Draft Management Plan for Stone Common: Consultation meeting
We have now prepared a draft Management Plan for BCOST’s newly-acquired the land at Stone Common. You can download this by going to the bottom of the ‘Stone Common’ page on this website (sub-page of ‘Commons and Open Spaces’).
We will hold a consultation meeting on the draft plan on Sunday 31st July at 3:00 pm at Blaxhall Village Hall. You are welcome to come along and express your views about the draft Plan, and to ask any questions. If you are unable to attend, please send any comments or questions by email to BCOST Hon Secretary, Eve Rossor (email@example.com) by 31st July. We look forward to hearing your views.
Annual General Meeting – all welcome
The Trust’s 2022 Annual General Meeting will be held in Blaxhall Village Hall on Saturday 14 May at 2:00pm.
As well as the usual annual reports on our activities, we will be presenting our early thoughts in terms of a draft Management Plan for Stone Common.
All are very welcome to attend – we hope to see you there!
Charity registration – it’s official!
Having last year passed the income threshold required for registration with the Charity Commission, the Blaxhall Commons & Open Spaces Charitable Trust has now officially become a registered charity. We were already registered as a charity with HMRC for purposes of GiftAid, but this step places our charitable status on a more formal footing. Our new Trust Deed received final approval from the Charity Commission at the end of April.
What a load of rubbish (again!)
Over the week of 2 to 9 April, trustees and other volunteers went out in the highways and byways in and around Blaxhall, collecting litter. We do this twice a year, in spring and again in autumn. These regular litter-picking sessions seem to be keeping the levels of rubbish around the verges and hedges of the village itself quite well under control – and we know there are many other public-spirited Blaxhallites who pick up litter when they are out and about. But the story is different in the spaces between villages, towards Snape, Tunstall and Iken, where every layby seems to contain the remnants of somebody’s picnic. Dumped in the woods, we even found the silencer from a VW car!
Spring at Stone Common
At Stone Common, the new fruit trees planted by the children and young people of Blaxhall on 5 March, now well watered and protected by wire mesh to keep the deer at bay, are beginning to come into blossom – a sure sign that spring is on the way!
Meanwhile, in the open grassy spaces around the allotments, wild flowers are showing their colours.
Kids plant trees!
In spite of the rainy weather, there was a wonderful turn-out of children and young people on Saturday 5 March to plant (with the able assistance of their parents and grandparents and under the direction of the village Tree Warden) twelve assorted fruit trees, on the Trust’s land at Stone Common and at Blaxhall playing field.
We hope that their efforts will bear fruit long into the future!
Funding for fruit trees
The Trust has been successful in its application, on behalf of itself and of Blaxhall Parish Council, to the Tree Council’s ‘Branching Out’ fund for the cost of providing twelve fruit trees, to be planted on sites at the Blaxhall Playing Field and on the Trust’s land at Stone Common. The Branching Out fund supports schools, community groups and Tree Warden Networks to plant trees, hedges and orchards, with the proviso that planting projects must involve young people up to the age of 21. Grateful thanks are due to Suzy Pearce and to Joy Shaw, the Blaxhall Tree Warden, for their work in preparing the grant application and sourcing the trees.
A planting party will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 5 March starting at 1:00pm. Please come along if you are 21 or under, or bring your children or grandchildren to help plant the trees.
More hedge planting over the festive season
Two more work parties were organised over the Christmas and New Year period (on 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022), by the Trust in conjunction with Blaxhall Tree Warden, Joy Shaw, supported by a team of willing volunteers.
The planting of stretches of mixed, hawthorn and hazel hedging plants around the perimeter of Stone Common, and to fill gaps in existing hedges on neighbouring farmland, brings the total length of hedging planted to over 100 metres.
Congratulations, and grateful thanks, to all concerned.
Hedge planting work party
On Saturday 4 December, a work party including Trustees and supporters under the expert direction of Blaxhall Tree Warden Joy Shaw, planted around 100 metres of hedging around the perimeter of our new land at Stone Common.
Funding for the hedging plants was kindly provided by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee fund.
Gift of tree for Jasper’s Pightle
The Trust has received the generous gift of a species hawthorn tree (Crataegus ×lavalleei Carrierei) from one of our Trustees, Karen Baker. The tree is given in memory of the Jasper Walters, the late former owner of Jasper’s Pightle, who is sadly missed.
The handsome tree, with its brightly-coloured berries which will provide winter food for birds, was planted at the Pightle on Saturday 4 December by Karen and fellow Trustee, Andrew Derrick.
Come hedge planting at Stone Common!
We will be having a work party at Stone Common on the afternoon of Saturday 4 December, to plant hedging which has kindly been obtained for the Trust by the Blaxhall Tree Warden, Joy Shaw, financed from the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee funding. We will be there from 1:00pm until around 3:00pm or even to dusk, depending on numbers attending, the weather, and how tired we get! Please do come along and put in an hour or so at a time that suits you – bringing a spade, if possible, and gardening gloves.
The aerial photo below shows the site where we will be working, which has been very kindly cleared of brambles by Malcolm and Suzy Pearce in readiness for planting.
Many thanks to all those who attended the meeting at the village hall on Saturday 20 November. It was really encouraging to see such a full and enthusiastic turn-out of people brimming with ideas about the recently gifted land at Stone Common.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear local people’s ideas about future management, bearing in mind the Trust’s charitable objectives, which include ‘acquiring, owning, providing and maintaining land in Blaxhall, in particular common land, allotments or land over which local people and villagers have traditionally enjoyed access, for the benefit of residents and the wider public’. Ideas put forward were many and various, and were above all positive and supportive. Further details and the results of the consultation can be seen on the Stone Common page of the website.
The Trust has limited financial and manpower resources, and any changes or improvements can only be taken forward incrementally, and with the support of local people. Volunteers will be needed to join work parties and to help with fundraising, as so successfully achieved at Jasper’s Pightle. Our first project will be hedge planting along one of the boundaries, coordinated by Joy Shaw, Blaxhall Tree Warden and using funding allocated to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Joy is also applying for funding for fruit trees and woodland saplings, in which we hope to involve young volunteers.
Acquisition of land at Stone Common
Thanks to a generous donation from Mr Michael Prevost, BCOST is now the owner of the registered common land at Stone Common, together with the adjoining allotment land. This most generous gift will ensure that the common land and open space is preserved from development and remains accessible to all. We propose that the main track running through the site should now be known as Prevost’s Path.
The land is mostly set aside for use as allotments. The Trust wishes to hear the views of residents of Stone Common and the village more widely on how the land should be managed in future, and to this end will be holding a public meeting at Blaxhall Village Hall at 2pm on Saturday 20 November 2021.
We held our autumn litter pick in the week beginning Monday 11 October 2021. Here’s the result of our labours!
Twice each year, in the autumn and spring, trustees and volunteers collect litter from the verges, roadsides, commons and open spaces of Blaxhall. Watch this space for the date of the next litter pick, which will be in Spring 2022. Volunteers are very welcome to help with this, or indeed with collecting litter at any other time – sadly, the job is never done! Just collect bags and ‘grabbers’ from Vine Cottage, and leave filled bags at the same address.