words I wrote in the last
newsletter about the works funded by the Green Grid project. The most
visible sign is the nice solid picnic tables installed in Stanmore
Country Park and Stanmore Common. These are accompanied by new rubbish
bins - I hope rubbish goes in the bins and does not get dumped around
and about them.
The nature trail at Bentley Priory is fully installed, although we
still await delivery and installation of the notice boards advertising
it; these will go up at the Old Lodge Way and Common Road entrances.
Once these are installed we will think about trying to arrange a formal
opening with a Council dignitary and the press. Leaflets describing the
trail have been disappearing from the metal dispensers (another Green
Grid item) at breakneck pace, and Yusuf Mirza is having to refill them
repeatedly. Do try out the trail, and send me suggestions for items
that should be deleted (because they are not interesting, or just
can’t be found) or items that should be added. For example, I
had not realized that the pignut in Furze Heath was so profuse or so
obviously smaller than cow parsely, and have noted that as an item that
might added in the next incarnation of the leaflet.
The bollards for the nature trail at Stanmore Country Park have all
been installed, but I have not yet fitted the roundels with the
numbers, arrows, QR tags and Green Grid logos. I have not felt that
this is urgent since, unlike at Bentley Priory, the trail is still
lacking some finger posts that are important for guiding walkers at
points where they leave the main trail. However I will install them
when I have a spare moment!
Now that the large scale clearance of trees and scrub at Bluebell Heath
on Stanmore Common is finished, we are seeking feedback on what people
think of the change and how the area should be managed in future. We
have printed some postcards that can be used for this purpose, and
these are available at the notice board at the Warren Lane car park.
Alternatively, write to Simon Braidman, the warden, at 3 Allerton Road,
Borehamwood, Herts WD6 4BT or email BH@harrowncf.org. If you have
visited the site, please respond - we need to show the Heritage Lottery
Fund that we are consulting and that people like what we’ve
done! As another aspect of publicity we manned a stand at May Day at
the Manor on May 6th, which went well on a lovely early summer day. We
gave away a good lot of leaflets and hopefully encouraged some people
to turn up at our working parties.
While larger grants and dedicated projects, such as the Heritage
Lottery Fund grant for Bluebell Heath or the Council’s Green
Grid scheme, have been instrumental in allowing some significant
improvement work on our sites, we could not generate the proposals or
continue our ongoing work without core funding. We are therefore very
pleased that the Council has awarded us £3,750 in the
2013-2014 financial year for basics such as leaflet printing and tool
purchase. This grant will also pay for one volunteer to attend one of
the one day courses on “Working with people and
teams” put on by The Conservation Volunteers. If you are
interested, have a look at the courses
on offer. At present all the
ones advertised are in Scotland, funds should be sufficient to pay for
travel and accommodation so if a course interests you, do get in touch
Meanwhile of course all the wardens have been working hard on the
sites. One of the more unusual events occurred at Pear Wood in April:
students from the Westminster Film School used the site as the location
for their short film "King
Day". This is the third short
film made at this site, it follows a retelling of Macbeth - see <http://www.flickr.com/photos/harrowncf/6844736606/in/photostream/>
and subsequent images, and a documentary
about the development threat.
Students are attracted by the otherworldly, ancient feel of the site -
which reflects its biological value as an unperturbed ancient woodland.
VICARAGE AND ALL SAINTS CHURCHYARD
Bentley Old Vicarage: Betty
reported that the Forestry
School project continued to do well and is proving popular with the
children. Some trees have been removed and Steve was thanked for this.
A new pond was being planned with assistance from the Stanmore Rotary
club. Interpretation notices were being provided through a Green Grid
Saints Churchyard: Jill
Lewis thanked Steve for the leaflet boxes that have been installed
through the Green Grid project. When the leaflets are
reprinted the email address needs updating. The Primroses have been
very good this year; however other plants have
done less well. The Celandines have been late and sparse and
Lady’s Smock and Goldilocks Buttercup have produced fewer
flowers than in some previous years.
Peter reported that most of the work has concentrated on the reopening
of Furze Heath in the northeast of the site; funded by Heritage Lottery
Fund. The first part of the first phase has been completed by the
contactor Alan Scott. Three TCV parties have booked for July, September
and October in connection with the Ragwort.
Work has also continued on the opening up the spring area using Green
Grid funds. Again Steve was commended for his excellent work on the
nature trail. Steve also thanked the Harrow Natural History Society for
their assistance with the Nature Trails
A revised Management Plan has been prepared by Denis Vickers and it was
felt to be clearly written and focused.
An issue that Peter raised was the type of fencing that would be used
between the site and the new development.
There has been a problem with fly tipping and a letter has been
prepared that can be sent to householders.
A Willow Warbler has been heard but it may have only been passing
through. The restrictions on dog walking to protect nesting birds will
be put in place.
Steve also reported that Glenthorne has been suggested as a possible
site for a Community Farm. This was raised at the meeting on 26th
February with Cllr. Keith Ferry. His long term aim is that the
Community Farm (which is now set up as a Charitable Company limited by
guarantee - Company No7424111, see www.harrowfarm.org.uk/index.html)
should be located in the Pinner Park Farm grounds. In the
interim placing the farm at Glenthorne looks possible, allowing cattle
to be kept on site throughout the year (perhaps Dexter cattle, which
are small and don't poach the land so much in winter). This
is being actively investigated, including trying to reverse an
encroachment by the owner of Glenthorne Lodge. Making the site suitable
for a Community Farm would require lots of scrub clearance, but no
mature trees would be felled. The idea is that the community farm would
be a place for school visits, horse rides for the disabled, training
etc; not a visitor attraction in the style of Aldenham Country Park.
Cllr Camilla Bath raised the issue of access from Bentley Priory into
the reserve and this was discussed.
John Williams agreed to keep the leaflet boxes on the site supplied
FARM ECOLOGY PARK
said Groundwork, a third sector organisation, intends to submit an
‘Awards for All’ funding bid to improve the site
and material relating to this has been circulated. Claire and the
Harrow Nature Conservation Forum have made it clear that they would
certainly like to be involved in the project to raise funds to improve
Newton Farm Ecology Park and increase public appreciation and
participation. As part of this, the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum
would be happy to ‘man’ a stand at one or more fun
days at the site. We usually bring tubs of pond life for children to
look at, and this will fit well with what is on offer at Newton Farm. A
list of points that the Warden and the Forum would like to see included
in the application has been submitted to Groundwork and the list is
included in the information circulated to Forum members.
A grass cut in June would fit in well with the control of the Thistles.
Also Mick Wynne was made aware that the Blackthorn needed attention.
Claire reported that following on from the unsatisfactory annual mowing
last year the Woodcraft Folk came on the 9th March to help the wardens
rake the Guide Field which was mown by mistake. The Woodcraft Folk were
thanked for their efforts.
Another group of students have been filming in the wood and they too
used the ruined cottage as a backdrop. They made several visits and
there were some long days and Claire was there to supervise throughout.
If this becomes a regular occurrence the wardens will look at
negotiating with the students to do some voluntary work at the wood.
A small number of beehives are to be put in place. However they are not
there yet as the season is very late this year.
The Wood ants were also affected by the weather to such an extent that
it was impossible to relocate a nest this year. However the existing
ants, which were causing concern due to the late spring and a greater
level of predator attack, seem to have come up in good numbers.
The pitfall traps, in the reserve for beetles and spiders, will be put
in place soon. The plan is for Claire and Rosemary to empty the traps
and deliver the contents to Edward Milner, monthly, for identification.
One TCV workday is planned shortly to carry out work on the dyke.
Work has continued on the SSSI application for Pear Wood which will go
off to Natural England.
Rosemary is leading a Grass Identification walk for the Harrow Natural
History Society on Saturday 15th June starting at 10.30am from the Wood
Lane entrance and all are welcome.
Finally the Bluebells are out now and are looking fantastic.
Dave Bolton reported that the gravel has all been used. Paths have been
repaired and the mud in front of seats has been covered. The TCV have
visited the site twice and cut back the Blackthorn and Blackberries.
Litter has been cleared as usual and a ‘deep litter clear’
has been carried out by the gate and ditch.
There are still two outstanding issues from 2011:
Firstly the fence over the ditch in the far corner needs repairing.
Secondly the open drain has still not been covered with new sleepers.
Also the outfall pipe in the park is not flowing (blocked) and Mick
Wynne was asked to look at these problems.
There was still some Section 106 money remaining for this site and it
was proposed to use some this to pollard Willows.
There has been a vast amount of frogspawn this year and a massive
growth of sedges. An area of the site is badly ridged by the machinery
used on last year’s hay cut. It has been pleasing to see two
clumps of Wood Anemone now on the site.
In the future a new litter bin may be needed on the site if dog bins
are removed as proposed by the Council.
Simon reported that the work by the contractor at Bluebell Heath,
including the extra work on Flushing Wood, has been completed. The
Woodcraft Folk have scattered seed and the new bench is in place.
Three walks have taken place including a very well attended Bat walk on
the 10th May.
Holly clearing has been carried out and a lot of time has been spent
clearing paths which has met with a positive response from the public.
A moss survey has taken place. Work will continue on controlling the
Bracken and young Birch trees.
Grove Ponds were discussed and Steve will write to Council Officers to
confirm the ownership status of the ponds.
John Winter was thanked for all his work on producing maps and taking a
lead in a number of projects.
STANMORE COUNTRY PARK
The council has installed a vandal-proof super water trough in 40 Acre
Field and repaired and widened the gate and Mick Wynne and Graham were
thanked for this. Unfortunately the Longhorn cattle that were to come
from the Harrow School herd are no longer available so we need to look
The new Green Grid bench and picnic table have also been installed and
are proving very popular. The path from the Brockley Hill entrance is
looking good however the gate has had a large padlock and chain put on
it; the council is investigating the ownership of the land.
Some of the stumps left by the TCV have removed and treated; the rest
will have to wait till next Autumn. Work has continued on
widening both the nature trail (the last working party was doing just
that) and other paths through the site. This will continue in the
coming months and Bracken, Creeping Thistle and Rosebay Willow Herb
invasion will be tackled.
Margaret and John have undertaken three more moth recording sessions in
6 Acre Field. The result is that 5 more moth species have been added to
the reserve list including the Dotted Chestnut which is a recent
addition to the Harrow area. More specimens are with Colin Plant, the
county recorder, waiting to be identified.
The day of the Spring walk was overcast but dry but not one butterfly
was seen; however two Muntjac deer were. The April flora was examined
instead which included our small patch of Wood Anemone. The Bluebells
were just emerging.
The Nature Trail bollards have been installed; finger posts will
follow. Steve Bolsover has done some excellent work on the Nature trail
and the associated documentation.
On 26th February John and Steve met Cllr. Keith Ferry and he suggested
that a Community Land Trust could be set up for the Stanmore Country
Park / Pear Wood area and receive the £450,000 Section 106 money.
This would avoid the problem of commissioning, where the danger is that
a commercial company would bid to maintain the site.
A map had been circulated showing the New Meadow was now to be called
Cloisters Meadow. Access to this was discussed and a pedestrian
entrance at the top looks appropriate and could be a Green Grid project.
LITTLE COMMON AND BREWERY PONDS
Roger reported that Spring Pond was thriving and the Water Crowfoot and
Bog Bean were looking good. It was agreed that the vegetation around
Caesar’s Pond by the damn by the roadside did not need clearing.
The condition of the Scout hut on Little Common was discussed. Mick
Wynne agreed to make this secure and to change the padlock so that the
Warden could have access to the punt.
If the Green Grid funding application was successful a new picnic bench
and waste bin would be provided.
Roger reported that on this site the grass has been mowed beautifully
and the bins emptied regularly.
Thanks to Yu Xuan for the
photograph of the saw
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