Fun in the fields conservation day

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Your area, Your community

Come along and join Epping Forest Countrycare and the Essex Wildlife Trust for a day of nature conservation activities.

Fun in the Fields 8 September 2012 posterFun in the Fields takes place at the Roding Valley Meadows on Saturday 8 September from 1pm to 4pm.

Children aged between 5 and 12 will be able to learn more about wildlife and have some fun, too.

There will be a range of activities available, including bug hunting and nature scavenging. Visitors will also be able to have a go at building a bird box or making a bumblebee.

Entrance is free but there will be a nominal charge for some of the activities. Refreshments will also be available to buy.

The closest access will be from the reserve car park, next to the David Lloyd Leisure Centre (directions to David Lloyd Chigwell) from where it is signposted.

Download the poster Fun in the Fields 8 September 2012 poster.

Residents urged to take part in consultation – Local Plan video

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Consultation, Councillors, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Ongar, Our countryside, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

The issues and options consultation phase of the new Local Plan, ‘Community Choices’ runs from 30 July to 15 October. Here, Councillor Richard Bassett, the Council’s Planning Portfolio Holder talks about some of the key elements and encourages residents to become involved.


Click ‘Community Choices’ to view all the information and take part in the Local Plan consultation. 


Have your say on new dog control orders

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Community, Consultation, Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Consultation is due to start on 2 August for 8 weeks concerning the proposed introduction of dog control orders on publicly-owned land across the district.  The council is encouraging residents of, and visitors to, the district to have their say on the proposals.

Three new control orders are being suggested under the Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. The proposals include extending the area over which failing to clear up dog fouling is an offence to include all public land within the district, including that owned by the City of London Corporation.  The council also proposes to give authorised officers powers to request that a dog be put on a lead in public areas if necessary, and to restrict the number of dogs under one person’s control in public areas to four at one time.

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Portfolio Holder for the environment, said “The council receives a number of complaints each year about ‘professional dog walkers’ taking an excessive number of dogs onto recreational land and public areas.  Complaints refer to the dogs being out of control, blocking footpaths and fouling without the person responsible being able to clean up after them because of the number of dogs in their control.  “I therefore encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to return a questionnaire.”

Responses will be reported back to Councillors to assist them in making any final decisions.

Awards for Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes

Two Living Landscape awards were presented to Countrycare officers Nicola Rogers, Kevin Mason and Councillor Gary Waller Safer, Greener and Highways Portfolio Holder at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 31 July. The awards from the Essex Wildlife Trust were presented by Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

Afterwards, Councillor Waller said: “I’m delighted that Countrycare has received two Living Landscape awards from the Essex Wildlife Trust. These awards are part of a national initiative to create landscapes which provide enhanced conditions for wildlife to thrive. Ten awards were made for 2011-12 in Essex, and Epping Forest Countrycare received two of them. Epping Forest District Council is in fact the only council in Essex to receive an award and the only organisation of any kind to receive two.”

He continued: “Nicola Rogers’s project was for green hay strewning to enhance the floral diversity of a grassland site at Linders Field Local Nature Reserve, Buckhurst Hill, and Kevin Mason’s project involved the planting and traditional management of hedgerows at Weald Common Local Nature Reserve. Congratulations are due to both of them.”


Countrycare wins 2 living landscapes awards

Written on . Posted in Countrycare, Our countryside, Out and about

Living Landscape awards
Epping Forest District Council’s Countryside Management Service Countrycare was presented with 2 Living Landscape Awards at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s AGM on Saturday 23 June, held at Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve.

The award was presented by Professor Chris Baines, president of the Essex Wildlife Trust, to Countrycare staff Nicola Rogers and Kevin Mason in front of 700 members of the Trust.   

The Wildlife Trust for the first time this year is offering a Living Landscapes project award to recognise publicly any organisation, individual, business or group in Essex completing a project within the county. A Living Landscape is a national initiative led by the Wildlife Trusts, which enhances wildlife and creates a landscape which enables species and people to move through a wildlife-rich landscape.

10 awards were made for the year 2011/12 in Essex and Countrycare received 2 of them. Epping Forest District Council was the only council in Essex to receive an award and the only organisation to receive 2 awards.

The award is given taking into account how the project is good for wildlife, good for people and the community and good for the local economy.

Nicola’s project was for green hay strewning on Linders Field Local Nature Reserve in Buckhurst Hill. The technique of green hay strewning is used to enhance the floral diversity of a grassland site that is poor in terms of wildflowers. The grassland in Linders Field was currently poor in terms of wildflowers but the nearby site at Roding Valley Meadows LNR is species rich. The grass at Linders Field was cut and the site scarified to create bare patches. The Roding Valley flower meadow was also cut and on the same day the cuttings were transported to Linders Field and spread over the site so that seeds from the Roding Valley wildflower meadow would germinate at Linders Field.
Kevin’s project involved the work that has been carried out on Weald Common Local Nature Reserve.  An enclosed meadow was created by planting hedgerows around the boundary and across the Common. Once the hedgerow plants were tall enough, traditional management of the hedges took place in laying the trees to create a thick hedge, a good habitat for wildlife. The enclosed meadow created a sheltered spot for wildflowers to thrive and the hedgerows provide plenty of habitat for nesting birds. 

The judges commented on the Weald Common project saying: “With regards to your application, we would like to congratulate you on your fantastic project, of all the applications yours was the only one that did not have any comments about potential improvements.”

Fishing permit roding valley lake

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Sports, Your area

A new fishing permit is now operating at Epping Forest District Council’s Roding Valley Lake.

The lake, which is situated in the pleasant surroundings of the Roding Valley recreation area, is very popular with anglers.  The permit is in the form of a fishing agreement assigned to Roding Valley Angling Club and fishing will only be permitted by holders of valid day or season tickets. It is hoped that the partnership of the Council and the club will enable the area to be enjoyed by all of the community, whatever their fishing capabilities.

All anglers who come to the lake to fish must abide by Thames Water Authority and Epping Forest District Council by-laws.  In addition, as the area is home to a variety of fauna and flora, anglers are also asked to treat the environment with special care.

Tickets can be obtained from designated bailiffs, who can be seen patrolling the area.  They carry identification cards and those buying tickets are encouraged to ask to see this.

For further information, please contact Darren Jennings on 07716061273 or Richard Marshall on 07778474518 email or, Epping Forest District Council on 01992 564562 during office hours.

Horse chestnut tree surveying started

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes, Your environment

Horse Chestnut tree leaf under attack by Leaf Minor
In order to assess what is happening to the Horse Chestnut trees in the district, the Epping Forest District Council’s tree wardens have registered with the Conker Tree Science project to undertake a survey of the trees in their area.

The Conker Tree Science project is run jointly by the Universities of Hull and Bristol together with the National Environment Research council, and is looking into the effects of an alien leaf mining moth (Cameraria ohridella), which turns the leaves brown by the middle of summer and causes significant damage to the appearance of the trees.

Alien species are thought to be those not normally found in a particular area or habitat. The moth’s caterpillars eat the leaves from the inside and infected trees are weakened, producing smaller conkers.

Many of the invading moths are killed by natural pest controllers in the form of other tiny insects. These insects lay their eggs inside the caterpillars of the leaf-mining moths and when the eggs hatch, the larvae slowly eat the caterpillars, eventually killing them.

The research is looking into the effects of the moths on Horse Chestnut trees and if there is any long-term damage to the trees.

For more information:

Conker tree science website

On Wednesday 23 May, Epping Forest Countrycare Countryside Assistant Kevin Mason and Melinda Barham the Council’s Trees and Landscape Officer showed the Tree Wardens what to look for by surveying and recording 20 trees along Buckhurst Hill High Road and the adjacent churchyard. The findings were that the moths are active particularly in the churchyard and that most of the trees have other problems as well.

The science project proper starts on 15 June, by which time the affected leaves may have started to turn brown and the recordings note the extent of the damage to the leaves.

There is a follow-up during the week commencing 3 July collecting a leaflet from each tree to see if any of the pest controllers are active in the leaves.

Join our woodland walk and mothing events

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Countrycare, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your environment

A guided walk through ancient woodland and a ‘mothing’ night are just 2 events in the coming weeks run by Countrycare.

Ancient woodland walk
On Sunday 29 April 2012 Countrycare are holding an ancient woodland walk in Lambourne. Join the team on a guided walk to discover the ancient green lanes, hedgerows and woodlands of Lambourne. You will be shown how Countrycare manages the woodlands and the results of their hedgelaying toils, taking in superb views and looking at the wildflowers found the woodland.

The walk starts at 10 am and finishes at 3 pm. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a packed lunch. Meet at the Camelot car park in Hainault Forest (opposite the Miller and Carter pub). Grid reference TQ 47805 94364.

Mad about moths
Mad about moths is a nocturnal wildlife event on Friday 11 May 2012 at the Linder’s Field local nature reserve in Buckhurst Hill. The night goes from 9 pm until late and will include mothing, bat detecting and newt identification.

The Countrycare team will provide hot drinks to keep warm but you must bring warm clothes, suitable footwear and a torch. Meet at the Linder’s Field LNR, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill. Grid reference TQ 41440 94434.

If you need any more information email or telephone 01992 788203 or our mobile number 07789 372222.

Loughton trees in winter walk

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Epping Forest Countrycare, in conjunction with the Friends of Epping Forest, organised a walk along the ridge on the North West side of Loughton through the conservation areas known as “Little Cornwall” on 7 February 2012. A total of 21 people braved the cold and snowy conditions and were rewarded with a crisp sunny day and clear blue skies. The walk was led by local naturalist Tricia Moxey and Kevin Mason from Countrycare.

The walk started from Baldwins Hill Green where the opportunity was taken to look at the two large oak pollards at the top of the hill. Tricia explained the significance of the trees to the local landscape, and Kevin explained about the favourite trees database and how trees within the district are recorded.

The walk then went south along Baldwins Hill to Ash Green the former residence of William Chapman Waller, writer in 1900, of Loughton in Essex. The book is a definitive history of Loughton from earliest times. Explanation was given of Wallers Hoppit part of the garden of Ash Green which was sold for development in the 1970s. A hoppit meaning an enclosure or paddock.

From Baldwins Hill the walk went into York Hill bounded by high holly hedges until we reached the green in front of the Gardener’s Arms. The opportunity was taken to admire the view and learn about the history of the buildings and the conservation aspect of the area.

Turning to the right the walk then went along Woodberry Hill passing the site of the old Loughton Pottery and some fine trees, especially a large Black Cedar in the garden of number three.  At the end of Woodberry Hill the road ends at Loughton Lodge which is opposite Drummaids a local scenic spot with fine views looking down on the trees. We then retraced our steps taking a route into the forest passing Dryads Hall, formerly the home of the Silberrad family.

Once past the hall the path went downhill, we looked for signs of an old path which linked up with the Clay ride through the forest without having to go down hill. It is shown on maps from the 1950’s but has long since become overgrown and disappeared.

In the forest Tricia gave an explanation of the management of the Hornbeam and Beech pollards in the area explaining that they have become very top heavy and will in time topple over. We climbed back up the hill to finish the walk in bright sunshine at the top of the Clay ride. Although much of the recent snow had thawed, there was a little lingering in places and this added an extra dimension to the silhouettes of the trees encountered on the route and we all benefitted from our exposure to the sun and the calming influence of the trees!

One of the walkers commented at the end. Thank you so much, It was a particularly nice walk, and it just goes to show that a walk doesn’t have to lengthy or hard-paced to be very rewarding!

Allotment cleared to create wildlife habitat

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Countrycare, Loughton, Our countryside, Your area

On a very cold Saturday morning, 11 February 2012, the overgrown former allotment site in Willingale Road Loughton, was given some well needed attention. Some of the bramble was cleared to create a habitat for wildlife, promote wildflowers and release the trees from entanglement.

The work was led by the Epping Forest District Council’s Countryside Manager Abigail Oldham and Assistant Kevin Mason, along with members of Loughton Town Council, Paul Hoy and Councillor Stephen Pewsey, a number of local volunteers and recruits from the Harlow community payback group.

Three areas of bramble were worked on creating a more open aspect to the site. A large cooking apple tree was freed from bramble and is now a feature in the centre of the site. Several other trees which were being smothered were haloed.

The bramble was cut using hand tools and mechanical means then burnt on a small fire which was very welcome on a particularly cold day.

The volunteers and staff were pleased to be joined at lunchtime by Chairman of the Council Ken Angold-Stephens who gave encouragement to those involved in the clearance work said: “There is much more to be done on the site but a lot of clearance was completed on the day and we definitely made a difference”.