March 2018

1st March 2018 at 2pm

Present: Barbara Green – Chair, Sue Hall – Secretary, Stephen Hall, Robin Hurley, Andrew York, Bill Wilson, Pam Ferrar, Dorothy Freedman, Stephen Ramsay, Nick Makin, Barbara Robjant, Nick Hood, Malcolm Green, Tony Edwards

1. Apologies for Absence

Chris Smith, Lesley Edwards.

2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.

3. 5 Year Plan

We still have no indication whether the 5 Year Plan has been agreed by TRDC which makes it extremely difficult for us to plan our work.

BG spoke to Matthew Watts in November 2017 about our concerns regarding the availability of finance to enable the 5 Year Plan to be properly implemented. MW arranged a meeting with Julie Hughes (TRDC) at the beginning of December and was told that funding would be available to cover the projects in the 5 Year Plan, although JH added that budgetary commitments could not realistically be given beyond a year in the present climate. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the Plan to be finalized. Neither Terence Flynn (TRDC) nor Matthew Watts (CMS) attended this meeting. BG will try to chase the Final 5 Year Plan. Action BG.

Another option is to contact the Chair of the Leisure Committee, Chris Lloyd. Action BG

Meanwhile, all ‘ride widening’ is on hold. Since there was a difference of opinion between CMS and TRDC about what should be done with regard to ride widening, FOCW are left not knowing what they should be doing!

DF asked about the 28 oak saplings being cared for by TE and LE, as they really need to be planted out. DF felt they should be planted on the edge of the wood, but we really need advice about timing and location from TRDC.

Hornbeam – although coppicing the Hornbeam has been on the last two 5 Year plans, still nothing has been done! This has been included again in the new Plan, but we need to ensure that some action is taken soon.

As District Councillor, Angela Killick contacted BG prior to the meeting expressing an interest in our work. BG will forward minutes to her and any communications we have with TRDC regarding the 5 Year Plan. SR suggested that she may be interested in the Hornbeam debate. Action BG

MG felt that we need to find some way of sustaining pressure on TRDC to fulfil their commitments to Carpenters Wood.

4. Treasurer’s report

We have a balance of roughly £410 in the bank. Quiz night produced a good boost to our balance. As this is an annual event we need to make sure we are able to get a table together for the next one – date to be confirmed.

SR has been looking into the extortionate annual bank charges we are incurring and has been successful in finding an account with zero fees! The account needs 3 signatories, SR Treasurer, BG Chair and DF agreed, and a date is to be arranged for a meeting at the bank.

5. Report on Progress of Volunteers Group

a) Tasks covered during last 6 months:

  • Ride widening was started along Bramble Ramble but ceased after complaints from the public.
  • Glade creation along the Hillas part of Boundary Walk has been progressing well – a good job has been done with some help from TRDC who felled some larger stands of holly. Now we have created a wide vista into the centre of the woodland – this would be a good place for a new bench!
  • Whilst we were clearing the above area, a large, suspicious-looking mound was found, together with a couple of abandoned tools. SR has photos. BG will inform the police. Action BG (see NB below)
  • General clearing of paths, hedge work and laurel clearance has also been carried out.

b) Tasks to be covered in next 6 months:

Until the 5 year plan has been agreed it is difficult to plan a work
programme but the following were mentioned:-

  • Whilst we were clearing the Hillas glade, SR stumbled upon what appears to be an ancient path. It would be good to clear and reinstate this.
  • Further holly removal along Carpenters Path to be done before Easter.
  • Laurel also along the same path, and along Quarry Path needs removal.
  • TF has suggested we do further work on the brambles in Hillas. MG contacted Tim Venner from ‘Friends of Chorleywood House Estate’ who is prepared to bring their power scythe along together with a small working party, date to be arranged. Height of brambles initially will need reducing before the machine can be used. Action MG

c) Membership update

New members since September, Bill Wilson and Nick Hood, both warmly welcomed, membership remains buoyant.

d) Tools Review

  • MG & NM felt a petrol multi tool would be a good investment as it is light and flexible to use. MG has ordered new saw blades, safety glasses, and gloves. If Friends prefer to buy their own gloves, costs will be reimbursed.
  • SH requested another pair of shears.
  • SR would like a better scythe to help tackle bramble – he agreed to get advice from CMS and TRDC regarding style of scythe best suited to our purpose. Action SR
  • SH volunteered to repair tooth in wooden rake. Action SH
  • TF has asked for a list of tools we would like before the end of this financial year. He suggested we needed another Rake. BG agreed to email a list, to include,      2 x Large Bahco superlight Bypass Loppers
    1 x Medium Bahco superlight Bypass Loppers
    2 x new blades for Wolfgarten Pole Saw
    1 x Bahco Shears
    BG will also ask about the petrol multitool mentioned above.
    Action BG

6. Web-site update

SH says it is a difficult task to maintain the Website, other than posting basic information regarding meetings, calendars, and 5 Year Plan. BG felt that this is fine but that it is necessary to maintain an online presence for the public. As an alternative and simple reference for team members NH suggested Drop Box but BG felt that, since we had the website up and running, it was better to continue with it. BG thanked SH for all his work in this regard.

7. Any other business

  1. Fly tipping letters for houses backing onto the woodland along Carpenters Wood Drive have still not been issued by TRDC although this was promised in March 2017. BG agreed to chase TRDC. TE volunteered to deliver letters, when they arrive. Action BG and TE
  2. Bird boxes need their annual ‘spring clean’. SH & MG to schedule the above into session. Metal openings to be purchased to stop squirrels getting into the boxes. Action MG and SH
  3. 3 new benches were mentioned in the new 5 Year Plan, we will need help from CMS to put these in place.

8. AGM Date for diaries – 6th September @ 2pm

NB: With regard to the suspicious ‘mound’ found in Hillas, BG contacted the police after the meeting, and no less than 8 officers visited the site over a period of several hours, to check out the mound. A cursory ‘dig’ was carried out and only roots were found. The police do not think this mound is sinister but will return when the ground is less frozen to examine again!