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Part 2: History

(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

Individual donations

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

Robert Abbott 2003 Richard Hovey 1994
Lee Allen 1990 Lawrence Kidd 2002
Ken Allenby 1990 Colin Lythgoe 1994
Ray Allenby 1990 John McCombie 1990
Jeanette Allman 1990 Sue Molesworth 2003
Diana Barfield 2002 George Molyneux 1990
Tom Barfield 2002 Julie Molyneux 1990
Susan Brown 2003 Chris Murray 2001
Alan Cartwright 2011 Jenny Nicol 2008
Janet Crabtree 2000 Mike Orpe 2011
Jackie Cunningham 1995 Izzy Rutter 2008
Ray Cunningham 1995 Gordon Squire 2001
Sarah Davies 2011 Ray Thorley 1994
John Ellis 1990 Peter Threadgold 1994
Pauline Finnigan 1994 Julian Waldron 2009
Dave Griffin 2002 Ron Waldron 2003
Sarah Haslam 2008 Paul Weaver 2001
Chris Hill 1993 Joan White 1990

List of Countryside Management Service Rangers

Simon  Greenfield 1994
Barry  Poole 1998
Dave  Coomer 2004
Brian  Jones 2008
Alistair  Wright 2010

Colin Lythgoe, Chairman   December 2016

Winterley Pool

Bird nest boxes; making, installing, checking and cleaning

Click Here for Part 3