Sept 2013



Thursday 5th September 2013 at 1.30 pm

28 Carpenters Wood Drive
Present: Barbara Green – Chair, Donald MacLean – Vice Chair,
Stephen Ramsay – Treasurer, Alex Laurie – CMS, David Walker, Malcolm Green, Andrew York, Dorothy Freedman, Lesley Edwards – Secretary

1. Apologies for Absence

Tony Edwards, Michael Hyde, Fiona Lean, Fiona Underhill, Wendy Boatman.

2. Minutes of Last Meeting – Agreed.

3. Matters Arising

BG has attended a First Aid Course recently and attained a Certificate. TE, DW and SR all keen to attend a First Aid Course. BG said that she would speak to FU. BG is in the process of upgrading our First Aid kit. Action BG

CMS Volunteers in diary for October but they will be in the wood for an additional session next Wednesday the 11th September. The CMS Volunteers will start work on clearing and restoring the hedgerow along the Hillas Wood path edge. Any Friends available next Wednesday would be welcome between 10am – 3 pm. BG stressed that we required the reciprocating mower for the Wednesday sessions in October.

Activities for the summer months (when habitat work is restricted) were discussed at our last meeting e.g. bird, flower and fauna surveys, butterfly conservation, nest boxes etc. but we haven’t progressed any of these ideas. It was suggested that we put a session aside to make plans for these activities or maybe an evening meeting would be more constructive. MG suggested fixed point photography – we need someone to take this on.

There are many damaged broad leaf trees in Hillas and there was discussion about selective planting. AL said the best way to do this was to collect seed and propagate. It would take 5-10 years to get a tree established. Oaks in particular need replacing; the present ones are spindly and weak due to crowding by the Larch. LE said that she would plant some seed. Action LE

Hornbeam hedging – Expert advice is required for this project. AL said that if Hillas Wood is thinned and the timber sold on, hopefully there would be enough profit to fund the restoration of the hedgerows.

4. Treasurers Report

Balance of account £838.00

Profit £1.65.

The Parish Council Quiz Night is our main source of revenue.

Expenditure: Hedge Management course – 2 Friends
Chiltern Woodland Conference – 2 Friends

All equipment is fully insured and stored in SR’s shed.

BG is to buy new protective eye shields and gloves and MG felt that we should have hard hats in our kit. Action BG

DM confirmed that there would be no website costs this year.

Thanks were given to the Treasurer.

5. Report on Progress of Volunteer Group

BG said that the group had achieved a great deal and we haven’t missed many sessions with an average of 6-8 Friends attending each session. A good deal of work has been done improving the footpath along the back of the houses in Whitelands Avenue as well as bramble and nettle clearance along the main bridleways and footpaths this summer.

Holly removal has started on Boundary Walk in Lower Hillas Wood with the aim to open up views into the fields. A great deal of work has been done to open up the footpath (Carpenters Path) along the back of the houses on Carpenters Wood Drive and down the side of the horse field. Now further clearance work was required in that area of Carpenters Wood and we could target this at our next meeting on 21st September.

BG welcomed our new member, Chris Smith.

6. Five Year Plan – plus update on access improvements

A copy of the final draft FYP has not been received from Fiona Underhill. AL said that he would ensure this was sent to us. Action AL

Access improvements:

(i)Contractors have been employed to carry out the work, except for way-markers which volunteers will complete.

(ii)The Whitelands Avenue entrance will have the new metal chicane positioned at the pathway entrance with the old wooden chicane to be removed. The bins (dog waste and waste) will be re-positioned so they are together and superfluous posts and signage will be removed. A new entrance slope will be created for ease of access, particularly in bad weather, with the pathway circumventing the large tree, which will remain.

(iii)Relocation of the notice boards.

(iv)The farm gate to be replaced by two removable bollards and area made good.

(v)Four-way Gate to remain but a horse barrier will be placed alongside the gate.

(vi)Dispense with the gate at the Barrel Arch but bollards to stay.

(vii)New signs which highlight the bridleway, permissive bridleways and footpaths will be installed. There was discussion as to the clarity of the colours used to denote the pathways. The signs must be perfectly clear, particularly for horse-riders. DW remarked that the orientation of the woodland maps needed changing depending where you were, in line with Ordnance Survey recommendations. Action AL

MG asked when the access work was to commence. AL said that he didn’t have a start date but it would be within the next month – weather permitting, commencing with resurfacing the main bridleway (Chiltern Way).

It was discussed that Friends could work on making the muddiest area along the Whitelands Avenue path less of a quagmire by applying mulch generated from thinning. AL was asked if contractors on site could make ‘chippings’ available for volunteers to use for this purpose. Action AL

BG suggested that we advertise the imminent work and AL said that he was preparing a notice. SR drew attention to the key on Map No. 2 which is incomplete. Action AL

DW asked if we could have a couple of “No Horses” posts to keep in store for use if required.

DF said that the Carpenters Corner fence had been removed and queried what was happening there and who owned the land.

BG suggested that one or two of the Friends should be on site when the work commenced next Wednesday. AL said that he would be there to oversee.

MG said that the access work was a good opportunity for some PR to show what the Group have achieved in collaboration with CMS. An article in the Chorleywood magazine was suggested and also some mention in the Parish Matters magazine. Action BG/MG

DMacL said to e-mail him with any news of work and improvements which could be put onto the website. It was suggested that the website might be used to communicate with each other more in the future, particularly regarding attendance at volunteer sessions. Thanks were given to DMacL for his work on the website.

Forestry Elements of the Five Year Plan.

AL said that thinning of Upper Hillas Wood would take place this winter – up to 30% selective thinning. Contractors were pricing this work currently. The timber would be stacked and then removed by, hopefully, the same person who removed the last load. The profit from this could be used to fund the restoration of the hornbeam hedge. Also thinning of the area of Larch in Carpenters Wood would also be undertaken – this is an area that was barely touched last time.

Hedgerow Work

Restoration of the hedgerow along Hillas Wood would start next week with CMS volunteers who would be removing all the old fencing and bramble ready for new fencing and coppicing to take place.

Restoration of the Hornbeam hedge is a specialist task which will require expert input. This work is scheduled for Autumn/Winter 2014.


The provision of suitable benches is mentioned in the Plan and AL said that he would send us some pictures of various designs. It was thought these would be especially suited to the bluebell area.
Action AL

Path Maintenance and Coppicing

Footpath and Bridleway maintenance is an on-going task within the woodland. The intention of the FYP is that the main paths should be cut back by 4 – 5 metres and coppiced where possible, to create regeneration of habitats along the paths. This would be done on a 5 year cycle so that each path would be allowed to ‘re-grow’ until the next cutback.

Coppicing in general was discussed as a way of enabling regeneration of the woodland. DW said that he would try to identify areas that were suitable for coppicing. Action DW.

SR said that he was confused as to timing and asked for AL to send a copy of the Action Plan with tasks ticked off so that we are all clear on where we are. Action AL

Thanks were given to AL for his work with the Group.


7. Diary for the coming year.

A new programme of volunteer sessions has been emailed to everyone. Sessions will remain the first Thursday and the third Saturday, except for some changes due to Bank Holidays/Christmas, etc.

Parish Quiz Evening: Saturday November 23rd. A FOCW Table required!

CMS sessions:
Wednesday 11th Sept
Wednesday 2nd October
Wednesday 9th October


8. A.O.B



9. Date of Next Meeting

6th March 2014

Venue TBA



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