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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The Old Churchyard in the crocus season

The Old Churchyard in Vicarage Hill has a beautiful display of crocuses each year that flourish under the trees. The recent very warm and sunny weather in late February 2019 gave us one of the most stunning shows in memory, though the flowering season was probably shortened as a result. The flowers were much admired by visitors, who could also see snowdrops and early daffodils and primroses.

We are pleased to share a selection of photos:

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Martin Angel receives award for Services to Farnham

Dr Martin Angel, Vice-Chairman of the Bourne Conservation Group, was one of this year’s recipients of an award recognising his outstanding services to Farnham. The awards are organised by Farnham Town Council and were reported in full by the Farnham Herald. They were presented by the Mayor of Farnham on 25th February 2019.

Martin’s award was for his services to the environment and biodiversity – the full citation is shown:

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New Year social event enjoyed by Members and Friends

On Sunday 6th January 2019 the Bourne Conservation Group returned to Paradise Wood for the first time in several years for a successful session clearing overgrown and invasive plants. Later in the afternoon we invited all Members and Friends to join the Committee for our annual social gathering in St Martin’s Hall, Lower Bourne to thanks them for their efforts on behalf of the Group. It was very well supported and seemed to be appreciated by all present.

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New paving for historic lychgate at Old Churchyard

Shortly before Christmas, our Group completed a significant piece of work in the Old Churchyard, Vicarage Hill. The surface through the lychgate had remained unchanged since the 19th century and was rough, stony and muddy in bad weather. With the agreement of all parties concerned we have now replaced this with paving which has been generously funded by a donation from John Maddox in memory of his wife, Wendy Maddox, who died on 22nd April 2018. Wendy had collated information about those who are buried in the churchyard, as well as other extensive local history research throughout the area.

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