“Spent forty years of my life in this valley. Loved it then. Love it now.”

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”

“Very nice!”

Climbing the rustic steps

“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.

A Tale of Four Quillet Stones

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 oldest stone (easy to miss).
2878
2879
2880 Henry’s Quillet

Volunteer Secretary Appointment

Dear Shareholders,

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 should get 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 redlakevalley@gmail.com

Springtime in the quillets

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.

Successful Purchase of 'Henry's Quillet'

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!

Kind regards
  
Mark Limbrick
Chairman, Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society.

Rustic Step Renovation

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.

Ollie Holder and Anthony Morgan – true professionals.
A very proud Mark Limbrick

Successful fund-raising campaign continues

Nearly forty people have very kindly offered to support the Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society in its purchase of an additional quillet of woodland, which has now been named ‘Henry’s Quillet’ after its late owner, Henry Richards. The Directors of the Society are delighted that the many generous offers of money have made this possible and are now arranging the formal completion of the transaction.  However, there is still a small shortfall which is currently being bridged by a no-interest loan from a well-wisher. The Society can receive money both as shares and as donations and we welcome contributions of either in order to repay our loan and encourage new shareholders.  It is also possible to make contributions under both categories  and one payment could include both. 

Shares enable the purchaser to become a full voting member. Because each shareholder has only one vote irrespective of the number of shares owned, the minimum number of 100 one-pound shares ensures that all members have demonstrated a proper level of financial commitment.  There is also a maximum of £500 to protect the Society’s financial wellbeing because shareholders have the right to withdraw their shares and the Society must make reasonable provision against this happening.

Donations are unlimited in amount but there is no right to vote and no automatic right of return of money.  From the Society’s perspective, however, they have a significant financial advantage when given under the Gift Aid scheme.

Anyone wishing to contribute, and for the Society to fulfil best practice guidance, it is necessary to complete an application form (and perhaps two). These can be found on this website along with an explanatory share offer document by clicking here.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if you would like either of the documents in hard copy. You can get in touch through the contact details at the foot of this page.

With best wishes,

Anthony Morgan,
Treasurer to the Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society

Henry’s Quillet – Success!

Dear Supporters of Brineddin Wood,

Thanks to the pledges of nearly forty people in, around or connected to The Redlake Valley to make finance available to purchase 5.3 acres of Brineddin Wood, we can report that our informal tender offer has been accepted and we stand on the threshold of significantly increasing our ownership on behalf of the local community. This is great news and we are very grateful to those who (subject to contract) have made this possible.

Although contributions fell just short of the figure we targeted as an appropriate offer, the difference between what has been pledged and the tender price has been made up by an interest-free loan from an anonymous benefactor. We now have until the 15th of November to complete the purchase and we have instructed solicitors to act on our behalf. Of course, any further donations and/or share purchases will be most welcome to help us repay our loan. Naturally, there will be an event for shareholders (old and new) and other contributors to help us celebrate this success.

For those who might appreciate a reminder of how the Society operates, our reasons for owning the quillets on behalf of the community are various. First and foremost, the Society is more than ‘just a piece of woodland’. It wants shareholders, residents and visitors to the valley to enjoy the tranquillity of Brineddin Wood. That’s why a flight of rustic steps was built that leads people up the slope and deep into the trees (if you’ve not yet ventured up there, now’s your chance). School children, young adults with learning difficulties and unemployed adults have helped work on woodland management in order to enjoy nature and learn new skills. The two woodland fairs in 2012 and 2017 promoted local businesses and brought people together. Friendships have been formed which otherwise might not have happened.   Secondly, the Society wishes to encourage a greater variety of wildlife. From the exterior, the wood is beautiful with its canopy of oak cloaking the hillside. Internally, although visually attractive, all is not well. The hazel understorey is ageing and failing to regenerate and ground flora is sparse, resulting in a reduced volume and variety of invertebrate and bird species. By enclosing a part of the woodland to protect it from predation, and with some very light thinning of weaker trees, coppiced hazel is already thriving and will encourage a greater variety of wildlife. A larger piece of woodland provides greater scope for this.

Third, the history of the wood is fascinating and possibly unique. The Society has traced its existence to medieval times as a probable extension of a hunting chase. It has also traced the practice of ‘quilleting’ to the early 17th Century, and the succession of quillet ownership to the early 1800s. There is probably more to discover. In that historical context, the Society has suggested to its former owner John Richards, that the new acquisition shall be called ‘Henry’s Quillet’ in memory of his late father, Henry, and to reflects previous ownership by an established family in the valley. John has readily agreed to this.

With best wishes to all, 

From the board members of the Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society