The 26th June must surely have been the warmest evening of the year so far, and we were delighted to welcome 18 shareholders and 13 members of the public to our 2018 AGM in the Redlake Valley Village Hall. Chairman, Mark Limbrick, reported a busy year, with work parties in the quillet, visits to other woods and, of course, last October’s highly successful Woodland Fair. Treasurer, Anthony Morgan, followed this up with a very positive financial report (available on request to those shareholders who weren’t able to attend), and suggested that we should now create a reserve fund for any contingencies that might arise. Shows of hands from shareholders present supported two proposals. The first was that the Society should register its objections to the scale of development proposed by the Forestry Commission for a holiday park in Mortimer Forest. The second was to reassure board members of their confidence in them to open negotiations on any future sale of a quillet in Brineddin Wood without repeated recourse to shareholder opinion.
The AGM was followed by a fascinating and well illustrated talk by biologist and author, Andrew Allott on ‘Woodland in the Marches from the last Glaciation and into the Future’. Andrew studied Botany at Oxford and entered teaching, first in Kent, then for 26 years as Head of Biology at Shrewsbury School until his retirement two years ago. In addition to authoring Biology text books, his major work, ‘The Marches’, No 118 in the highly regarded Harper Collins New Naturalist Series, is what he describes as his “Love letter to the Marches”. Andrew went to great pains to turn generalisations on how The Marches was affected by the series of ice ages and recolonised by tree species into very specific thoughts and authoritative speculations on how these would have manifested themselves in the Redlake Valley. It’s unlikely that anyone in the audience will now be able to drive up the valley without visualising the advance and retreat of successive waves of ice, and how, after each retreat, plants species would have gradually gained a hold on the stony terrain left behind.
A few shareholders who weren’t able to attend asked if we could film Andrew’s talk, which we did. We plan to show this later this year, so anyone else who is interested is most welcome to get in contact.
Andrew and Alison Allott with RVCBS Secretary, Karen Limbrick, at the top of the steps in Quillet 2879
Andrew visited the Society’s quillet earlier in the day and left us with some valuable advice on future management.
Our 2018 AGM will be held on Tuesday 26th June in the Chapel Lawn Village Hall. The AGM will start at 7.00 pm and will last for approximately half an hour. There will then be a short break before a talk by our guest speaker, Andrew Allott, on “Woodland in The Marches from the Last Glaciation and into the Future.”
Entrance fee is £4.50 although there is no charge for RVCBS shareholders. Members of the public are very welcome to attend the AGM; otherwise please arrive at about 7.30 for the talk.
“Regeneration of woody species is perhaps the biggest problem in Brineddin Wood with the two main factors being deer grazing and lack of light penetration through the canopy. Without recruitment of young trees, the wood is under threat in the long term.“
That is the conclusion of a survey carried out by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust which could only give the wood a ‘Satisfactory’ rating. For the summary report click here to be redirected to another page on our website.
Although long suspected, research at Aberdeen University shows that areas with growing pine marten populations have seen grey squirrel numbers fall because unlike red squirrels they provide easy prey for the predators. The article at this link describes the work of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Pine Marten Project. Our Society has been pleased to work with SWT Project Manager, Stuart Edmunds. At the Woodland Fair last October, Stuart’s talk on the return of the Pine Marten was well attended, and a camera trap he placed in the quillet has produced a very good night time image of a pine marten as it passed through, no doubt tempted by the irresistible aroma of decomposing chicken liver pate which, apparently, is what they like best of all.
Last year we were delighted to see recently coppiced hazel regenerating vigorously inside the newly installed deer exclosure. This year we’re impatient to see how well those coppice stools spring into life again. To provide us with optimism, in a video clip from a camera trap that Anthony Morgan set up over the winter, you can just make out the shadowy uprights of the exclosure posts behind the roe deer.
To see the video click here. It’s a little hazy, so best watched in full screen mode.
The quillet of woodland immediately adjacent to the left of the Society’s is about to be placed on the market, and probably through an invitation to tender. Naturally, this is of interest to the RVCBS board and shareholders, and a decision to tender or not must be taken. Shareholders’ views have already been canvassed, and although it is ultimately a decision for the society, this does not preclude comments from others who follow and are supportive of our work. The letter that was recently sent to shareholders is copied below. If you have an opinion on this, please reply through this website.
May I wish you a Happy New Year! The Society has been informed that the quillet immediately adjacent, to the west of our ownership is likely to be put up for sale by its current owner via a sealed tender bid process early in 2018. As you may recall, your Board of Directors take the view that the long-term protection and conservation of Brinnedin Wood would best be achieved by a management plan that prioritises its environmental value and involves as many quillet holders as possible in its implementation. The fulfilment of that aim it could be argued, would be more likely if the Society were able to consider purchasing the adjacent quillet, though there would be some practical problems in the way of doing so. The area of woodland in question is significantly larger than that which the Society currently owns and so the financial transaction involved in a possible purchase would be much more challenging than that undertaken at the Society’s formation. Your Board of Directors have not yet made a formal decision on how to proceed. With such an important and challenging issue, the views of you, our shareholders are vitally important.
Please let me know what you think by return. Your views will help shape the future of the RVCBS and Brinnedin Wood.
We would welcome committed, enthusiastic shareholders to join the Board and share directly in the management of the Society by attending Board Meetings. We have a number of vacancies and our rules allow us to co-opt new members at any time. Please contact me or any other board member if you are interested. May I remind you of our forthcoming work parties on 28th January; 25th February and 25th March 2018. Bring rugged foot-wear, working gloves and enthusiasm! Coffee, cake, conversation and tools provided! We meet in the Village Hall car park at 10.00 am, finishing about 1.00 pm. Alternatively, if you just want to come to see what is going on – feel free! Please let me know if you intend to come to either of the work parties – you will be most welcome!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society
Possibly of interest to RVCBS members and followers of this blog.
Saturday, January 13th, 7.30pm, Chapel Lawn Village Hall, SY7 0BW
Tomorrow /Demain ( PG) Documentary, 118 mins – Repeat Showing
An inspiring, feel-good movie about the best ways to solve our ecological crisis, investigating solutions accessible to everyone, putting the power in the hands of the world’s citizens. Tomorrow is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet.
Already viewed by over 1.5 million people in France alone, and winner of Best Documentary at the Cesar Awards (the French Oscars), ‘Tomorrow’ has been hugely impactful. Produced by activist and writer Cyril Dion and actress/director Mélanie Laurent (see below), it tells the story of their search for solutions to the crisis humanity faces. In 2014, the production team launched a crowdfunding campaign on KissKissBankBank in order to raise €200,000 to finance the film. In just 2 months, the contributions of 10,266 contributors meant that they actually raised €444,390. The film premiered in Paris during COP21. It is a hugely positive, affirming and inspirational film, exploring creative solutions in the fields of food, energy, transport, economics and education. It visits permaculture farms, urban agriculture projects, community-owned renewable projects, local currencies, creative schools, ambitious recycling projects. It has been a huge boost to community-led projects, and is currently on release in 29 other countries, regularly receiving standing ovations, and leading to the formation of many new community projects. It is the perfect antidote to the current sense of global despondency. It also has a great soundtrack!
Adults £4.50, Children £3.50 Bar, popcorn and snacks, plus ice creams in the interval.
After an uncertain start last Sunday morning, the rainclouds dispersed and eight willing workers turned out for the first working party of the winter at Quillet 2879. There was a lot to do. The hazel branches and miscellaneous bits of wood from garden sheds that we’d used five years ago for the lower section of the stairway are starting to rot, so we measured up for replacing them. More holes – presumably made by rabbits – have appeared low down on the lengths of plastic deer fencing that we’ve not yet protected with chicken wire. They had to be temporarily patched. Most rewarding, now that we are confident that the deer fencing is working and hazel is able to grow without being eaten, was making a start on the remaining, etiolated hazel that’s not been cut for decades and is nearing the end of its natural life without intervention.
From this ….. …. to this next year?
A pleasant surprise was that some of the hazel outside the deer exclosure that had been coppiced by children from Bucknell School two years ago, was still surviving predation by deer – but only just. To keep it alive until such time as we can afford more fencing, we reinforced the various Heath Robinson methods we’d used at the time.
Four ‘quilleters’ that morning were first timers to our working parties, so particular thanks go to Ros Patching, Gary Price-Hunt and Brenda Dyson from Clun, and to Dave Wright from the School House B&B in Chapel Lawn that looks out onto Brineddin Wood. In the picture, Ros can be seen gathering hazel wands for Clun schoolchildren to use to carry lanterns on their procession to meet the Snow Queen when she switches on the Clun Christmas lights.
And finally, an Oak Apple:
The Chapel Lawn Woodland Fair held on 7th October was a great success. For a full report with pictures click here.