Green Monday

Our new Green Mondays are in full swing in the Amersham and Chesham areas with increasing numbers of volunteers turning up to help.

Thanks to funding from Big Lottery Funds Awards for All, we are piloting this new group until September 2016.  We are also working with a number of other organisations to make this happen.

Work will take place at different sites throughout the year including Penn Wood & Chesham Bois Wood (Woodland Trust) and Mop End Field Studies Centre.

We will be increasing our network of locations into other local green spaces, woodlands and more.

If you know an area in this part of the world that could do with some TLC please let us know.  The session follows our successful Green Thursday group based in High Wycombe, and meets at 10am every Monday.

The sessions are fun, sociable ways to get outdoors and improve your physical health and mental well-being through conservation.  Not only that but you help make our local environment better for the wildlife that makes the Chilterns so special.

How to take part:
It’s open to people of all ages (U16s must be accompanied by an adult) and mixed abilities. Our Wycombe group has volunteers with a wider range of abilities.  If we can possibly accommodate you we will.

If you are or know a community group that wants to try something a bit different please let us know and we’ll be able to make it happen.

Meet us at the Catlings car park  – Chesham Town Council for 10am on a Monday – we collect the volunteers in the Chiltern Rangers Minibus (thanks again to Heart of Bucks), returning at 1pm.

Please come along and get involved – we provide hot and cold drinks and biscuits of course!

Green Thursday

Green Thursdays continue to be very popular and productive in the Wycombe area. We have been continuing our work at Booker Common to create a figure of eight footpath and continue the management of the local woodlands and nature reserves.

Do contact us if you are interested in volunteering for either or both of these opportunities.

New Projects

Littleworth Common, Burnham

Littleworth Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) representing heathland of valuable declining quality.  It was formerly a much more open heathland actively managed and ‘used’ until the turn of the last century. Since then secondary woodland such as Silver Birch and Oak has crept in over the past 50-100 years which has resulted in losing its specialist features and wildlife.

The heathland plant species are of particular importance and are threatened by the invading Silver Birch which out competes them for light, space and water. We will be focusing our efforts on clearing the birch to ensure the range of heather, gorse and other heathland plants can flourish.

An amber-listed bird of conservation concern, the Tree Pipit, was sighted here in August but it requires a mosaic of open heathland, occassional Pine trees and the edge habitat to thrive. It is therefore important that we preserve the old Pine trees and encourage the growth of new young pine trees which the pipit loves to use as a song post to sing from.

From November 2015 to March 2016 we will be working with the Youth Offending Service, local community groups, youth groups and other volunteers to remove blocks of Silver Birch, widen paths, create ‘scallops’ and open the view to Quaves Pond.

Thanks to South Bucks District Council, Bucks County Council and Chiltern Conservation Board for their funding towards this exciting new project.

Revive the Wye

We have two small projects at the moment running into 2016. Derek and Roger Wilding have been helping install berms and woody debris deflectors to create ideal spawning conditions for brown trout!

Forest Ranger Schools – Paul New

We are delighted to introduce Paul New, a previous Headmaster, who joined us in the summer of 2015 to run our latest enterprise, Forest Ranger Schools.

As Paul says: ‘We combine the Forest School approach to learning with coaching children to work as Rangers and do the work of improving their Forest Ranger School habitat for wildlife. Children love being given real responsibility and doing proper work that makes a difference!’

Creation of new Nature Reserve at Prestwood Infant School

Paul and Harry started an exciting Forest Ranger School Partnership with Prestwood Infant School in November.

The pupils will learn to be junior rangers and develop their school into a vibrant habitat for the plants and animals that already live there and will be attracted by their ranger work.

Nicola Raher, Headteacher of Prestwood Infant School thanked the team for their work and said, ‘It looks amazing! I am really excited about all of this and now that the staff can see progress they are also on board.”

Marsh and Micklefield Pilot project – Friends of Micklefield Woods

Chiltern Rangers have started an exciting pilot project working with Marsh and Micklefield Big Local and local residents and the gardening group.

We want to encourage much more public participation to use green spaces for fun and sociable healthy activities for body, mind and soul.  By physically helping to improve these spaces, people will gain a sense of ownership and pride and most importantly HAVE FUN!

We are doing this by partnering other local organisations which we hope will drive community spirit and raise aspirations.

There are plans for practical sessions and fun community events during weekends and weekdays in 2016 please also see the Friends of Micklefield Woods Facebook page. It’s run by volunteers – if you want to get involved, submit photos or ideas, just get in touch.

Marsh and Micklefield Outdoor Movie Night September 19th 2015

In September Chiltern Rangers helped Lisa Meaney from Marsh and Micklefield Big Local in partnership with Home Group Housing to set up a movie night in Gomm’s Wood Local Nature Reserve for the local residents. The weather was kind to us and the event was a huge success held in a beautiful location.

As Lisa said: ‘This area has some amazing open spaces, we just wanted to try out new ways to use them to bring people together.’

Keep an eye on what’s happening next via our website Calendar and social media.

For more information go to : mandmbiglocal.org

Harry’s Winter Blog

Winter is here! Well almost. It’s still a little too warm for my liking. Particularly with winter being as busy as it is for us we could do with a little more chill in the air. It’s hard to really appreciate a gargantuan bonfire unless you have that contrast. Saying that, give it a few weeks and I’ll be complaining it’s too cold.

So what have I been up to? You’ll all be excited to hear I’ve been on more courses, that’s right, MORE. I know, I thought they would have run out by now as well! I’ve been on a tree identification course and a mushroom identification course. Both were fascinating, it was wonderful learning all the tricks to identifying both trees and mushrooms. It can be rather intimidating going out as an amateur with nothing more than an ID book in hand, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming! Particularly when you’re looking at a bare tree and the book’s ranting on about leaves for paragraphs. Extremely handy to know what few particular things to look out for, it narrows down the search significantly. The world of mushrooms is still a mind boggling place though, sometimes you feel like they don’t want you to know what they are.

Speaking of courses, I’ve been putting my river fly monitoring training to good use around High Wycombe. I’m always shocked by the amount of life we find by kicking about in what seems like an empty clear river. One sample we estimated we found more than 500 shrimp! I’m very glad they are the size they are though. If they were much bigger… it’s the stuff of nightmares I’m telling you. Google mayfly nymph and tell me otherwise. We’ve also been busy setting up forest schools which has been very exciting. I was quite pleasantly surprised by the amount of schools interested in having one, but more surprised by some of the land these schools had. So much potential. I’m jealous, I wish I had something like that when I was at school! I’ve also been having some fun working with our new volunteer group, Green Monday, similar to Green Thursday, just over in the Chesham and Amersham area. If you’re reading this on a Monday morning and you’ve got nothing to do, please come check it out!

I think that’s enough from me for now. I’ve probably got a bonfire that needs building, or some wood that needs chipping. Thanks for reading!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas from the Chiltern Rangers team!