who was one of the visitors.
I have stopped all Council cutting. My reasoning is I am unable to control the cut. I cannot always be there when the cut takes place, the cut is at all one cut height which looks neat but is poor wildlife practice and the machines they use are these days not integrated cut and collect machines which means that cuttings can lie on the ground for a considerable time, therefore putting nutrients back  and also the removal is inefficient and there is still a lot of thatch left on the ground which needs raking off. But the main reason is that the cut is being done by a contractor and not a wildlife one at that to the person, he is just doing a job. If we did the cutting we get greater control and can get the height variation, but the main reason is we care and will take the trouble to get the rotation and variation of the cut we want.

Raking off is an effort it can kill/disturb invertebrates. It removes moisture holding material, and bumble nesting matierial  It does work in removing thatch (vegetation cuttings) and therefore nutrients it maintains ground undulations which is important in creating microclimate variation across the ground( thatch reduces such variation). It also creates soil disturbance and micropatches of barer ground. This allows new seed to germinate from the seedbank and also provides invertebrate nesting and basking opportunities.

Other points:    They were very pleased with the Giant Horsetail population on the Common but expressed concern over the spraying of Asulox (anti-bracken agent) as it kills Horsetails .( I did take great care when spraying and avoided areas of Giant Horsetail.)
                         They were very pleased at the populations of Tormentil, Heath Bedstraw and Marsh Thistle in the project and other areas.
                        They were worried about the new bare earth banks affecting water flow across the project areas. I believe this is not a serious concern as the water flow in this part of the project area is west to east and not north to south. my concern is to maintain the bare earth banks as at least partly bare earth banks for reptiles and invertebrates.

There is no up to date management plan for the reserve( the last one was written in 1999). Steve is very, very keen to remedy this.

The rest of the meeting was about the reconstitution of the Acid Grassland Group. The group leaders have left their respective organisations (Royal Parks and Natural England) and so they need to get new leaders and get the group actively meeting again. This part of the meeting took place in the new Bentley Priory Museum.

Simon

On 12th November Valerie Selby emailed about reactivating the group; notes on this are in the main HNCF notes file.


23rd October 2013: More on the Power Scythe

Exerpt from Mike Hildesley's email of  23rd October 2013, reproduced in full above: If you want to look into a power scythe further, the importing agents are Tracmaster, and if you google them, then click on power scythe  or bank commander you will get more information.  We opted for the twin wheel bank commander, which gives greater traction, in turn useful for dealing with heavier bramble and scrub.  We opted for the wider blade as we have quite a bit of grass cutting, but you would get less damage to the blades with the smaller option.  You might also opt for a lower powered machine if you only want to use it as a scythe and possibly for raking (although with your site a mechanical rake might have limited use due to stumps.  The power is needed for a chipper attachment (we have one, but rarely use it - it is not man enough to tackle what we need to clear - and I am sure that would be true for you also) or the baler (again, I would doubt the economic benefit for you given the high cost, and the temperamental nature of this machine - it needs really dry hay and not too many twigs , bramble etc to work). You will need a suitable trailer (I would suggest 8x4 ft bed for smaller blade size, 8x5ft for larger, although I rest the blade on the trailer side with our small 8x4 trailer!) to get it to and from site, plus somewhere you can store it. You will need to consider running costs: fuel will only be a few pounds - with our area we spend around Â&pounnd;100 per year.  Repair and maintenance depends on use and abuse, but will be a few hundred pounds a year: it helps if you have someone who is mechanical  and can do regular maintenance, blade adjusting etc. or you will be back to workshop a lot!  Another major cost is insurance - both for use of power tools in a public space, and for the equipment itself.  Allow some cost for training and safety equipment - signage, steel toe work boots, gloves, ear protectors etc if you do not already have these. You are probably looking at around £1,000 - £1500 per year. If you want to have a trial and see what it can or maybe cannot do, I could arrange to bring one of our machines over for a session.  Let me know. Best wishes and many thanks   Mike

On 1st January 2014 Simon Braidman wrote: Hi Guys; Check out the Utube is this what the acid grassland guys mean? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ij3oZ1c2FU  simon
This is a video of a Two Wheel tractor, the EstateLine101 with cutter bar. I don't think it's the same make as Mike Hildesley was talking about but it's clearly the same sort of thing.


17th November 2013: Mitzvah Day

See HNCF notes for notes prior to the day. Simon and I supervised. We collected heather seed and then sowed it. I estimate that we had 11 volunteers.

7th December 2013 Guided walk led by Neville Day

Neville wrote: The Saturday walk went OK. We had two visitors from outside the area, One from Staines and one originally from the USA but now living in the UK (I didn’t catch where he is living now John Hollingdale may remember) There were also two others that John knew that I hadn’t met before. I have the memory of a goldfish nowadays and can’t remember their names either. I had my two grandsons Leon and Dylan with me
so the usual chaos and mayhem reigned. Dylan found a queen wasp that had hibernated (fuzzy photo attached) which he was very pleased about. There was also a good bit of interest in the amount of fungi on the common.

So being guided - John Hollingdale, four novel, 2 children with Neville = 7 in all.

1st February 2014 and onward: Progress report to Heritage Lottery Fund

These are the notes for the previous report, submitted end April 2013: On-line Progress Report Form for Heritage Lottery Fund

How many people have volunteered for your project? 39 people are listed in the volunteer spreadsheet as having worked on Bluebell Heath related tasks, plus 6 Woodcraft Folk on 2nd February 2013 = 45 in all.

Skilled: Me, Simon Braidman, John Hollingdale, Elizabeth Stainthorpe, Isobel Thompson + Sue Kabel, Tony Gourdin and Vanessa Marlowe, because they were on the plant identification course = 8 in all

Professional: John Dobson and Robin Youle = 2

Leaving 29 unskilled.

When did we "award the contract" to John Dobson? I have put down the date of the first Committee Meeting, 21st February 2012, since the minutes state "John D. will be running the training course to train the volunteer surveyors".

I sent the report out for review on 16th April 2013. Comments:

Simon Braidman: Hi Steve

Regarding photographic consent, I am certain there will be no problem I never use a picture of individuals if they do not want to be in the report. I ask TCV groups routinely and my own volunteers are always having pictures  being taken. The only compliant I have had is from one person who was missed out and was NOT photographed.
I did get an issue over emails and address use and a volunteer requested addresses be in the BCC format. This I now do.

I have looked through the report. It is fine just 2 things:

1. In the section on progress of the project as reported on the website
" It can be seen at http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_ongoing_notes.html but is not intended as it presentLY stands to be available to the general public"
THE CORRECTION IS IN GREEN
Also if this is on the website of the HCNF is it NOT ALREADY AVAILABLE TO GENERAL PUBLIC.

2.  As for a new management plan I see no real progress. It is something that should be done by the people that know the site best. I would like to involve John Winter in some way, he is a real driver to site improvement.
The principles of management of the site do not depart from the general principles of the 1999 plan. But there are new problems  such as the Holly invasion which was not recognised in that report and it means that untouched remote areas which John Dobson says should be low intervention areas will need management to keep them special. The ponds remain a concern.  Also I see no date is in the schedule for this item.



So now, for new report:

How many people have volunteered for your project? Looking in \Personnel matters\Volunteer time at Bluebell Heath - my last report ran until 31st March 2013. New named volunteers since then:  

Claire Abbott
Noelia Allegre
Ian Anderson
Reuben Dicosa
Rosemary Etheridge
Mo Farhand
Jonathan Freedman
Tamsin Gadd
Josh Kalm
Sachin Kanadier
Tim Marc
Richard Maylan
Lauren McCullagh
Musaret Saddiqui
Samina Samshudin
Alan Smith
"Stephen" "Stephen"   <on 8th May 2013!

So that's 17 more people

Plus 60 from "The Challenge" on 29th September 2013
Plus 11 on Mitzvah day, 17th November 2013 <Note that although many will have volunteered last Mitzvah day, that was at Caesar's Pond, not in Stanmore Common.

So a total of 88 new volunteers since 1st April 2013.

After talking to Sally Page on 21st February 2014 it appears that we should ignore the report of April 2013 and write this covering the whole period from the start of the report. The appropriate totals are therefore 117 unskilled, 8 skilled and 2 professional.

Photographs:

From my own photographs, I can only find two pairs showing before and after, and neither are great:

12032802 and 14020502. Good comparison, looking east from the western tip of New Heath, but only shows one very small aspect of the clearance.

In images\exemplars: "12063004 and 05 combine View across area 7 AOI.jpg" and "13050704 View across area 7 AOI.jpg". The early one, being later in the year, shows much more bracken, and the point of view is not quite the same, so there is a prominent tree in "after" that can't be placed in the "before"

I hope I get some better images from Simon and the others.

I sent these emails out on 15th February 2014: 

To Simon: Hi Simon; I am generating another progress report to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This one is critical since we need to show that we are meeting the objectives and argue the case for buying tools to maintain the site. Please can you send me all the photos you have of the site, with as much annotation as possible. I imagine (and hope) that there are a lot, so maybe you could put them on a CD and post them. If it would make it easier, I could come to your house with a USB stick and take all the images that way. I'm free this Tuesday (Feb 18) if you'd like to do it that way. Yours hopefully    Steve

To John Winter and Neville Day: Dear John and Neville; I am generating another progress report to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This one is critical since we need to show that we are meeting the objectives and argue the case for buying tools to maintain the site. If you have any photos of the site (any date from start of 2012 onward, so there are before and after images), please send them with as much annotation as possible (date, where taken from, looking in what direction). If there are too many to simply attach to an email, I'm a great fan of Hightail <https://www.hightail.com/>, which works easily and hassle-free to send large files (so bundle all the images into one Zip file then send that). Yours hopefully    Steve

Guided walks

In the previous progress report, dated 2nd April 2013, I stated that five guided walks had been held in the period from 8th July 2012 to date. I'm not sure what period that covered so here's a full list starting 8th July 2012:

From "HNCF_events_ongoing.html":
22nd July 2012 Walk to introduce the Bluebell Heath Project.
27th July 2012 Bat Walk - should we include this?
16th September 2012 - Fungal Foray
13th October 2012 - Guided walk, concentrating on the Blubell Heath project and the findings of the surveys we have carried out in preparation for this work.
24th November 2012 - Guided walk, concentrating on fungi and the ongoing work on Bluebell Heath
12th January 2013 - Guided walk, concentrating on birds and the Bluebell Heath project: the major contractor work will have been completed, now the restoration work begins.
9th February 2013 - A mousing we will go a walk to see mice and voles in the wild
30th March 2013 - Spring walk "The quickening pulse": trees and flowers
4th May 2013 - Early summer flower walk: Bluebells and other flowers
10th May 2013 - Bat walk (and other nightime wildlife) - should we include this?
8th June 2013 - Guided walk: Butterflies and other insects
3rd August 2013 - Guided walk: creepy crawlies
7th September 2013 - Guided walk concentrating on fungi

on new Excel ongoing database:
7 December 2013 - Guided walk "Get away from Christmas!"

So if we include the bat walks that makes 14 guided walks. I emailed Simon on Feb 15th to ask if the bat walks went onto Bluebell Heath. He has not replied - I'll take that as a yes!

Online blog and updates on website


I created a page "http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_Project_blog.html" from which one can look at Simon's reports as well as my html notes. One can access it by clicking on the Heritage Lottery Fund logo in the Stanmore Common home page.

I still need to update "http://www.harrowncf.org/Bluebell_Heath_progress.html". I am hoping for some good images to use. I will use map "BH_clearance_plan_12031101.jpg"

Training

This is the training we have done so far and comitted to do:

Plant surveying course (5 days from 26 June 2012)
Pesticide course, Stephen Bolsover and David Bailey, 8-10 August 2012
Chain saw course, Zubair Aziz, 4-8 Feb 2013 and exam 12 Feb 2013
Brushcutter course, David Green, 29-30 July 2013
Emergency First Aid, John Winter, 8th March 2013
Woodland Ecology and Management, Neville Day, Field Studies Council, 8th March 2014
Broad Leaved Trees, Neville Day, Field Studies Council, 10th May 2014

Leaflet printing

500 copies printed 2 July 2012
500 copies printed 9 October 2012
500 copies printed 10 March 2013

Plant records for Stanmore Common added to database from 1st May 2012 to end January 2014

I'm not sure where the 562 number came from. There are 101 extra rows for Stanmore Common plants in the latest version of the spreadsheet  as compared with the 6th April 2012 version - but the latter contains a lot of duplicates which overestimate the number of records at that time. I'll accept the 562 number. There are no records actually dated since 6 April 2012 in the database so I'll stick with 562.

The report was submitted on 1st March 2014. Here is the full size report and here is a reduced file size version.

19th February 2014 Images from Simon Braidman

I went to Simon's house and collected lots of images.

First he gave me a number of conventional images of the work in progress and atteactive images of the wildlife. I have saved them in \Camera\Other\Simon Braidman images of Bluebell Heath up to February 2014. Here is his description of the images:

IMG_2235 – The start of it all. Contractors start to clear the major scrub trees. This clearance is in Habitat Parcel 8 and the scrub is being removed from Scrub Management Block 12. This picture was taken 31st October 2012

SM12Wed311012 001-
You can now see the trees from the wood. As the scrub is removed, the major trees to be retained stand out. These trees run up the spine of Scrub Management Block 12

DSC0038(1)
One of the major problems of the restoration of acid grassland areas from acidic woodland is the dominance of Bracken; a native invasive fern. Here we the old fashioned method, scything it down. Mohindra Wadha, one of the volunteers recruited via the project sets to with a will.

Photopoint picture
To record the changes in the vegetation we have established photopoints across Bluebell Heath. There are 19 in all. At each photopoint 3600 images are taken and stiched together. We took the first before the work started and then record once each year. This is photopoint 4 looking north into Scrub Management Block 7.

Habitat piles
What happens to all the cut trees?  We create habitat piles which are homes to wood eating insects.

Fire022
All the small branches which are termed brash are burnt. This is done off Bluebell Heath around the edges so that nutrients do not get put into the soil.

Tape 001
To tell the contractors what to cut and what not to cut we use builders tape. Red and white means remove and Yellow and Black means keep. This is Scrub Management Block 01. All these trees will go and their stumps poisoned to stop re-growth.

View65
Here is a view across the north of Bluebell Heath. We are taking the picture from the north central area looking east. This picture shows the nature of the terrain. In the background is the huge block of woodland which has been allowed to grow across Bluebell Heath, cutting the clearing into two. In the foreground is the sort of land we want to see. Grass tussocks of acidic species. Behind it is a mass of Bracken which outcompetes the other vegetation.

Grass Snake 1
Before all the contractoral work is carried out there are detailed surveys to be done. Botany surveys and Bat Surveys, to protect vulnerable species and to determine a base level to see future change. As Parcel 6 (part of Flushing Wood) was going to be bulldozed it was essential to be a detailed survey in case of Grass Snakes hibernation sites. It was at times literally a crawling around job. Yes, a Grass Snake hibernation site was found. This is it. I actually saw 2 snakes glide into holes in the tree root plate. The site was just outside the bulldoze area. To be sure the snakes were left undisturbed the boundary of the bulldoze zone was moved south and I was present during the bulldozing.

Spots
During the tree survey every large tree was carefully examined. Each large tree was individually numbered with coloured  blue sticky spots. A description of each tree was written. This was to establish the trees to keep and to assess each tree for bat nesting potential.

Sycamore
Some trees were contravertial. This tree is a Sycamore, a non-native invasive species which has a high biomass( lots of insects by weight) but all non-specialist species. It is also an excellent nectar resource. This tree was originally marked for destruction but on further consideration was retained for the positive reasons given above.

Acid grassland
This picture shows a highly complex closed grass tussock system. It is one of our desired habitat types. The grass that is dominant is Purple Moor Grass a rather coarse acid grassland species which becomes more common or dominant, over finer-leaved acid grassland grasses as the soil fertility rises. This grass is rapidly increasing showing we have a problem. We are planning to carry out soil testing to determine fertility levels

Photosurvey
Here John Winter, a very keen volunteer and who is now effectively an Assistant Warden is setting up the camera for the photographic survey. The camera is tripod mounted and is carefully levelled. We then knit the pictures together to form a panorama in 2 x 1800 strips. Photos are taken once a year from the points. We have so far taken 2 sets, one before the lottery project started and one after the first year.

Original soil
The soil structure of Bluebell Heath is pebble gravel which is river washed and eroded stones overlying silts and sands. This in turn lies over London Clay. The pebble gravel creates the acidic soil nature of Bluebell Heath. Nutrients are washed out of the soil and this with the acidic pebble stones creates a hostile environment for many plants. The plants that like this soil are specialists, making Bluebell Heath and the reserve as a whole special.

Topsoil
The original soil profile over time is overlain by rotting leaves and rotten bracken fronds, fragmented and compressed. This new layer can suppress soil acidity and put nutrients back into the soil so that the rare specialist plants lose out to more aggressive coarse grasses and other genralialist plant species. Removing the topsoil in Parcel 6 regains the original soil profile.

Retained trees
To ensure trees we wanted were not cut down by the contractors. The trees were double marked. Each tree were marked by a red painted sharpened stake which we made by felling small trees and then the trees were marked with black and yellow tape.

Bulldozer
On the 31st of January 2013 Parcel 6 of the Bluebell Heath project had its topsoil scraped off. I was there to ensure everything went OK. The instructions to the driver were to excavate as uneven as possible and to push the soil into south facing banks. The unevenness will create tiny differences in microclimate and depressions will hold water and hills stay drier. I also wanted to ensure the Grass Snake hibernation site was safe.

Hard Fern
One of the amazing things about this sort of restoration is that as a site recovers after the work over time, little gems appear. This is a very rare species called Hard Fern ( Blechnum spicans). It is unrecorded from Stanmore Common and yet the seedbank (sporebank) must have been there all the time under the smothering topsoil. Bulldozing has exposed the topsoil and the Fern has appeared on New Heath. We expect the same to happen on the adjacent Bluebell Heath.

Work Party 1
Besides the huge work done by the contractors, a huge amount is done by the conservation volunteers. There have been about 1700 hours of volunteer time put in directly on the Bluebell Heath project and this is continuing. Not all the work parties involve work on Bluebell Heath. On average 50% of our volunteer time goes on Bluebell Heath work. To ensure the whole nature reserve benefits we run extra work parties above the normal level of every other Sunday and every other Wednesday. Many of the extra ones are Bluebell Heath work.

Forest School
Some of the cut timber has been used for special purposes. The slices of Turkey oak shown here and some of the cut Silver Birch behind have gone to a children’s nursery in Chiswick where a Forest School project is being run.

Clearing up
We spent some time clearing all the marking tape and driving the photographic point posts further into the ground. We still find out fragments of tape and despite our diligence most of the photographic posts were stolen. Now we orientate the photographic points from known trees and previous photographs.

Training
 As part of the project, we gain new volunteers and we have had about 17. We try to nuture our volunteers and as part of that we train them on various techniques. Either people are sent on courses or we do in house training. Here John Winter and Neville Day demonstrate how to fell a tree.

Volunteers
Here is an action shot of volunteers at work, moving a chopped down tree. In shot are  David Green, Margaret Griffin and Adam Goodman and John Winter is behind Adam.

Tree wall
The huge amount of timber produced from all the cut down  trees was made into this tree wall. This will provide excellent dead wood habitat and also reinforced an old dead hedge put in to protect a sensitive habitat behind it.

Snail
When we do conservation work, wildlife is not ignored and we found this Brown Lipped Snail (Cepia nemouralis)  on one of our Bluebell Heath work parties. This is a very common species and often appears in people’s gardens.

View
This is a view across the top of  Bluebell Heath. We are looking westwards. A scrub retention area is in the left foreground. The project was to open up the area by removing most of the trees especially the young scrub trees. However removing all scrub is a bad thing. Scrub trees provide wind shelter and some invertebrate species prefer young growth to old growth. A pile of cut brash (later moved) is in the right foreground. This picture was taken along the old east –west path that crossed the northern half of Bluebell Heath and the trees got right to the path edge. Now we have widened the route.

Stunning
Some days make all the work worthwhile. We had this lovely spring day May (May 1st 2013). We were working on the extreme east edge of Bluebell Heath just by the horse-ride. We were clearing Holly from Parcel 11.

Clearfell
One of the benefits of the Bluebell Heath project is to take advantage of the time and money and maximise the benefits. Parcel 11 was not part of the original Bluebell Heath project area but lay adjacent to it. We had the contractors and so we asked them to fell this section of Flushing Wood. This became parcel 11. We asked them to fell it in a particular way. We did not want the area tidied up. We said make it look like a storm had hit it. This will be kept as an open area.

Bracken
Bracken is a native plant of acidic woodlands and is a foodplant/shelter for about 30 invertebrate species but it is highly invasive and shades out everything. Here we have created bare earth habitat for insects to nest in, but the bracken is just breaking through the surface. This bracken was sprayed in Asulox in the autumn.

Orchids
Parcel 4 of the Bluebell Heath project is one of the most important parcels. We call it the Orchid field. It is is the only home of Harrow’s only colony of Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata). In London this is a very rare plant indeed. Here the Orchids are just emerging as sword shaped leaves. Amongst them with the wavy edged leaves is another lovely plant but much more common. This is Betony (Betonica officianalis).  This is a member of the Mint family and produces stunning purple flowers.

Bluebells
Bluebell Heath is well named.

Woodsage
Woodsage is an acidic woodland indicator plant, this member of the Mint family is quite common but forms an important component of Parcel 4 and elsewhere on Bluebell Heath.

Parcel 4
Here is a lovely picture of Parcel 4 showing the south facing slope. There is a lot of ovberhang from trees from the right. There may be a case of felling some of these. However many of them are Aspen an important tree with rare invertebrate associates. The trees in the background are native conifers European Larch and Scots Pine. They lie in Parcel 3 of the Bluebell Heath project.

Extra
Another example of extra benefits of the Bluebell Heath project. The Bulldozer finished his work within the time scale and they are hired by the day. So I got him to excavate new scrapes on New Heath which lies adjacent to Bluebell Heath.

Orig2
Another view of the soil structure underneath the topsoil showing clearly the pebbles embedded in the clay.

Parcel 6
A view across the scrape of Parcel 6 with the top of Parcel 5 in the right hand side of the picture.  The Silver Birches to the right are dead and were kept as standing dead wood habitat one of the most important habitat types of all.

Bracken 2
A view across Parcel 9, showing the sea of Bracken which is a big problem in the clearing restoration work.

Black Bulgar
All those trees cut down and here is an example of the benefits of the work. The appearance of Black Bulgar fungus (Bulgarius inquinans). Not a rare species but nice to see.

Frass
Another benefit of all that chopped down wood. The appearance of frass, basically saw dust showing wood boring insects have moved into the new habitat created.

SAM_0381
A recent working party (19th January 2014)

SAM_0386.JPG
The strip of botanical recording area 6 that runs along the edge of Flushing Wood. A recent working party (I guess, on 19th January 2014, but I don't know for certain) dug up all the saplings by the roots. This picture was taken on 19th January 2014.

various2 069.jpg
During the clearance work - taken 7th November 2012.


He also gave me some maps and plans.

One, which I have saved as "\HNCF\Maps\Stanmore Common\Bluebell Heath Botanical Recording Map 14021901.jpg", is a printed and then scanned version of "Bluebell Heath Botanical Recording Map 12091801.pdf" with some grid references added, unlikely to be useful.

Another, again a scanned piece of paper, is saved as "\HNCF\Maps\Stanmore Common\Bluebell Heath photgraphic reference points 14021901.jpg" and shows the position from which the reference photos were taken.

Then he gave me Word documents with panoramas taken from the reference points. These are likely to be the most useful for the report to HLF.

They are saved in \Camera\Other\Simon Braidman images of Bluebell Heath up to February 2014\Reference point panoramas. There are individual files such as FP1.doc, panoramas from reference point 1, then one big file "Photo Survey Report.doc" that seems to be a compilation of the individual ones.Since they are big and I'm worried about Word crashing and damaging them, I created a PDF of "Photo Survey Report".

Those originals of the "Before" images taken with Simon's camera are in \Camera\Other\Simon Braidman images of Bluebell Heath up to February 2014\Reference point panoramas\Simons before originals.

The "after" panoramas are created by John Winter. The original stitched 360 degree panoramas are in \Camera\Other\Simon Braidman images of Bluebell Heath up to February 2014\Reference point panoramas\John Winter after panoramas. These have usually been cut in half for use in the before and after versions in "Photo Survey Report".

FP2 looking North and East, and FP12, are acceptable for the report to HLF.


5th March 2014: Payment request, and notes and correspondance on finances.

In the progress report submitted on March 1st 2014 we wrote:

Approved purposes of the grant are “Additional clearance will be undertaken by specialist firms” and “suppression of bracken”. Maintenance of the open space requires work to suppress bramble and other scrub together with bracken. This will reduce in future years as the roots of the scrub plants are eliminated. The volunteer workers are keen to do this work themselves since it is better done in small steps throughout the year rather than as single massive onslaughts, and is best done by people who know the area and its botany well. However the work requires tools and consumables (herbicide for stump treatment; fuel for brush cutter etc.). We therefore request that the approved purpose “Additional clearance will be undertaken by specialist firms” be changed to “Additional clearance will be undertaken by volunteers and by specialist firms as required”. This will allow us to use money remaining in the Repair and Conservation Work budget to continue this work.We may in future request that contingency funds also be used for this purpose.

We have used money remaining after the specified aims have been paid to carry out additional training of volunteers. To date one volunteer has been trained in First Aid and a second in brushcutter maintenance and operation. We intend to send another volunteer to two courses at the Field Studies Council, on Woodland Ecology and Management (March 2014) and Broad Leaved Trees (May 2014). This training will enable this volunteer (Neville Day) to participate in creating and then implementing the management plan for the site.

Lastly the cost of running and administering the project has exceeded our expectation. To date we have bought paper pads for a note book, toner for home office printer, blank post cards for public feedback, ink jet printer ink, HourGuard Time Sheet Recorder (to record time spent on the project by the Project Manager), and have booked pitches at the Mayday at the Manor and Harrow In Leaf shows to tell the public about the project. These costs have been borne by the Harrow Heritage Trust, but we request that future similar costs be borne by the grant since they are essential for carrying out the project. We would therefore like to transfer £1000 from the contingency money to the materials budget for this purpose.

Leslie and I submitted the payment request on 5th March 2014. In it we requested:

1. A transfer of £2255 from Repair and Conservation to Training for Volunteers "To enable volunteers to continue the project after the completion of the grant period."
2. A transfer of  £1000 from Contingency to Equipment and Materials "Support costs of running and administering the project"

On the 7th of March Laura Butcher emailed:

Dear Stephen

Thank you for submitting your progress report, to accompany your recent payment request.

A couple of requests for change were made on page 6 of the form, which I would like to respond to.

I am happy to change the approved purpose mentioned to ‘Additional clearance will be undertaken by volunteers and by specialist firms as required’, and have done so. Your next form will include this wording.

I am also satisfied with the additional training you are planning to offer with underspend.

Regarding the contingency budget, I am able and willing to transfer costs within budgets and approve use of the contingency when needed. However, I will need you to break these costs down a little further – I imagine costs for pitches at local events will not come up again, so I would like a clearer idea of any other costs you are predicting. Is it primarily for stationary and office items? Will this come to £1,000? If you can’t specify unforeseen costs you will need to pay for at the moment, you can send me an email or give me a call when they arise, and I will approve the budget use then. If this is time sensitive I will try and respond in a timely manner, so as not to hold anything up.

I am happy to discuss this further on the phone if it would be helpful.

Kind regards   Laura

My suggested email to Laura 12th April 2014 with revisions suggested by Leslie Sent 15th April 2014:

Dear Laura;

We have now reviewed our expected costs for the remainder of the project. For completeness, I’ll list all of them, even though some of the budgets are OK at present and require no adjustment.

Evaluation: On other sites in Harrow, we have got a good response from members of the public by walking around the sites and handing out printed pre-addressed postcards with a short series of questions, already stamped. We’d therefore like to use a similar approach for the Bluebell Heath project at Stanmore Common. Putting a stamp on greatly increases the chance that the card is returned, not only because it means the person questioned does not have to pay to return the card, but also because it shows that we value their opinion enough to pay for the stamp. I attach a PDF of the card that we have used on other sites (we welcome suggestions as to how this could be improved, either generally or specifically when we design a card for the Bluebell Heath project).  Printing 100 cards will cost £57, while 100 second class stamps will cost £53. There’s only £11 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in the Evaluation budget at present, so I request that £99 be transferred from Contingency to Evaluation to cover these costs.

Producing learning materials: The exhibition to be held at the Harrow Museum at Headstone Manor is now timetabled. It will open on Thursday 8th January 2015 and run to Sunday 29th March 2015. There will be a private view from 6 to 8PM on January 15th 2015 so if you or others from the HLF would like to come you would be very welcome. We have so far identified about £450 worth of materials to buy. These costs will be applied to the Producing Learning Materials budget, which has a balance of £1529 (inclusive of VAT) at present, so we are fine there.

Equipment and materials: 1. Nature Trail. We are now actively designing the nature trail. At this stage, the estimated costs are as follows:
A0 GRP panel with steel lectern    £720
Roundels, numbers 1-25 plus 30 arrows    £170
Roundels, 25 QR codes, all different    £145
25 waymarker posts    £400
Postfix cement, one per waymark and 2 for panel    £135
Total    £1570

The major possible variant in this cost is the waymarker posts: a different and more sturdy design would cost a lot more.

Equipment and materials: 2. Printing supplies. We are doing a significant amount of printing for this project. We use a laser printer for black and white material such as lists of upcoming events, and a color inkjet printer for posters for lamination and posting up around the site. At present the cost of printing materials are being borne by the Harrow Heritage Trust, but this has limited funds. The expected upcoming costs are two toner cartridges for the laser printer at £60 each and two color ink multipacks for the ink jet printer at £40 each, an overall total of £200.

The equipment and materials budget has only £54 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in it at present so we would like to transfer £1716 from the contingency budget to equipment and materials to cover these costs. When we made the payment request on the 5th of March 2014 we included a £1000 transfer from contingency to Equipment and Materials, and this transfer still appears on the web site although it has not yet been approved by you. We are now requesting that this transfer be changed from £1000 to £1716 (that is, the £1716 is not additional to the £1000).

Publicity and promotion: We would expect to print 1000 copies of an A3 leaflet describing the nature trail at a cost of £700. At present there is only £284 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in the publicity and promotion budget so we would like to transfer £416 from the contingency budget to publicity and promotion to cover this cost.

Training for volunteers: we are planning more training but the funds remaining in this budget should be enough to cover this.

Thus to sum up we request the transfer of:
£99 from Contingency to Evaluation
£1716 from Contingency to Equipment and Materials (this replaces the £1000 requested on 5th March 2014)
£416 from Contingency to Publicity and Promotion

This would leave £969 in Contingency for last minute additional costs.

I hope this is acceptable.   Yours   Steve Bolsover


Laura replied on 16th April 2014: Dear Stephen, Thank you for the detailed email, it was very useful. I would be happy to approve the suggested transfer from contingency, and will also put the opening event in my diary. Kind regards  Laura

Bluebell Heath Steering Committee Meeting 12th March 2014



Present:
Alison Torbitt
Neville Day
John Dobson
Margaret Huitson
Leslie Bolsover
me
Denis Vickers did not come.

First we looked at the exhibition space. It is reassuringly small, just the bottom floor of the Granary - and this also had the coffee bar. We can use the upper floor as well, with the white display boards, but if we do, everything must be replicated in a handout that can be given to disabled people. So probably not worth bothering.

Above - first glass display cabinet. We saw this in the Granary. 3 shelves are 114 cm wide by 54 cm deep. Above: second glass cabinet. Display compartment is 86 cm wide by 55 cm deep, 40 cm high. Above: third glass display cabinet. We saw this in the Great Barn, but it should be moved to the Granary soon. Shelves are 113 cm wide by 76 cm deep. Vertical heights are: bottom shelf 73 cm; middle shelf 52 cm; top shelf 38 cm. Electric flex can be run in at bottom right to run digital picture frames etc.
Far left: the black curved display board installed in the ground floor of the granary. Attach boards by Velcro hooks. Alison said that she would send the dimensions of this board.

Left: the dirty white display board that can be placed upstairs in the Granary. 8 panels by 2; each panel is 92 cm square. Once again, boards to be attached to have Velcro hooks.

The exhibition is now timetabled: We set it up on the three days Monday 5th January 2015 through Wednesday 7th January 2015. It opens on Thursday 8th January 2015 and runs to Sunday 29th March 2015. Private views are 6 to 8PM on a Thursday, and are attended by the Freinds of the museum, museum volunteers, as well as whoever we invite. Tea, coffee and wine are provided by the Friends of the museum. We thought that Thursday January 15th 2015 would be the best date.

By November 2014 Alison will need two paragraphs of blurb about the exhibition. I looked at four exemplars: the shortest is 53 words, the longest is 95 and both of the others are 81 - so 81 is the word count to aim for.

Big black display board: Alison recommended building the display on the black curved board out of A3 Foamex panels. Printing on these costs £20 per panel, and we could simply send the artwork to Alison and she would get them printed. There is a standard template, with the museum and Council logos, she will send us this. She definitely said A3, although this seems rather small. She said that a good format was to use 11 A3 boards in the format: 3 in landscape mode along the top, then 5 in portrait mode along the middle, then 3 more in landscape mode along the bottom. We should go to all the shows at the Granary between now and then to see how others do it.

Leslie said that we should use the botanical survey data in the display - demonstrates one way that we are using thee money.

Glass cases: Alison says no need for bought labels for the objects in glass cases. Just print labels on card. We thought about how one could show plants. Pressed flowers don't work: they are fine for scientific use, but lose color so not good for display.

We might use a digital picture frame to give a virtual walk along the entire nature trail.

We could show heather products, e.g. honey.

For children: we can arrange with Alison for one of her volunteer network to create a word search - we send a list of things to see at Bluebell Heath and they create the word search. I thought this would be bbetter if we could have photographs of the items around the margin.

For children: many museums have the "lift and find me" type of wooden puzzle. This would be good for us - find the beetle in the sopil, the faun in the heather, and so on. Alison will ask Fiona about how one could get such a thing produced.

For children: could there be an activity based on the botanical survey - find particular animals and plants in a phhoto - or even in a bit of fake grass?

For older children: I suggested a map with a simplified outline of where we marked out with marker tape - areas composed of rectangles and triangles - and asking children to calculate how many rolls of tape we meeded. Again shows where the money went.

We discussed the management plan. Simon Braidman and John Dobson have completed their draft of a five year task plan. However John said that it would be about a year before the full plan was completed. I said that I'd  get the task plan from Simon then generate a working draft using the Statement of Significance and John Dobson's botanical survey, and everyone was  happy with that. At the time I said that I'd offer Simon a choice of either just creating a plan for Bluebell Heath alone, or one for the whole of Stanmore Common. However I notice that the grant application states on page 23: "A revised management plan for Stanmore Common including Bluebell Heath will be generated by the Forum in collaboration with Denis Vickers, Harrow Council’s biodiversity officer, and the Harrow Natural History" so I had better do it for the whole site. Simon brought all the files over on March 16th and I now have them in  \Management Plans\Stanmore Common\Stanmore Common Management Plan stuff from Simon 14031601. I have not looked at them yet.

We also discussed management on the ground. Neville said that they had used the brush cutter at least twice twice I demonstrated its use on 27th November 2013. We should pay for its next maintenance from Bluebell Heath project funds. Neville reiterated what Simon has said on other occasions: that they were attacking brush by digging it up by the roots, and are confident that they can control it and prevent the cleared areas reverting to scrub. John Dobson mentioned that Natural England now clearly favoured mosaic habitats (as opposed to the pure acid grassland/heathland that the purists in the London acid grassland/heathland group perhaps favoured) and suggested we look at <http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6415972705501184?category=5856835374415872> He wrote on March 13th: The 'Biodiversity 2020 Pocket Guide' is a useful but short general intro to Biodiversity 2020, (although it is not particularly user-friendly). Downloadable pdf at: <http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6687439250784256?category=5856835374415872>.

The nature trail is supposed to be finished by end September 2014. We agreed that we should start getting serious about creating it in June 2014. Until then, we should all be collecting ideas about what to point out.

Financial: Leslie reported. The balances are:
Contingency £3200
Professional fees £200
Travel for volunteers £300
Training £750
We agreed that we should look into whether Simon could claim a mileage allowance for driving to and from the site. On March 17th 2014 I wrote to Laura Butcher at the HLF: Dear Laura; Thanks for your response about the adjustments to our project. I will send some details re. the contingency budget soon. However, before then I have a simple question about the "Travel for volunteers" budget. At a recent meeting of our steering committee we noted that we have not so far used this budget. The person who could really use help with transport is the warden of Stanmore Common, who has only part time paid jobs and drives from Borehamwood to the site at least twice a week. It would be sensible to use some of the "Travel for volunteers" budget to reimburse his travel expenses. First of all, would this be acceptable to you? In our grant proposal we gave three components of travel for volunteers - Travel to Capel Manor for the pesticide course, Travel to Capel Manor for the chainsaw course, and bus travel to the site, so this would be a change from the original stated use. Second, is there a standard car mileage allowance that the Heritage Lottery Fund applies? I've searched the HLF website and the document "Managing your grant" that you sent us and have not found anything about this question. Best Wishes  Steve

On 21st March 2014 Laura Butcher emailed: Hello Stephen, Yes, that sounds fine. Internally we usually reimburse at between 35-45p per mile. However, it is up to you to establish a rate which you are comfortable with and which reflects the cost of the journey. I hope this is useful. Kind regards Laura

Feedback:
We agreed that for feedback from members of the public the blank cards we already have are best. Only if the HLF rules require more specific questions should we go for a directed set of questions on ethnicity etc. Neville said that he would be happy to walk around the site with a printed sheet of questions collecting responses.
On March 17th I checked the HLF website and downloaded the document "Evaluation: Good practice guidance" This staes that they do want that sort of ethnicity questions.

We should also collect data from volunteers, including what they have got out of volunteering. At the meeting we said that we should email volunteers asking them what they have got out of volunteering. However if we are to ask the more intrusive questions suggested by the HLF then I should run the whole plan past the committee before proceeding.

Next meeting: we agreed that it would be a site visit starting at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday when Simon has a working party, close to the longest day. We would walk the nature trail and make a start on listing the things to be pointed out and the number of posts required. 

20th March 2014: Simon Braidman is talking about the Bluebell Heath project to the "Emeritus Club" at Hillingdon Golf Club this evening.


4th April 2014: John Dobson on Salix repens (Creeping willow).

Hello All, One of the 'true heathland' species which has been recorded in the past at Stanmore Common is Salix repens (Creeping willow). This is a great rarity and it would be of particular importance if it were to reappear as a result of the topsoil removal. It occurs to me however that you might be automatically taking out any sallow saplings which appear in the scraped areas. Although it might not be possible to positively identify S repens when very young, it should be possible to eliminate it as a possibility based on the leaf investiture (you can do your own research or I can show you on site). I wonder if you would accept my recommendation that sallows growing up in the in the scraped areas should allowed to develop sufficiently to eliminate the possibility that they are S. repens before they are pulled? I was looking at the newly cleared areas in c20 the other day, and there might be some interesting stuff emerging. These areas are very sensitive now while new seedlings are emerging, but I dont supoose you need to do any work on these areas at this stage. Best wishes, John Dobson
Simon Braidman replied on the same day: Hi John,  That is fine. We are controlling Willow but I will ensure that a careful watch is put on new Willow. Where male Sallow is in flower we are leaving it. The latest invader is Sycamore there has been a lot of germination across the reserve. simon

15th April 2014: My email to Laura Butcher at HLF re money:

Dear Laura;

We have now reviewed our expected costs for the remainder of the project. For completeness, I’ll list all of them, even though some of the budgets are OK at present and require no adjustment.

Evaluation: On other sites in Harrow, we have got a good response from members of the public by walking around the sites and handing out printed pre-addressed postcards with a short series of questions, already stamped. We’d therefore like to use a similar approach for the Bluebell Heath project at Stanmore Common. Putting a stamp on greatly increases the chance that the card is returned, not only because it means the person questioned does not have to pay to return the card, but also because it shows that we value their opinion enough to pay for the stamp. I attach a PDF of the card that we have used on other sites (we welcome suggestions as to how this could be improved, either generally or specifically when we design a card for the Bluebell Heath project).  Printing 100 cards will cost £57, while 100 second class stamps will cost £53. There’s only £11 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in the Evaluation budget at present, so I request that £99 be transferred from Contingency to Evaluation to cover these costs.

Producing learning materials: The exhibition to be held at the Harrow Museum at Headstone Manor is now timetabled. It will open on Thursday 8th January 2015 and run to Sunday 29th March 2015. There will be a private view from 6 to 8PM on January 15th 2015 so if you or others from the HLF would like to come you would be very welcome. We have so far identified about £450 worth of materials to buy. These costs will be applied to the Producing Learning Materials budget, which has a balance of £1529 (inclusive of VAT) at present, so we are fine there.

Equipment and materials: 1. Nature Trail. We are now actively designing the nature trail. At this stage, the estimated costs are as follows:
A0 GRP panel with steel lectern    £720
Roundels, numbers 1-25 plus 30 arrows    £170
Roundels, 25 QR codes, all different    £145
25 waymarker posts    £400
Postfix cement, one per waymark and 2 for panel    £135
Total    £1570

The major possible variant in this cost is the waymarker posts: a different and more sturdy design would cost a lot more.

Equipment and materials: 2. Printing supplies. We are doing a significant amount of printing for this project. We use a laser printer for black and white material such as lists of upcoming events, and a color inkjet printer for posters for lamination and posting up around the site. At present the cost of printing materials are being borne by the Harrow Heritage Trust, but this has limited funds. The expected upcoming costs are two toner cartridges for the laser printer at £60 each and two color ink multipacks for the ink jet printer at £40 each, an overall total of £200.

The equipment and materials budget has only £54 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in it at present so we would like to transfer £1716 from the contingency budget to equipment and materials to cover these costs. When we made the payment request on the 5th of March 2014 we included a £1000 transfer from contingency to Equipment and Materials, and this transfer still appears on the web site although it has not yet been approved by you. We are now requesting that this transfer be changed from £1000 to £1716 (that is, the £1716 is not additional to the £1000).

Publicity and promotion: We would expect to print 1000 copies of an A3 leaflet describing the nature trail at a cost of £700. At present there is only £284 (inclusive of VAT) remaining in the publicity and promotion budget so we would like to transfer £416 from the contingency budget to publicity and promotion to cover this cost.

Training for volunteers: we are planning more training but the funds remaining in this budget should be enough to cover this.

Thus to sum up we request the transfer of:
£99 from Contingency to Evaluation
£1716 from Contingency to Equipment and Materials (this replaces the £1000 requested on 5th March 2014)
£416 from Contingency to Publicity and Promotion

This would leave £969 in Contingency for last minute additional costs.

I hope this is acceptable.

Yours   Steve Bolsover

On 16th April 2014 she replied: Dear Stephen,  Thank you for the detailed email, it was very useful. I would be happy to approve the suggested transfer from contingency, and will also put the opening event in my diary. Kind regards   Laura

Laura Butcher
Grants Officer
Heritage Lottery Fund
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR
Phone: 020 7591 6135
Email: laurabutcher@hlf.org.uk
Website: www.hlf.org.uk


16th July 2014: Steering Committee site visit and meeting to formal minutes by Margaret Huitson

Site visit:

We began by walking around the site, following Simon Braidman and the team's proposed longer route. At Pynding Mersc John Dobson pointed out Narrow-leaved water-plantain, prominent plant, apparently a new record for Stanmore Common.The mint-like plant growing profusely, especially to the west of the boardwalk, is gypsywort.

We agreed that during the winter 2014-2015 I would bring the chainsaw and take down the willow scrub growing on both sides of the main east-west path running along the south edge of Bluebell Heath. This has grown too thick to be dealt with by a D R Trimmer (most probably could be taken out with the brush cutter but the size is at the limit of what the brush cutter can do easily).

Sit-down meeting (at Bernays Hall)

Nature Trail: Denis Vickers argued against cutting corners on the nature trail bollards. Leslie said that we could afford the extra £1000 or so for bollards from Heritage Timber (which were used at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory). We agreed to do this. We agreed that a long term aim should be to install one more bench, along ther longer nature trail route half way between the car park and the existing bench in Bluebell Heath (the longer route does not go through Oakmead).

Feedback and Evaluation: I gave out the results so far from Stanmore Common using the generic HNCF card.We need a lot more responses from the public. Please can there be a concerted effor to hand out cards. At the last meeting we agreed that we would collect data from volunteers, including what they have got out of volunteering. However the HLF document clearly says we should ask ethnicity questions. We agreed that Simon and the team would try and collect this. I agreed to try and download or otherwise obtain the form that the TCV use for their own volunteers and send it to Simon.
On 20th July I tried to find the TCV form on line but could not. I emailed Simon: Hi Simon; I tried to find the TCV volunteer feedback on line but could not find anything. Were you shown anything at your course in Edinburgh in December? Your notes say that you were given a booklet covering the course notes, do you still have that?  Yours hopefully   Steve

At the pub evening on 29th July 2014 Margaret Huitson gave me a copy of the Equal Opportunities form that Headstone Manor museum use. Here it is as a PDF:

Exhibition in January 2015: I outlined my thoughts and others suggested improvements. Red is my thoughts after the meeting.

The display boards should show the history of the site, a pictoral history of the project, and perhaps some panels about the nature trail.
This would be the logical place to put a digital picture frame showing images along the trail. I think we could do this supporting the frame with wires from the top of the frame, and velcro on the frame itself to hold it tightly - plus security lock to prevent it being stolen. I assume lockable digital picture frames exist? We agreed that the picture frame would show a series of stills of the nature trail, not a movie.

One multi-shelf display cabinet (probably the smaller of the two, see below) would concentrate on the natural history of Bluebell Heath. The left hand 30 cm or so would be devoted to geology. On the back (perhaps additionally curving around to the left hand side) we'd have a full-scale printed stratigraphy with the Stanmore Gravels at the top. Trays on the shelves would show examples of the strata - so I guess that means Stanmore Gravel at the top, Claygate beds, and London Clay. John Winter is responsible for collecting the soil samples.

The rest of the bottom shelf would show plants of Bluebell Heath. This is why the smaller of the two display cabinets would be better, because the plants are a significant part of what we are showing, and they'd be lost if they were at ground level in the larger display cabinet. We could have:
Imitation heather
Gorse - I imagine that cuttings of real gorse woulld last 2 weeks in water - or perhaps indefinitely if sprayed with lacquer - test this!
Pictures of other notable plants e.g. hard fern
Dry bracken fronds?

The middle shelf would show ground level animals. We could have:
Plaster casts of roe and muntjak prints. John and Simon say that they also see prints of fallow deer - can they get some plaster casts?
Real fox skull, and plaster cast of fox print
Real badger skull
Real rabbit skull
Imitation roe deer skull
Grass snake shed skin
Pictures of butterflies, mounted to look vaguely realistic without pretending to be real
Any dead insects we collect that will look OK for 3 months - grasshoppers, crickets, bees etc.
Banded snail shells

The top shelf would show wildlife of treetops and the sky. We could have:
Twig of Scotch Pine - I imagine that real cuttings would last 2 weeks in water - or perhaps indefinitely if sprayed with lacquer - test this!
Our imitation birds eggs
A nest
Digital picture frame showing birds we see on Bluebell Heath
Something on bats. Margaret will ask Wendy Knight for bat stuff to display.
At the Harrow in Leaf show on 24th August 2014 Margaret introduced me to Wendy; yes she will provide images of the bats likely to be found at Stanmore Common, some bat droppings (!) and will think of other items that might be included. She will not be going away over Christmas. Her email is <wendyknight23@btinternet.com>.
Imitation buzzard skull

The other multi-shelf display cabinet and the single layer display cabinet would show items of the theme "human activity on Stanmore Common". The topic for which we had the most items / was most interesting would go in the single layer cabinet. At present we are thinking this would be highwaymen. Ideas:

Highwaymen (we agreed we did want such a display)
Imitation pistol
Relevant clothes?
Other stuff from Harrow museum?
Contemporary money - real or imitation
Map showing main roads over Stanmore Common where highwaymen operated

Rabbit warrens
Stuffed or imitation rabbit
Picture of the Fox Earth
Contemporary drawing of warriners. We have the images John Winter found on the internet, from http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk. However this site is not trustworthy on provenance - the Luttrell Psalter is completely digitized on the British Library website and does not contain the drawing claimed for it on the http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk site! I emailed Isobel Thompson on 20th July 2014 asking if she could send any images. She replied same day: I know where to look but it's at work and I'm on leave this week, but will get back to you. The exhibition sounds good - thanks for the invitation.

Eliza Brightwen
Photo of her
Photo of her house
Display of her books (I have 4 - one contemporary and three new reprints).

Clutterbuck's brewery
Photo of the brewery as it is now
Photo of the brewery when it was working
Photo of Brewers pond
Bottles from the brewery - we should ask Pat Clark as well as seeing if Harrow Museum have any

Gravel digging
Old picture of people gravel digging
Image of a pit as it appears now
A tray of Stanmore beds material

Maybe a dog walking advert - contemporary commercial use?

Invasive foreign species are brought in by humans
John Winter has a signal crayfish from Brewers Pond that he made into a display item
We could also have a picture of Japanese knotweed

Maybe bird hunting
Stanmore Common was certainly used for hunting birds for the pot. I said I'd contact a metal detector club to ask if they had musket balls we could show. However, as I think John Hollingdale said at the time, I don't think muskets or anything firing a largish ball would be used to hunt birds - people would use shotguns or earlier equivalents firing a hail of shot (blunderbus, punt gun).

We would also have collections to pass around to children. Possibilities:
Beech mast - needs to be collected now. Simon and the team will do this.
Sycamore seeds - needs to be collected now. Simon and the team will do this.
Acorns of English and Turkey oak, also knopper and other oak galls. Margaret will do this.
Scotch Pine needles and cones.
Swan mussel shells - Simon and the team will do this.
Banded snall shells - Simon and the team will do this.

We would also have the two plastic skulls to pass around as safer and more robust than real ones. On 20th July I ordered plastic roe deer and buzzard skulls.

We also need to work with Alison to create activity sheets for children:
Word search - I should create a list of words; it would be good to choose words for which we can have an image in the margin.
Spot the difference: two drawings of a wood, differing in a number of aspects (woodpecker is in one but not the other, etc.)
Join the dots to make a picture of a plant. Initially we said bluebell, but Simon pointed out that that is rather complicated. I suggested wood sorrel.
Sketch of banded snail - children to colour it in after looking at examples in display cabinet

At the pub evening on 29th July 2014 Margaret Huitson gave me a copy of an information and puzzle sheet for kids from Butterfly Conservation.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday October 15th, at the museum if possible, 7:30 PM.

16th July 2014: Email from Alison Torbitt (but not read until after I sent out the messages below dated 20th-21st July):

Hi Stephen,  Just to let you know, I’m very sorry but I can’t make tonight – I’ve let John know not to pick me up.  

I have got a couple of things exhibitions wise to go through –
1)    The dates Thursday 8th of Jan – Sunday 26th April. Set up Tues/Wed before hand, take down Monday 27th.
2)    Private View, either Thursday 8th or the following Thursday – up to you.
3)    Refreshments for the private view – originally I said the Friends would contribute, unfortunately they no longer want to fund private views, so you may have to fund it youselves, the last one here bought 3 bottles of red wine, 3 of white wine, a 4 pack of orange juice, 2 sparkling ginger beer, 2 sparkling elderflower and 2 sparkling raspberry lemonade as well as breadsticks, popcorn, nuts, fruit, and crisps. We got it from Morrison’s and it came to less than £70
4)    Exhibition cabinets, we wanted to take the other one over from the Barn, but we’ve run out of room so there’s just the two that are there – but cram them full of objects, there is also a flat case upstairs. We have an exhibition board over one cabinet and we will also have another exhibition display stand upstairs. (see attached photo)
5)    Resources for kids etc if you could get a list of things you’d like to see then I have some young volunteers in who can make up the resources for you.

Thanks and again my apologises for tonight.

I know you’ve talked about evaluation – I’ve currently been doing going through some training for evaluations so if you’d like me to have a look at anything or send you any information then let me know.

Take care Alison Torbitt

Alison Torbitt
Collections & Exhibitions Officer
Headstone Manor Museum
Pinner View
Harrow
HA2 6PX
020 8863 6720

I replied 22nd July 2014: Dear Alison; That's an extension on the time it's running for, yes? Previously you said that the last day was Sunday 29th March 2015.

We want the private view to be January 15th 2015.

The note about the third glass case is a disappointment - as you see from what I emailed on July 20th (before reading your email) we were planning on using all three. We'll see how our work goes and I may come back to discuss possibilities.

Otherwise re "list of things you’d like to see" it's as I wrote on the 20th, with the specific questions for you as below.

Best Wishes   Steve:


Digital picture frame - does the museum have any that we can use or should we provide them? Also, what do you think of the idea of fixing one to the big curved display panel? Have you done this before?
Highwaymen:
  Does the museum have real items from the period (18th century)? The highwayman incident we know of (in 1777), involved the theft of money and pocket watches so these would be good to show. Or coach lamps would be good.
  Does the museum have pretend items - dressing up clothes - relating to that period?

Warriners
  A stuffed rabbit would be useful!

Eliza Brightwen
  Does the museum have stands for displaying books? We'd like to display one closed and three open.

Clutterbucks brewery?
  The museum has had exhibitions of glass in the past - do you have beer bottles from Clutterbucks brewery?

Childrens activities
  Do you have in your volunteer team an artist who we could work with to generate a spot the difference picture, a join the dots picture and a sketch of a banded snail to colour in?
You were going to find out (you said you'd ask Fiona) about creating a "lift and find me" type of wooden puzzle. This would be good for us - find the beetle in the soil, the faun in the heather, and so on. What's the conclusion?


17th July 2014: Message from John Dobson on length of nature trails

Hi Simon/Steve,

Thanks for the enjoyable and productive (pilot) commentated walk around the proposed 'long' walk at Stanmore Common yesterday.

I said that I would measure the distances on the GIS map:

Long walk 1860m (1.16 miles)
Short walk 1565m (0.97 miles)

If that short walk would be too long for some, the walk following that route as far as comp 18 but then turning east through woodland to emerge on the west side of c18, and then back to the car park, is bang on 1km (0.62 miles).

It is absolutely brilliant that heath rush has emerged from the soil-bank in the new scrape - a great rarity in London as you know, and so a high value species. I wonder how those in comp 19 are doing?*  I haven't seen them recently but these things can come and go to their own tune. It is already I believe on the annual monitoring list.

Cheers, John Dobson


20th July 2014: Email to Alison Torbitt:

Dear Alison;

I'm sorry you were not able to come to the Bluebell Heath meeting on Wednesday. We spent some time thinking about the exhibition in January 2015. Below the line is my complete notes; I wonder if you can help with a number of the items...

Digital picture frame - does the museum have any that we can use or should we provide them? Also, what do you think of the idea of fixing one to the big curved display panel? Have you done this before?

Highwaymen:
  Does the museum have real items from the period (18th century)? The highwayman incident we know of (in 1777), involved the theft of money and pocket watches so these would be good to show. Or coach lamps would be good.
  Does the museum have pretend items - dressing up clothes - relating to that period?

Warriners
  A stuffed rabbit would be useful!

Eliza Brightwen
  Does the museum have stands for displaying books? We'd like to display one closed and three open.

Clutterbucks brewery?
  The museum has had exhibitions of glass in the past - do you have beer bottles from Clutterbucks brewery?

Childrens activities
  Do you have in your volunteer team an artist who we could work with to generate a spot the difference picture, a join the dots picture and a sketch of a banded snail to colour in?

We agreed on Wednesday October 15th as the date for the next meeting, at 7:30 PM. Would it be possible to hold this at the museum?

Yours hopefully    Steve

She replied on 25th July 2014:  Hi Steve,  Firstly, yes we have extended your exhibition, the one following you is on Mrs Beeton (Harrow’s domestic goddess), and we are working in partnership with Harrow College, it’s going to be a fun one that we want to have up over both May Day and the summer holiday, so I’d extended the dates of all of the exhibitions and took one out (hopefully that’s ok?).

About the display case – I know, it is disappointing to me too – I wanted it in there, but with not being able to get the thresher out we are limited space wise. There will be extra display boards upstairs, and there is a small flat display case up there, I just have to check its condition, but will get back to you.

As for the list of questions – the Museum doesn’t have a digital picture frame, we were thinking of getting one for an upcoming exhibition, but not 100% sure on that, I will know by the beginning of September and will let you know. You could possibly fix one to the curved board, but it would have to be secure and I’m not sure how heavy they are? It might be a possibility that we put it freestanding on top of the smaller case?

I will have to look into objects regarding the 18th century highwayman incident, I’m sure we’ll have some stuff though.

We haven’t got a stuffed rabbit (only toy ones), although we have a very random rabbit skeleton

We don’t have dressing up clothes for the period (only tudor costumes)

We do have book display stands –yes

Nothing from the Clutterbucks brewery I’m afraid – but I could look in to where might and see about a Loan?

Children’s activities – we have a girl called Hailey leading our art cart resources, what themes would you like the spot the difference etc to be around and I’ll get her to create some resources with the young volunteers.

I had a look into the peg lift-out type puzzles myself but haven’t managed to find anything – I forgot I was going to ask Fiona, I’ll try and get a hold of her.

Also – have you got a mini blurb about what the exhibition is, just a paragraph or two so that we can put something together for the marketing?

Thank you   Alison



21st July 2014: Email to Margaret Huitson and John Hollingdale:

Hi John and Margaret;

Below is my complete notes on what we might show in the exhibition. Here's what I think you agreed to do....

Talk to Wendy Knight about bat items that we might use in a display
Collect acorns of English Oak, Turkey Oak, knopper and other galls - a good bowl full of each

And look out for a birds nest please!

All the best   Steve



21st July 2014: Email to Simon Braidman, Neville Day and John Winter:

Dear Simon, John and Neville;

Below is my complete notes on what we might show in the exhibition in January 2015. Here's what I hope you can provide...

You say that you have seen fallow deer prints on the reserve - can you make a plaster cast? I have muntjak and roe deer from you already.
Keep a look out for more snake skins; our present ones are pretty bashed from being handed out at shows
Reasonable looking dead insects - wasps, beetles - from Bluebell Heath or other open areas on Stanmore Common
Keep a look out for a birds nest. If we got it soon enough we could have imitation eggs made to go in it.
John's signal crayfish
Collect beech mast - needs to be collected now. A good bowl full please.
Collect sycamore seeds - needs to be collected now. A good bowl full please.
Collect banded snail shells - as many as possible up to a good bowl full
Collect Scotch Pine cones - 10 or so.
Samples of Stanmore Gravel, Claygate Beds and London Clay

I hope that's OK!   All the best   Steve



21st July 2014: Email to Pat Clarke and Anne Swinson:

Dear Pat and Anne;

As I reported at the meeting at West House on July 10th, Harrow Nature Conservation Forum is putting together an exhibition on Stanmore Common and the Heritage Lottery Funded project to restore Bluebell Heath, to run from January through March 2015. One of the themes will be human activity on Stanmore Common. I give below my complete notes, and would welcome any suggestions for things we might show. However, for the ideas we already have, I'm looking for the following items - do you or any of your contacts have any?

Real items from the 18th century - especially money or pocket watches, since those are the two items taken by highwaymen in a recorded incident in 1777, or stagecoach lanterns or other items
Modern replica items from the dressing up boxes that might illustrate a display on highwaymen.
Memorabilia of Eliza Brightwen, including a photo of her house (The Grove)
Memorabilia of Clutterbucks brewery, including a photo of it as a working brewery, but most of all beer bottles from the brewery

Yours hopefully    Steve

On 27th July Anne Swinson emailed: Dear Steve; The only suggestion I have, you have noted,  that is to get in touch with Headstone Manor. I will see tomorrow if Laura Coughlin is still there and she might have some artefacts in her 'topic boxes' for schools. Regards Anne

On 27th July Pat Clarke emailed: Dear Stephen, i apologise for not replying earlier. Neither I nor Pinner Local History society have anything which might help you in this. I can only offer suggestions.

Objects
Harrow Museum is the repository for Harrow artefacts, though whether they have anything I do not know, having never investigated. I suggest you contact Jo Saunders at the museum  jo.saunders@harrow.gov.uk

Pictures etc.
As to Eliza Brightwen, there should be pictures and other illustrative material at the Harrow Local History Collection,  which is at the manor offices. They should have similar material about Clutterbucks.
Try    hazel.ogilvie@harrow.gov.uk   Note that Hazel is part time, usually the beginning of the week.

You could also try Stanmore & Harrow History Society in case they have anything on Clutterbuck’s or Brightwen. I’m not sure who to recommend, though I think Robert Thompson is helpful
chair Roger Borman   rogerborman@hotmail.co.uk
vice chair  Robt Thompson  thompson.43@btinternet.com
archaeology   Dr Isobel Thompson no relative of Robt  isobel.platinum198@btinternet.com

Sorry not to be of more help. Yours Pat


On August 3rd 2014 I emailed Hazel Ogilvie: Dear Ms Ogilvie;

As part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project to restore Bluebell Heath on Stanmore Common, we are putting together an exhibition at Headstone Manor to run from January through March 2015. One of the themes will be human activity on Stanmore Common. Two themes we'd like to cover are Eliza Brightwen, who lived next door to the Common and knew it well, and Clutterbucks Brewery, Stanmore Hill, which created two ponds on the common to supply water to its works.

Pat Clarke of Harrow Heritage Trust suggested that I contact you. In particular we are looking for:

For Eliza Brightwen:
Photos of her
Photos of her house, "The Grove", now demolished

For Clutterbucks brewery
Photos of the brewery when it was a working enterprise

Might you have some of these in the Harrow Local History Collection? Shall I come to see you? I'm busy for the next few weeks but am free Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th of August if you were available to show me what you have.

Yours hopefully   Steve

She replied on 27th August 2014: Dear Steve; Thanks for your email. Sorry for the delay in answering- as you may have gathered I have been out of the office. I will have a look and see what we have. I am quite sure we will have some photographs of Clutterbucks and we may have something on the Grove. I doubt that we have an original photograph of Eliza Brightwen though  will of course have a look. Howver we do have some information about her – is that of interest or is it only photographs you are looking for? If you would like to make an appointment to come in I can currently offer the following dates.  The morning of Monday 14th September, The afternoon of Tuesday 15th September. Appointments last for approximately two hours. Morning slots begin at 10.00  or 10.30 and afternoon at 13.30 or 14.00. If neither of these suits please let me now and I will suggest something else. Kind regards Hazel Ogilvie

I replied on August 30th suggesting afternoon of Tuesday 23rd September to meet. See notes below.

On August 3rd 2014 I emailed Isobel Thompson: Dear Isobel;

Did you have any luck finding old drawings/paintings of rabbit warrens?

Two other themes we'd like to cover in the exhibition at Headstone Manor in early 2015 are Eliza Brightwen, who lived next door to the Common and knew it well, and Clutterbucks Brewery, Stanmore Hill, which created two ponds on the common to supply water to its works. In particular we are looking for:

For Eliza Brightwen:
Photos of her
Photos of her house, "The Grove", now demolished
Any small artifacts that we could show relevant to her life

For Clutterbucks brewery
Photos of the brewery when it was a working enterprise
Beer bottles from the brewery
Any small artifacts from the brewery that we could show

Might the Stanmore & Harrow History Society have anything like this that we could copy/borrow for the exhibition?

Yours hopefully   Steve


25th July 2014: Old bottle found by John Winter

He emailed: Hi Steve, Here are some pictures (saved as 14072501-03) of the bottle found on the common recently. It’s about the size of a beer bottle but looks like a wine bottle. The neck is consistent with bottles having a champagne style cork and I found some modern Belgian Beers have them but they are brown bottles. Maybe it’s an old Clutterbucks bottle? 

On 3rd August 2014 I emailed Museum of London <info@museumoflondon.org.uk> Dear Museum of London;

We have been carrying out a Heritage Lottery funded project on Stanmore Common in Harrow and are putting on a small exhibition about the project in the Headstone Manor museum http://harrowmuseum.org.uk/ in January 2015. As part of the exhibition we will describe Clutterbucks Brewery, which in the late 19th century created ponds on the Common to supply its process.

We found an old bottle on the Common and it would be great if it was in fact an old beer bottle, even better if it was from Clutterbucks.  It’s about the size of a beer bottle but looks like a wine bottle. The neck is consistent with bottles having a champagne style cork, as used in some modern Belgian beer bottles. I attach an image and I'd appreciate your opinion. If it was possible to bring it in to show you that would be great. Sadly it has no lettering on it!

On a more speculative note, do you lend any parts of your collection for small exhibitions such as this? If yes, I will send a list of items we could use. The exhibition is being organized in collaboration with Alison Torbitt, Collections & Exhibitions Officer at Headstone Manor Museum <Alison.Torbitt@harrow.gov.uk>, so any such loan could be formally done via her.

Yours hopefully    Steve Bolsover


26th July 2014: Walking and photographing nature trail

I walked the trails to see where posts were needed.
I took lots of photos along the trail which are numbered in order from 14072600 to 14072679
I took photos from the standard record positions.


20th August 2014: Email to Shelly Signs re. nature trail roundels

Dear Shelley Signs;

In 2013 you supplied Denis Vickers at Harrow Council roundels for nature trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory (quote ref. 9160 of 21st November 2012). The Harrow Heritage Trust was closely involved in creating those trails, and we now want to create one at Stamore Common. This time, the orders would be placed directly by Harrow Heritage Trust and the roundels would be delivered to us.

We are looking for roundels of the same size and material as you supplied for Denis, that is, 76mm diameter. We need:

20 identical roundels of design #1 (long trail arrow)
15 identical roundels of design #2 (short trail arrow)
15 identical roundels of design #3 (return trail arrow)
26 roundels each with a unique design (QR tags)
26 number roundels, numbered 1 through 26.

We would supply the artwork of design #1, design #2, design #3 and the QR tags. I expect that you could do the number roundels without input from us (no other lettering is required on these - just the number).

Please could you send me a quotation for this.

Best Wishes   Steve Bolsover

Sent to <sales@shelleysigns.co.uk>. The numbers above give us 4 spares for each of the arrow markers.

They replied on 28th August 2014: Dear Stephen; Further to your recent enquiry, please find attached our quotation to meet your requirements. For more information, please go to: <http://www.shelleysigns.co.uk/interpretation>. Please give me a call if you have any questions.

If appropriate artwork can be uploaded to us by following this link : http://dropbox.yousendit.com/RobertShelley643471    If you are supplying your own artwork the attached quote assumes that you will supply us with a final version.  If we are asked to 1) make corrections to your artwork, or 2) reprocess files because you submit amended artwork, having seen a proof, we reserve the right to raise a charge of £50.00 per hour for work undertaken with a minimum charge of 1 hour.

Best regards, Rachel Shelley

Shelley Signs Ltd
Eaton on Tern
Market Drayton
Shropshire
TF9 2BX

Tel. 08453 705575
Fax. 08453 705585

Email : sales@shelleysigns.co.uk
www.shelleysigns.co.uk

They also included a generic flyer about materials.


20th August 2014: Email to Heritage Timber re. nature trail bollards

Dear Heritage Timber;

In 2013 you supplied Denis Vickers at Harrow Council waymarker posts for nature trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory (your reference CPT/SC/H2940 of 7th March 2013). The Harrow Heritage Trust was closely involved in creating those trails, and we now want to create one at Stamore Common using the same posts, that is, 150/1500mm Oa long, with a pyramid style top, in treated softwood supplied with recess to fit 76mm disc on all four sides. This time, the orders would be placed directly by Harrow Heritage Trust and the posts would be delivered to us. We need 28 posts.

Please could you send me a quotation for this, including delivery to Harrow.

Best Wishes     Steve Bolsover

Sent to <sales@heritagetimber.co.uk>

They replied on 26th August 2014: From: "chris@heritagetimber.co.uk" <christhoper.toal@sky.com>
To: "Stephen Bolsover" <stephenbolsover@gmail.com>
Subject: QUOTATION for Nature trail posts
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:40:52 +0100

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your enquiry.
 
QUOTATION
 
28 No. Waymarker Posts 150/1500mm Oa long in treated Larch Softwood
             with recess cut on four faces to fit your own 76mm dia. discs
             at £57.95 each.
       
             Delivery Charge to Harrow £85.00.
 
All prices subject to VAT
 
Regards
Chris Toal
HERITAGE TIMBER
www.heritagetimber.co.uk


Order emailed 23rd September 2014.

22nd August 2014: John Winter on exhibition

Hi All, I’ve been giving some thought to the small cabinet display for the Headstone Manor exhibition and have put together some drawings of what I had in mind. Could you take a look and let me know if I have gone ‘off piste’? I have gone off the idea of the rectangular glass vases for the soil/gravel samples. I am thinking having them loose on a plate or similar will should display their texture more, highlighting the difference between the thick loam of the woodland with the crumbly soil from the acid grassland. I also have a question for you. What is the correct term for leaf mould when it has broken down into a peat like substance? I’ve used the word Peat at the moment but I don’t think it is correct. Regards John

I replied August 23rd: Hi John; This looks wonderful. My only very specific comment would be on the rear illustration - should the thicker layers of soil lie on top of a uniform (orange) base, so that the overall thickness of the soil is greater under the trees? At present it rather looks as though the forest developed in what had been a depression. As regards the word for leaf mould when it has broken down into a peat like substance - looks as if the right word is humus. Have a look at http://www-markinfo.slu.se/eng/soildes/humus.html All the best   Steve

Later John told me that he has a good Swan Mussel shell and a digital picture frame that can be used for the exhibition.


3rd September 2014: John Bugler chainsaw course

I sent him an email: Hi John;

Simon Braidman tells me that you'd like to go on the chainsaw course and Leslie tells me we have the money in the Heritage Lottery Fund account. So please go ahead and book yourself on a course. The dates are here...

http://www.capel.ac.uk/short-courses/cs30-and-cs31-chainsaw-maintenance-cross-cutting-felling-of-small-trees.html

The important thing is to phone and get yourself booked in. The paperwork can proceed slowly after that, but they will need you to fill in a form on which you'll give the employer as

Harrow Heritage Trust
40 Walton Drive
Harrow HA1 4XA

which is where the invoice should be sent.

Tell me the date of the course when you are booked on because I'll need to write them a letter confirming that Harrow Heritage Trust will pay.

You'll need to bring protective equipment. We have a helmet and gloves; I can lend you a pair of chainsaw trousers; if size 11 chainsaw boots would fit you I could lend you mine otherwise you'll need to buy those. Regular steel capped boots are not sufficient, they must have a chainsaw tag on them.

All the best   Steve

7th September 2014: Budget adjustment to allow ordering nature trail hardware

I sent a formatted letter that included images - link to PDF - with the text as below:

Dear Laura;

The site at Bluebell Heath now looks lovely and Simon Braidman and his volunteer team are putting in a lot of effort to maintain it in a good state.

We are well advanced on designing the exhibition to run at the Harrow Museum in the new year and have bought a number of small items to illustrate the natural history and human use of Bluebell Heath and Stanmore Common, for example plastic replica skulls of deer and buzzard that look good alongside the real badger, fox etc. skulls in the case but which can be removed by museum staff for handling by children with no danger of either damage to the skulls or worries about germs that might be present on the real skulls. These are bought from the “Producing Learning Materials” budget which still has a healthy balance.

We are now working hard on the nature trail. In my email of 15th April 2014 I gave the following estimates of its cost:

A0 GRP panel with steel lectern    £720
Roundels, numbers 1-25 plus 30 arrows    £170
Roundels, 25 QR codes, all different    £145
25 waymarker posts    £400
Postfix cement, one per waymark and 2 for panel    £135
Total    £1570

I commented that the major possible variant in this cost is the waymarker posts with a different and more sturdy design costing a lot more.

We have now designed the trail, which has two loops, a long and a shorter one. It requires 28 waymarker posts, three more than our initial estimate.

At a steering committee meeting on the 16th of July 2014 Denis Vickers, Harrow Council’s biodiversity officer, argued strongly that we should not cut corners on the waymaker posts but should rather use the more substantial wooden bollard style posts that were used for the nature trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory (as image at left). The committee was in full agreement that we should go for posts of this sort if we could afford it. At the time Denis got three estimates for posts of this type and chose the cheapest, from Heritage Timber. I have just got a quote (attached) from the same company for 28 posts of £57.95 a post plus £85 delivery, so a total of £1707.60.

I’ve also got a quote for the exact number and type of roundels that we would need from Shelley Signs, the company that Denis chose for the trails at Stanmore Country Park and Bentley Priory. I attach this quotation, which is £545.

The revised cost estimate for the nature trail is therefore:



The first item, the information panel, is still an estimate - I want to get the posts into the ground before doing the final design of that in case there are last minute changes in the route. Thus the new estimate of the nature trail is £1552.60 more than when I wrote to you in April, mostly because of our wish to use more substantial waymarker posts.

The balances remaining in the various budget categories stood thus in July:
 


since July there have only been minor purchases, as noted above these were items for the exhibition, from the “Producing Learning Materials” budget.

I therefore request that we transfer a total of £1552.60 to the Equipment and Materials budget, made up from the following individual transfers:

£969 from Contingency
£48 from Inflation (£40 net + £8 VAT) (This is certainly valid - the cost of the roundels alone has increased by more than this amount since Denis Vickers bought his in 2012)
£535.60 (£446.33 net + £89.27 VAT) from Repair and Conservation Work.

I hope this is acceptable

Yours
 
Stephen Bolsover

On 8th September 2014 Laura replied: Dear Stephen,  Thank you for your email. The amount of detail in your change request document was very helpful for understanding your proposals. I do have one question: are you confident the £535 from Repair and Conservation will not be missed? Why do you think there will be an underspend in this area? Thanks Laura

I replied on 9th Septermber: Dear Laura; In the progress report I submitted on 1st March 2014 I requested (and you approved) that an approved purpose “Additional clearance will be undertaken by specialist firms” be changed to “Additional clearance will be undertaken by volunteers and by specialist firms as required”. The purpose of this change was to allow money remaining in the Repair and Conservation Work budget to be used to buy tools and consumables, which in turn would allow the volunteer group led by Simon Braidman to carry out the clearance and bracken suppression work themselves, rather than using paid contractors. Simon is very keen that this work be done by his team, since it is better done in small steps throughout the year rather than as single massive onslaughts, and is best done by people who know the area and its botany well. He is doing a great job of keeping on top of the maintenance and additional clearance work, as a site visit by the whole steering committee on 16th July 2014 confirmed.

Since we are now confident that we won't need to pay for outside contractors to do additional work on the site, we don't need to hold money in reserve for that purpose, hence the request to transfer some of the money to Equipment and Materials for use on the Nature Trail.

Best Wishes    Steve

On 12th September 2014 Laura replied: Ok, Stephen – that’s fine.


23rd September 2014: Meeting with Hazel Ogilvie

She had useful stuff on Eliza Brightwen and on Clutterbucks Brewery.

On Eliza Brightwen I asked for two pictures, one of her and one of the house "The Grove" to be scanned for display, and two articles about her to be scanned for information.
The image of Eliza was scanned as an independent file and is in the relevant folder. The image of the house is part of the Country Life article.
Country Life 1969 on Eliza Brightwen
Optima article 2005 on Eliza Brightwen

On Clutterbucks Brewery I asked for two pictures, one of the brewery itself and one of the delivery horse and dray, to be scanned for display (yes, done - in relevant folder), and four items - three articles and a planning application - to be scanned for information. One was about a breed of racing pigeon that Mr Clutterbuck developed and which became very popular.
1955 article about the pigeon breed
1978 article about the brewery
1994 article about the brewery
1994 planning application

I also made these notes at the time: Barber, Norman (1981) "Where have all the breweries gone?" gives this information:
Thomas Clutterbuck and Co. founded circa 1773
Brewing ceased in 1916, all beer being purchased from Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton Ltd. until 1923 when they were taken over by the Cannon Brewey Co. Ltd.

While an article in the Harrow Observer of April 28th 1994 describes how the development of flats on the site began in 1988 but then stopped, the site lying derelict, but is reported in this issue as restarting with the intention to sell the units in early 1995.

1st October 2014: Volunteer time on Bluebell Heath project

Simon sent me a spreadsheet with volunteer names and times tabulated. I have saved this in \Grant applications\Stanmore Common Bluebell Heath 11110201\Volunteer time\Simon spreadsheet volunteer hours 14100101.xlsx

I will use this and the working party reports to update my spreadsheet HNCF\Personnel matters\Volunteer time at Stanmore Common\Stanmore Common volunteer time {date}.xlsx


15th October 2014 Bluebell Heath Committee meeting

To official minutes from Margaret Huitson

Notes after meeting in red><


> Can anyone talk with me at Harrow Museum: Dear Stephen; I am led to believe that you are the lead in the Stanmore Common Restoration Project and will be showing an exhibition at the Museum from January to March 2015.  I am currently arranging our talks programme for next year and would be most grateful if you or a member of your team would be able to give a talk to coincide with the exhibit.  The dates I have available are:
Tuesday 3rd March
Tuesday 17th March
Tuesday 31st March
Our talks are from 2.00-3.00pm with 15-30 minute Q&A session thereafter.  We are able to provide you with a laptop, digital projector and screen for a presentation, if required.  If you would let me know of your preferred date, as soon as possible, I would be most grateful. I look forward to hearing from you. With many thanks and kindest regards Amanda

Amanda Tristram
Events & Business Officer
Headstone Manor Museum
Pinner View
Harrow HA2 6PX
Yes Simon and John Winter will do the talk - I'm not needed. I wrote to Amanda to this effect on October 16th 2014.


For the Harrow Council small grant, I need to know what areas at Stanmore Common have been cut by hand in the period 1st April 2014 to 30th September 2014. Give me a very rough percentage:
Cerrislande
Oakmead
Holly Brook Rise
Bluebell HeathGuided walks





My email to Simon of 13th October 2014: Hi Simon;

I need to report attendance at guided walks etc. for the Harrow Council Small Grant mid term report.

Most of your walks are described in your lovely reports but I don't have reports for these events:

Bat walk on 1st May 2014
Walk and picnic on 7th June 2014

Can you tell me the numbers who attended these events when we meet at the Bluebell Heath meeting on Wednesday.

Thanks   Steve



Financial

Leslie's report shows that remailing balances in the various budgets are:

Now         With upcoming costs subtracted
COST OF PRODUCING LEARNING MATERIALS 1373.54 1373.54
EQUIPMENT & MATERIALS 3149.33 -567.79
EVALUATION 56.44 56.44
EXPENSES FOR VOLUNTEERS 14.81 14.81
PUBLICITY & PROMOTION 680.52 -172.48
RECRUITMENT 0.76 .76
REPAIR & CONSERVATION WORK
In March 2014 we changed the description of this category to specifically allow costs associated with the use of volunteers, and purchase of tools to allow volunteers to do the work.
1625.44 1625.44
TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEERS 982.80 64.00
TRAVEL FOR VOLUNTEERS 320.00 94.20
PROFESSIONAL FEES 240.00 0.00
CONTINGENCY 0 0.00
INFLATION 0 0.00
TOTAL 8443.64 2488.92

The obvious upcoming costs are:

Publicity and promotion:
£700 for 1000 copies of an A3 nature trail leaflet. It would be nice to print more than 1000.
Website hosting: Approx £8.50 per month for months March 2013 to April 2015 inclusive - 18 months in all = £153

Equipment and materials:
Nature trail hardware costs including VAT
Posts £2049.12
Roundels £654
Information panel £864
Postfix cement £150

Training for volunteers:
John  Bulger chainsaw course: allow £918 including VAT

Professional fees:
The entire £240 including VAT should be paid to the Museum/History archive

Travel for volunteers:
On 21st March 2014 Laura Butcher agreed that Simon Braidman's driving to and from the site could be claimed and suggested a rate of between 35 and 45 pence per mile. From Simon's reports I calculate that he has visited Stanmore Common on Bluebell Heath business 30 times between that date and 1st October 2014 (195 days inclusive). The distance is 7.27 km one way (measured on computer screen map) and there are 0.621371192 miles in a kilometre. So if we refund at 40 pence per mile we should pay Simon 30 * 2 * 7.27 * 0.621371192 * 0.4 = £108.42. We should pay this now.

If this mileage continues at the same rate until the end of the grant period (end April 2015, or a further 211 days) then we'll pay Simon a further 211 * 108.42 / 195 = £117.32

Simon and John Winter want to buy a Slasher of the type John Hollingdale has. John Hollingdale emailed: Hi Steve/John, Here are the links to 2 websites that have the Silverline Slasher.  The first one is much cheaper at the present at £3.65 + VAT. I am not sure if it a special offer or something. The amazon one is £7.99 inc VAT. Either way they are not expensive. They will need sharpening when you get them as they are made a bit on the blunt side. John
 
http://www.mpdirect.co.uk/p/8926/silverline-800mm-weed-slasher?gclid=CPvT6pqBz74CFcLItAodY3YAlA
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ATKINSON-QUALITY-CHOPPER-SLASHER-GARDENING/dp/B00MPNO2DG/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1413484985&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=silverline+slasher
 

I emailed back on October 18th: Hi all; The two links are to similar but non-identical items. If John H's one works well we should get two of the same make. What is that? All the best   Steve



Exhibition - this is notes from 16th July 2014 with notes made afterwards:

The display boards should show the history of the site, a pictoral history of the project, and perhaps some panels about the nature trail.
This would be the logical place to put a digital picture frame showing images along the trail. I think we could do this supporting the frame with wires from the top of the frame, and velcro on the frame itself to hold it tightly - plus security lock to prevent it being stolen. I assume lockable digital picture frames exist? We agreed that the picture frame would show a series of stills of the nature trail, not a movie.
Previously Alison had said to use A3 Foamex panels, but now she showed us  A2 panels and said that they worked fine in the layout that she described before: 11 A3 boards in the format: 3 in landscape mode along the top, then 5 in portrait mode along the middle, then 3 more in landscape mode along the bottom. In fact she says that one can fit four A3 boards in landscape mode across the display - so maximum would be 13 boards: 4 in landscape mode along the top, then 5 in portrait mode along the middle, then 4 more in landscape mode along the bottom. On 22nd October I checked and yes, 4 a2s do fit in landscape mode.

On October 22nd I noticed that they have set up a second small display board 1130mm wide by 835 mm high behind the "fish tank" case, so this would be perfect for John's soil poster.

Alison will send the standards on text size and font. She'll also send some examples of previous panels including the museum logo, although it is not necessary to show the museum logo, but it IS necessary to show Harrow Council logo.

We've now agreed that John will have the big "aquarium" style display cabinet for the soil display. He could perhaps have one or two sprigs of artificial heather. He'll have two digital picture frames (which he will provide) showing plants of the woodland and plants of the open areas. Then the three-shelf cabinet will be for everything else (see above for images).

One multi-shelf display cabinet (probably the smaller of the two, see below) would concentrate on the natural history of Bluebell Heath. The left hand 30 cm or so would be devoted to geology. On the back (perhaps additionally curving around to the left hand side) we'd have a full-scale printed stratigraphy with the Stanmore Gravels at the top. Trays on the shelves would show examples of the strata - so I guess that means Stanmore Gravel at the top, Claygate beds, and London Clay. John Winter is responsible for collecting the soil samples.

The rest of the bottom shelf would show plants of Bluebell Heath. This is why the smaller of the two display cabinets would be better, because the plants are a significant part of what we are showing, and they'd be lost if they were at ground level in the larger display cabinet. We could have:
Imitation heather
Gorse - I imagine that cuttings of real gorse woulld last 2 weeks in water - or perhaps indefinitely if sprayed with lacquer - test this!
Margaret spoke about an article about how gorse was collected to be used to burn at the Kiln. She will send me this.
Pictures of other notable plants e.g. hard fern
Dry bracken fronds?

The middle shelf would show ground level animals. We could have:
Plaster casts of roe and muntjak prints. John and Simon say that they also see prints of fallow deer - can they get some plaster casts?
Real fox skull, and plaster cast of fox print
Real badger skull
Real rabbit skull
Grass snake shed skin
Pictures of butterflies, mounted to look vaguely realistic without pretending to be real John Winter agreed to create these
Any dead insects we collect that will look OK for 3 months - grasshoppers, crickets, bees etc.
Snail shells - John Winter has brown lipped snail shells.
John Winter sent some lovely images of "solitary bees that I came across on New Heath (on 22nd June 2014). They were on the northern edge of the footpath that runs through it." They are saved as 14062204 and 14062205. On 20th October 2014 John Dobson emailed that they were of genus Lasioglossum.


The top shelf would show wildlife of treetops and the sky. We could have:
Twig of Scotch Pine - I imagine that real cuttings would last 2 weeks in water - or perhaps indefinitely if sprayed with lacquer - test this!
Our imitation birds eggs
A nest
Digital picture frame showing birds we see on Bluebell Heath
Something on bats. Margaret will ask Wendy Knight for bat stuff to display.
At the Harrow in Leaf show on 24th August 2014 Margaret introduced me to Wendy; yes she will provide images of the bats likely to be found at Stanmore Common, some bat droppings (!) and will think of other items that might be included. She will not be going away over Christmas. Her email is <wendyknight23@btinternet.com>.
Margaret confirmed that Wendy will be providing pictures of bats and some bat droppings.

The other multi-shelf display cabinet and the single layer display cabinet would show items of the theme "human activity on Stanmore Common". The topic for which we had the most items / was most interesting would go in the single layer cabinet. At present we are thinking this would be highwaymen. Ideas:

Highwaymen (we agreed we did want such a display)
Imitation pistol
Relevant clothes?
Other stuff from Harrow museum?
Contemporary money - real or imitation Yes I should buy some of this
We can show the evidence "On the 3d of December last, as I was going from London to Watford in the Watford diligence, I was stopt on Stanmore Common ; as the chaise was going on, I heard a voice say, Have you any body within? the driver answered in the negative; I apprehended the person that enquired wanted somebody in the diligence; I put down the fore-glass, upon which two men came up to the chaise, one on the one side and the other on the other; the man on my right hand said, Be quick; understanding what the intention of the expression was, I gave him
half a guinea and a sixpence;..."

 On 26th October 2014 I bought a Victorian fake Georgian half guinea. One side, showing George III, looks real enough. The site, Coincraft, says "Every week we have someone bring in a Guinea or Half Guinea token and we have to tell them that they are not real. It started in the 1800’s with a man called Kettle, who made gold looking brass copies of the King George III Spade Guinea and Half Guinea. The story is that an actress used to throw these to the audience at the end of her performance. The audience was to respond by throwing real Gold Guineas back. Is this true or not, I just don’t know. But over the years a vast number of imitations were made, none of which were meant to pass as real Gold coins. A number even had advertising on them and were obviously given out as a sort of store card."

On the same day I initiated purchase of a real 1758 sixpence.

Map showing main roads over Stanmore Common where highwaymen operated

Rabbit warrens
Stuffed or imitation rabbit
Picture of the Fox Earth
Contemporary drawing of warriners.
There are two in the British Museum catalog. Both saved in \Warrens. One is from Royal 10 E IV France, S. (Toulouse?), last quarter of the 13th century or 1st quarter of the 14th century. See <http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=32624>. The other is from Yates Thompson 13, Book of Hours, Use of Sarum ('The Taymouth Hours') origin England, S. E.? (London?), 2nd quarter of the 14th century. See <http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=29073>. Both are free of copyright restrictions but British Library should be acknowledged. The latter is better because it is from the London area.

Eliza Brightwen
Photo of her
Photo of her house
Display of her books (I have 4 - one contemporary and three new reprints).
 See above for images from Hazel Ogilvie. I found a better picture of The Grove in "Stanmore and Harrow Weald Past and Present" by Don Walter (2007) ISBN 978-0-7509-4263-8. It is identified as "from Harrow Local History Collection. On 5th November 2014 Hazel Ogilvie emailed to confirm that we could use it.

The kiln on Common Road
I scanned an image of the kiln from "Stanmore and Harrow Weald Past and Present" by Don Walter (2007) ISBN 978-0-7509-4263-8. It is identified as "from Harrow Local History Collection, so presumably Hazel Ogilvie could give permission to use it. We may use this, depends on whether Margaret finds the article about furze from Stanmore Common being used to feed the kiln.

Clutterbuck's brewery
Photo of the brewery as it is now
Photo of the brewery when it was working
Photo of Brewers pond
Photo of  The Wolf Inn, Southall
on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/81447106@N05/7560940858/in/photolist-cnva1q-cvgc4G-cvgcK7-cp8mLw-cw8Nih and saved as "\Exhibition\Clutterbucks Brewery\The Wolf Southall original.tif"  John Dobson found this. The information on Flickr says it was taken in 1900. It is copyright, all rights reserved, so on 26th October 2014 I sent a Flickr mail message to southallboard52@yahoo.co.uk asking if we could show it.
Bottles from the brewery John has the suspected beer bottle found on the Common. He will come in to the museum on Tuesday October 21st to have a look at the glass fronted cabinet and give the bottle to Alison. She will take it up to the museum of London on Wednesday and ask their opinion of whether it is a beer bottle.

Invasive foreign species are brought in by humans
John Winter has a signal crayfish from Brewers Pond that he made into a display item
We could also have a picture of Japanese knotweed
John Winter has some big swan mussel shells; these come under this heading because they are introduced along with fish when ponds are stocked.

We would also have collections to pass around to children. Possibilities:
Alison reported that the museum now has a children activities table. It has lids on top that can be lifted to reveal spaces that can be filled with items to handle (we could either simply pour an item in, e.g. pebbles, or put the item in a jar and label it "to be opened only when the activity area is supervised") and drawers that can hold activity sheets. Alison will send a photo and dimensions of the spaces.
Beech mast - needs to be collected now. Simon and the team will do this.  Yes, both Simon's group and John and Mary have some
Sycamore seeds - needs to be collected now. Simon and the team will do this. John Winter will collect some from home
Acorns of English and Turkey oak, also knopper and other oak galls. Margaret will do this.
Scotch Pine needles and cones.
Swan mussel shells - Simon and the team will do this.
Banded snall shells - Simon and the team will do this.
We could also have nice rounded pebbles from the site.

Margaret has a nice collection of horse chestnuts - these are not found on Bluebell Heath but we agreed that if she collected sweet chestnuts as well they could be compared.

We would also have the two plastic skulls to pass around as safer and more robust than real ones. We have plastic roe deer and buzzard skulls.

We also need to work with Alison to create activity sheets for children:
Word search - I should create a list of words; it would be good to choose words for which we can have an image in the margin.
Spot the difference: two drawings of a wood, differing in a number of aspects (woodpecker is in one but not the other, etc.)
Join the dots to make a picture of a plant. Initially we said bluebell, but Simon pointed out that that is rather complicated. I suggested wood sorrel.
We agreed to have a scene with a buzzard and brown long eared bat in the sky, and a wood mouse on the ground. I should send images of these to Alison so that she can hand them to the artist.
Sketch of banded snail - children to colour it in after looking at examples in display cabinet
We thought a butterfly and a dragonfly would be better. John Winter said that he could create line drawings to be coloured in from real images.
On October 19th I emailed John Winter: Hi John - for the drawing to be coloured in, here's my dragonfly image, as I'm sure you know it's a Broad Bodied Chaser. John Dobson should also be sending you an image. You were also going to do a peacock butterfly. Whichever dragonfly you choose, can you print a nice life size glossy image to mount over the heather in the same way that we are mounting the butterflies, so that those kids who want to colour it in lifelike have one to look at? All the best   Steve 
John sent first tries - which looks fine to me - of a peacock butterfly on October 20th 2014 and of a Broad-bodied chaser (based on my image 08061327) on 21st October 2014.

At the pub evening on 29th July 2014 Margaret Huitson gave me a copy of an information and puzzle sheet for kids from Butterfly Conservation.

Alison described how we need to provide a laminated sheet for the adults who are supervising the child activities, describing the various items.

Digital picture frames - I want one for the nature trail (which should be lockable), one for ground level plants and animals, one for birds, bats and insects of the air.
I looked at digital picture frames on October 27th. Only Currys/PC world had any. The bst was an 8" one by Logic, £35, lockable using a slot on the back (so would interfere with it lying flat on a panel display). John Lewis said that they were a Christmas item so would de on sale from mid November.
I went back to John Lewis on 1st December - no, they don't sell digital picture frames.

We agreed to meet at 10AM on Monday 5th January 2015 with our material.

A few days before the opening we need to sand a complete set of the objects we are displaying to Alison.

List of invites for the private view on Thursday 15th January 2015 should go to Alison by the end of November. We should include the Mayor (but say no speech required). The space holds 50 but we can invite more than this since not all will turn up at once.


17th October 2014: Alison Torbitt on the exhibition

Hi Steve, Art cart I have had a chat with Hailey (our education assistant), who designs all of the art cart material.

She would charge £75 for a full day working on the resource material She also has other craft activities for under 10's and early years based on the exhibition, such as full day workshops which would be charged at £100 for her to lead, or  these could be simplified to become self-led activities. Some of these activities could also be taken as outreach at local libraries if that is something that would be of interest?

Hailey has also suggested a family fun day perhaps focused on butterflies and snails where various craft activities/hunts/games/interactives that could take place? For which the cost would be £200 including the preparation and organisation. And if you need her to design fliers and marketing for this event there would an extra charge. The Museum is able to supply the materials and pay for all the print runs - including the exhibition panels etc. and then put the costs together and issue you with an invoice if that makes things easier?

See below on this.

I have attached an email with the photographs of the art cart- there are six compartments, not eight as I had thought - but I've taken photographs with the ruler in shot so you have an idea of the dimensions.


Exhibition I know I need to get you the ethical guidelines for exhibitions, I will do that as soon as possible. Just to give you some idea of what we've done before: The way Don Water has just done the exhibition, he sent me the text and photographs and I designed the panels myself, but if you are happy to do the design work then I just need to sign off on it and add the Council logo, and that's fine. For his exhibition we have eleven 'Bespoke Rigid Plastic Signage Rigid Plastic Signage (h)420 x(w)594 mm Single Sided 3mm Thick(Rigid Plastic Signage )' from Easierprint, which came to:

11 at £15.47 each = £170.17
Delivery £8.99
VAT £35.83
Total includfing VAT 214.99

We have displayed one landscape on the display board above the small display case, then one the curved board there are three on the top row (including the title panel) and four underneath, with three of the panels upstairs. The exhibition prior to this one we had 5 portrait A2 panels, 7 landscape A2 panels and 4 A4 portrait panels, which came to:

Bespoke Rigid Plastic Signage Rigid Plastic Signage (h)594 x(w)420 mm Single Sided 3mm Thick(Rigid Plastic Signage )      5  at £15.47
Bespoke Rigid Plastic Signage Rigid Plastic Signage (h)420 x(w)594 mm Single Sided 3mm Thick(Rigid Plastic Signage )     7 at £15.47
Bespoke Rigid Plastic Signage Rigid Plastic Signage (h)297 x(w)210 mm Single Sided 3mm Thick(Rigid Plastic Signage )     4 at £3.87
Subtotal £201.12
Delivery £8.99
VAT £42.02
Total including VAT £252.13

For this one we again used a landscape A2 panel on the display board over the small cabinet, then we had three A2 landscape panels on the top row of the curved board, in the middle row we had 5 portrait A2 panels and on the bottom row 4 A2 panels, with the A4 panels upstairs surrounding a print of a map. I hope that has helped give you some idea of what can be done.



28th October 2014: Using Hailey for childrens activities

On 26th October 2014 I emailed the steering committee: Hi all; Alison Torbitt emailed: Hi Steve, Art cart I have had a chat with Hailey (our education assistant), who designs all of the art cart material.

She would charge £75 for a full day working on the resource material. She also has other craft activities for under 10's and early years based on the exhibition, such as full day workshops which would be charged at £100 for her to lead, or  these could be simplified to become self-led activities. Some of these activities could also be taken as outreach at local libraries if that is something that would be of interest?

Hailey has also suggested a family fun day perhaps focused on butterflies and snails where various craft activities/hunts/games/interactives that could take place? For which the cost would be £200 including the preparation and organisation. And if you need her to design fliers and marketing for this event there would an extra charge. The Museum is able to supply the materials and pay for all the print runs - including the exhibition panels etc. and then put the costs together and issue you with an invoice if that makes things easier? 

This sounds good, but we might want to talk to her to get a clearer idea of what is proposed and make it more specific to Bluebell Heath - butterflies and snails are a bit general. Shall I try and set up a meeting where we can discuss this - probably during the day rather than in the evening?

Please give your thoughts   Best Wishes   Steve

28th October 2014: Message to Alison re exhibition

Dear Alison; I have finally wrestled my in tray down to empty and have started reviewing the exhibition tasks.

John Winter has generated drawings to colour in: I attach a sheet which to me looks good to go, but perhaps you would want some logos etc. added.

-------------------

We are happy to pay Hailey to generate the rest of the printed sheet art cart material - we will be responsible for the physical objects to go in the top bins. We'd like her to create:

1. A join the dots drawing. We suggest a drawing of a buzzard and a brown long eared bat in the air, and a wood mouse on the ground. I attach a PDF of real images to use as a basis for the drawings.

2. A word search puzzle. It would be nice, and give the children more to do, if the grid of the puzzle was surrounded by sketches of some or all of the things to find in the puzzle. I suggest some or all of these words:

Aspen
Jay
Roe Deer
Bluebell
Heather
Woodpecker
Foxglove
Grass snake
Buzzard
Tormentil
Redpoll
Pipistrelle
Bracken
Hawkweed
Orchid
Willow
Blackcap
Stonefly

Silver Birch
Bramble
Gorse

and I attach a PDF of real images of most of these items to use as the basis for sketches.

3. A spot the difference puzzle - a drawing of an open space with some trees, with differences such as a woodpecker on a tree in one image and not the other, a snake in the grass, a buzzard overhead... the images as above will help in the creation of this puzzle too. 

-------------------

I've circulated your message about Hailey and full day workshops and/or family fun days to the committee for their view. If they are positive then I'll try and arrange for some of us to meet Hailey to agree  what could be done.

-------------------

Did you find anything out about the bottle that John Winter found on the site?

-------------------

I need from you:

1. The museum logo

2. Your standards on text size and font for the display panels.

Best Wishes   Steve 

I sent...

John Winter's colouring in sheet as "Colouring sheet for Bluebell Heath exhibition 14102601.pdf"

Images for join the dots as "Images for join the dots puzzle 14102601.pdf"

Images for word search as "Images for word search 14102603.pdf"


Message from Alison Torbitt 28th October 2014 - style guide and logo:

 Please find attached the guide to text writing – remember, when you are designing your panels, if you are designing to an A4 page and then enlarging – just think about the text conversion.  


Exhibitions
Text used in exhibitions will meet the following specification:

•    There will be at least 70% contrast between the colour of the text and the background. Black or a dark colour on a white background will be the usual style.
•    Sans-serif typefaces will be used. Gill Sans is the museum’s standard typeface for exhibition text and other typefaces will only be used in exceptional cases.
•    We will not use italic text, condensed text, outline, or shadow text effects.
•    Wall mounted text will normally be at least 30 point, with a minimum of 25 point size.
•    We justify all text
•    We do not hyphenate words between lines
•    Sentences are never split between two sections of a display
•    Text is never placed over graphics or pictures, except for very faint background effects which do not breach the 70% contrast requirement above.
•    Curved text is sparingly employed
•    Object labels will have a text size of at least 18 points
•    Flip-book text will be at least of 14 point size

Exhibition panels will meet the following specification:
•    Surfaces will be non-reflective
•    Exhibition graphics will so far as practicable be positioned no higher than 2 metres from the floor and no lower than 750 millimetres from the floor
•    Detailed text on wall panels will so far as practicable be within the range 1.2 m to 1.6 m from the floor.


Also attached is the logo

I’m seeing Hailey today, so I’ll pass on the message and email to her.

Anything else, just let me know.  Kind regards   Alison


12th November 2014: Can TCV dig holes for nature trail bollards?

To Jack Newman <j.newman@tcv.org.uk>

Hi Jack;

OK, Stanmore Common job! We are in the process of installing a nature trail at Stanmore Common. We realize that digging the holes for the bollards is too big a job for us, and wonder if the TCV could help us.

We need 28 holes dug, 50 cm deep to accept 15 cm square bollards - so perhaps 20 cm square. I would be following you around installing the bollards, I only want your team to dig the holes.

The locations would be marked with numbered poles and I'd hand out copies of the draft text of the nature trail so your volunteers could read what we were pointing out at the various locations - and if they could suggest additional things to point out or corrections and improvements to the text, that would be very welcome.

In places the ground is London Clay and digging the hole would be very easy. In other places it is Stanmore Gravel and the digging would be much more time consuming.

Would you be able to do this? Could you quote me for the job? If you would like to meet on site to review the job then please phone me on the mobile number as below.

This is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project at Stanmore Common; if we do go ahead, the invoice would be sent to the Harrow Heritage Trust, treasurer Leslie Bolsover.

Yours hopefully    Steve

On 26th November 2014 I met Jack Newman and we walked around the  trail. We thought that three TCV days would do it, but at the time I wondered if we should budget for four and if we do it in three then use the other day for other work at the site.

On 3rd December Jack emailed suggesting three days: Hello Steve, this is my first opportunity to sit down and play with the diary…

Can I offer the following dates:

19th January 2015
2nd February 2015
16th February 2015

I am waiting on another project to confirm on other dates that I have offered in Feb/March; can I leave the forth date until I hear from them? So, I confirm that we will work 4 days on digging holes for the nature trail posts. We will help with the interpretation in terms of spotting places of interest and 'naming' certain areas close to the post sites. I hope these dates suit you. Regards,  Jack



30th November 2014: Barbara Lanning on the Kiln and gorse collection at Stanmore Common

Margaret Huitson lent me the Pinner Local History Society Newsletter 120 from Spring 2013 which contains these two articles. I have not copied the map referred to but have emailed to try and find out where to buy the digital edition referred to. Notice particularly ""One of Mary Ann's duties was to supervise the cutting of gorse to fire the kiln. One day she took a group of men to do this on Stanmore Common and, probably because it made this task easier, she rode a horse. Also out on the Common that day was Charles Blackwell who was going for a walk. It is always said that these two young people fell in love at first sight...." "Though it ceased to make bricks sometime in the late nineteenth century..."

PINNER IN 1786
At first sight, the map opposite looks rather like one of the old One Inch to the Mile Ordnance Survey maps that many of us will remember. But as you look more closely, it is immediately apparent that it is far less accurate than an Ordnance Survey map. Although the main roads in our area are shown more or less correctly, few buildings are shown — not even Pinner Church. Even the High Street is difficult to identify. The spelling of some of the place names also seems a little quirky today: Ascott, Pinners Green and Hedston.

But despite these imperfections, when it was first published in the eighteenth century, this map represented a huge advance on any of our area that had previously been published. The well-known County maps of Middlesex from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were on a much smaller scale, and they seldom bothered to show roads at all. The map is also much older than the first Ordnance Survey maps. Those only began to be published in the mid-nineteenth century.

The map is taken from a ground-breaking atlas that was published by John Cary in 1786. Its tide page describes it as Carys Actual Survey of the Country, fifteen miles round London, on a scale of one Inch to a Mile; wherein The Roads, Rivers, Woods and Commons, as well as Every Market Town, Village &c are distinguished. ...to which is added an Index of all the Names contained in the Plates. There are no less than forty of those plates, covering an area of over 800 square miles in all; so this was a huge achievement. The Atlas was sold in large numbers, but few of them survive. Many were broken up and the maps sold individually. (I was though, able to obtain a 'digital reprint' of the complete Atlas recently, for a modest £4.50.) The green colouring is not original, but was probably added by a dealer before it was sold.

The map reproduced here is just one of those forty plates. (Here it has been enlarged — the original plates each measure only six inches by three and a half inches.) The county boundary and the River Pinn are all shown accurately. The numbers 12, 13 and 14 on Uxbridge Road represent mileages from London. — the main route from Pinner to London then was via the Uxbridge Road and the Edgeware Road.    Graham Elcombe

THE KILN IN HARROW WEALD
Near the north east corner of the Cary Map, a Brick Kiln is marked. This is a reminder that up to the mid nineteenth century, just as corn was ground into flour, so bricks for building were manufactured locally. Most of Middlesex stands on clay and when I was growing up in Harrow Weald, I often heard it said that the steep drop in the land between Brookshill and the end of Clamp Hill was due to the extraction of clay to make the bricks for this kiln. Though it ceased to make bricks sometime in the late nineteenth century, the building itself was still to be seen until the 1980s.

The first owner whose name is recorded was John Bodimede, who may also have been the builder of this kiln. He, his wife Mary and their only child Mary Ann, born in 1771, lived nearby, though John Bodimede appears to have had a number of other business interests. At the age of fifty-five he was killed when, riding home from London, he fell off his horse in Kilburn. His widow carried on the business with help from her daughter. One of Mary Ann's duties was to supervise the cutting of gorse to fire the kiln. One day she took a group of men to do this on Stanmore Common and, probably because it made this task easier, she rode a horse. Also out on the Common that day was Charles Blackwell who was going for a walk. It is always said that these two young people fell in love at first sight.

Though we do not know how long the courtship lasted, there was considerable opposition to their marriage. As a worker in Clutterbuck's Brewery at the top of Stanmore Hill, Mrs Bodimede considered Charles to be of too low a station to be a husband for her child. However her opinion may have changed when she learned that Charles's maternal grandfather was a Finch, a well-known and respected family. Her consent was only given on condition that Charles left the brewery and went into partnership with her in the brick-making business. Mary Ann and Charles were married 16th April 1795 in St Mary's, Harrow on the Hill which, at the time, was the parish church for the whole of Harrow. Proof that Charles was no illiterate bumpkin is that both he and Mary Ann signed their own names in the parish register. It used to be said that other members of the Bodimede family resented the marriage and for several generations claimed that they were cheated of their rights when, on the death of his mother-in-law, Charles Blackwell inherited the whole business.

Mary Ann and Charles had ten children, the eldest was Charles who took over the business on the death of his father. However their fourth son Thomas (1894-1879) was to be the most successful. When time came for him to seek employment he joined a firm called West and Wyatt which produced pickles, sauces and condiments for the top end of the market. Then he met a lad about the same age as himself called Edmund Cross and they became good friends. In 1829 the pair bought out their employer and changed its name to their own. Thus the well-known firm of Cross and Blackwell was created. After they married both men continued to live in Harrow Weald; Cross lived at Hillside in Brookshill and Thomas at The Cedars, which stood off the Uxbridge Road, near the beginning of Oxhey Lane. The Cedars was knocked down just after the end of the Second World War to make way for the LCC housing estate but the two pillars which stood at the entrance to their drive are still there. One of the primary schools built on the estate is still called Cedars, but Blackwell, the secondary school, was renamed Hatch End High in the 1970s reorganisation.

Both families were generous in their donations to local causes. In 1805 the first Charles Blackwell took over as trustee of the Robinson Charity, which had been set up to clothe and educate the twelve poorest children in the hamlet of Harrow Weald. The family continued this interest until 1884 when it was taken over by the Charity Commissioners. Other bequests include the Harrow Weald Recreation Ground, the land to build St Anselm's Church in Westfield Park, Hatch End and numerous donations to All Saints' Church, Harrow Weald. It is very fitting that it is in the graveyard of the last named
church that the graves of Edmund Cross and Thomas Blackwell stand near to each other.

There are apparently no direct descendants of the Blackwell family living locally but there are probably still a few Bodimedes. The 1911 Census gives seventy-two people with this surname living in Middlesex though the spelling varies to include Bodemeadi, Bodemeaid, Bodimead and Bodimeade. An earlier census also includes Badymeade and Bodemad. Barbara Lanning

On 10th December 2014 Margaret brought over a letter from Barbara Lanning dated 25th November 2014:

PINNER LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY Registered Charity No 285482
44, Winslow Close, Eastcote. Pinner. Middlesex HAS 2QY
TEL : 020 - 8868 - 4353 Email : lanning44@aol.com
25th November 2014

John Hollingdale 36 Southfield Park Harrow HA2 6HE

Dear John,

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to send you the enclosed copies of the PLHS Newsletters. When we spoke about this I only offered one, but have included the following  edition as it carries quite a lot of come back about my article. Not only three people sent me reminiscences but Frank Palmer, who has long lived in Sussex, sent three coloured photographs. To get them all onto one page we had to overlap them so, if you wish to use any of them, I could send one or more of these pictures by JPEGG.

In the article which I wrote for Newsletter 120,1 did not mention that one of the Blackwell men, one of the many called Charles, wrote a history of his family. This is now out of print and all I have are some extracts which my father copied in long hand. I don't think that it says anything more about the part you are interested in. However you may find that someone locally has a copy.

As far as the acknowledgements go, I should be credited with anything from NL 120 and the various people named in NL 121 for anything that you may wish to publish or display. Frank Palmer is especially keen to have his contributions recognised. He has a wealth of material which I hope that I and my successors will be able to use in the future.

With very best wishes for your endeavours.     Barbara (Miss Barbara Lanning)

I replied by email saying: "I will certainly acknowledge your article as the source of the information about furze cutting and the kiln." - so make sure that I do!




30th November 2014: Maria Crastus and children's activities?

I emailed Alison Torbitt: Hi Alison;

Where are we with the activities for children at the exhibition? I ask because a new recruit, Maria Crastus, is interested in helping set up the exhibition and an obvious task for her would be to create some of the children's activities.

If Hailey (what is her surname?) is already committed to generating all the material then we'll leave her to get on with it. But if some of the sheets, could be passed over to Maria to deal with, that would help spread the load.

Alternatively Maria could be responsible for the physical activities at the art cart and generating the information sheets to teachers that accompany those activities.

Tell me your thoughts please.

All the best    Steve

On December 1st Alison replied: Hi Steve,  

I’m going to have to refer you to Hailey on that one (her surname is Baxter) – her email is haileybaxter@hotmail.com as I have no idea where she is with the task, sorry.

She was briefed a few weeks ago, so she may have already begun (probably has), as it isn’t long now until we close for Christmas. I don’t know how far she has got, how many she’s done, or if she has prepared instructions for each activity – but she probably has generated those for any she has done.

But please get in touch with her, see what she has done, and chat about where Maria could take over, I’m sure there are probably things for her to do.

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘being responsible for the physical activities’, what physical activities are these? Do you mean the things you’re putting in the top of the cart?

The activity sheets and information are for families to use, not teachers (just wanted to be clear on the audience), the purpose of the cart is for a family to come in, have a look through the drawers and parents and children to use it together to learn and play, and interact with the exhibition.

Alison


On 1st December I emailed Hailey: Dear Hailey;

I gather that you are generating activity sheets for children for our exhibition that starts on the 8th of January. Thank you! I just wanted to check that you were on schedule to create the material by then. I hope that Alison has passed over to you...

A sheet showing a butterfly and a dragonfly to colour in
A list of words to use in a word search, and some accompanying images
A sheet with images of buzzard, bat and wood mouse to use as a basis for a join the dots

and we also suggested a spot the difference puzzle.

We do have a new volunteer, Maria Crastus, who is interested in helping with the exhibition. I was thinking of asking her to think about what will go in the compartments at the top of the art cart and then creating the sheets for parents to look at that accompany those items. Does that sound like a plan, and if so, would you be able to meet Maria to co-ordinate your activities?

Yours hopefully    Steve

She replied on the same day: Hello Steve, Yes I have been working on the sheets for the exhibition. The word searches are done I'm just working on the dot-to-dots at the moment. It would be great to meet Maria! I am free to meet next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday if she is free on any of those days? Best wishes, Hailey

I wrote to Maria on Dec 2nd: Hi Maria; You said that you would like to be involved in the exhibition about the Bluebell Heath project at Headstone Manor that opens right after the new year. I wonder, would you be interested in creating material for the "art cart" for children's activities?  It looks like this...

The drawers have work sheets for children to do, and Hailey Baxter at the museum is in the process of creating these from suggestions and material that we supplied (a colour in sheet, a join the dots, a word search and a spot the difference). However the boxes on top can contain jars with collections of things, and we could provide sheets enabling (quoting Alison Torbitt at the museum) "a family to come in, have a look through the drawers and parents and children to use it together to learn and play, and interact with the exhibition."

So far we have only got as far as listing what we could have collections of, with these vague ideas...

Various seeds:
Beech mast - good to eat, carried by squirrels
Sycamore - wind distributed
Acorns of English and Turkey Oak - compare cup, also some oak galls
Scotch pine needles and cones
Perhaps horse and sweet chestnuts, although there are no horse chestnuts on Stanmore Common

Pebbles from Stanmore Beds - rounded, like pebbles on a beach, evidence that they were deposited as a beach

We also have a plastic skull of a deer and of a buzzard; these would be great for children to handle but we probably could only have them available when the cart was supervised or they'd soon go missing

If you are interested could you contact Hailey so you can liase about creating the whole experience? She emailed me yesterday that she was free "next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday" - I don't know if that means this week - in which case Tuesday has already gone - but I'm sure there are other times available. Her email is <haileybaxter@hotmail.com>; I don't have a phone number but the general museum number is 020 8863 6720.

To give you an idea about what we are showing I've sent a big PDF by Hightail - this shows the boards that appear on a big curved display.

Below I show the rough notes about what we'll show in the cabinets. The more the children's activities get them to look at and think about what's in the cabinets and on the big display, the better.

Tell me what you think!  Yours hopefully   Steve


Digital picture frames

John Winter will use his own

We have one
Robert Stone can lend us one.

John Winter emailed on 1st December 2014: Hi Steve, does the number you quote include the 2 that I have?  I have a Sony DPF D 80  and my daughter has a Sony frame which I have found out is smaller than mine. As you know, I was planning to have both in the small display but as they do not match, I am considering using only one. If I do there will be another spare, as long as it will be in a cabinet.

Do we actually need more than that?



14th December 2014: Updated thoughts on exhibits

At ground level
Skulls
Shed grass snake skin
Perhaps digital picture frame of the animals alive, images taken from anywhere.

Animals of the skies and treetops
sprig of Scots Pine
birds nest with fake blackbird eggs (note John Winter also has a birds nest -can decide which is more likely to be blackbird)
fake siskin and buzzard eggs
bat stuff
On 31st December 2014 Wendy Knight sent images of various bats with the note "The photographer is Hugh Clark - The Bat Conservation Trust.BCT have said if the photos are needed for another event they must be contacted first."

She will provide Tawny Owl pellets and bat droppings from Common Pipistrelle. I suggested that she drop them off at John and Margaret Hollingdale's.

Highwaymen
Fake gun
trial record
money
map showing roads

Gorse collection and the Kiln
Image of the Kiln
sprig of gorse

Rabbit warrens
Old image of rabbit warrens from illustrated manuscript
Present day image of Fox Earth - I like 13102910 best
Stuffed rabbit

Eliza Brightwen
"Quiet Hours with Nature", closed
"Wild Nature won by Kindness" - open at p46
"Inmates of myHouse and Garden" - open at page 155
Picture of her
Picture of  The Grove house
http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GENUKI/1997-04/0861565533 says house was demolished in 1979, and is by someone who "worked there for a year in 1979
just before it was pulled down." so should be reliable.

Clutterbucks Brewery
Picture of the brewery cart
Picture of the brewery as it is now - I'll use 14102204
Mussel shells
Signal crayfish


Bracken and gorse will probably go in John Winter's display case but I should have some to provide to him. He has taken two sprigs of heather for his display, and will put butterflies and the dragonfly on them.

I should either include heather in "Ground level" - in which case I should have gorse and bracken too - or if John is showing gorse and bracken, I can use my 3 sprigs of heather in a bit specifically on heathland restoration, seed planting.



In the art cart

John Winter has:
Beech mast
Sycamore
Sweet chestnut
Horse chestnut

I have
Plastic buzzard skull
Plastic roe deer skull
and I'll provide stones from the Stanmore gravel

I need to check if John and Margaret have acorns


16th December 2014: Test of laquer on Scots Pine and gorse

I cut twigs, put their ends in water at once. Took them home and sprayed them with laquer, then put them in a vase without water.

On January 4th 2015 I cut new twigs and laquered them for the actual display, so from the condition of the ones done on Dec 16th I can judge when I need to replace the ones in the museum.


15th January 2015: Private View at museum

Of the wine we bought, we were left with 3 "Chasseur" and 3 "Costieres de Nimes".

In the main buy, I got 3 "Chasseur", 2 Chianti Riserva and 3 "Costieres de Nimes".


22nd January 2015: First draft of roundel art

I created a set of roundel art and sent it to those on the committee only with this message:

Hi all; here's a first try at art for the Stanmore Common nature trail roundels. Note that the PDF has three pages. My plan is to treat the three arms: the long way out, the short way out, and the return leg - as three independent sections with independent numbers. So people following the long trail would follow the long trail arrows (red in my draft) and pass numbered posts 1 through 10, then the next post they reach (at the western end of the new scrape) would be Return Trail number 1 with a return trail arrow (orange in my draft).

People following the short trail would follow the short trail arrows (blue in my draft) and pass numbered posts 1 through 10, then the next post they reach (at the western end of the new scrape) would be Return Trail number 1 with a return trail arrow (orange in my draft).

The return trail would have numbered posts 1 though 7.

I thought this better than numbering all the locations on both trails and the return leg in one sequential series, however one assigned the numbers one would get a confusing gap or skip in the series for one trail as it came to the meeting point at the western end of the new scrape.

The colours of the arrows and numbers match the colours chosen for the three parts of the trail in the display at Headstone Manor. There's nothing essential about following the scheme used there but it's no worse than any other scheme so we might as well be consistent.

Please have a think and give me your thought at the pub on Tuesday, then I'll revise if necessary and pass out to the whole forum for their input.

 All the best   Steve

23rd January 2015: End of grant

From: Stephen Bolsover [mailto:stephenbolsover@gmail.com]
Sent: 23 January 2015 07:33
To: Laura Butcher
Subject: YH-11-02351

Dear Laura;

I'm sorry that you were not able to come to the Private View of the exhibition describing the Bluebell Heath project at Headstone Manor (your ref. YH-11-02351). The exhibition itself runs until April 26th so if you are in the area please do have a look.

Could you tell me the timing of the end of our grant - I've looked at paperwork from HLF and all I find is generalities rather than specific dates for our project. What is the last date on which we can...

1. Commit funds that can then be claimed from HLF

2. Actually spend funds  that can then be claimed from HLF

3. Put in the claim for the final 10% of the funds?

The posts for the nature trail are going in now - 13 of the total 28 were emplaced on Monday Jan 19th - but we are behind on this part of the project and I need to know what the exact timescale needs to be.

Best Wishes   Steve

Reply same day: Dear Stephen,  Apologies for not making it to your private view. Unfortunately I had another commitment that evening. I hope everything went well.

 Your grant expiry date is 30th September 2015. We need to have received your completion form, evaluation report, and all invoices you want to claim against before this point. If we receive this information after this date, our system will not let us process it until I have raised a memo to my line manager, had it agreed, sent out a formal letter and changed the date on the system (so we do urge people to get their final forms in on time).

I have made sure the completion report is up on your portal for you to look at. Please submit this at least 2 weeks before your Grant Expiry Date, as frequently we need further information from our grantees or to clarify some points about the project, and this can take time.

Please note, you cannot claim any further funds from the HLF after the completion report has gone in.

 I hope this is helpful.  Laura

Laura Butcher
Grants Officer
Heritage Lottery Fund
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR
Phone: 020 7591 6135
Email: laurabutcher@hlf.org.uk
Website: www.hlf.org.uk


My message 3rd February 2015: Dear Laura; What I really need to know is the last date on which we can be invoiced and still claim against this grant. Best Wishes   Steve

She replied 3rd February 2015: You need to submit all invoices to us by 30th September 2015 and it is up to you to manage the deadline for receiving these before then.


Beginning 28th February 2015: Information panel for Nature Trail

Create standard grid-based Corel map showing John Dobson's map. To place it correctly, I need two standard points.

Main southern E_W path meets path from bridge at TQ 15820 94095 or Corel point 582  409.5
Jakes path crosses Holly Brook at TQ 15866 93627 or Corel point 586.6 362.7

I pasted John Dobson's map in and positioned it using these two points. I saved this as file "Stanmore Common John Dobson map 00000000.cdr" and added the boundary.

I then copied this to a new file "Stanmore Common Nature trail 00000000.cdr". I drew in the nature trail and placed all the numbered points.

Colours used in SCP nature trail board:
   Woodland and overall fill = 140 201 102 with a thin pure red boundary line
  Open grassland = 176 255 127
  Tarmac = 153 0 204 (this is the standard purple in Corel)

  On the Bentley Priory nature trail map I did lakes with black outline and pure blue fill (0 0 255)

I worked on getting most of the items in. I copied to a second page in the Corel file, that does not have the John Dobson map in it,. then pasted the boundary in from "Stanmore Common John Dobson map 00000000.cdr" and gave it the fill colour as above.

Roads traced on "Stanmore street map 00000000.cdr" then pasted on.

I then adjusted the edges of the whole common to align perfectly with the roads.

That's enough at grid reference scale - from this point I'll work at A0 scale.

Images to use:
  09050201 Muntjak faun All Saints churchyard by Sue Morris Janauary 2013.jpg
  Buzzard by Mrs Airwolfhound Creative Commons.jpg
  Apple: 13050702 or 14041304 or 14041307
  Heather and gatekeepers:  11072511
  Devils Bit Scabious: 12091901

Draft created and distributed 3rd March 2015. I asked for comments to reach me by 5PM Tuesday March 17th

Robert Stone replied on March 3rd: Brilliant, Steve, I love it! My only hesitation is about having the dog walking notice on this board. It gives a rather negative tinge to the notice, and the dog walkers won't be doing the nature trail anyway, so they may not look at the board. Maybe the dog notice should be separate, as in Bentley Priory. Best regards, Robert

John Winter replied on March 6th: Hi Steve, I think it looks great. I have only two comments and one query. I notice that the long mound and Fox Earth Mound are not shown was this agreed and I haven’t picked up on it earlier? My two comments relate to badgers and dogs. Given that Claire has found sings of organised dog fights at Pear Wood should we keep quiet about the fact that they might be around? The second is regarding the last dog related comment. Dogs will be dogs; it’s down to the owners to control them so I think it should read “You shall not let your dog act aggressively”, etc. Other than that, I like it very much and look forward to seeing it at the common. Regards John

Sally Reeves commented on March 10th: At least on her print, the return trail colour is not obviously different from the Long Trail. Perhaps label each of the three trails on the map to identify them. There should be a Harrow Council logo - not big, since they contributed no money, but it is their land.

On 22nd March I emailed the steering group only: Hi John and all;

How keen are you on showing the Fox Earth on the nature trail information board? If I put it in I'll have to explain on the board that it isn't a fox den; I could do that by replacing the image of the old apple by an image of the fox earth and saying that it's a rabbit warren in the text underneath, but I don't think the image of the fox earth is as nice as the one of the apple tree. I'd rather leave it off the map.

Yes I'll take badgers off (comments please - unless I get votes for keeping badgers on I'll take them off)

I'll follow you on your edit to the dog notice. However, Robert Stone wrote: "My only hesitation is about having the dog walking notice on this board. It gives a rather negative tinge to the notice, and the dog walkers won't be doing the nature trail anyway, so they may not look at the board. Maybe the dog notice should be separate, as in Bentley Priory." What is everyone's opinion on this?

Best Wishes  Steve

On 22nd March John Dobson replied: Hello All, I agree that a badger doesn't belong on the notice board.

A couple of other comments.
- Bearing in mind that mutjac is a damaging non-native species which is listed for that reason in schedule 9 of the W&C Act, perhaps it should be substituted with a bank vole (or field vole - Simon can confirm which of them occurs at the site).
- As the London Loop is mentioned, I think tthat its route should be clear on the map.
Hope that helps. Best wishes, John Dobson


John Hollingdale wrote: Hi Steve,  I feel that the dog notice should be a separate sign. Whether the main culprit will take any notice of it is doubtful. John

John Winter replied: Hi Steve, I Think Robert may have a point also having the dog notice as a separate board will free up more space for things like the mounds. I take John Dobson’s point about the Muntjac deer. However, they are the largest mammal on the common and we aren’t trying to eradicate them so it seems strange not to mention them. John

Denis Vickers replied: Hi Steve,  If it’s a 'vote'  I agree with Claire and John Winter's comments regarding badgers and foxes.  Also regarding dog walking notice on a separate sign.  Obviously John Dobson is correct concerning Muntjac.  Would we put a stand of Japanese knotweed on the sign? I suppose the difference is deer are cute and furry.  All deer regardless of species, native or non-native, damage woodland.  It's a fact, deer were strictly controlled in Medieval Times.  It's said there are more deer roaming the countryside now than at any time in our past!  I think the big problem is Muntjac are quite well adapted to life in urban woodlands and mature gardens. All that being said, do I have a problem with muntjac being shown? Not particularly, but might be better off showing our native species, bank vole, bat of even fox (without location).  Regards, Denis

Simon Braidman replied: Hi Steve; if you want an alternative mammal Bank Vole is common on the reserve as is Woodmouse  Simon

OK so changes made 24th March 2015:

Dog rules removed

Fox earth image added: 13102910

Map enlarged a little


Generating the board

Denis Vickers emailed on 19th March: Hi Steve, Signs and frames are from Shelley Signs.  I have attached a quote from Shelley's in respect of this.  Any queries please give me a call. Regards, Denis

On 25th March 2015 I emailed Shelley Signs: Dear Rob;

Thanks for this, I will expect delivery of the roundels in 2 to 3 weeks time.

Meanwhile, I have another job I'd appreciate a quotation for. This is for a single information panel in the same style as those you have recently supplied for Denis Vickers at Harrow Council (quote 11225/RSS). This would be an A0 panel from artwork as per page 1 of attached PDF (note this is a low resolution version, if we go ahead I'd send a high resolution version). Panel to be supplied with aluminium clamp frame and vertical steel posts, all in green, as per exemplar on page 2 of attached PDF.

The PDF has 20mm blank margins, please confirm this is appropriate for the frame.

As well as a price, I'd appreciate an estimate of how long it would take to supply the panel if we ordered it in the next month.

Best Wishes   Steve


and Contract Signs: Dear Contract Signs;

We are completing work on a nature trail funded from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and need a single A0 information panel from provided artwork. I'd be grateful if you could suggest options and give prices.

I attach a PDF. The first page shows the artwork at low resolution - if we go ahead I'd send a high resolution version. The PDF has 20mm blank margins, please confirm this is appropriate.

The second two pages of the PDF show the front and back of information panels erected by Harrow Council, which it would be good to match. These have a protective metal frame, but I could not find an example on your web site of a panel with a metal frame - do you supply these? I'd want support posts as well, as in the exemplar images.

Best Wishes   Steve


I emailed Rachel Shelley saying yes go ahead on 2nd April 2015.



Generating the leaflet

Stanmore Country Park leaflet has 2680 words of which 651 is not post by post trail description
Bentley Priory leaflet has 3151 words of which 622 is not post by post trail description

I hope that I can show a good image of a water cricket. On 10th April John Dobson  said the species is Velia caprai - yes, nice Creative Commons image, saved as 13042801

Creative Commons image of narrow leaved water plantain flower saved as 12081101

I made some observations on 10th and 11th April 2015: see notes in main HNCF file.

On 13th April Howard Matthews emailed: Reproductive cones are quite normal on great horsetail, Equisetum telmateia. If your book says it does not have them, I am afraid it is incorrect. I have checked in my books to make doubly sure, as I must confess that horsetails are not my strong point! Other spp. on the common are field horsetail E. arvense and marsh horsetail E. palustre which occur at the pool on the eastern edge of the common.


Email to Shelley Signs 6th June 2015

To: Rachel Shelley <RachelS@shelleysigns.co.uk>, Richard Shelley <Richard@shelleysigns.co.uk>

Subject: Quotations 11208 and 11990

Dear Rachel and Richard;

We received the roundels (Quotation 11208) on 6th May but have not yet been invoiced.

We are still awaiting delivery of the interpretation panel (Quotation 11990) which I told you to go ahead with on 2nd April.

Our Heritage Lottery Fund grant is paying for both these items. We must make our final claim by 30th September 2015 and need some time to set out the accounts - so we really need to be invoiced promptly!

Do please invoice us for the roundels NOW.

Please tell me when we are likely to get delivery of the interpretation panel - and once we do get delivery of that, please invoice us promptly!

Best Wishes     Steve

28th July 2015: Spending the last of the "repair and conservation" money

Leslie says there is 000 remaining. Simon says no, don't spend it on another TCV day, spend it on tools. We are thinking of going to Ayletts on Saturday, August 1st. John Winter is free then.

John Hollingdale would like some seccateurs.


29th July 2015: Opening ceremony for nature trail

I emailed HNCF core: Hi all;

I'm provisionally thinking of the weekend of September 19th and 20th for an opening ceremony for the Stanmore Common nature trail / closing ceremony for the project. There's nothing else on our schedule for that weekend, by having it on a weekend we could advertise guided walks along the trail and hope to get some public attendance.

If this weekend sounds possible to people I'll see if the mayor is available. I'd invite our Heritage Lottery Fund officer since she couldn't come to the exhibition.

If by some miracle Wood Farm was handed over by then then we could have a joint event.

Thoughts please. In particular, can the Bluebell Heath core:

Simon Braidman
Neville Day
John Dobson
John Hollingdale
Margaret Huitson
John Winter

say whether they are free either of those days.

All the best   Steve

Responses:

John Hollingdale and Margaret Huitson: 19th/20th September OK with us.
John Winter: I am on holiday from the 13th to 20th September

John Williams wrote: Hi Steve; I don't know if it is relevant but there is a lot going on at Bentley Priory Museum that weekend for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. On Sunday 20th there is a special church service in the morning at St John's with the Mayor and Councillor's attending, followed by a wreath laying at the museum in the afternoon.

Simon Braidman: Sorry , we are away from 19th to 26th September.

-------------------------

OK, new suggested date is September 6th. Simon is OK for that date.

On August 11th I emailed the mayor's office: Dear Mayor's office

In July 2013 a previous mayor was kind enough to formally open the nature trail on Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, designed by the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum. We have now created another trail, on Stanmore Common, and wonder whether the mayor would be available to formally open it. We have provisionally chosen Sunday September 6th as the day for this and are hoping to use the event to publicize the Common among Harrow residents since it is at present much less well known than Bentley Priory. We plan to have events through the day - guided walks, pond dipping, scavenger hunts - and so it would be best, if possible, for the formal opening to be relatively early in the day, perhaps 11AM or so, so that the public could then  explore the now formally open trail. However whatever time the mayor was available we would be very pleased to welcome him.

Yours hopefully    Steve

I then filled out the on line form giving 10:30 as the start time, 11:00 as the time for the Mayor to arrive, 11:45 for them to leave. Our reference number AF1398986.


 See the reply email of 15th August 2015 for a PDF of the filled in form. Note that I stated that we would keep a parking space free for the mayor's car.

What we can have...
Table with exhibits
Treasure hunt
Pond dipping at Pynding Mersc
Guided walks

Margaret bought the refreshments on August 15th. John Winter will provide a fabric thing to keep flies off.

I will bring ice (not changed to any grant).

On August 16th I emailed Laura Butcher: Dear Laura; We are coming to the end of this project, I'll start on the final report on the website in the next few days and Leslie will be sending the final financial request in the next few weeks. We have completed the nature trail and are going to have a formal opening day on Sunday September 6th. The mayor of Harrow will formally declare the trail open at 11 AM and we will then have a day of events for families with guided walks, pond dipping, a treasure hunt and a display of our object collection, leaflets etc., finishing at 3PM. It would be great if you could come and meet us some time during the day and see the work that has been done on this project. Yours hopefully    Steve

As soon as I get the definite yes from the mayor's office I will advertise as widely as I can. I thought of:

Harrow Times
Harrow Observer
http://www.harrow.gov.uk/events
What's on in Harrow Twitter site
Harrow Community Radio
Laminated adverts on our reserves
Adverts in libraries
Advert at the Harrow show

I should also email councillors.

I emailed Sue Anderson on August 16th asking whether I could put an advert in the notice board outside the Civic Centre.

On August 16th I emailed the Bluebell Heath group asking if anyone could think of any other ways to advertise.