How time flies – we’re in our third year

The autumn colours in Pondhead are starting to produce an excellent display – well worth a visit especially on a sunny day. In particular, the signposted trail looks good at present.

It was the autumn of 2014, on October 23rd to be precise, that Pondhead Conservation Trust held its first ever conservation event following its formation and constitution as a charity. Since that day we have undertaken a further 182 conservation tasks involving over 5000 volunteer hours. Along the way we also received the CPRE Hampshire Countryside award and achieved all our initial objectives. None of this could have been achieved without the sterling efforts of our active volunteers so a huge vote of thanks to those of you who have helped out.

However, as we enter our third year much still remains to be done and, as always, this will require a large pool of active volunteers. There is already a good variety of tasks in the Events Diary and shortly we will be receiving a consignment of young trees for planting so keep checking the diary. It would be great to see some new faces out on our events together with some familiar ones that we haven’t seen for a while.

Over the past couple of weeks we have had visits by volunteers from the National Trust and the Forestry Commission’s Two Trees Conservation Team in addition to our own team. A variety of conservation tasks has already been done including opening up more rides (tracks), removing dense shade from bluebell areas and rescuing some young lime trees that were planted several years ago from being suffocated by undergrowth.

The National Trust team are now regular visitors to Pondhead and if there is sufficient support, there is an open invitation to visit their site at Foxbury, which is situated in the north of the New Forest. Full details of this large project can be found on their website. Any visit would entail a guided walk around the area, which is twice the size of Pondhead, followed by a couple of hours conservation work.

The Lyndhurst Scouts have also been busy in the past week and have now completed the hurdle fencing around the Hornbeam tree in the charcoal retort area. Now known as the “Hornbeam Stockade”, it is perfectly in keeping with its surroundings and helps to shield some of our larger pieces of kit which we leave on site. Well done lads – a great effort as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

Lyndhurst Scouts and their "Hornbeam Stockade"

Lyndhurst Scouts and their “Hornbeam Stockade”

We will also be host to other youth groups in the near future from the Prince’s Trust, both Salisbury and Southampton centres. The Prince’s Trust was set up 40 years ago by HRH Prince of Wales to help less privileged young people, aged 13 to 30, overcome hurdles to employment. Typically, those who receive help from the Trust are educational underachievers or unemployed. Many will have not had the best start in life and a few may have complex issues. The group we worked with previously thoroughly enjoyed their day with us – for most it was their first time in a wood! The groups and their support workers will be joining us on 18 November and 7 December and it works well if they have some of our volunteers to work alongside on a task. If you would like to help please book onto the events via the Events Diary.

With Christmas fast approaching, we will be holding a “Woodmans’ Breakfast” (generic term – ladies welcome!) on Thursday 22 December. Join us for a cooked breakfast and to work it off we’ll have a bonfire afterwards. Mulled wine, mince pies and hot chestnuts will also feature. If you’ve yet to join us on one of our tasks this is an ideal opportunity to come and meet the team and find out more about our conservation work. We will also be inviting some good friends of PCT who have helped us during the year. Book early to avoid disappointment via the Events Diary.

Finally, our trustees will be holding their AGM in January and there is an open invitation to join us on the evening to hear our review of the past year and our plans for the year ahead. Venue and date yet to be arranged although it is likely that we will retire to a hostelry after the formal proceedings. In order that we can gauge likely interest, if you would like to attend can you please send a short email to this effect to

 Thanks everyone – hope to see you in Pondhead soon.

Autumn colours in Pondhead

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