Newts in Middle Bourne Lane Garden

We are very grateful to our member Liz Chart for the excellent photos she sent recently from the pond in Middle Bourne Lane Community Garden and which deserve to be shared. We believe they are all palmate newts which can be identified by the rather broad toes on the hind legs. Palmates stay in the ponds longer than the commoner smooth newts. We have been pleased by the interest shown this year by visitors to both Middle Bourne Lane and the Old Churchyard to the new life in our ponds there.

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While the Group’s normal pattern of working parties had to be suspended during the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, some activities have been resumed in late May under the government’s most recent advice. Noel Moss and Mike Long have undertaken some much-needed watering at the crossroads and Simon Bradbury has been doing the same at Middle
Bourne Lane to ensure the flowers and seeds survive there. Also, on what was the hottest day so far, Noel and Richard Sandars started on some preliminary work in the Old Churchyard, mowing and bramble pulling. During the course of the morning two ladies visited intent on seeing how the tadpoles were getting on while two young parents and their small daughter spread out a rug and had a picnic – they agreed to being photgraphed. A lady with her small dog also passed through briefly.

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BCG website Coronavirus announcement March 2020

The Bourne Conservation Group has had to move swiftly to respond to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and to the latest Government regulations and guidelines. Other organisations with which we work locally such as Waverley Council, Natural England, Surrey Wildlife Trust and RSPB have all
cancelled volunteering effort and group activities. Our Group has in a similar way stopped all work sessions until further announcement. BCG is in a difficult position as two thirds of our regular attendees are over 70 as well as a number of our Friends. Nothing that we do as a group must
jeopardise their health and safety or indeed that of any of our members.

Sadly, the Farnham Walking Festival for this year has been cancelled and that of course includes the two walks due to be led by BCG members.

Fortunately, as a result of our work over the winter, our core sites of the Crossroads, Middle Bourne Lane Garden and the Old Churchyard are all in quite good condition although there are always a few seasonal tasks to be done. The photo of the heather bank in Middle Bourne Lane Community Garden shows plants in bloom which is providing good sustenance for the bees.

The heather bank in Middle Bourne Lane Community Garden

Our Committee will review the situation again during April in line with the latest guidelines and will then decide what activities if any can be planned. Our Members and Friends will be updated by email as soon as there is any change or please follow our Facebook page . We shall also post updates on our website.

The Farnham Neighbourhood Plan

As our Members and Friends know, there is a referendum about the Neighbourhood Plan on 12th March.

The Bourne Conservation Group recognises that each vote is entirely a matter for the individual. As a Group, however, we encourage everyone to use their vote and to vote YES. We are not alone in adopting that approach: the Farnham Society have produced a leaflet which will be posted through letter boxes next week.  

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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.