(Haslington Conservation Volunteers 1994 – 2016 – Continued)
See the preceding “Early Memories” from Simon Greenfield for the start of the group. As the activities of the group became more diverse and funding more complex it became necessary to have a formal organisation. So a meeting was held on 21st September 1994 when the name Haslington Conservation Volunteers was confirmed and a draft constitution agreed.
In the early years the group’s main activities were related to footpath maintenance including providing and maintaining stiles, way marking, footpath clearance, hedge trimming and tree weeding. An important milestone was reached with the publication of the Haslington Parish Public Rights of Way Map. Activities also included tree planting and wildflower planting. Later a major project was the funding, design and provision of an information board at Winterley Pool. With around ten active members and much support from the Cheshire County Council Countryside Management Service (CMS) Rangers much work was done.
As time progressed the standards for footpaths improved and the group was very active in helping to replace the wooden stiles with metal kissing gates, whilst continuing with other aspects of footpath maintenance. Another major achievement was the re-instatement of the Haslington Circular Walk and the establishment of a new walk, the Haslington Conservation Walk. These were waymarked all the way and all stiles confirmed as being converted to kissing gates. During this period more work was done on tree planting, both isolated trees in hedgerows and groups of trees in small woodlands. We also did an annual maintenance check of the hedgerow at St Michael’s Church at Crewe Green, either laying or cutting back and trimming as necessary each year. A major project was the design, funding and provision of a replacement information board at Winterley Pool. We organised several day trips to various destinations for either social or training purposes. Also many bird nest boxes were provided at several sites in the area.
In the later years membership stayed at around ten members but as time passed we got older and less physically able! At the same time the level of support that the CMS were able to provide had reduced from every workday to once a year by special arrangement. So the scale of tasks done also reduced and became centred on Hall o’the Heath Farm where we have had enthusiastic support from Dave Gilbert, the farmer. Much work has been done here and is detailed in part 3 but perhaps the most memorable for most members is what became the annual December feast with potatoes bacon and cheese cooked on a bonfire followed by hot apple pie and custard, mince pies and coffee – delicious! When Dave Gilbert retired in 2016 and with access to the farm no longer available it was felt that it was an appropriate time for the group to finish as well.
A large number of photographs are held showing the group’s activities during its life. Some of these are included in this history. These and others are available from Ray Thorley.
Maintenance Work and Projects Carried Out By The Group include:-
- Regular maintenance of footpaths, including stiles, bridges, steps, hedge trimming, fencing and way marking.
- Haslington Parish Public Rights of Way map, published in 1995. #
- Golf Course footpath 4 steps down from Slaughter Hill.
- Buttertons Lane Farm pond, fence and footpath.
- Golf Course wildflower planting.
- Funding, design, provision and subsequent maintenance of an information board at Winterley Pool in 1996.
- Many individual trees and shrubs planted in hedgerows and open spaces around the village.
- A special project involved planting native Black Poplar trees.
- In later years the replacement of wooden stiles by metal kissing gates.
- Haslington Circular Walk re-instated and way marked.
- Haslington Conservation Walk surveyed, set up and way marked
- A local walks leaflet designed and printed covering both of these walks.#
- Several stands of native trees planted around the village and particularly at Hall o’the Heath Farm,
- A small orchard of twelve trees established at Hall o’the Heath Farm,
- Regular maintenance of the field hedge at St Michael’s Church, Crewe Green,
- A tree survey carried out at St Michael’s Church, Crewe Green. #
- A tree survey carried out along Holmshaw Lane and the results published. #
- A variety of bird nest boxes provided at many sites including Hall o’the Heath Farm, Hall Farm, Squirrel Wood in Holmshaw Lane, Stockton Farm, Haslington CP School, St Michael’s Church Crewe Green.
- Funding, design and provision of a replacement information board at Winterley Pool in 2013.
- The Winterley Mill and Pool History booklet researched and published.#
- Much work was done at Hall o’the Heath Farm, which, as well as footpaths, trees and bird nest boxes, included a wildflower meadow established, a wildlife habitat garden set up, a professional survey of the flora carried out, a pond survey carried out and the pond and meadow designated as a Site of Biological Importance by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. #
- the Haslington Village Fun Day has been supported annually with a stall and assistance in setting up the site.
# a copy of the report is available.
The following awards have been won:-
1994 Countryside and Wildlife Award, Best Kept Village Civic Pride Winners
1996 Countryside and Wildlife Award, Best Kept Village Civic Pride Winners
1999 Countryside and Wildlife Award, Best Kept Village Civic Pride Winners
2003 Community Pride Competition, Crewe & Nantwich Area winners.
2008 Cheshire Year of Gardens Award.
2011 North West in Bloom, Environmental and Conservation Award Winners
Over the life of the group financial support has been provided by:-
Cheshire Community Council
Cheshire County Council Farms
Cheshire County Council, Countryside Management Service
Cheshire County Council Seedcorn Fund
Cheshire East Council
Cheshire East Council, Countryside Management Service
Cheshire Year of Gardens
Haslington Parish Council
Haslington Rotary Club
Heritage Lottery Fund
Manweb Environmental Initiatives Fund
Sale of goods and other activities at the village Fun Days
South East Cheshire Ornithological Society
Prize money from winning awards
List of members and approximate year of joining
List of Countryside Management Service Rangers
Colin Lythgoe, Chairman December 2016
Bird nest boxes; making, installing, checking and cleaning