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We are a constituted small charity group of volunteers dedicated to bringing Ringstead chalk pit back too it's former splendour for the benefit of all, funded entirely  by donation, pledges, boot stalls, grants and gifts. Every one is encouraged to take part in whatever way they can, be it as a member, volunteer helper, contributor or adviser. In order to keep the village informed of the current state of progress we circulate letters to every home in the parish, contribute an article for publication in the parish council newsletter and regularly update this page.



The trees have been planted

A big thank you to all who offered to help and to the helper on the day it really is appreciated. Planting was made so as to

define the eastern boundary of the chalk pit, a small infill in the pit wooded area and on the southern end of the sunken garden.

We would like to remind our many visitors that the wooded area around the pit on the eastern and western side marked by the white

 posts are private land belonging to the Le Strange Estate  and are not for public access.






Where to find our area



Large island bed march '12


Small island flower beds in march bloom '12


                                              Garden area in the snow February 2012      





 Some of the many visitors on the afternoon playing the games on offer.

           Enjoying the picnic area shortly after it's official opening.



Celebrate Ringstead Chalk pit

Open Day

As many of you may know, The Woodland garden and walks group have been extremely busy since spring transforming the chalk pit in order to create a community amenity. Mid July saw the removal of the tree stumps, from the trees that had been felled in March. What once was an area covered in a mass of Black thorn, was now ground prepared for grass seed. The woodland group were assisted by Mr Tim Walden, who gave his time and use of his seed spreader. He and Mr Stephen Reddington also gave their time supplying barrels of water when needed. The grass germinated well, as the British summer weather was predictable and we had a week long of showers, which was appreciated since watering by hand was taking two and a half hours to carry out. Between the rain falls the weather was hot ,this giving just the right condition for our grass to become green and lush.

Three picnic benches had been kindly made by Mr Mike Elliot of the Old School Ringstead, these had been generously donated by Mr L Sleight of Hall Lane Ringstead ,who commemorated them in memory of his late wife. It was then that the group decided to take the plunge and organise our first public event in celebration of the transformation that we had already achieved.

This took place on the 27th of August which was the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend. We had worked non-stop with the organisation and on the morning of the event our small group erected marquise's and made earth toilets. A lot of the equipment had been kindly provided on loan from various people within the village and beyond. The chalk pit picnic area was declared officially opened by Mr Sleight, who spoke some words that were heart felt and encouraging. A ribbon was then cut and the celebrations began.

Despite a few thundery showers that passed over quickly, the event was well attended. We had a barbeque, music that was played voluntarily and array of children's games, which had been kindly provided by Mr T Large. We also had a tombola which was full of lovely gifts that were all generously donated by people of Ringstead and surrounding areas.

It was over whelming to see so many people turning up and supporting the event. Many came with families and stayed all day ,playing ball and frizz-be. The children's games were popular with a few adults joining in with the hook a duck game and lucky dip. Well done to Luke for winning Polly the Parrot in the parrot game and Mrs Joan Elliot for winning the box of treasure on the treasure map game. Some visitors had just been walking through the Downs and discovered the chalk pit for the first time that day and stayed to enjoy the celebrations .There were many familiar faces from Ringstead, but even more visitors from the surrounding areas, Heacham, Sedgeford, Hunstanton, Holme Old Hunstanton, Dersingham, Kings Lynn and even Wisbech. Many conversations were of old memories of playing in the pit as a child, and that is was good to see the area being used once again for the purpose that it has always been meant for. Kind words of praise and encouragement were constant through-out the day.

In all, the event was a success and the chalk pit had it's day of glory. Which only means one thing!

                                               We will do it all again next year.

We did think about holding a Halloween event, but have decided that we are going to use our energy to continue working on the area. We are hoping to start landscaping the woodland garden area and preparing the event area during the coming Autumn months. This will then provide us with a much larger area for next years planned events.

We are already planning a Tea Party to be held in the chalk pit to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's diamond anniversary on Sunday the 3rd of June 2012.Opportunities to become actively involved with this event will be available towards the end of Spring 2012, as the Woodland group will be holding a meeting for those who would like to help.

Star Brock




                                                                                                                SPRING NEWS RELEASE 2012

During the winter months The Ringstead Woodland Garden and walks group have enjoyed a much deserved rest from the manual work within the chalk Pit. We have taken this time to make further plans regarding the landscaping of the proposed woodland garden and communal event area. Our 2012 calendar which illustrated different views at different stages during our projects first year, successfully raised over £70. We would like to thank Tim and Cathy at the Ringstead General store for displaying and selling them on our behalf. We will be producing a calendar for 2013, which will capture collected images of this coming year's progress. The calendar will be available during the start of autumn this year.By the time you read this newsletter, the group and its supporting volunteers would have already been active within the chalk pit. We are now in the process of clearing scrub away from the cliff edge, to make way for a fence which is to run along the top. An observation point will be incorporated into the fencing, which will give the opportunity to view the scenery within the chalk pit from a higher point. This work has been organised to hopefully go ahead mid-March.

Volunteers are still needed so we welcome anyone that can spare their free time. Come and Help days will commence on Saturday 10lh March at 1 lam in the chalk pit (weather permitting) and then every Saturday thereafter. Please contact Star on 525792 or Louise on 525606 for confirmation and required tools. Watch out for our Come and Help posters which get displayed in the General Store window and village notice boards. We have also been enthusiastically organising our first planned event for 2012. We are hoping that our community will join us and come together to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Our proposed vintage themed tea party, which is to be held on Sunday 3rd June 2012 will host an afternoon of musical entertainment and refreshments. We welcome any form of help, no matter how great or small. We would also like to invite any other community organisations who wish to raise their own funds to come and hold a stall. We are planning to hold a cake stall and would appreciate any offered donations. We will also need volunteers to help on the day. If you would like contribute in any way please contact Star or Louise on the above numbers. We will be posting more information regarding this event during April.


                                                                            DECEMBER NEWS RELEASE 2011

We have been continuous with the work within the chalk pit through-out the autumn, along with a number of volunteers from the parish.  We now have voluntary workers insurance in place, which allowed us to have our first Come and Help day that was held on the 29th of October. This was an open invitation for all those that share an interest and want to get actively involved with the project.
Prior to this we did post out a flyer with a list of garden tools that would be required to carry out work. If you are interested in future Come and Help days please keep this information in mind, as we will only be placing future notices within the village shop, parish news letters, village notice boards and local amenities. We also have a Facebook page under Ringstead woodland project, in which you will be able to gain information.
Our first Come and Help day involved exposing the chalk face which required immense hard work. Through team work we managed to make a big impact by removing all the loose chalk and soil, this was achieved by rakes and believe it or not sweeping brushes. We then used all the loose chalk to make a path and the top soil made flower beds.
By clearing the chalk we discovered a wide ledge at the base of the chalk face, which we have now cleared and seeded with grass. We are hoping that this will make a natural platform which could be used as a staging area for future performances as well as a seating area.
We held a second Come and Help day on the12th of November .We sculpted a central island to create the beginning of the planned woodland garden area. Firstly we had to prepare the ground and clear it from debris and loose chalk. We then planted a vast number of English Bluebells and Daffodils, which will give us some colour come spring. We plan to cover the whole of the island with wild flower seed ,grasses and woodland plants for an all year round display.
We would like to say a big thank you to all those that kindly gave support by donating plants and bulbs, and money that will go towards future purchases of plants.
We were able to erect a tea marquee and serve hot drinks and biscuits to those that came and offered their help. We would like to thank those who kindly allowed us to borrow their equipment in order for us to provide much needed refreshments.
We also have an additional picnic bench that was kindly donated and made by Mr Mike Elliot. The bench has been specially designed with over-hangs at either end, this giving access to those that require the use of a wheel-chair or mobility scooter. The bench was also respectfully placed in memory of a late parishioner who was a wildlife admirer whom had enjoyed many walks with in the chalk pit and the Ringstead Downs.

Our next target is to prepare the ground of the proposed event space, this will involve raking the area and clearing debris and loose chalk, ready for seeding early next spring. Come and Help days will be advertised through-out the winter, as we plan to continue preparation work on mild days during the winter months. So keep your eyes peeled for our flyers and posters. We are hoping for this area to be completed before late spring/early summer, as we plan to hold our next event in celebration of the Queens diamond jubilee on Sunday the 3rd of June 2012.

We have amazingly achieved so much over the period of the last nine months and have had so much positive feed back from all those that we have encountered whilst working on this project.
We feel that this would not have been achieved with out the support of those that have generously given donations, time and advice. We would also like to thank the trustees and Parish council for giving us this wonderful opportunity to create this community project.

We have a 2012 calendar available to purchase at £5.50.
To order please contact Star Brock on 01485 525792 Louise Howell on 01485 525606  Ringstead village stores or e-mail ringsteadwoodland@gmail.com
Proceeds will go towards the continuous work within the chalk pit.
Each month is represented by a picture of the chalk pit either before, during or after work.
We are hoping that in due time, when more work has been achieved our calendar will display some beautiful scenes of the chalk pit.
If you have an interest on how much the area has been changed since work began, there are some amazing shots of before, after and in between.

Once again thank you to everyone that has shown their support. We would like to wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and a joyful 2012.We look forward to keeping you informed on our future progress, events and Come and Help days.

The Ringstead Woodland Garden and Walks Group.


Star Brock



 Release for June 2011

Ringstead Woodland Garden and Walks Group

Dear Parishioners

We would like to update every one of the progress which has been made in the chalk pit since our last entry in the parish newsletter. As planned we were able to start work mid February due to the good weather. We were able to clear the over grown scrub which in itself gave us a clearer view of the area.

In early March we arranged for a professional tree surgeon to inspect the trees within the chalk pit area. Mr Matthew (chalky) White kindly donated his time and gave his advice on the action that needed to be taken. As the chalk pit is accessible to the public, a three yearly tree inspection must be carried out, but evidently this has not been done in past years, otherwise the trees would not have been allowed to grow into their current conditions. In order for us to comply with health and safety regulations and to preserve the healthy future growth and establishment of some of the trees, we were advised to fell all that were dead, diseased and dangerous. Unfortunately due to the environment of the chalk pit, this meant a high percentage of trees needed to be felled due to their condition.

Fortunately we were offered voluntary assistance from local professionals and their team workers, who were able to carry out all of the necessary tree work. We would like to say a big thank you to all those that were involved. The hard work, effort and dedication that you have shown towards the project is overwhelmingly appreciated. Also in March we met with Mr Meakin from the Le Strange estate, who has shown a great interest and is in full support of our project. Mr Meakin is in favour of us reinstating the original pathway which runs across the meadow and has given his consent to remove the overgrown blackthorn scrub by the gate, which has concealed the beginning of the pathway.

Thank you to all those who showed their support at our first public meeting which was held in the village hall on the 7th of April. We had a very positive response and received many kind words of encouragement. On the evening Mr Sleight kindly donated three picnic benches that will be locally hand made by Mr Elliot. We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have shown their support by giving donations. Your kind generosity has meant that we have already raised over £1000 which is an amazing achievement. A heart felt thank you goes out to you all. If anyone else would like to make a contribution to the project, envelopes are available at the village shop and can be left at the shop or alternatively, contact Star on 525792 or Louise on 525606 and we can arrange to collect it for you. We would also like to thank Cllr Elizabeth Watson for her continuous support, advice and direction.

She has put us in contact with a number of council members who are able to help in all areas of the project, including media coverage, which will gain us wider recognition and support. We are now in the stages of removing the tree stumps and levelling areas that are to be seeded for a planned picnic area. A meeting with Lord Peter Melchett of courtyard farm in relation to the type of seed suitable and the maintenance of the plants during there establishment has proven to be beneficial as is his support.. We are hoping to have the picnic area finished by August, this being the first completed stage of our project. We would like to celebrate this achievement by organising our first community event on Saturday 27th August. (Further details to be announced).

We are still currently seeking confirmation from the Parish Council of the insurance details that are needed for voluntary workers. When we have this information, we will then be able to ask the local community to come and get actively involved with the project. In the meantime, we would once again like to thank everyone for your continued support and we look forward to updating you with our future progress.


Progress report given to Ringstead annual parish meeting.

We would like to inform you of the progress, which has been made in the chalk pit since our initial meeting with the parish council, and yourselves in January.

As you are aware in March, we arranged for a professional tree inspector, Mr Matthew White to come and assess the condition of the tress within the chalk pit area. We informed you of his assessment and for us to comply with health and safety regulations and to preserve the healthy future growth and establishment of trees we were advised to fell all those that were unstable and diseased within the chalk pit area.

Unfortunately, due to the environment of the chalk pit this meant a high percentage of trees were unstable, dangerous and diseased and needed to be felled.

As the chalk pit is accessible to the public, a tree inspection must be carried out every three years. Evidently, this has not been carried out in past years, otherwise the trees would have not been allowed to grow in their current conditions.

The main reasons behind the unstable trees are that they are leaning one way to gain sunlight whilst the root system that is supporting the tree has developed on the opposite side within the chalk face, instead of forming an equal formation around the tree in deep soil. There is only approximately a foot and a half of soil before bedrock of chalk. With the trees leaning the opposite way to gain light, they are slowly pulling against their root system  therefore pulling their support system away from the crumbling chalk face.

The main reasons behind the decayed and diseased trees are due to subsidence of soil, which has built up around the tree trunks. A healthy tree would only have its roots covered with soil, not their trunks. The subsidence of soil has made the trees rot from the inside out. Although the condition of the trees is not apparent visually to the untrained eye, when felled the evidence of disease is clearly exposed.

We have recently removed Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Elder that had become very overgrown and rotten. Since their removal, sunlight as increased to the ground vegetation and we have created more ground space.

Pleased find enclosed a copy for your reference the quote provided by Mr Matthew White  (Not available on line). Mr White would not have been able to start the necessary tree work until June.

As you can see, the quote is for the cost of tree work as well as an estimate for fencing. We found the total a substantial amount for a new project in its early stages, fortunately since receiving Mr White’s estimate we have been approached by other professional bodies with the appropriate and necessary qualifications who have been able to carry out the necessary tree work.

On the 7th of March 2011 Mr Darren R Rollinson carried out tree felling work. He has a N.P.T.C licence issue number 00164363. A risk assessment was carried out before work commenced.

He has worked for The Natural Trust as well as many estates. Safety equipment and measures were carried out.

On the 10th of March 2011 Mr Christopher Howard carried out tree felling work. He has a N.P.T.C licence issue number 236817. A risk assessment was carried out before work commenced and safety equipment and measures were carried out. Mr Howard will be removing the trees which he felled and the trees that  Mr  Rollinson felled are being removed by Mr B Crown who will also shred the canopies for bark chippings which will be used within the project.

The Woodland Garden maintenance group has carried out the groundwork. This has included the removal and burning of scrub. We rope off the entrance to the chalk pit with a sign saying, “Do not enter work in Progress” whilst we are working.

We carry out a risk assessment before work commences. High visibility vests, safety glasses and protective gloves are worn whilst working.

We also carry mobile phones that have good network coverage and a first aid kit.

   Mr Marcus Nash who is a Woodland Garden maintenance member has access and C.P.Construction plant qualifications to operate a digger, which will be used to remove all tree stumps from the floor of the chalk pit. We have been advised to leave the stumps that are imbedded within the chalk face edge, so not to disturb the chalk face. These stumps will be levelled and the growth will be trimmed every three years as advised.

 With regards to the fence we have been extremely fortunate that a group member has the necessary materials and equipment to erect a fence along the top edge.

 We have been advised to remove all trees to the distance of two metres of the edge. This will allow a three-foot distance between the chalk edge and the fence and then the remaining distance as a pathway.

We are hoping to gain more support by means of voluntary help, once we have confirmation of the type of insurance that is needed.


On Wednesday the 23rd of March, we met with Mr Michael Meakin of the Le Strange estate and his land agent from Cruso and Wilkin.

Mr Meakin was impressed with our plans and is in full support of our project and has offered his further assistance. We will be regularly issuing him with reports to keep him updated with our continued progress.

He gave his permission to clear scrub that was invasive to the chalk pit boundary and also to remove any trees that were dangerously leaning over the boundaries. There were also many ash saplings growing in close proximity of each other that he wished for us to remove.

Mr Meakin would also like us to reinstate the original chalk pit path that runs across the meadow .We have his permission to remove the blackthorn scrub that has become over grown and has concealed the beginning of the chalk pit pathway.

A copy of our business plan was given to Cruso and Wilkin and this has been recorded within the Le Strange archives.

After discussions with Mr Meakin and his agent it was agreed that we were to be entrusted  with a key to the lock on the downs gate, this enabling us to access the area more efficiently.

We held a meeting in the village hall on Thursday the 7th of April inviting all who share an interest in the project. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the community of our current progress.

The support in which we received that evening was very encouraging with positive feedback not only from members of the Ringstead community, but also from the surrounding areas.

We have opened a trustee’s account with the Nationwide Building Society ,as our pledge support has been successful and we are still receiving donations to date.

Currently  we are arranging to meet with Lord Peter Melchett from Court Yard Farm to discuss our project and gain his valuable knowledge and advice.

We have been invited to attend a meeting with the Hunstanton in Bloom committee on the 13th of May to up-date them on our progress. This follows up a meeting that was attended on the 11th of March, in which we were able to gain advice and information on grants and funding that may be available to us.

We have recently been offered assistance with media publicity from Leanne Winston who is the communication officer of the Borough Council. This assistance will help promote our project, as well as gain support from further a field.


We look forward to your continued support and we will update you with our progress.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information regarding this project.
Star Brock.


Progress report.

Within three weekends, The Woodland Walks group has made a huge amount of progress in their stage one to transform Ringstead’s chalk pit.

The mild spring days and the first signs of warmth in the sun have been pleasurable to work in. The weather has also encouraged visitors to the chalk pit area and it has been sometimes very humbling to hear words of encouragement and support by so many.

We have felt honoured by learning of personal stories and experiences by those who have been walking through. There is so much history, within so many who have encountered this peaceful space. One story of an elderly couple, who were looking for a certain tree in which as teenagers they had carved there initials into the bark. (We hope you found your tree)

For many, the tales were of fond childhood memories, in which the chalk pit served as an adventurous playground. It was also good to see an elderly person was able to enjoy the spring sunshine and the chalk pit by means of accessing the area in their mobility scooter. (it can be done)

 Amongst all the pleasurable conversations that we have been engaging in, we have made a very big difference, in a space of a very short time. The area has become greater in size just by removing bramble and scrub. The sunlight, which now beams through, will help encourage the growth of the violets, forget-me-nots, snowdrops and bluebells that have been for too long cloaked under the scrub.

There is a still a lot of work to be done and we appreciate your continuous kind offers of help and support. Every little piece of support is generous, no matter how great or small.

A tree specialist has been and given us advice, and we await his estimate for the cost the work necessary. Our chairman has attended a forum on possible grant funding available to us. We are in the process of assessing the viability and benefit's of becoming a registered charity. On yet another front preparation's for our presentation to the parish on April 7th at 7pm in the village hall are being made. This has been a hectic but rewarding period for all involved.

  Our appreciation go to all those who came and helped and the many who visit and pass on encouragement. click here to see a panoramic view of work so far.





Ringstead woodland walks and gardens is a group of people dedicated to maintaining the parish heritage and enhancing the environment in cooperation with other bodies within the parish. A well attended meeting was held in the village hall following a letter sent to all homes within the village, where the plan was explained and discussed in full. Overwhelming support from this meeting and street encounters enabled the group to petition the parish council to pursue a lease for the chalk pit as per their previous resolution and present a copy of our proposed commitment to manage the upkeep of this long standing site in order to protect the parishioners ancient rights.



  Long discussion took place at a full parish council meeting finally resulting in  passing a resolution in support of a lease by four votes to two. The current project is to support the parish council in its decision of October 4th 2010 to pursue a lease of the parish chalk pit from the trustee's. A second letter was sent out to all homes explaining the current position and asking for a pledge to be made. This resulted in firm commitments of money time and labour.

A meeting of the group has taken place and a constitution has been agreed. Initial trustees have signed up and a chairperson and secretary/treasurer appointed. On Monday 17/1/2011 a meeting with the Great Ringstead Allotments Charity trustees, the parish council and the woodland garden and walks group took place in the village hall. This meeting was constructive and gives rise to the expectation that this project will go ahead.

Letter to parishioners announcing successful bid.

Dear Parishioners
We are pleased to announce that our bid to transform and maintain the area currently known as the Chalk pit has been successfully accepted. The parish council are in the process of securing a five-year lease, which within this time we are confident that our group will be able to transform the Chalk Pit to its former glory, allowing the area to become a place of recreational admiration through-out our community for many years to come.

The chalk pit, support group has become a constituted small charity known as The Ringstead Woodland garden & walks Group.
We consist of an appointed Chair, Miss L Howell of 54 Peddars Way North. (Tel.525606)
Secretary and Treasurer is Mrs S Brock of 44 Peddars Way North. (525792) and four other Trustees.
Mr T large 11 Holme Road.
Mr M Nash 11 High street.
Mr D Bowley 68 Peddars Way North.
Mr M Brock also of 44 Peddars Way North.

Our group will be able to start clearing the chalk pit area in March, before things start to become more over grown. This will give us a clearer view on how to facilitate the area to benefit the community and for the area to reach its full recreational potential. We will be welcoming future assistance, volunteers, advice, donations and ideas, as we consider this a chance to form a communal project, bringing parishioners together and bringing something to whole community. Already we are grateful and recognise the support, which has already been greatly offered. "Come and Help" days will be clearly displayed on village notice boards, future newsletters and within the village shop.

We would like to invite everyone who shares an interest in our community project to join us at Ringstead village hall on Thursday the 7th of April at 7pm to discuss what we have planned.
We have established a trust fund and will be actively seeking grants and funds that will benefit this project, as well as organizing communal fund raising events through-out the year. For all those who generously pledged donations, you will have the opportunity to bestow your tribute at the meeting. Alternatively, you can send your donations to Miss Howell, Mrs Brock (addresses above), or we could arrange to collect them.

 Once again, we would like to thank you for your continuous support.
                                                Miss L Howell and Mrs S Brock.
                          On behalf of The Ringstead Woodland Garden and Walks Group




Pictures from 2011
Chalk face exposed Nov 11






A view from on top of the "cliff face" looking down onto the picnic area and the trail into the woodland area. Picture take on 22/8/2011.


A view of the picnic area on 22/8/2011 from the entrance to the wooded area, looking across the entertainment area, towards the planned garden. The benches donated by Mr.L.Sleight in memory of his loving wife have just been positioned, to give the best view and shade possible. The plaque on each of the benches read as below.





This picture shows  Mr M.Goddard laying the rest of the pathway using his J.C.B. A voluntary action greatly appreciated and saved many days work by hand.


Picture taken Wednesday 6 July




Progress made by hand of the pathway through to the wooded area. Four volunteers moved approx 4 ton of chalk by hand on a very hot Sunday afternoon to achieve this. The newly seeded grassed area is visible on the right behind the hanging sign's.

Picture taken Sunday 26 June.





A panoramic view of Ringstead chalk pit made from 5 individual pictures taken 28 Sept 2010






The same area for comparison after 3 weekend's work



State of progress as at 22/03/2011 after three weekend's work looking from right and left.










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