Loughton’s remarkable trees walk

Written on . Posted in Countrycare, Our countryside, Trees and landscapes

21 local residents enjoyed a guided walk around the conservation areas of Baldwins Hill and York Hill in Loughton looking at the extensive collection of veteran trees in the area. They were led by local naturalist Tricia Moxey and Epping Forest District Councils Countrycare assistant Kevin Mason.

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The walk, on Sunday 10 July 2011, added several new veteran trees to the councils database of veteran trees and demonstrated the significance of the veteran trees in Loughton as part of the Loughton tree strategy. Tricia explained the significance of old hedgerows in the area using a dating method known as Hooper’s Rule. Hooper’s Rule suggests the number of mature species in a 30 metre stretch multiplied by 100 can give an approximate age for a hedge. The York Hill hedge had 6 species and therefore is aged at approximately 600 years old.

The walk also covered the area known as Little Cornwall, an area named by local author Ruth Rendell in her 1974 novel ‘The Face of Trespass’. Kevin explained the history of the area and local points of interest. A short stop was made on the green opposite the Gardener’s Arms to admire the view across East London to Canary Wharf and the hills of Kent in the distance.

The walkers continued to Woodberry Hollow, also known as Drummaids, to look at the view of the forest. From there the spire at the top of High Beech church was just visible. Pausing at two Horse chestnut trees, Tricia explained that the Horse chestnut leaf minor micro moth was damaging the tree leaves. Kevin gave details to the group of what can be done to help and of the conker tree science project.

The walk lasted over two hours with 25 different tree species seen. It was appreciated by all who came along on what turned out to be a beautiful, warm and sunny warm morning.

Don’t miss out on the next guided walk by Countrycare around Epping Upland and Nazeing on Saturday 16 July walking the footpaths originally worked on by Countrycare in 1986. Details can be found on the online events calendar.

Mad About Moths

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Residents, Your area, Your community

Brimstone Moth

‘Mad About Moths’ is the first in a series of events Countrycare will be hosting this year to celebrate its 25th anniversary. 

The event which will take place on Friday 6 May 2011 will involve an evening of trapping, identifying and recording moths with some of our local experts.

To be held at Linder`s Field Local Nature Reserve, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5QX, the evening will run from 8:30pm until late.

Refreshments will be provided but please bring suitable clothing and a torch is also recommended.

To book your place please contact Countrycare by telephone on 07789372222.

Please note: the event will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain or strong wind.

Countrycare Exceeds Local Wildlife Site Targets

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Our countryside, Residents, Your community

38% of Local Wildlife Sites in the Epping Forest district are now in ‘Positive Conservation Management’, exceeding a target set by Defra two years ago.

In order to improve the care of Local Wildlife Sites and raise biodiversity Defra established the National Indicator, NI197, with the purpose of achieving 34% of sites into ‘Positive Conservation Management’ by March 2011.

Volunteers tree planting at Blackcat Green Lane in Fyfield

As of January 2010 Epping Forest was surveyed as having 222 Local Wildlife Sites and 84 of these are now in ‘Positive Conservation Managment’. This compares to 546 of the 1600 Local Wildlife Sites across the Essex Partnership which has also achieved the Defra target.

Achieving the target involved surveying each site, writing a Management Prescription and organising working parties to carry out practical tasks. In addition to grants from the Essex Wildlife Trust and Essex County Council, help was also provided in the form of manpower by Countrycare`s volunteer group, the West Essex Ramblers and the occasional corporate team day.

Draft Corporate Plan 2011 – 2015 Consultation

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Local business, Our countryside, Our performance, Planning, Supporting business, Your council, Your environment

The Corporate Plan (formerly known as the Council Plan) is the Council`s key strategic planning document. The Corporate Plan sets out service priorities over a four-year period, and translates the vision for the district set out by the Community Strategy recently published by the Local Strategic Partnership, One Epping Forest, into the Council’s strategic direction, priorities and the most important outcomes that it wants to achieve.

The Corporate Plan helps prioritise resources to provide quality services and value for money, but does not cover everything that the authority does, focusing instead on those issues that matter most to local people, national priorities set by the government and local challenges arising from the social, economic and environmental context of the district.

The Corporate Plan complements the Community Strategy and reflects those issues and priorities where the Council can have maximum impact. The Corporate Plan includes specific actions to address priorities that are financed, resourced and have a timescale for completion. The Corporate Plan is closely linked to the Council`s medium-term financial strategy, and sets out how the Council will deliver its vision and priorities over the next four years, to ensure improved outcomes for local people. The Corporate Plan includes a section reflecting the Council`s key objectives for 2011/12, which will be updated each year.

The Council is interested to know what you think of the Corporate Plan. Comments on the content and the aims and objectives for 2011/12 and the four-year period, can be made using either the online feedback form, or by submitting written comments to performance@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or Performance Improvement Unit, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ.

Responses received will be used to inform the content of the final version of the Corporate Plan, which will be published in April 2011.

Copies of the Draft Corporate Plan can be obtained from the Performance Improvement Unit by emailing performance@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Countrycare Completes Hedgerow Survey

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Residents, Your council

After 9 months of hard work from staff and volunteers, the council`s Countrycare team has finished its hedgerow survey of Moreton, Fyfield and the Lavers. The data will be used to help raise awareness of the importance of hedgerows as a source of biodiversity.

In 2010 DEFRA launched a nationwide survey through which the Countrycare team obtained a grant to survey the parishes that lie within the arable, agricultural landscapes of West Essex. The density of the hedges in these areas has decreased in recent decades due to agricultural practices and urban development pressures.

Conducting the hedgerow survey will help in determining the distribution and condition of the hedges and identifying the presence of species rich hedgerows, isolated trees and any veteran trees.

The results showed that three in ten of the hedgerows surveyed fulfilled all the criteria listed by DEFRA for a hedgerow to be considered in favourable condition. Seven in ten hedgerows fulfilled ten out of the eleven criteria, with most hedgerows failing because they were found to be nutrient enriched.

In addition to raising awareness with local landowners, farmers and community groups of the importance of hedgerows as a source of biodiversity, the data will also be used as evidence for the Local Development Framework, which is looking to include green infrastructure. The surveys also contribute to achieving the aims of the Epping Forest Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Essex Biodiversity Action Plan.

A full report on the hedgerow survey conducted and more information on biodiversity can be found on the Countrycare area of the Epping Forest District Council website.

Copped Hall Conservation Area

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Are you interested in the future of the Copped Hall Conservation Area?

Epping Forest District Council has recently published a draft character appraisal and management plan for this area and local residents and stakeholders are invited to comment on this draft before the final version is published.

This consultation ends on Monday 28 March 2011.

 

The purpose of a character appraisal is to define the character of the conservation area, review its boundaries and highlight any areas where there may be opportunities for enhancement.

A public meeting is to be held at 7pm on Monday 31 January 2011 in the Committee Rooms at the Civic Offices, High Street, Epping. This meeting will give residents and other interested parties the opportunity to consider ways of enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation areas and comment on the draft character appraisals.

Suggestions can be submitted on the night or during the eight weeks following the public meeting via the council’s website. Anyone interested in the future of the Copped Hall Conservation Area is invited to attend.

The draft character appraisal and a copy of our electronic comments form will be available to view on the conservation pages of the Council`s website from 31 January.

A limited number of hard copies of the draft character appraisals will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564358 or emailing vjames@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Alternatively, the appraisals will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Civic Offices, Epping.

Loughton Conservation Areas

Written on . Posted in Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Out and about, Your environment

Are you interested in the future of the Loughton Conservation Areas?

Epping Forest District Council has recently published draft character appraisals and management plans for conservation areas in Baldwins Hill (pdf 1.2MB), Staples Road (pdf 1.5MB) and York Hill (pdf 2MB).

The purpose of the character appraisals is to assess the significance of each conservation area, review boundaries and highlight any areas where there may be opportunities for enhancement.

A public meeting is to be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 23 September 2010 at St Edmund`s Church Hall, Traps Hill, Loughton which will give residents and other interested parties the opportunity to consider ways of enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation areas and comment on the draft character appraisals.

Suggestions can be submitted on the night or during the eight weeks following the public meeting. Anyone interested in the future of the Loughton Conservation Areas is invited to attend.

  • Sumit your feedback online

A limited number of hard copies of the draft character appraisals will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564358 or emailing vjames@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Alternatively, the appraisals will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Civic Offices, Epping.

Staff Complete Charity Cycle Ride

Written on . Posted in Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Travel, Your area

Staff from Epping Forest District Council recently completed a 60 mile cycle ride from London to Cambridge in aid of Breast Cancer.

First over the line was ICTs Mark Farrow, who was closely followed by Environmental Health Officer, Fay Rushby. The remaining members of staff all came in within a short time of each other not long after.

Staff from Epping Forest District Council preparing to embark on a 60 mile charity cycle ride

In total the combined efforts of the council riders is thought to have raised approximately £1000.

Adrian Petty, Environmental and Street Scene Officer and Cycle Team Captain said I think it is fair to say everyone had a great day with the added bonus of raising funds for Breast cancer. Well done to everyone who took part.

Ape’s Grove Boardwalk

Written on . Posted in Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Volunteering opportunities

July 8 2010 – Following on from worked started by Essex County Council volunteers, the regular Countrycare Volunteers begin their work in Apes Grove. As you can see great progress was made on the construction of a new boardwalk. The plan for this section of the wood is to now allow it to lie wet. Ditches which have already become blocked within the wood will be left and trees will be cleared to create a open glade within this part of the wood. New benches, signs and waymarkers are also programmed to be installed this summer.

Later in the year, small scale coppice management is planned. This will make the wood more inviting to visitors and improve the prospects of the bluebells and other wildlife.

More Trees Please

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

This year, a total of 180 trees have been planted by the Council`s Parks Department across the Epping Forest district.

A range of species, including Sweet Gum, Turkish Hazel, Rowan, Cherries and Silver Birch have been planted this season. The aim is to put the right tree in the right place. Therefore careful consideration is given to the species selection to try to avoid the tree becoming a nuisance and instead, a long-term asset to an area.

A Tree being planted by Epping Forest District Councils Parks Department

A mixture of bare root and container-grown stock are planted in a range of locations, from paved areas or grass verges to open spaces. The ongoing threats against our trees from climate change, pollution, pests and diseases as well as sadly vandalism, only re-enforces the need to place the right tree in the right spot.

Environmental Co-ordinator Sarah Creitzman said: The Council recognises its responsibility to help protect our local environment and planting plenty of new trees is one way to try to tackle climate change. There are a number of schemes in place, run by the Council to make sure that new trees continue to be planted every season.

Amongst the trees planted this season, a number were kindly donated by members of the public through our Tree Donation Scheme. Details of how to take advantage of this service and to find further information on how the Council aims to preserve the tree population of the district, visit the Trees area of the council website.