Bourne pondlife has a new home in the Old Churchyard

The BCG team with the pond at the end of the work

The Bourne Conservation Group (BCG) took on responsibility ten years ago for maintaining the Old Churchyard in Vicarage Hill. This peaceful and historic site had fallen into neglect and become overgrown with invasive plants. Working at all times in consultation with the Vicar and Churchwardens to safeguard the many graves of former parishioners, BCG has cleared and restored the site so that it is now welcoming to visitors as well as wildlife.

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Heritage Walk 2019

Having once again been invited by the Farnham Society to participate in the September Heritage Open Days programme, we decided to offer a slight variation on the walk that we last did in 2015: “The Bourne – Change in the Village”. 

On the due date (19th September) the weather was good and sixteen walkers and a Jack Russell met up with Richard Sanders and Noel Moss outside St Thomas’ Church at 2.00pm. Having heard about the geology of the area and the building of the present church from Noel, the group moved on to the Old Churchyard where Richard described the social changes that took place at the end of the nineteen century which had been so well recorded by George Sturt.

With the kind agreement of the owners,  the group entered the garden of Vine Cottage, Old Church Lane, where Noel read a passage from Memoirs of a Surrey Labourer about George Sturt and Fred Grover working together in the garden on a damp afternoon. The tour stopped at the cottage Little Willows, where Fred and Lucy lived for a while, and at the end of Sturt Walk before moving on to hear a reading  about William Cobbett playing with his brothers on the slope below Middle Bourne Lane.

Farnham in Bloom Community Awards 2019

Farnham celebrated in style and looked back on a fantastic year for Farnham in Bloom at the Farnham in Bloom Community Awards evening organised by Farnham Town Council held at Squires Garden Centre on 10th October.

The contribution made by the Bourne Conservation Group was recognised and we were represented by Martin Angel and David Dearsley, who are shown receiving our certificate from the Mayor Farnham, Councillor Pat Evans.

We congratulate the many organisations and individuals who won awards and the hundreds of people who contributed to the town’s success.

Annual General Meeting 2019

Our AGM is a chance to meet other members in a relaxed setting and to take part in a discussion about conservation issues of importance and interest to our group AND, most importantly, to enjoy really good tea and cakes afterwards. We hope to see many members and friends there.

The time is 2.30 pm on Sunday 1st September – the place is 19 Stream Farm Close.

The essential business is to elect a committee for the next year and to adopt the Financial Statement.

If any member would like to stand for election to the committee, please contact the Secretary. There are two vacancies.

News sheet June 2019

The Bourne Conservation Group has recently been through a very busy period because of our support for Farnham in Bloom, in preparation for the judging in early July. In the middle came the Bourne Show which is the subject of a separate report. We produced a News Sheet for the benefit of visitors to our stand and it is worth sharing more widely. It is available in downloadable form here:

The Bourne Show 2019

Once again, our Group had a significant presence at this year’s Show which was blessed with fine weather. The Show was well organised as usual and it was good to see Vicky Hill, our Membership Secretary, playing a key role.

Our own contribution got off to a brisk start with Bryan Snashall getting all the gear to The Green before 9.00am and subsequently picking up the plants and books. We had great support from family Snashall.

The Set Up Team in the morning worked brilliantly. The gazebos seemed to go up in no time at all and all was ready well before 10.00am for the stall holders to lay out their wares. Special thanks go to those team leaders, Sheila Musson and Richard Sandars.  Thanks also to Mike Suter who grew all those lovely hostas for us which made us a lot of money.

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Ceremony for new paving at The Bourne Old Churchyard

The Vicar of the Bourne with John Maddox under the lychgate of the Old Churchyard 10th April 2019

The Old Churchyard on Vicarage Hill is a peaceful unspoilt part of Farnham. The Bourne Conservation Group (BCG) has for some years been responsible for looking after the site on behalf of the church of St Thomas-on-The Bourne, during which time many overgrown and invasive plants have been removed. The aim has been to make the Old Churchyard more welcoming to both people and wildlife, while respecting the historic nature of the site and the memory of those buried there. An important part of the project has been to research the names and stories of those former parishioners, with much carried out by local historian Wendy Maddox. Sadly, Wendy died a year ago.

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Formation of a Farnham Biodiversity Group (FBG)

Although our group has always limited its practical work to The Bourne we have also been very aware of the wider ecology of the rest of Farnham and its surrounding area. This enabled us to make significant inputs to the Neighbourhood Plan and to draw attention to the value and importance of the town’s green spaces. We have also maintained contact with other excellent local groups with similar aims and aspirations to our own. Despite all this good work, evidence has been growing of the serious threats to the environment both locally and on a global scale and this caused us to ask whether there was more we could do to improve matters. Gradually we formed the view that combining with other groups to create a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Farnham would help to make a difference. It would also be a logical extension of the Neighbourhood Plan which calls for the enhancement of biodiversity but does not say how this is to be achieved.  The approach was discussed in committee and the idea floated at our Social in January where it was favourably received. So, to better gauge feelings across town, we called a meeting of all interested parties in the Council Office for 8th February 2019.

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Langhams Recreation Ground

On 27th March we held a morning session at Langhams Recreation Ground, a popular site that lies between Ridgway Road and Aveley Lane.  We began to take an interest in it some years ago when it  was in poor shape and no one seemed to care. We met with Waverley officers and agreed a joint programme to keep this attractive site in better condition. At our suggestion Waverley agreed to leave some areas of grass uncut and it is a pleasure now to see wildflowers growing in those parts. Right now there is a good crop of dead nettles blooming and these are supporting bumble bees which badly need sustenance at this time of year.

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