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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
for June 2011
Ringstead Woodland Garden and Walks Group
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
THE RINGSTEAD WOODLAND GARDEN &
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
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
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