Monthly Reports 2022
Rachel’s First Chairman’s Report.
Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those who came to our AGM on a rainy November evening, when there was football on. We had about 30 members at the King’s Head and we were treated to a presentation from Louise Smith, the Biodiversity Officer from the Environment Agency. She talked about the variety of wildlife we have in Park Wood and why it is such an important habitat to protect. It was great to see so many photos of species as found within Park wood, including adders, grass snakes, bats and of course dormice.
If you were not at the AGM, let me briefly introduce myself.
I moved to the area 4 years ago with 2 young children, and work as an engineer.
I have always been interested in nature; I love wandering in the woods and have a particular interest in invertebrates.
I joined the Friends of Park Wood committee in April this year after seeing a request for new members. I quickly got involved in putting together a register of volunteers for our forthcoming work parties, for which there has been a great response.
It was a bit of a shock when Paul Rees announced he wanted to stand down as Chairman, but after 5 years it is understandable that he wishes to pursue other interests.
I am very happy that Paul, along with other founding members of the committee, Sue McCallum, Jill Watson and David Marlow will continue to bring their great breadth of expertise to the committee, along with John Pitcher who joined the committee at the same time as myself and has proven to be an invaluable member of the team.
Over the coming few months, I look forward to seeing many of you at the working parties; these will commence on Saturday 10th December from 10am to 1pm running for 10 weeks barring Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. All are welcome; refreshments will be provided. Work is continuing on Maggie’s bridge reinstatement, in the form of site assessments for environmental and structural considerations, although this will be a lengthy process.
We would benefit from a couple of new members of the committee, especially if you have a good handle of social media platforms, or would like to get involved in event planning. We don’t ask for much of your time and it would make a great impact on what we can achieve this year in what we see as a new era of collaboration with the EA and a shift to maintaining and promoting the wood now the risk of the sale has passed.
4th December 2022 – Report From The Annual General Meeting
Our Annual General Meeting was held on the rather rainy evening of Wednesday 23 November 2022. An illustrated talk was given by Louise Smith, the biodiversity officer from the Environment agency on some of the wildlife which makes Park Wood its home, including some very rare and protected species such as the Bechsteins Bat. Louise is passionate about protecting the unusual habitat within Park Wood and spoke on how managing woodland needs to be undertaken carefully at the proper time of year to limit disturbance to hibernating or nesting fauna.
A worrying symptom of climate change visible in Park Wood is the amount of wildlife still awake and foraging when natural foods are out of season but the weather is too mild for hibernation. Louise is conducting ongoing monitoring of wildlife and habitat in the wood, has plans for more bat boxes and would like if possible to start visiting local schools to educate children on fascinating local wildlife and biodiversity.
The meeting continued with a short update from Chairman Paul Rees, mentioning that the friends alongside the Environment Agency and the Trust for Conservation Volunteers have organised some volunteer days to carry out light maintenance and planting in Park Wood. The dates for these are as follows:
10th December 17th December 7th January 14th January 21st January 28th January 4th February 11th February 18th February 25th February.
Everybody is welcome. Meet in the main car park, the sessions will run from 10.00am to 13.00pm and refreshments will be provided.
Paul announced his resignation as chairman but is going to stay on the committee. He also mentioned that there are plans to replace a footbridge in Park Wood. The committee were once again voted in with new Chairwoman Rachel Alvares at the helm. Thanks went out to both supporters and committee for their ongoing commitment to a local community group.
With best wishes to everybody for a very Happy Christmas.
Sue McCallum – (Secretary FoPWH).
6th November 2022
The observant among you will have noticed the absence of a Chairman’ Report in October. I apologise for this omission, which was brought about by several factors, conspiring against me, but I will now bring you up to date with October’s events and give details for the November Annual General Meeting.
October was quite an eventful month, with a meeting between three of your committee members, Russell Long and Paul Levitt, of the Environment Agency (EA). This meeting was held at the EA. offices in Pevensey Bay on 26th. October and was to present the feasibility study of and to discuss the possibility of reinstating Maggie’s Bridge, to provide a route to the big Beech tree, without having to take the long route. The current means of access to the Beech tree involves either, a walk across private land, which involves difficult terrain and woodland, which is not subject to an annual safety survey, or a long walk, down the main path from the car park, across the footbridge, at the bottom of the wood and then a walk along the Eastern side of the wood, to reach the Beech, then a return by the same route. Reinstatement of Maggie’s Bridge would allow a circular walk, taking in many of the most interesting and beautiful parts of the wood.
The meeting was extremely positive, with agreement, in principle, that the EA. was not opposed to the bridge, provided that FoPWH. undertook the preparation of the ground, for its construction, with an assurance that there would be minimal environmental disturbance and that annual maintenance would be carried out by FoPWH. This does not mean that construction of the bridge is a “done deal,” simply that we can move to the next stage, which is an engineering survey, on behalf of the bridge manufacturer. taking in the problems of access and environmental issues, involved in its construction. There are some extremely complex issues to be overcome, but your committee is determined to see this project through to a successful conclusion and our aim is to have the bridge in place by the middle of next year.
Other items discussed, were the completion of of the way markers and the continued ownership of Park Wood, by the EA. The way markers should be in place by the end of the year, but it was agreed that the map boards, at each end of the wood, would not be put in place until a final decision had been reached, regarding Maggie’s Bridge.
The ownership of the wood was discussed, in light of the current financial state of the country and the possibility of the government wishing to realise some of its assets. The good news is, that the wood is currently valued as an asset worth keeping, in view of its use for training purposes by the EA. and the carbon offsetting it provides. Its retention is also helped by the maintenance work that our volunteer force will be able to carry out, so saving the EA. much needed funds and potentially improving its carbon capture. There was also a short site meeting with Louise Smith, the EA. Biodiversity Officer, on the 19th October which was to discuss the volunteer maintenance programme, which we are hoping to start early next month. As Louise is giving a talk at the AGM. this would seem to be a good opportunity to discuss these maintenance sessions, which will be carried out by our members, but under the umbrella of the TCV.
This brings me to the final and most important item, the AGM. This will take place at the King’s Head, Horsebridge, on the 23rd. November, commencing at 7.30 pm. It will open with a short, illustrated talk, by Louise Smith, the EA. Biodiversity Officer, concentrating on the bats and dormice living in the wood, the surveys carried out on them and what we can do to enhance their living conditions and increase their numbers. This will be followed by a short Q and A session and some details on the volunteer working party maintenance dates. this will be followed by the AGM. itself, the annual report and the election of officers.
To carry out all that we would like to do in the coming year, it will be necessary to increase the size of the committee and as I have said, I will be standing down as Chairman, but am willing to remain on the committee for another year, so if you have the time and the enthusiasm to give to the future of the wood, please consider joining our committee.
The meeting is open to all, members and non members and in view of the items under discussion, I would urge all those on the volunteer register to attend, if at all possible.My apologies for the lengthy report, virtually two months in one.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPHW
28th September 2022
My apologies for September’s report not appearing until almost October, we have been firming up the details for this year’s Annual General Meeting.
The AGM will be held at the Kings Head, Horsebridge, as in previous years and there will be a talk as usual, prior to the AGM. itself. The date will be 23rd November 2022 and I am delighted to confirm that our speaker this year will be Louise from the Environment Agency. Louise will do a presentation on the Park Wood wildlife; as we are coming into winter. She will talk about the woodland animals that are going into hibernation at Park Wood now and will have some beautiful pictures that have been taken this year.
We have now been running for five years and four of your committee have been there from day one. The two newest members, who have joined us during this year, have already proved their worth and both have carried out important tasks. It is my intention to stand down as Chairman at the AGM., as I feel that it is time for a younger person to take over the reins. I believe that the longer I stay in post, the harder it will be for someone to take over the role. The new chairman will have the full support and guidance of the present committee and I am prepared to see through any projects, still ongoing at the time of the AGM.
The chairman’s role has changed considerably over the last five years, evolving from the very difficult, confrontational dealings with the EA. in the early years, to the cooperation and regular contact, that now exists between us. That is not to say that FoPWH. is no longer needed, far from it. There are ongoing projects, which need to be brought to fruition, not least of which, is the proposed reinstatement of Maggie’s Bridge and it is vital that the channel of communication between us is kept active, to ensure that Park Wood is not allowed to drop below the EA’s radar.
As I am sure you know, all committee posts are declared vacant at the AGM. and are open to any of the membership. All that is required, is a proposer and a seconder, for a member to stand for election. Having said this, I am informed that, with the exception of myself, all the committee members are willing to stand for re-election for another year, but there are still vacancies on the committee, if we are to expand our activities to include some events in the coming year and to raise the profile of FoPWH by increasing our media presence.
I would ask that you give serious consideration to joining the committee, our newest members have made that step and found it interesting and rewarding, in spite of it being somewhat daunting to start with. Similarly, the chairman’s post is something which only requires a passion for the wood, an ability to communicate, at all levels and a few hours each month. All nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To bring you up to date with developments, Rachel now has a list of volunteers, willing to undertake maintenance work in the wood, all that is required now, is the go ahead from the EA. to get things started. Be assured, we are working on it. With regard to Maggie’s Bridge, John has produced a comprehensive feasibility study, which we will be presenting to the EA. at a meeting arranged with them, in October.
FoPWH. is a vibrant, flourishing organisation, which continues to grow and increase its influence, With your help, we can maintain and improve that growth, so securing the long-term future of Park Wood. Please show your support by attending the AGM.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPHW
13th August 2022
We now have a dozen or so people on the volunteer register, which doesn’t seem a lot, considering the number of members we send these reports out to. If you are still not sure about coming forward, I will emphasise again, that putting your name forward does not tie you down to any specific times, or dates, just that you are willing to help, when you are available.
I have a meeting next week with Louise, from the Environment Agency to discuss how we can best work together on looking after the wood and I will report on this next month. I can also report that two of your committee members have carried out their own survey, in the last couple of days, on the feasibility of reinstating “Maggie’s Bridge, looking at the access route, from the western side of the wood. This is being carried out in order to assess whether we should go ahead with paying for a professional survey, out of FoPWH. funds. Again, I hope to be able to report on this next month.
Finally, I would just like to reassure people about what is happening to the wood, in this prolonged dry spell, as there has been a lot of misinformation appearing on Facebook and in other media sources. There has been a lot of concern over the “Autumn Effect” i.e. the trees shedding their leaves. This is not the trees dying, as has been claimed, but the trees protecting themselves, by withdrawing the supply of nutrients to the leaves, so conserving its supply of moisture and nutrients, to keep itself healthy. I have seen this effect many times over the years, as I am sure, many of you have, during prolonged dry spells and can assure you that too much water has a much more devastating effect than too little, just look at the devastation caused by the flooding on the NHS. land adjacent to the path down from the car park, not one tree has survived. In spite of what the press and media doom merchants have been saying, things will soon get back to normal, when the dry spell finishes. there has been so much hype and inaccurate reporting, that it is no surprise that people are confused. Never was the saying, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story” more true.
Enjoy the the cool and pleasant walks in the beauty of Park Wood and allow nature to take care of itself, as it always does.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH
17th July 2022
Thank you to all those that put their names forward for the volunteer register. Your emails should all have been replied to, acknowledging your interest. I am sure there must be many more of you who are reasonably fit and able to spare a little time to do some light maintenance in the wood.
In case you missed my appeal last month, I asked for people who could spare some time occasionally, to carry out a little light maintenance work in the wood, to put their names forward, to go on a register of volunteers. This does not commit you to anything, it simply means that you agree to be contacted to see if you are available, when a working party is required. This will usually be over a weekend and can be a family affair. Tools will be provided, there will be a group leader, qualified in first aid and it will be covered by our own insurance. Needless to say, these events will be approved by the Environment Agency. Don’t be shy, come along and meet new friends, while helping to keep the wood safe and looking good. Contact Rachel, at the Park Wood email address and add your name to the register.
I have referred in the past to our desire to replace the small footbridge, colloquially known as, Maggie’s Bridge, which would reinstate the walk to the big Beech tree, from the West (car park) side of the wood. Our other new committee member, John, has under taken the job of carrying out a feasibility study and has come up with some reasonable costings for a prefabricated, wooden footbridge. The next stage is to have a structural engineer survey the site, in order to cost the preparation of the site, prior to installation If we have anybody among our members, suitably qualified to carry out this task, or if any of you can recommend such a person, please contact John, at the Park Wood email address.
Once this is done, I can present the completed study to the EA. and see if my powers of persuasion can get this important route reinstated as soon as possible. Finance is not an issue and I am optimistic that this is an achievable objective.
Finally, it has been suggested that we should do the Countryfile, Children In Need Walk this year. This is usually held in mid October and as soon I have the details, I will post them here and on Facebook. If there is sufficient interest we will offer two walks, one fairly short and on easy terrain and one longer and a little more challenging, so that we cater for all abilities.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH.
25th June 2022
Things are fairly quiet at the moment, with little to report, other than that there has been no progress regarding the flooding issue, which probably means that we will be suffering yet another winter of difficult access to the wood.
One issue that has cropped up again, is the problem of dog fouling on footpaths and also bags of dog waste being left in the wood. Please, IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BIN IT DON’T BAG IT. and if your dog fouls the footpath, at the very least, “stick and flick”. The majority of us are proud of our wood and treat it with respect. It is a valuable and unique community asset for all to enjoy, so please help to maintain it as a green and pleasant place for all.
I have mentioned before that we would like to form a register of those that are fit, willing and able to join working parties, carrying out low level maintenance in the wood. We now have three new committee members, following my appeal in a previous report and between them, they have agreed to set up and administer a register. Putting your name and email address on the register does not commit you to any specific dates, it just means that you are willing to be contacted, when a working party is required, to see if you are available for a particular date and time. If we can establish a reasonable number of potential volunteers, it will enable us to work more effectively in carrying out improvements to paths and infrastructure, in the wood, while at the same time, increasing our involvement with the EA. Working groups can involve, families, including supervised children and groups, such as scouts and guides, even Duke of Edinburgh Award candidates, on certain projects. All working parties will have a group leader, qualified in first aid and all necessary equipment will be provided. These sessions will be authorised by the EA. and will be covered by our own Public Liability insurance.
The few working parties that have taken place so far have been run by TCV., using our members to form the working parties. These have had a limited success, due to poor publicity and communication, although, those that took part found it an enjoyable experience, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, while, at the same time, helping to look after the wood and get some, not too strenuous exercise.
Please give some thought to putting your name forward if you are fit enough to carry out some light manual work and can spare a few hours from time to time. The success of this initiative is dependant on sufficient numbers putting their names on the register and it would be helpful if you could state how many in your household, or family wish to be included.Please email your details to; email@example.com stating that you wish to be placed on the volunteer register and you will be contacted by a member of the committee, when a working party is required.
Paul Rees – ChairmanFOPWH
16th May 2022
My apologies for the late arrival of this month’s report, but I had hoped to be bringing you news of progress on the flooding issue, but alas, this is still at an impasse, due to a lack of cooperation from Hellingly Parish Council. Bunny Run Nursery, the Environment Agency, NHS. Estates and Wealden District Council, have all agreed to a meeting, to discuss possible solutions to the problem, however HPC. seem to be ignoring all emails on the subject, from whatever source. I have sent several emails, on behalf of FoPWH. and visited the Parish Council offices, to try and move things along, all without any response. Strange behaviour, in view of the undisputed evidence that the flooding is caused by the new Community Hub building and certainly reflects badly on the Parish Council. It now seems increasingly likely that legal action will have to be taken against HPC. which makes it unlikely that the problem will be resolved before the rains return in the Autumn.
To more cheerful news, following last month’s appeal for volunteers to help out on the committee, I can report that we now have three new members on the committee, as a result of this. Welcome Kat, Rachel and John, who came along to a committee meeting and were all enthusiastic about getting involved in helping to expand our activities and influence regarding Park Wood. I expect this to enable us to organise some family activities during the summer, offer some help to the EA. with paths maintenance and conduct a feasibility study into the construction of a replacement footbridge, to reopen the path to the big Beech tree.
We will shortly be putting out a request for members and friends to put their names forward for inclusion on a register of volunteers, willing to help with maintenance work. This would not commit anybody to specific dates, simply, that you would be willing to be contacted to see if you were available for a particular day, or weekend.
As I am sure many of you will have noticed, the EA. have been busy in the wood, erecting new posts, for the direction arrows, signing the designated paths and hopefully banishing the problem of walkers, new to the wood, getting lost. To this end, one or two paths have had to be temporarily closed, in order to be made safe for walkers. They have also erected new ecology signs at the East and West entrances to the wood, shortly to be followed by maps, showing the new paths layout, recently agreed between us.
All this activity and interest in the wood, not to mention the financial investment by the EA. plus, the closer working relationship, we now have with them, can only be seen as a positive sign for the long-term future of the wood and a vindication for the existence and effort, put in over the years by the Friends of Park Wood. I honestly believe that none of these recent works would have happened without us and by us, I mean you, the members, who have supported and encouraged us since 2017 and I hope that, when you walk in the wood, that you feel a sense of pride in what has been achieved so far.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH
The car park is open and it looks fantastic.
Many thanks to the Environment Agency for funding the work, which looks to be an environmentally friendly, state of the art, solution to the ongoing problems we have had with the car park and not a bit of tarmac anywhere.
11th April 2022
I am sure many of you are finding it very inconvenient, not having the use of the car park at the moment. I can report however, that work is progressing well and that the inconvenience will be well worth it in the long run, as there will no longer be the risk of car damage, or falls, caused by the deep ruts that appeared after heavy rainfall.
Following the paths survey, we are expecting to be involved in the siting of new way markers, in the near future, giving those unfamiliar with the wood, the confidence to explore it, without the worry of getting lost.
Our thanks to all those that took part in the TCV run paths clearance. Feedback suggests that, those that took part enjoyed the experience. It did however, raise questions as to how effective it was, given that it has to be financed by the Environment Agency from their limited budget, allocated for Park Wood. This question was discussed at a recent FoPWH. committee meeting and it was felt, that our direct involvement could possibly produce a larger and therefore, more effective, volunteer work force. It has been suggested to me that the local Scout group might wish to become involved and other groups as well, no doubt, also individual members and followers. As I alluded to last month, we would need to have a structured approach and a continuing programme of maintenance, carried out by volunteers, who had registered their interest, by putting their names on a list. This would require someone to take on the administration of the scheme, contacting those on the list, to find sufficient numbers available to join work parties, on specific dates and generally ensuring the smooth running of the scheme. which brings me to the very real problems facing your committee at the moment.We are entering into a period of transition, having, at last, established a working relationship, with the EA., due in large part, to the efforts of Olivia Morton, the EA. Biodiversity Officer. This does mean, that we can now have a more active role and hence more influence, on the future of the wood.
Until now, we have run with a very small committee, but have recently lost our newest member, due to her increasing family commitments and are currently running with only four active members, which will not enable us to carry out the ambitious programme we had hoped to be able to, during the year. I very much appreciate your support, the encouragement and kind words, that have been expressed to me, over the years, but if we are to have a meaningful role in the future of Park Wood, it is vital that we have more help on the committee and active participation by members and followers, in the various upcoming schemes. Before you dismiss the idea of joining us on the committee, all that is required is, some of your spare time and a passion for the wellbeing of the wood. There are those on the committee with expertise in various fields, who will offer support and guidance and those, like myself, with no particular skills, who will also offer you support and assistance.
When I became chairman, way back in August 2017, I had never done anything like this before, which simply proves, that what I have done, any of you could have done. Please don’t be afraid to come forward, you may surprise yourself and you will gain immense satisfaction by being actively involved. There are several specific roles we need to fill, one of which I have already mentioned, but I would suggest that if you are tempted to give it a try, that we hold a special committee meeting, where we can all meet up, to discuss the various roles on offer. There would be no coercion to take up a post and no recriminations, if you decided it was not for you.
Please do not leave it to others to take up the challenge, as if everybody else does the same, we are no further forward. Contact me at the Park Wood email address ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Your committee needs you, do it today.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH
7th March 2022
A lot to talk about this month, including our second meeting with the Environment Agency.
The first item is the ongoing maintenance programme, being run by TCV. This did not start well, with poor communication and a lack of suitable equipment, hence a poor take up. With much improved publicity and help from FoPWH. Things have improved and I am pleased to say that the latest sessions have been much more successful. There are three more sessions scheduled for March, to conclude the current programme. These are;
Thursday 10th. March 10.00-13.00.
Sunday 20th. March 10.00- 13.00.
Tuesday 29th. March 13.00- 16.00.
Any help you can give, on any, or all of these dates, would be much appreciated and would give a much-needed boost to the efforts being made to make some necessary improvements to the wood. Contact TCV. to register, if you are able to attend any of these sessions.
At our meeting with the EA. last Thursday 3rd. March, the question of maintenance and the TCV. sessions were discussed at some length. It was agreed that FoPWH. should be more involved in future, eventually taking over the running of these sessions. I would wish to see a far more structured approach to these and I will put forward a detailed plan on how we can achieve this in next month’s report. It will require a lot more involvement from members and followers than has been the case so far. If we are to make a difference to the wood it will require a sustained effort, from a considerable number of people, but I see this as an opportunity to build community spirit and for people to feel that they are really making a difference, at the same time enjoying time with likeminded people, hopefully including some family participation.
Another item discussed at our meeting was the flooding. The flooded area has been drained again, in the last few days, in order for another survey to be carried out, to satisfy the Parish Council, who seem to have been less than helpful over the matter. I have tried on three occasions to contact them, but have received no replies to my emails, in contrast to the NHS Estates Dept. (owners of the land) Bunny Run Nursery and the EA. all of whom have dealt promptly with my emails. I should also make clear at this point, that the EA. have gone well beyond their remit, in dealing with the flood and will be making a financial contribution to this latest survey, together with, Bunny Run and NHS. Estates this latest survey is most unlikely to provide a resolution to the problem, which will clearly take a considerable time to resolve. Unfortunately, the solution that I put forward has not found favour, so we will have to see what other solutions are on offer, once the survey is completed. Digging a trench and putting in a new culvert around the new Community Hub is not an option, on the grounds of cost and disruption. A great pity that it was ever built, with a fine Chapel building, just up the road, ripe for conversion.
The Paths Consultation was another item discussed. There were over seventy responses from individuals and groups, including FoPWH. and I am pleased to be able to tell you that the suggestions for changes to the new paths on the EA. map, put forward by us, have all been accepted. Many thanks to David for all his hard work on the paths issue and to Lynn for her assistance. Further to this, they have invited us to assist in the positioning of the new direction signs, which will make clear the new routes and hopefully, prevent people getting lost in the wood. The question of bridges, or more realistically a bridge, was also discussed. There is no immediate prospect of a replacement bridge, but it was agreed that the “Friends” should carry out a costing a feasibility study, with a view to having a bridge in the not-too-distant future, opening up the old route to the big Beech.
The question of communication between ourselves and the EA. was discussed, as I felt, that in spite of having dealt with it at our October meeting, it had not improved. The car park refurbishment being a case in point, it only becoming public knowledge, when notices were posted by the EA. in the car park, although it had been agreed in October that we would have prior notice, in order to explain to members what would be happening. It was agreed that greater efforts to involve us would be made, as we reach a wide audience and that the local community automatically look to us first for information concerning Park Wood.
The possibility of a Service Level Agreement between us, which I had brought up at our last meeting, was another item discussed. Unfortunately, there is no question of such an agreement for the foreseeable future, but formal agreements for specific projects are a definite possibility. Such projects, under a formal agreement, can attract funding grants and if we were to adopt charitable status, something I have long advocated, we would be even more likely to be successful in gaining grants.
As is clear from the above, it was a wide ranging and positive discussion, with a far better understanding of each other’s aims and problems. I believe that the EA. have, at last realised how useful we can be to them, in their efforts to engage with the community and I also believe that they are sincere in their wish to do so. I came away from this meeting with a positivity that was lacking at the conclusion of the last one and I welcome the opportunity for us all to work together to make Park Wood into a place we can all be proud of.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH
The refurbishment of the Grove Hill car park has been put back until the 21st March., after which time it will be closed for approximately four weeks. Until then it is open for public use.
15th February 2022
As most of you will be aware, there is a programme of low-level maintenance being carried out in the wood. This was arranged between TCV. and the EA. and is scheduled for dates during February and March. Dates are available on our Facebook page and our website. These sessions are open to anyone who wishes to volunteer, including supervised children and necessary equipment will be provided. All you need to do, is to register your interest with TCV., (not FoPWH) and turn up on the day, in suitable clothing and footwear. FoPWH. were not involved in setting up these maintenance sessions, but once aware of them, have done our best to publicise them. We will let you have our analysis on these sessions in the April report, when the current series has finished.
We have another meeting with the EA. scheduled for the 3rd. March, at which we will be discussing the paths consultation, the continuing poor communication between us, the flooding and woodland maintenance, among other relevant matters.
The flooding situation has been eased by the digging of a trench along the farm land to the Northern edge of the wood, channelling the water running off the fields into one of the streams running West to East, in the wood. This has considerably reduced the amount of water entering the flooded NHS land and the Bunny Run land, but is not a cure for the problem and periods of heavy rainfall will continue to flood the area. I have been in contact with all the parties affected and I am still trying to arrange a meeting with them, to discuss an idea I have for a permanent solution to the problem, which is environmentally friendly and relatively inexpensive to set up. I hope to have some news on this by the time of my next report.
With regard to this issue, I must stress that the EA. have done all they can to help and are prepared to do another pump out, but before this happens, there has to be a plan in place to solve the problem.
Other news is that the Grove Hill car park will be closed for the whole of March, for resurfacing and drainage work to be carried out, which should cure the ongoing problems in that area. Also please be aware of contractors carrying out tree work at the moment and take care when you are in the vicinity of these works.
Paul Rees – Chairman FoPWH
20th January 2022
Don’t forget the Environment Agency’s Consultation on the potential footpaths in Park Wood finishes on the 27th January 2022. Have your say; here is the link for it:
Also, one of the reasons that Park Wood is designated as a Local Wildlife Site is due to the presence of scarce and rare bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). If you would like to learn more about these and join a field meeting hosted by County Recorders on 13 March 2022, please let Sue McCallum know by emailing email@example.com.’
Places limited to around 5 and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
10.15 for a 10.30 prompt start – 15.00, however no obligation to stay for duration.
Please bring wellies, a hands lens (if you have one) and lunch!
Meet at the car park.
Sue McCallum, FoPWH
(On behalf of the Environment Agency and the County recorders).
9th January 2022 – Chairmans’ Report
First, on behalf of the committee, I would like to wish all our members and followers, a happy and healthy New Year. I have quite a lot to talk about this month, so apologies if this report seems a bit long winded.
Following a recent committee meeting, it was decided that we should suspend reintroducing the membership fee for another year and review the situation at the 2022 AGM. The reason for this decision is that we have a healthy bank balance and with no large items of expenditure anticipated this year, we can afford to hold off reintroducing the fee. This means that, everybody on the emailing list continues to be a full member and anybody who wishes to be added to the list, automatically becomes a member. This situation may need to change at the next AGM, should we manage to achieve some kind of agreement with the EA. during the year and need to spend money on items of equipment etc.
The next item is the paths consultation. I consider this to be deeply flawed but we have been promised discussions on our alternative suggestions for path changes and our request for the reinstatement of at least one bridge, at our next meeting with the EA. I know that it is difficult to access the EA. webpage on the consultation, also navigating it and then trying to understand the paths maps, without any landmarks for guidance is confusing but it is worth persevering with if only to register your views on the bridges, if nothing else. As the current custodians of Park Wood, the EA. need to listen to and act upon, the wishes of the local community. I believe that FoPWH. Is the only organisation that effectively represents that community and this is the reason that we listen to and welcome your comments and suggestions concerning the wood and the very reason for our continued existence?
The EA. have commissioned TCV, a volunteer organisation, of which we are a member, to carry out some low-level maintenance work in the wood, on dates during January and February, details of which are available, should you wish to volunteer.
The vexed question of the flooding of the NHS. Land adjacent to the pond, which has once again rendered the main path into the wood impassable, is the next item I can update you on.
Following the draining of the area for a second time and the subsequent investigation by the EA. it was ascertained that, as expected, the blockage of the culvert was caused by the foundation piling for the new Community Hub, having breached the culvert. Having heard nothing from anybody since the confirmation of the cause, last week I emailed all the interested parties, these being, Bunny Run Nursery, NHS. Estates, the EA. and the Parish Council. To date I have only received a reply from Bunny Run Nursery and learn from this that there was a meeting in December, of these parties and also Wealden Council, at which, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, the Parish Council are unwilling to accept the findings, which means further delay in solving the problem and the additional expense of a more detailed survey. The revelation that a meeting on the flooding had taken place recently, without our being informed, was extremely disappointing, particularly since at our meeting with the EA. in October, we were promised more cooperation and better communication between us, in order to keep our members up to date with all matters concerning Park Wood. Clearly a subject for further discussion, when we meet again in February.
With all best wishes for the New Year.
Kind regards Paul Rees. Chairman FoPWH