Friends Of Park Wood Hellingly

A very muddy Park Wood at Easter

The first signs of Spring 

 April 2018

Car Park Repairs
True to their word the E.A. have removed dangerous overhanging trees and carried out temporary repairs to the car park in Grove Hill. This was agreed at our meeting with them earlier this month and although only a temporary solution, it will be much appreciated by all who use the car park.
When our negotiations with the E.A. are concluded we will look at a more permanent solution to the drainage problem in the car park, which may well involve us working with the E.A.

Bluebell walk this Friday and Saturday
“Friends of Park Wood Hellingly” are leading bluebell walks in the wood this Friday and Saturday, 27th. and 28th. of April. These walks will commence at 11.00 am. on both days, and will be led by members of the FoPWH committee. They will be of approximately one hour duration and will be over varied, but not extreme terrain. The walks will commence from the Grove Hill car park.
The idea being, to show those unfamiliar with the wood, the variety of plants flowering at this time of year and to guide you round a woodland walk accessible to the young and the not so young. You will also have the opportunity to find out more about the work of FoPWH. in the preservation of this beautiful ancient woodland.
Members and non members are welcome and there is no charge (donations welcome). Please ensure that you have suitable footwear for woodland paths, bring your cameras, your water and sociable dogs are also welcome. The walks will not take place if it is raining on the day.
If you require further information contact Paul on 07800907093.

Hailsham FM.
On Sunday 18th. March Paul and Sue were guests of Wayne Spicer on Hailsham FM.
We had an half hour slot, from 5.30pm. to 6.00pm., interspersed with ads. and music. This only allowed a very brief resume of our beginnings and progress to date, but Wayne has asked us to return later in the year, when Hailsham FM. goes live and we are likely to have even more to talk about by then.

March 2018
There have been several meetings between the Environment Agency and Friends of Park Wood Hellingly, the most recent of which was on Monday 5th. March.

Following on from our previous meeting, at which it was agreed that the sale of Park Wood would be suspended and various options considered, we discussed the preferred option, which is that the EA. should retain ownership and we, as a group, should work, in a formal partnership, with them, to maintain the wood.

This idea was discussed at length and both parties are anxious to produce a management plan which will be acceptable to higher management within the EA. There seems to be a realistic prospect of achieving this goal, but there is much work to be done before a final plan can be put to the EA. management. We are realistically looking at a timescale of about two months before a final decision will be made.

Our discussions with the EA. have been most cordial and certainly at a local level, we are all looking for the same outcome, which must surely be a cause for some optimism.

We have always made it clear to you, our members and to the EA., that safeguarding the long term future of the wood is our primary aim and for any agreement to work, this must be incorporated into a final agreement between us.

We will continue to update you on our progress via the website as and when we have anything new to report. It may seem at times that not much is happening, but you can rest assured that your dedicated committee are working hard behind the scenes to bring things to a successful conclusion on your behalf.

Finally, a big thank you to all our members for their support and encouragement. Without you Park Wood would now be in private hands and facing an uncertain future, so take a very well deserved bow.

Paul Rees, Chairman
Committee of Friends of Park Wood – Hellingly.


Update on the sale of Park Wood

Following a meeting a couple of weeks ago the Environment agency agreed to suspend the sale of the Park Wood and to look into either leasing the woods to us or having it professionally valued and selling it to us. Both of these options have their good and bad aspects and will still require a certain amount of fundraising, not least for legal costs, but I hope you will agree that this is amazing news and offers some hope for everyone’s continued use and access to this beautiful (if somewhat muddy at the moment) ancient woodland.

All credit to our hardworking team who have devoted a lot of time and energy to this so far and also thanks to the Environment Agency particularly Russell Long our local rep, who have so far been very helpful and open with us.

Now we have to wait for some wheels to turn within the environment agency and hope they come back to us soon with a mutually workable plan. The group are now busily putting together plans for fundraising, researching the management of woodland and keeping our profile high to bring in support. Keep those fingers crossed,

Secrets of Park Wood, Hellingly. WW2 at The Kings Head, Horsbridge, 29th November 2017

Event  report
Our ‘Secrets of Park Wood’ event was a great success. A huge thank you to Stuart Angell and Peter Hibbs for hosting for us and teaching us all so much about Hellingly and Park Wood before and during WW2.

In the Woods itself Stuart showed us slides of a dugout he was able to re-excavate, it would have been used in the event of an invasion by a small group of local men, part of a secret British Resistance home gaurd operation in place around the coastal area. The same teams were tasked with infiltrating our own defences to test security measures.

Stuart and Peter gave us a lot more information than I can write here and Stuart has a book available ‘Secret Sussex Resistance’ if you want to know more.

If you have any stories, pictures or items from the troops in Hellingly or the woods please get in touch, Stuart and Peter welcome any new information.

Children In Need WOODLAND WALK


  Sunday 15th October 2017  Children in need Woodland Walk

A walk for Children in Need was organised for Sunday 15th. October and took place on a dry clear day.

In spite of widespread publicity, take up was much lower than expected, but those that attended enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the wood, led by our volunteers, with the ancient beech tree as our destination. On the return journey we split into two groups, with those feeling the strain taking a shorter route back, but still covering at least a couple of miles.

The Woods Are Awarded an ACV, But What Is It?

In England, an asset of community value (ACV) is land or property of importance to a local community which is subject to additional protection from development under the Localism Act 2011.

Working in partnership with Hellingly Parrish Council, Park Wood through Wealden District Council has been awarded its ACV.

What does it mean? Now that Park Wood is listed as an ACV the current owners in this case The Envionment Agency have to relist the sale. This will then give Friends Of Park Wood Hellingly six months to put together a bid to buy it. Now it will take Community committment and teamwork to put together a bid. There are many opportunities ahead of the group in order to try to secure grants, funding and explore schemes for community ownership.

What we need now are Members. Click on our ‘Become a £10 Member‘ link at the top of this website for more information. Members will start off the fund and help with initial legal and administration costs. What we also need is a committed team of people who will deliver leaflets, raise awareness and bring PR, Marketing, Management, Administration skills to the group. If you want to get more involved just use the Contact Us form on this website.

Campaign Continues as Hellingly wood is named a community asset

A wood in Hellingly has been granted status as an Asset of Community Value this week with help from members of the public, but campaigners say the fight is not over. Friends of Park Wood organised a mass-walk through on August 12 to protest the sell-off of the land by the Environment Agency, and say they will continue their campaign to buy the wood. “We are absolutely thrilled,” said Paul Rees, who orgnaised the walk. “This is a massive boost and buying the land is now a realistic prospect.”

The Environment Agency said they recognised the site was of value to the community, but money from the sale would go back to the Government “to be spent where the need is greatest.” Friends of Park Wood fear a private owner would make the 152 acres of mixed deciduous woodland less pleasant for families and dog-walkers among others.

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Published: 12:27 Tuesday 22 August 2017