Blog

Tree Planting Week

It’s been a busy few weeks and we managed to get most of the free trees planted on Tuesday 19th November, with the help of a determined group of volunteers – thanks so much to all of you!

We have a some alder and hornbeam remaining and these will go in on either Brewery Field or elsewhere around the village – if you know a good spot for a tree, let us know!

Thanks to a generous neighbour in Trumpington, we were given a number of free box plants that were quickly transplanted into the nectar garden.

The children at the school planted trees during their Well-being Day on 29th November.  Many thanks to the school Head, to our 3 experts Emma, Sarah and Ashley for leading the activities, and of course to all the junior Eco-warriers – hopefully your trees will thrive and grow as you do!

On Monday 2nd December, the bigger trees arrived from our supplier.  We were lucky enough to have volunteers from local company SMT and with their help and Sarah’s direction, we got all the large trees planted.  It was a beautiful but chilly morning, but digging the holes warmed us up in no time!  What a difference these trees make to the look of the field!  Thanks so much to SMT and to everyone who generously gave their time and very strenuous effort!

Over the day, we were lucky enough to be watched over by a pair of red kites, to be entertained by an ice-skating pied wagtail on the pond, and to hear a concert from a large and very vocal group of sparrows.  At the end of the day there was a troupe of long-tailed tits feeding and making their way along the hedgerow bordering Hunts road – Brewery Field is already a wildlife paradise!

Our next planting day is Wednesday 4th December, when we will be planting the bare root shrubs and plants including the hazels.  Bare root plants have to go in as soon as possible to give them the best chance of survival, but we may have some left to plant at the weekend (7/8 December), so if you are interested and can help, click the contact us tab, or send an email to:  info@friendsofduxfordgreenspaces.org

 

 

Autumn Update – trees and otters!

First off, apologies for the lack of progress reports recently.  When almost complete, work on the structure came to a halt in October, due partly to lack of funds but also to the inclement weather.  The much-needed rain wet the mound so much that we could not safely bring a digger onto it to shape it, so this will be done as soon as weather allows.

The pond will remain within its temporary orange fencing, until either the plants have grown up around it, or a more permanent solution can be financed.  However, the connecting path between the gravel path and the rainwater harvesting shelter will soon be added, as will a safety barrier to the dipping deck.

We have 100 bare root trees (small whips) arriving on the 18th November, and will be looking for some willing hands with a spade to plant these during that week.  No digging of large holes will be needed, just a slot within which the whip is placed and closed up.  Do get in touch (email info@friendsofduxfordgreenspaces.org) or check the Facebook page (Duxfordgreen) for when we will be on site if you have a spade and can help.

Bigger trees and shrubs have been ordered and will arrive in early December and will be planted the same week.  There are also 6 more memorial trees that will be planted in the coming weeks.

Some excellent news that is not Brewery Field related – our young naturalist who put the bat boxes up on the Biggen has confirmed that they are definitely being used and also that there are definite signs of otter on site.  She is going to install a wildlife camera and report back – very exciting!

July update – big changes coming soon!

  • The field was mown in time for the 12/13th July airshow and a collection was taken on the Saturday, netting £110 for FODGS. Unfortunately it was not possible to make a collection on the Sunday, but the new flyer was handed out. Airshow viewers expressed their thanks and appreciation for the grass cutting and the accessible entrances and were unanimously in favour of the project – though a few requested that no tall trees be planted on the northern boundary.

  • We will ensure the field is at least partially accessible for the 21/22 September airshow.

  • We now have the facility to collect donations by SMS and add gift aid if eligible:

    To donate £3, text FODGS01 to 70331
    To donate £5, text FODGS01 to 70970
    To donate £10, text FODGS01 to 70191

  • Our landscaper, Hortiservices, will begin work on the structure of the site on the 12th August, weather permitting.  Keep an eye on the Facebook page (search for Duxfordgreen) for progress reports and opportunities to volunteer.

  • The whole field has been mown, sincere thanks to Ashley, our botanical expert and farmer for his advice and generosity in cutting the field at no charge this year. Marker sticks on site (painted red) will mark out the design and should be left in place to facilitate the grass cutting.  During mowing, we discovered – and preserved – a pyramid orchid and some marbled white butterflies – many crickets and grasshoppers were also in evidence.

  • We hope to hold a launch event in May or June next year. Any ideas or proposals for crafts, stalls or generally green activities would be very welcome.

  • We are still looking for anyone who has a camera drone and would be willing to take regular photos as work progresses – we want to collect time-lapse photos of the site, both during the landscaping and over the subsequent 2 or 3 years as the site matures through the different seasons. Please get in touch if you can help.

  • Highways have now agreed that we can connect the pavement on the corner of Elms Close to the nearby pedestrian entrance. The Parish Council is currently seeking quotes for the work, which includes building a small retaining wall to ensure the stability of the adjacent fence and the telegraph pole which cannot be moved.

  • Do please encourage your friends and neighbours to join. We will be distributing a flyer with the September Chatterbox and we are hoping that more people will take up membership when they see that work is underway.

  • Please use easyfundraising to do your on-line shopping – it’s easy and costs nothing – switching utilities (including broadband), travel and hotels are all particularly lucrative.
    Do encourage your friends and family to use it by sharing the flyers or by following the link:
    https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/duxfordgreen/

June update

  • The Annual General Meeting for all FODGS members was held on 20th June. We also invited those who have expressed an interest in helping the Brewery Field project, whether or not members of FODGS.

  • Minutes of the meeting and attached papers can be found here https://friendsofduxfordgreenspaces.org/agendas-and-minutes/

  • Work on the structure of the site will begin end of July/ beginning August, to allow planting to take place in the autumn. Keep an eye on the Facebook page (search for Duxfordgreen) for progress reports and opportunities to volunteer.

  • The field will be mown once more to cut the false oat grass before it sets seed – this will give the wild flowers a chance to come through. Many thanks to Ashley Arbon our botanical expert and farmer for his advice and offer to cut the field at no charge this year. There are marker sticks on site (painted red), please leave these in place to facilitate the grass cutting.

  • We hope to hold an opening event in May or June next year. Any ideas for crafts, stalls or activities would be very welcome.

  • Duxford Parish Council has some remaining art money to spend – we will soon be launching a competition among local artists and artisans to submit their proposals.

  • We would like to collect time-lapse photos of the site, both during the landscaping and over the subsequent 2 or 3 years as the site matures through the different seasons. We will take shots anyway from various viewpoints, but if anyone has a camera drone and would be willing to take regular photos as work progresses, please get in touch!

Entrances are done!

The entrances are done and look great – we will shortly adjust the gates so that they don’t open outwards and will plant some more hedging.

We’ll also add a post at the Elms Close end – at the moment there remains a big gap next to the gate. Sadly, we haven’t been able to connect the Elms Close corner footpath to this entrance, as there was a risk of de-stabilising the adjacent telegraph pole and fencing. We hope to do this in the future.

If you are wondering why the maintenance vehicle entrance gate isn’t set back into the field, this was a specific instruction from Highways, who said there must be no possibility that the space will be used by school traffic.

The vehicle entrance will remain secured, with keys held only by the appointed contractors and Duxford Parish Council.  Additional hedging will be planted where there are gaps.

The spoils from the digging out have been moved to the area of the proposed habitat mound.

Construction of paths and further landscaping will only commence towards the end of July, so although there are now safer entrances onto the field, please note that there will be no connecting paths for a while yet.

 

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Finally!  We have had the nod from Highways that the construction of the entrances can begin, and our appointed construction company has confirmed that these should be completed by the end of April/ first week in May.

 

Brewery Field update

In early March, the Brewery Field working party held the first project planning meeting with the designer and the landscaper, to agree a schedule for the works.

As soon as Highways give the go-ahead to construct the entrances on to the field, work will begin to create a secure maintenance vehicle entrance, one fully accessible pedestrian entrance and one pedestrian entrance.  These will be completed before the Spring IWM airshow (25/26 May).

Our appointed landscaper, local company Hortiservices, will begin work on the interior structure of the site only after the Summer IWM airshow (13/14 July), ensuring that the site is ready for planting in the Autumn, the optimum season.

Although work is likely to be in full swing, we will endeavour to ensure that at least part of the field is accessible to the village over the weekend of the Autumn IWM airshow (21/22 September).

We have the promise of £50,000!!!

Exciting news! The Parish Council heard last week that they have been successful in their application to Amey for a grant of £50,000 to transform Brewery Field into the magical place that the whole community can enjoy – now we have the promise of funding, we can really get going.

The deadline for completion of the project is end of April 2020 so it’s all systems go.

SCDC Planning have now discharged the conditions that DPC is required to meet prior to beginning work – we are now waiting for the approval for the works on the highway and then we will instruct the contractor to go ahead with the construction of the vehicle entrance so that work on the site can begin.

DPC has this month agreed to pay invoices for the Brewery Field works that Amey have offered to fund, as detailed in the Amey grant offer letter, on the condition that these will be repaid in full to DPC as soon as the Amey grant is made. We need to do this because although DPC has been successful in its application for £50,000, the grant is payable in arrears, only after work is complete.

Don’t forget our easyfundraising page, where you can raise free donations by shopping on line with over 3000 major retailers.  Please consider using this for your on-line shopping – we could raise considerable funds this way. 

With just a few people using it, we have already raised over £150 – imagine if everyone in the village used it for their online shopping how much money we could raise for e.g. some extra special woodcraft, sculpture, or art installations – your ideas are invited!

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The Amey Community Fund awards grants to support community, environmental and heritage projects run by non-profit organisations based in Cambridgeshire, within 10 miles of a landfill site. The fund is managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and is part of a voluntary environmental tax credit scheme called the Landfill Communities Fund. For more information please visit www.cambscf.org.uk/amey-community-fund.html

 

Money’s coming in…

Good news!  Friends of Duxford Green Spaces has been awarded a grant of £4000 by the Dulverton Trust, specifically for the Brewery Field project.  The Parish Council has a pending application for £50,000 from Amey and are cautiously optimistic, so we could be moving forward by the new year!

Not long to go until Christmas!   We have already raised nearly £90 through easyfundraising, from just a few who have used it – please have a go, it will cost you nothing and is easy to do.

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