Sept 2022

Friends of Carpenters Wood (FOCW)


Wednesday, 14th September 2022

at Whitegates, Shire Lane, Chorleywood, WD3 5NT

Present: Barbara Green (BG) – Chair,  Robin Hurley (RH), Dorothy Freedman (DF), Claire Casey (CC), Shamoon Karimjee (SK), Stephen Ramsay (SR) – Treasurer, Stephen Hall (SH), Malcolm Green (MG) – minutes,  Pam Ferrar (PF), Julie Rees TRDC (JR), Kallum Wright CMS (KW).

1.         Apologies for Absence:

            Nick Hood, Lance Coppock, Helen Coppock, Andrew York, Sue Hall

2.         Appointment of Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary:

Barbara Green – Chairman and Stephen Ramsay – Treasurer are happy to continue.  A request for a new Secretary was met with no volunteers.  It was agreed to try to schedule meetings on Monday afternoons for Sue to continue as Secretary.

3.         Matters arising from last meeting March 9th, 2022:

Outstanding Matters include:

            a) New benches

            b) Replacement Notice Boards

            c) Signage regarding cycling

a)  New Benches – JR informed the meeting that, due to issues relating to Disability Access, TRDC were still uncertain as to what could be provided in the way of ‘formal’ benches.  JR suggested that ‘log benches’ using felled wood might be a way around this issue, at least in the short term.  Maintenance of existing benches was also raised – see section 7 below (Volunteer Work Plan for the Autumn/Winter)

Action JR to continue to pursue.

b) Replacement Notice Boards – Both boards still need replacing.  KW said that he would be endeavouring to provide specifications and obtain quotes as part of the Interim Plan (April 2023-24) and, if funds allow, for these to be installed during the Interim Year.  If not, then they will wait for the Full 5 Year Plan to be implemented. Action KW.

c) Cycling Signage – further discussion was had about the merits and de-merits of no-cycling signage.  JR agreed to investigate further and let FOCW know what TRDC decide on this issue – Action JR

All volunteers present congratulated TRDC on the recent major works carried out in the Woodland.  A 4-year backlog of planned work to remove Larch in Upper and Lower Hillas Wood was achieved over the early part of this year, together with substantial removal of Ash (suffering from Ash Die-Back) and the removal of larger trees on the Ride Widening project.  The resulting log piles have now also been removed.  Well done TRDC!

4        The New 5 Year Plan (Green Action Plan):

The new 5 Year Plan will now be delayed until April 2024, with an Interim Plan to be put in place from April 2023 for one year.  All major PAWS work (removal of Larch) has now been achieved, and significant amounts of Ash with Ash Die-back have been removed, although there is still an area near the Barrel Arch which needs clearing by TRDC – this is likely to be included in the new 5 Year Plan.  A smaller area of Ash along the Chiltern Way (map ref. G4) should be OK for FOCW to tackle – see Autumn work programme. 

No major work is to be carried out during the year 2023-24 although the Interim Plan will include some new planting of broadleaf trees in suitable areas (F6 was mentioned where Larch has been removed), and preliminary investigation of the Hornbeam Hedge will be carried out to see what might be possible.  Also, JR said she would try to get a chipper in to reduce some of the brash piles along the Bramble Ramble Ride which was widened in January – Action JR re chipper.

DF drew attention to the poor state of some of the signage within the woodland including broken disc markers and the lack of a Footpath sign at the Whitelands entrance.  With regard to the latter, JR has reported this to Herts County who are responsible for Footpath signage but acknowledged that, given their work priorities, this may not be sorted any time soon!  – Action JR/KW re broken disc markers.

SH mentioned the proliferation of paths in the woodland which are not marked on the existing map.  KW said that a new map will form part of the New 5 Year Plan.

Safety works due to be carried out this Autumn include removal of Oak at H7 and removal of fallen trees at H/J8.

We look forward to working with KW on the new Plans for the woodland over the next two years. – Action KW to circulate the Draft Interim Plan for consideration by FOCW.

 5.        Treasurer’s Report:

We have a balance of £503 in the bank.  This year’s expenditure has been more significant than usual with purchases of new tool including silky saws, slashers, blades and covers, a new wheelbarrow, gloves, and materials for bird boxes. The Parish Council Quiz Night, which has been our main source of funding, is due to go ahead in November and we now have a table confirmed. 

6.         Report on Progress of Volunteer Group:

a) Work covered since March – Paths kept clear, litter picking, Holly regrowth kept in check, Barrel Arch and Whitelands entrances to the woodland cleared. 

b) Membership update – Membership remains stable but attracting new members continues to be difficult.  Some discussion was had about approaches which might be taken.  

    • DF agreed to put out a brief message about our group on the Carpenters Wood Drive WhatsApp group – Action DF.
    • BG agreed to contact the Residents Association – Action BG. 
    • RH agreed to help draw up a new flyer/poster which we could place in the library and the Parish Notice Boards – Action RH. 
    • JR mentioned Facebook, in particular ‘Hello Chorleywood’.  Will someone volunteer to investigate this??

     c) Tool Review – Another pair of shears was requested and some new gloves – Action MG The request for a battery-operated Brush Cutter was raised again with JR. JR and KW agreed to consider this again – Action JR and KW*

    d) Day change – DF has been monitoring attendance of volunteers.  On average 6 -9 volunteers attend with fewer generally on Saturdays. DF agreed to put out an email to obtain preferred days – Action DF

    • * JR subsequently reported back that Brush Cutter training for Volunteers would be necessary.  Volunteers to undertake training once TRDC confirm agreement to purchase a machine.

    7.         Volunteer work plan for the Autumn/Winter:

    a) Holly removal at map ref. E2/3, C5 and L2/3.  Any Holly with berries to be left until late January/February

    b) Cut and lift grass at Nursery site.  Remove bramble and Birch seedlings.

    c) Laurel removal.  Laurel at map ref. H11 will need TRDC help.

    d) Revisit the open area created along Boundary Walk (map ref. F1/2)

    e)  Ash removal on left of Chiltern Way (map ref. G4). 

    f)  Bench maintenance – sanding and oiling necessary.

     g) General clearance along sight lines.

    BG to contact Ciaran at CMS to arrange a CMS volunteer day for some of the above tasks – Action BG

    8.         Web-site update:

    Not much to report but fairly regular photos supplied.

    9.         A.O.B:


    10.       Date of Next Meeting:

                 Monday 13th March, 2.00pm at Whitegates WD3 5NT

    Minutes by BG