Our first conservation work party of the season took place on Sunday 25th October. Right on cue the sun shone and the woodland looked splendid in its autumn colours. After a bracing walk to the quillet it was down to work with step clearing and maintenance, repairing the deer exclosure fence, general tidying work and the felling of an oak to create more space and light – all on the agenda. We also pegged out two routes for extending our new path in Henry’s Quillet down to the public right of way.
After a break in the autumn sunshine for coffee and cake (thanks Karen!) the new footpath routes were explored and a consensus on a preferred route was reached – now we only have to build the steps and cut the path into the slope! Following our “logging” operations anyone who is interested in buying lovely unseasoned oak logs for use next year, please let us know and we’ll get them across to the road and even deliver (if not too far away!). All proceeds will go to the RVCBS of course.
Many thanks to all who came along to work and to enjoy the autumn sunshine – a great day to be out in the woodland! Our next conservation work party will be on 22 November. We look forward to seeing you then, come and join in or just come for a look at what is going on – you will be most welcome!
Later dates are: 10th and 31st January 2021, 28th February, 28th March. Meet at 10.00 am in Redlake valley Village Hall car park.
Mark Limbrick, Chairman, Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society
For obvious reasons this year’s AGM was held by Zoom with no keynote speaker. However, we’ve received requests for the video of the 2018 talk by Andrew Allott on glaciation and woodland in the Redlake Valley, which drew a large audience at the time. Therefore, it now has its own page on the website that takes you to the talk in three parts on Youtube. – click here.
That’s just one of the messages left in the visitors’ book at the top of the quillet steps. Here are the others.
“Thank you for this. It’s a special place.”
“Gorgeous wet walk with the boys. Had fun finding sticks and counting steps.”
“I grew up playing in the woods. Many happy memories. Lovely to sit here in the heart of the wood and remember those days”
“Good overdue workout up the steps. Love the benches on the way up, but glad I didn’t stop as I don’t think I would have made it. Glad to explore my area of where I grew up. Keep up the good work of looking after this beautiful place.”
“Had a very good walk today and made some sheep friends and also enjoy coming back for a walk as I have come here before in primary. Thanks!”
“Magical place with hidden wildlife……. Listen.”
“It’s me again. I had a picnic.”
“It’s me again. I found some acorns which I can plant and I had a picnic.”
“I wish I could see some foxes and snow.”
“I like the magic steps*.”
“Love from Peru.”
“Thank you for all your hard work that goes into maintaining such a beautiful, ancient woodland.”
“We spotted this wood during our bike ride from Clun – so magical. Sat in the wood and watched a fox, heard a cuckoo and enjoyed the bluebells. Thank you so much for your efforts to preserve this ancient woodland.”
“Me and my mum were walking along the footpath and saw a fox den. The fox den was a in a hedgerow second to the left of here and we could distinctly see a fox cub. If you hear any rustles at all, always look.”
“Lovely place to spend time with family and reflect on life in such a beautiful place.“
* ‘Magic steps’ because it’s never the same number on the way down that you counted on the way up.
Shareholders of the Society will know that their first quillet, number 2879, was marked by a quillet stone some years ago at the lower left hand corner of the plot, and that in 2019 we erected a second stone to mark the purchase of Henry’s Quillet, 2880. Well now, courtesy of Simon Jameson’s single-handed hard work during Lockdown, there’s a third stone to mark the bottom right hand corner of quillet 2879 (or the bottom left hand corner of 2878 depending how you view things). Together with the only known original stone further along the footpath to the east, that now makes four stones, although we’re not sure which quillet that older stone is marking. Apparently, all quillets were originally divided by stones so erecting the three stones is an attempt to resurrect the practice. Maybe other quillet owners will join in.
The Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society is looking for a volunteer Secretary to work with its board of directors to help run the organisation. Our present Secretary, Karen Limbrick, has been with us since we started out in 2011 and although she will remain an active member of the Society, is standing down as a Director and Secretary in order to pursue other interests. The role of Secretary is more than organising meetings and taking minutes. We are looking for someone with administration and IT skills who will ensure that the Society runs in accordance with its Rules. Over and above that the role is as diverse as someone might want to make it and could, for example, include communication with shareholders and partner organisations, fund-raising, event planning and improving our profile on social media. There would be plenty of support from the outgoing secretary and other board members to ease the new Secretary into the role. The Secretary does not have to be a shareholder so do please tell anyone you know who might be interested and you think would do a good job. It might suit someone who has recently retired or who has just moved to the area and wishes to get to know people. In the first instance ask them take a look at this website.
Anyone who is interested shouldget in touch with our Chairman, Mark Limbrick, to talk it through and maybe visit the quillets if they’ve not been there. Mark can be contacted on 01547 530002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As many shareholders and supporters aren’t able to get to the Society’s quillet during their allotted lockdown exercise, here are a few photos as a poor substitute. The first is self-explanatory, although it’s interesting to note that this year the bluebells were denser towards the western end of the wood, whereas in previous years they’ve been more luxurious at the eastern end. The second is of a narrow path that was made by a recent work party to enable visitors to safely enter Henry’s quillet by walking up the flight of rustic steps a few yards and turning left. The third came as rather a surprise because when a survey of the wood’s ground flora was undertaken in July 2015, there was no record made of Wild Garlic (also known as Ramsons). This was a small group of plants near one of the few damp patches in the wood, fairly well concealed behind a holly bush. In July the leaves would have been withering away so maybe it isn’t so surprising, but good to see, nevertheless.
In case you’ve not already heard, here is some good news to brighten up what have been largely dreary days so far this year. Although a delay in completing the legal niceties meant that we were unable to become owners of a further portion of Brineddin Wood by the end of 2019, on Monday 20th January 2020, the Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society officially became owners of “Henry’s Quillet”, in Brineddin wood, Chapel Lawn, extending its overall holding to more than seven acres. Many shareholders – old and new – and other kind donors helped us with contributions towards the purchase, and we are truly grateful for that (although fundraising continues as an anonymous donor has helped us with a no-interest loan to achieve the full purchase price). It’s now our pleasure to invite you to visit the new piece of woodland at any time – the larger plot shown on the plan below, immediately to the left of our original quillet. Just park in the village hall car park at Chapel Lawn and take the public footpath across the fields to The Pentre where you meet the path that leads along the lower edge of the wood.
Of course, we continue to welcome new shareholders and board members to help us plan the management of our wood and develop ideas. In particular, as our current Society Secretary is stepping down this year after seven years, we would welcome expressions of interest from anyone who might be interested in taking on this or other stimulating roles with a friendly group of people! Please contact me or another Board member to find out more. You would be made most welcome!
Mark Limbrick Chairman, Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society.
When we began the flight of rustic steps deep into the quillet in 2013, we used lengths of coppiced hazel for the horizontals and, ransacked our garages and garden sheds for pieces of scrap wood to use as the retaining stakes. For subsequent work we’ve used properly treated timber. To be honest, we’ve been surprised by how long those first steps have lasted; perhaps because it’s quite dry under the trees. However, some have now started to disintegrate badly and have become dangerous, so our recent work party on 24th November concentrated on fixing those in particularly bad repair. This work will continue at our next scheduled work party on Sunday 26th January (meet at 10.00 in Chapel awn Village hall car park). Do join us: coffee and cake provided.