April 2013



Thursday  4 April 2013  at 1.30 pm

28 Carpenters Wood Drive

Present: Barbara Green –  Chair,  Donald McLean – Vice Chair, Stephen Ramsay – Treasurer, Fiona Underhill – CMS, Lesley Edwards – secretary,  Malcolm Green,  David Walker, Tony Edwards, Fiona Lean,  Frank Mahon-Daly, Pam Ferrar.

1. Apologies for Absence:

Andrew York, Michael Hyde, Bob Hubbard.

2. Minutes of Last Meeting: 


3. Matters Arising:

  • Notice Board – DW has been responsible for updating this to date.
  • First Aid Courses – BG to email FU the names of volunteers who wish to attend First Aid courses and FU to send dates.   Action BG and FU.

4. Treasurer’s Report

The Group had, once again, benefited from the Parish Council Quiz evening and a healthy balance was recorded.  Expenditure this year was on a Hedge Management course which DW and AY attended.  BG said that the Group were able to cover the full amount of this course instead of paying only half, as in the past.  FU said there were new courses for Hedge Restoration next year which may be of interest to the Group. MG mentioned that we should have a 5 year plan for expenditure rather than just letting funds accumulate. The possibility of buying a strimmer was discussed.  FL suggested paying a contractor to brush-cut certain areas on a yearly basis rather than buying a strimmer which may not be adequate for bramble removal.  FU said that a wheelie strimmer and a flail or a reciprocating mower could be used to tackle bramble on a Wednesday by CMS volunteers.  BG said this was an excellent idea – a date would have to be put in the diary to make sure it happens.  FU will liaise with Alex and come back to us on this suggestion.   Thanks were given to Stephen, and to all those who turn up on the quiz nights.  Action FU

5. 5 Year Plan – finalising the new Plan

Discussion regarding the Access Report:

Whitelands Avenue  point A

  • Barrier free access – removal of old barrier. TE expressed his concern that horse riders along Whitelands Avenue would use it as a short cut back to stables. BG was concerned that cyclists coming down the slope from the wood could run out on to pavement and road. It was felt that the barrier should stay in place.  The finger sign and new entrance feature at this entrance were agreed together with removal of extraneous posts.

Whitelands Avenue point B

  • Relocation of the dog waste bin. DW felt it should stay where it was and that the litter bin should be relocated alongside it, as the dog bin needed to be as visible as possible from the path.

Whitelands Avenue Interpretation Board

  • BG cannot see the point in relocating this – it was unnecessary expenditure.  All agreed the removal of old redundant posts a good thing. BG suggested that the ‘no fly-tipping’ sign could be attached to the bottom of the interpretation board to cut down on signage, then the two metal posts to which it was currently attached could be removed.

Steps at Whitelands Entrance

  • This slope is treacherous in bad weather. The whole thing needs to be done carefully to avoid damage to tree roots.  Will three steps be enough?  TE asked if we were obliged to leave part of it step-free for disabled access. FU said that she imagines a gap will be left to one side for pushchair access. French drains may need to be installed but we need to be careful about where they drain away to. AL has prepared a plan and if he can get funding it will go to a contractor: if not then volunteers will do the job. It was noted that this work is scheduled, on the new 5 Year Plan, to start this Spring!

Hillas Wood Entrance map ref 3

  • All agreed with the entrance feature but not all happy with gate being removed. FU noted this.
  • Original wooden bridleway board.  Removal of this board has been contentious in the past. If this is removed it will need to be replaced with something similar which is easily visible to horse-riders.  Other way markers will be replaced with proper discs which clearly show which are bridleways and which are footpaths, rather than just different coloured arrows as at present.

Barrel Arch entrance

  • BG said this was an ugly old gate and we are happy for it to be removed. Discussion as to why it was placed there in the first place – possibly to deter vehicles coming from A404 into wood.  New bollards were considered unnecessary as there are already bollards near the barrel arch.

Path along back of houses in Whitelands Avenue map ref 5

  • No objection to the horse barrier here.

Field Gate in middle of wood

  • BG said that a horse barrier would restrict contractors access to the wood. Discussion ensued but it was felt that the gate should stay.

Way markers and barriers

  • SR doesn’t think that there are enough way markers at present especially as we have opened up a few paths recently. BG said the horse barriers (Map 2) were an important requirement to prevent horse riders using footpaths. BG felt it important that two or three volunteers should be involved when the barriers and way markers are plotted. TE mentioned that on Map 2 barrier no.5 has been omitted from plan. PF said that cyclists should be made aware that they are only able to use bridleways.
  • DW suggested that a few extra way marker discs and posts are made available for us to use in the future, if necessary.
  • Funding – Everything to be done by contractors, or more likely a combination of volunteers and contractors.
  • Is the Access Plan part of, or separate from the 5 Year Plan?  BG said that she was confused as to where the report fits into the plan. Nothing had been sent to us e.g. a final 5 Year Plan. FU said that she had a draft only but was not sure if it was finalised and she would liaise with Alex regarding this. DW remarked that there was no column for ‘who the work was to be carried out by’ in the draft.  BG asked when CMS could come back with amendments to the Access Plan and FU said she would make sure it was by the end of next week.   Action FU
  • FU said that there will be a specification for each item in the Plan e.g. when, where, and how and  that every year for the next five years there will be  further thinning of Hillas larch, but agreed that this was not clear from the Plan. DW asked if the thinning involved removal of the logs and FU said that should be a part of it. Someone was interested in clearing away the log piles by the Farm Gate but nothing was definite yet. FU said that future contractors would be required “to clear as they go”.
  • SR said that for six months of the year the group were restricted with regard to  woodland working and we needed more guidance as to what we can do at certain times. FU stressed that there should be no habitat work during the summer months – March to the end of August.  In September/October habitat work can restart. FU suggested  bracken-bruising (as opposed to pulling or strimming) in the months of July and August,  keeping paths clear and survey/mapping work. SR suggested another walk similar to that led by John Morris last year.  MG suggested contacting other groups for ideas – bird, flower and fauna surveys.  FU said that she would send us a link to butterfly conservation and experts we could contact for arranging a bat walk and bug hunt. MG suggested nest boxes and asked if we were allowed to do this. FU said that we could get a contractor to do this. It was agreed that the Group could afford to fund nest boxes.  Action TE Action FU

6. Report on Progress of Volunteer Group

  • During the winter months more holly removal was carried out by the Group and further work done to clear and open up over-grown boundary pathways. Most recently Carpenters Path has been cleared by removing holly and laurel and digging up roots. The Glade has been opened up by widening the path through to it.
  • At the start of the year the Group commenced clearing part of Hillas Wood. This is quite a job and some aspects may be beyond us. We have made a start with clearing, and marked leaning trees with yellow paint. The brash piles are large and will take time to rot down and it was asked if we could have a fire to dispose of these. FU said that it wasn’t something they would recommend and she would check with Alex and come back to us. Action FU
  • At the beginning of this year we had a meeting to map the woods. This will be published when finalised – Alex mentioned he could help with this. TRDC should have a copy and a copy could be posted on the notice boards.  In the interim DMcL offered to make a copy of the draft map so that it could be circulated to members of the Group to familiarize all with the names.  Action AL Action DMcL
  • DW and AY have cleared and widened the path at the Whitelands Avenue entrance.
  • There have been two complaints regarding the bluebell “barrier” which BG has answered. The barrier has now been removed.
  • BG has had an interview with Jill Visser about the woodland and this will be included in the next issue of The Chorleywood Magazine. TE has asked the Chorleywood Residents Association to add our timetable to the diary in their monthly newsletter.
  • TE suggested keeping a monthly photographic record of progress throughout the year.  BG suggested that we have brainstorming sessions through the summer months to come up with ideas.
  • Thanks were given to Donald for his attention to the website.
  • Membership remains the same.

7. Diary for the coming year NB. Guided walk on St 20 April

No working session 20 April because of guided Chalk and Coral Walk.

Thursday 25 April – FU to come along to session with chainsaw and volunteers to log.

BG will e-mail other dates.

8. A.O.B

DMcL pointed out how boggy the middle part of the Whitelands Avenue public footpath can be and wondered if anything could be done to alleviate this.  FU said possibly crushed granite could be used to solve the problem.  BG agreed to discuss with Alex as a possible item for the 5 Year Plan.  Action BG

MG remarked on the large amount of damaged broad leaf trees in Hillas. SR suggested selective planting in the area and asked if this was something which could be included in the 5 Year Plan. BG agreed to put this to Alex.  Action BG

MG questioned the position with regard to hedging – how is this to be done and when? FU said some dates for hedge work could be set after discussion with AL. The hornbeam hedging will need specialist attention. Action FU

FU thanked the Group for their hard work.

9. Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 5 September 2013 at 1.30 pm

Meeting ended at 4.30 p.m.