Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society

Newsletter October 2018

AGM: Our AGM will be held at Cholesbury Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 27thNovember. As always, everyone is welcome and the meeting will provide you with a good opportunity to find out what is happening on the Commons and to discuss plans for future work. We will have updates on the recent tree work; John Morris’s (Director of Chiltern Woodlands) report on work to be done and the spread and likely impact of Ash Die-back on the Commons; species reports etc. Christine Stott will be present to answer any questions or concerns that you might have. Refreshments will be served.


Amendment to the Constitution: Due to an oversight when we drafted the Constitution we need to make a small but important amendment. In the Aims, we wish to clarify that the Society always works with the owner(s) to achieve these aims. A motion will therefore be put that the Constitution be amended to reflect this.


Motion:That the Constitution be amended to include in the Aims the wording ‘To work with the owner(s) of the Commons in order to:’before the stated aims – see below:


2. Aims: To work with the owner(s) of the Commons in order to:

2.1 Protect the Commons, keep the footpaths and permissive rides clear and enhance the Commons’ ecological value*.

2.2 Preserve the Commons as a natural sanctuary for wildlife and, noting their special status as a Local Wildlife Site, to enhance their biodiversity**.

2.3 Develop and implement the plan for management of the Commons.

2.4 Keep the Commons clear of rubbish.

2.5 Keep a watching brief on matters related to legislation which may affect the Commons.

2.6 Give the Society’s views to the appropriate person or body on any development which might affect the natural beauty of the area.

2.7 Hold an annual Social Occasion to enable members and others who live locally to get to know each other.

*ecological value: A measure of the significance or interest of an area of land as a habitat supporting species of flora and fauna.

**biological diversity: ‘the variety of life forms, the ecological roles they perform and the genetic diversity they contain”.


Committee Membership:Unfortunately,Veronica Mash has decided to step down from the Committee. Veronica has been a committee member for a total of 7 years, 3 of which as Secretary and more recently she has maintained our website hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org as well as sending out MailChimp messages to the membership. As a rider, Veronica has kept a watchful eye on the state of the rides, reporting on any problems. In addition to her own contribution, Veronica’s family have all also played important roles in helping the Society - Peter as a stalwart at Conservation Group sessions for many years; Veronica’s daughter Tina designed our information pamphlet; and her son Harvey worked on the way-marking posts. Veronica will be very much missed but she assures us that she will continue to support the Society in whatever way she can.


Vacancy:We therefore have one vacancy on the committee and I would welcome any expressions of interest in filling this position before the AGM (Tel 758 440 or lindsaygriffin@yahoo.co.uk). We are a friendly and diverse group committed to fulfilling the aims of the Society as best we can.  As we carry out a wide variety of different tasks it is likely that, whatever your skills, we can put them to good use. Whether you are new to the villages or a long-term resident who wants to help with this important work please get in touch. 


Other Changes: All other members of the Committee are prepared to stand for re-election. These are Lindsay Griffin (Chairman), David Barnard (Vice-Chairman), Ben Lewis (Treasurer), Nick Brown, John Caple, Isobel Clark, David Dennis, Mark Hobbs, Janet Hopkinson andTim Watts. After 4 years taking meticulous minutes, Janet has decided to step down as Minutes Secretary but it is very pleasing that other members have agreed to undertake this role on a rotational basis and that Janet is prepared to stand despite her many other commitments. We are also grateful to Mark Hobbs for volunteering to take over the maintenance of the website. 


Subscriptions:These fall due at the AGM and we are really grateful to all those of you who choose to pay by PayPal or Direct Debit. It is easy to do this on our website link https://www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org/hawridgecholesbury-preservation-society/
or for other payment options you can contact Ben Lewis treasurer.hccps@gmail.com. For the 8th year in a row the committee are recommending that we retain the membership rate at £10 per individual or £20 for a couple (to include children in the family). This must surely represent the best value for money that you are likely to spend all year.  


Calendar:The local calendar is our major fundraiser for the year and it will be on sale shortly. We hope that when you are looking for a Christmas present you will think of these beautifulcalendars (order fromlindsaygriffin@yahoo.co.ukor buy at the usual local venues). All revenue raised goes to maintaining the Commons and has helped keep the subs down for the last 5 years. We are again grateful to everyone who has been involved in its production – to the photographers for so many beautiful images, to Susie Bell who continues to design it at no cost, to Orbit Press who have continued to produce the calendar at the same price for 5 years and to our sponsors who help with printing costs:The Hilltop Office; George Browns; Hilltop Images; Chiltern Motors; HG Matthews; WE Black; Philip Matthews; MT Loos; Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards Horticultural Society; James Jolliffe; Christmas Tree Farm. Congratulations to Andy Harris who won the front cover competition with his picture of Lotty the dog with a snowman at the Full Moon. We hope he will enjoy the prize of a meal for two with a bottle of house wine, kindly donated by Hannah and Philip Matthews.


Work on the Commons: James Jolliffe has continued his good work on the grassy areas of the Commons and we are delighted that he has machinery, which has enabled him to carry out our stump grinding work at a considerably cheaper rate than similar work has cost in the past. He is also able to lop broken or obstructive branches, which would be too difficult for our own Conservation Group volunteers.  The forestry contractors have completed this year’s work as specified by Chiltern Woodlands and have now gone to another job. They may be back in the New Year.  Our own winter work sessions are now underway with a good turnout each time. Altogether their efforts are keeping the Commons in good shape. 


Grants:We are very grateful toChris Brown who was successful in securing a grant from Bucks CC for a wheeled strimmer like the one used by Janet to cutsome of the paths in the summer. We hope that other volunteers will help keep smaller pathsopen. If you might be able to help with this, pleaseget in touch.  We can organise a training session for youat Browns. 

Chris has also been successful in obtaining a grant of £100 from Chiltern District Council towards the cost of erecting a memorial bench to the many villagers who took part in World War I. This bench will be erected, in the next few weeks, off Horse Block Lane above the heather area with panoramic views across the valley. Thank you to all involved in making this happen and to the many others who have helped us in so many other different ways.


Lindsay Griffin



Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society

Newsletter May 2018


At this time of year, and in such wonderful weather, I do hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of the Commons in all their glory. For me the Hawthorn blossom and Cow Parsley are the icing on the cake of the already beautiful display of wild flowers and fresh greenery. Many thanks to all of the volunteers who have been out cutting rides and paths and clearing the road edges to allow better visibility and, of course, to all those of you who help keep the Commons free of litter.


Village Picnic: Again, we will be holding the picnic at the Cricket ground on Sunday 24th June in a joint venture with the Cricket Club. We hope that you will join us for the afternoon watching the under 10s play against Chesham, listening to the band, BURP, and sampling food and drinks for sale from the cricket pavilion or BYO. The Cricket Club will start barbequing at 12 noon and the band will play from 2 - 4pm. 


Calendar Competition:Once again we hope that you will take your cameras with you when you are out and about and take pictures on any subject on the Commons or nearby. This year, to celebrate the re-launch of the Full Moon, we have decided to have a competition for the best picture of the pub for the front cover and Phil and Hannah have agreed to donate a meal for two, with a bottle of house wine, for the winning photograph. As usual, entries for the front cover should ideally be in portrait format although we prefer landscape photographs for the main calendar months. Remember that, although images from your mobile or iPad may be suitable for some of the smaller pictures in the calendar, the main pictures need to be in higher resolution and, therefore, to be taken on a camera. Please send any entries to me lindsaygriffin@yahoo.co.uk. We need lots of photos taken at any time of the year. Take a look at our website hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org where, among other updates, you can see the short film which Michelle Storm made of the Commons to celebrate our 50thanniversary, using images taken by our many talented local photographers in all weathers and throughout the seasons. 


New privacy legislation:We have been advised that, as we only store members’ names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses for the purpose of communicating the Society’s activities on the Commons and data on subscription payments, we are not required to seek confirmation that you wish to continue to receive communications from us under the new GDPR legislation which comes into force soon. As a courtesy to villagers who have not chosen to become members it has always been our policy to include you in our Newsletter distribution, so that you are also informed of our activities and works or issues which affect the Commons. We therefore also store your contact details where we know them.  Thanks to Tim Watts, we have now formulated a privacy policy which is on our website. Should you decide that you do not wish to receive further messages from us you are of course welcome to let us know that at any time by ringing me 758 440, contacting me by email, at the above address, or contacting hccps@hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org  


Species updates:We are continuing to try to update our records of the flora and fauna found here on the Commons. David Dennis and Peter Bygate have embarked on a year long quest to document the Moths and they have already recorded a number of new sightings. Unfortunately, Roy Maycock, the former Bucks Recorder for plants, is no longer able to undertake the recording of flora but we hope soon to use a new contact. We know that many of you enjoy the birds that you see on the Commons or which visit your garden on the periphery of the Commons. It would be really helpful if you would let us know what you see. There is a great deal of variation in sightings over just a short distance. I can provide you with a check sheet of previous recordings to make it easy for you. Please do get in touch with me if you are able to help. 

Unfortunately, not all new species to be found on the Commons are welcome. As well as the invasive New Zealand Pygmy Weed, Pallett’s Pond is now infested with goldfish, which someone has thoughtlessly dumped there and they have bred prolifically. They may well adversely affect the native pond creatures and pose a larger challenge than the Heron can deal with. Please do not put any plants or animals in the ponds or on the Commons. There are frequently adverse knock-on effects.



Subscriptions:Our thanks to all members who now pay their subscriptions electronically. This has made collecting of subs very much easier. If you haven’t already done so please contact Ben Lewis at 7 Sandpit Hill Cottages, HP23 6NF treasurer.hccps@gmail.com. Ben can provide you with a Standing Order form or you can go to the website www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.orgwhere you can pay by PayPal. Of course, if you prefer you can continue to pay by cash or cheque (made out to HCCPS) or you can pay by Bank transfer (the Society’s bank sort code is 20 02 06 and account number is 50458015. All subs and donations make a difference to the work that we are able to undertake to maintain the Commons for the enjoyment of all.


Enjoy the Commons!

 Lindsay Griffin (Chairman)

Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society

Newsletter October 2017


AGM:- The AGM will be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st November at Cholesbury Village Hall – almost exactly 50 years after the first meeting there in 1967! We hope that as many members as possible will join us to celebrate what has been achieved since then and to have their say about our future plans. Christine Stott will be available to answer any questions about the on-going forestry works.

In addition, we will be showing a short film about the Commons, kindly put together for us by Michelle Storm, and we will have a limited number of especially designed celebration bone china mugs for sale as well as beautiful new calendars for 2018. Thanks to our photographers, designers and sponsors for making this possible.


Formalities: We will try to keep the formalities to a minimum but there will be at least two changes to the committee. We have one vacancy, since Michelle Storm has resigned and I regret that for personal reasons, I shall be standing down from the role of Chair, but I wish, if re-elected, to continue as a committee member. Our current Vice-Chair, Lindsay Griffin, has agreed to stand for election as Chair and Nick Brown (Milton Cottage, Hawridge) has agreed to stand as a committee member to replace Michelle. Current committee members David Barnard; John Caple; Isobel Clark; Mark Hobbs; Janet Hopkinson (Minutes Secretary); Ben Lewis (Treasurer); Veronica Mash and Tim Watts have all agreed to stand for their current positions

If you are interested in joining the Committee, please contact me before the meeting (758379 or ddennis48@outlook.com ). We welcome members with diverse skills and interests, and would be happy to co-opt a further member without the need for an election.


Subscriptions: As always, the annual subscriptions become due at the AGM and these are set at the meeting by the membership.  We will be recommending that there will be no change, this year, to the current rates of £10 per member and £20, to include children if both parents are members.

There are a number of ways to renew your membership:

1.     The best way is by standing order (payable, if possible, in November or December each year) – please email our Treasurer Ben Lewis at subscriptions@hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org

2.     Online: http://www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org  Click on HCCPS, Volunteer/Subscribe and then scroll down and click the SUBSCRIBE button.

3.     Cheque, payable to HCCPS, or cash to Ben Lewis, 7 Sandpit Hill Cottages, Cholesbury Lane, Cholesbury, Tring. HP23 6NF

We are very grateful that almost half of our members now pay by standing order, which makes it easier for them and reduces our administrative work.


Works on the Commons: This year has been a busy one for the Society for, as well as the routine tasks of keeping the rides and paths open, and controlling the bracken, we have undertaken a number of projects. The appearance of Pallett’s Pond is much improved now that the leak has been sealed, but the problem of invasive plants remains, and will require on-going management, starting this autumn; our new pamphlet has been widely distributed; most of the new way marking posts defining the permissive rides have been positioned, and stump grinding work has been undertaken on the grassland and rides.


Tree work: We have received favourable comments on the widening of the rides and opening the views on the Commons. The Bottom Ride has remained sunnier and drier after Christine’s extensive forestry work in 2015, and further work along the top of the Commons has also been successful. Further expensive stump grinding will be needed next year to prevent regrowth and enable machinery to be used for efficient scrub management. As always, we are very grateful to Christine for all that she does, and to Isobel Clark for managing the vital winter conservation work performed by our dedicated volunteers.


Volunteers and Supporters

Every year we benefit from the help of many volunteers and others who contribute hugely to our success. They are too numerous to list all of them here, but I do want to thank Wesley and Duncan Mitchell, who over many years, until Wesley’s ill health, did a wonderful job in maintaining the grassland areas. We are fortunate that James Joliffe has agreed to undertake this now, and he has recently completed the autumn cut of the grass and bracken. Finally, I would like to thank all the members of your Committee who work hard to help manage the Commons in a way that balances our two main priorities of conservation and local amenity, and which enhances this beautiful environment for the benefit of us all.

We do hope to see you at the AGM to celebrate the last 50 years, to enjoy your first mulled wine and mince pies of the season and to discuss further ways in which we can maximise everyone’s enjoyment of the Commons.

David Dennis



NEWSLETTER Spring/Summer 2017 



NEW INFORMATION LEAFLET: We hope you will enjoy our new leaflet  showcasing some of the delights that are available on your own special County Wildlife Site. Please keep it to hand to remind you and your guests of the wildlife, walks and activities waiting, right on your doorstep, in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The leaflet lists some of the animals, birds, butterflies, trees and wild flowers that you can find, and gives details of our website which has more information about up-coming events.


Map of the Horse-rides: We have also included an up-to-date map of the permissive rides with some useful information about the differences between ‘permissive rides’ - which we have here - and ‘bridleways’, which we don’t.


Bye-laws: At the bottom of the map is a summary of those Bye-laws which are most important to all of us, and are sometimes misunderstood. A full list of the Bye-laws can be found on our website: www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org and on the signs on the Commons.



Woodland work: The tree felling work to let more sun into the rides, undertaken by Christine Stott, has finished for the bird-nesting season but will continue later in the year. As with the bottom ride, the Society will arrange to have the stumps ground on the top ride to prevent regrowth. 


Conservation Volunteers: The winter work of our own volunteers has also finished with the clearing of the paths from Parson’s Path to Stoney Lane and the path down through the woodland by Ray’s Hill.


Chiltern Society and Herts Conservation Volunteers: On 23rd April, volunteers from these two organisations continued the hard work of clearing the heather area by digging out some of the gorse roots. Their help with this work is greatly appreciated and the results will be seen in late summer when the heather is in bloom!


Summer work:  As always, we are very grateful to all those who regularly use their tractors to keep the paths open throughout the summer months. We would also greatly appreciate manual help to keep the paths clear in places where the tractor cannot reach. This can be done by regularly walking the paths and keeping the growth down by cutting back the brambles etc, or alerting us to places that are becoming impassable. If you have suggestions for further work, or an hour or two spare to help us with this, please get in touch volunteer@hawridgeandcholesburycommons.


Litterblitz: Thank you to all who took part in the recent, much-needed Litterblitz. A great deal of rubbish has been removed from the Commons, which are now looking pristine. Please help us to keep them this way.



Nesting Boxes: The nesting boxes on Christine’s land and on the Commons will be checked by Bucks Owl and Raptor Group (BORG) over the next few months to monitor our breeding programme. The Barn Owls have already occupied a box on Christine’s land and the Kestrels are showing signs of activity there. As Christine’s land is ideal habitat for both species, we are hopeful that they will again breed successfully and that perhaps, as the populations grow, we will have more success with the boxes on the Commons. Volunteers from BORG have offered to take some of the local school children on a walk to Christine’s land to show them the owl chicks if they have bred successfully. The children will also be encouraged to look out for telltale signs of owls (pellets on the ground or splashes of white faecal matter) around our nesting boxes on the Commons.

Whilst monitoring boxes at Mentmore, members of BORG found our littlest Barn Owl chick from last year’s brood. She was sharing a nesting box with another owl which flew off before it could be identified. Unfortunately, since then, she was found injured by the side of the road where it is assumed that she had been hit by a car. Luckily, she was taken to Mrs Tiggywinkle’s and is now being cared for by a BORG volunteer with a view to releasing her when she has fully recovered. We will keep you posted if we hear further news.


Pallett’s Pond: It is a huge relief to see that the repair work on Pallett’s Pond has so far been successful in keeping the water level higher. Many of you have commented on its improved appearance. We now have to keep our fingers crossed  that the invasive New Zealand Pigmy Weed can be controlled more easily with the higher water level.


Calendar: Once again we hope that you are out there taking photos of the Commons and that you will send them to us at hccps@hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org. Entries for the front cover should be ‘portrait’ format whilst those for each month need to be ‘landscape’. This year we hope to involve the school children in contributing photos and the Horticultural Society will also be collaborating with us. Funds raised from the calendar sales play a vital part in paying for a range of projects to keep the Commons in good shape.


50th Anniversary: This year we celebrate the inauguration of HCCPS in 1967. We are proud of the Society’s achievements over 50 years, and the fact that so much is achieved by our volunteers and local goodwill. Lindsay Griffin is writing a series of interesting articles in ‘Hilltop News’ explaining why there was a need for the Society, what the inaugural committee did, and some of the work that has been completed since then.

We would greatly appreciate any photos or memorabilia that you have of the Commons over the years, for use in displays later this year. Especially welcome would be anything to do with local events. Please contact us on the above email address – we can digitally copy and return any original photos.


Village Picnic: The annual picnic will be held at the cricket ground on Sunday 18th June. Details will be published in Hilltop News and on New Grapevine.


Membership: If you are not already a member, then for just £10 (£20 per household) you can join HCCPS, giving you opportunities to influence the work we do, and help us to improve this wonderful environment. Contact Ben Lewis at 7 Sandpit Hill Cottages, HP23 6NF treasurer.hccps@gmail.com to pay by cash or cheque (made out to HCCPS), or you can pay by Bank transfer (sort code: 20 02 06 - account number: 50458015); or go to the website www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org where you can pay by PayPal. Do include your email address in any paper correspondence so we can stay in touch!



Enjoy your local Commons!


David Dennis (Chair, Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society)


PS: We have distributed a print copy of this newsletter to all addresses in the area, so we could include a copy of our new information leaflet. Our Autumn newsletter will revert to email, but you may request a paper copy if you wish.


Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society

NEWSLETTER October 2016 


AGM:- The AGM will be held on Tuesday 22nd November at Cholesbury Village Hall at 7.30m. Everyone is welcome to join us to review what has been happening on the Commons and to discuss our future plans. This is an opportunity to have your say!

Christine Stott will be available to answer any questions which you might have about on-going forestry works.

Formalities: We will try to keep the formalities to a minimum but there will be at least two changes to the Committee. We have one vacancy since Tony Francis has resigned and, as I will have completed 3 consecutive years as Chairman (the maximum period allowed by our Constitution), I shall be standing down from that role though I am prepared to stand for the position of Vice-Chairman.  Our current Vice-Chairman, David Dennis has agreed to stand for election as Chairman and current Committee Members David Barnard; John Caple; Isobel Clark; Mark Hobbs; Janet Hopkinson (Minutes Secretary); Ben Lewis (Treasurer); Veronica Mash; and Michelle Storm have each agreed to stand for their current positions.

If you are interested in joining the Committee please contact me before the meeting(758 440 or lindsaygriffin@yahoo.co.uk).  We are a friendly group committed to protecting the flora and fauna as well as to maintaining and promoting the Commons as a source of pleasure for all users.  We welcome members with diverse skills and interests. Perhaps if you are new to the villages this may be a way of becoming involved in your new surroundings. We already have an expression of interest from Tim Watts who will be an asset to the Committee but, as there are many tasks undertaken by the Committee, we would be happy to co-opt an additional member, without the need for an election.

Subscriptions: As always, the annual subscriptions become due at the AGM and these are set by the membership. However, we will be recommending that they remain £10 per member or £20 to include children if both parents become members.

There are a number of ways to renew your membership:

1.     The best way is by standing order – please email our Treasurer Ben Lewis at subscriptions@hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org

2.     Online: http://www.hawridgeandcholesburycommons.org/hawridgecholesbury-preservation-society/ scroll down and click the SUBSCRIBE button

3.     Cheque or cash to Ben Lewis, 7 Sandpit Hill Cottages, Cholesbury Lane, Cholesbury, Tring. HP23 6NF

At present almost half of our members now pay by standing order, which makes it easier to remember to pay each year without hassle.

Works on the Commons: This year has been a busy one for the Society for, as well as the routine tasks of keeping the rides and paths open, we have a number of projects nearing completion. We hope soon to complete the sealing of the leak under the road at Pallett’s Pond, ready for the winter rains to fill it to its proper level; our new information pamphlet is ready for distribution; the work on the way marking of the permissive rides is expected to happen imminently; progress is being made on the new Information Boards; and the stump grinding work on the Bottom Ride is also expected to take place soon.

Tree work: We wait with interest to see how the Bottom Ride will fare in the winter after the extensive work last year. Christine plans further work along the top of the Commons and also on Rays Hill. This work is expected to start within the next few weeks. Once again we are very grateful to Christine for the time, money and effort which she puts into her thoughtful management of the wooded areas of the Commons and to Isobel Clark for helping her in the decision making process.

Volunteers and Sponsors:

This year we have also benefitted from the help of many individuals who have ensured that the work outlined above has been achievable. They are too numerous to list here but their contributions vary from regular Conservation Group members; individuals who are active during the summer months on the tractor or working on agreed areas such as the triangle opposite Sandpit Hill Cottages; others who clear up when a tree or branch is causing an obstruction; regular litter pickers; BURP who provided several hours of entertainment at the Village Picnic for tea and cake; helpers who fetch, carry and erect signs and marquees; designers of the calendar and pamphlet who charged no fee; sponsors of the calendar and others who are helping market it; local photographers who generously donate their images for the calendar or website; local contractors who continue to work free of charge or at preferential rates; experts in their fields who advise us, monitor our bird boxes or teach us about the local flora and fauna; and not least, the members of the Committee who are unstinting in their efforts to keep the Commons in a way that everyone can enjoy.  A wonderful community effort! Thank you one and all.

We do hope to see you at the AGM where you may enjoy your first Mulled Wine and Mince Pies of the season and where we can discuss further ways to enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the Commons.

Lindsay Griffin