It was in 2003 that the late Dr. Stan Cockett, assisted by Ron Hills, the Waverley local ranger, founded the Bourne Conservation Group, and set an early precedent for working in partnership with other organisations, groups and individuals, most of which are referred to in the following Section on Links
In some cases partnership involves participating in events organised by other groups, for example Farnham in Bloom. In others it involves the Group taking the lead in managing specific projects on behalf of other organisations, for example the old Churchyard project.
Woodland Management. We learned our skills in this discipline by working with Waverley Borough Council Countryside Section, with whom we have worked regularly in Paradise Wood, the two Burnt Hill Woods and Compton Copse. We have also contributed to the management of Langham’s Recreation Ground and advised the Council on protecting green areas under the developing Local Plan. A firm partnership is also now in place with the owner of Sable Wood on similar woodland tasks.
Footpath Maintenance. Working in partnership with Surrey County Council, members of the Group have assisted in maintaining the ten miles of footpaths in The Bourne area – a constant task. The goodwill generated by that arrangement has led also to a good relationship with the County Highways Department.
Farnham in Bloom. Our partnership with the Town Council started when we agreed with them to manage their Middle Bourne Lane Garden and was strengthened once Farnham started to participate in the Large Town category of The Nation in Bloom competition, culminating in the award of a gold medal to the town in 2017.
Biodiversity. Support on biodiversity was initially provided by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership but later on the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) gave us good advice and invaluable help in running training days and ‘bioblitzs’. We report all our species records to SWT and still turn to them for specialised assistance, even though our own expertise has considerably increased. A firm partnership with SWT now exists for the management of the Underdown Nature Reserve.
Where planning applications would adversely impact the local natural environment, we have supported local Residents’ Associations and others in submitting formal objections e.g Compton Fields and Frensham Vale.
Beautification. This was the name given to the partnership that grew up between The Bourne Residents’ Association and ourselves to address the appearance of the shopping area at The Bourne Crossroads and other issues along the A287 road. This led to the popular displays of flower tubs and baskets and to the pictorial Lower Bourne signs. At the end of 2017 it also resulted in a joint project with Waverley to enhance the street furniture on The Bourne Green.
The Wider Picture. Although the physical work of the Group has been largely confined to The Bourne, we have progressively contributed our interest, knowledge and experience to the rest of the town, working in partnership with the Council and other groups and giving talks on the history and ecology of The Bourne. These joint ventures have included participation in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan, the Heritage Open Days and the Farnham Walking Festival sponsored by The Farnham Society, as well as membership of the Farnham Rivers Group. For schools with pupils wanting to do environmental work as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award, we have provided suitable work sessions.