Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons Preservation Society

Newsletter October 2017

50 YEARS OF CARING FOR THE COMMONS

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

 

HAWRIDGE AND CHOLESBURY COMMONS PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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.

 

WORK 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.

 

CONSERVATION

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