Junior Rangers

Junior rangerJunior Rangers are back during the February half term school holiday on Wednesday, 17 February from 10 am to 11 am in the council chamber at the civic centre, High Street, Esher KT10 9SD. Children will be making their own bird boxes to take home. Spaces are limited so booking is essential. To book, call the countryside team on 01372 474575, email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk. Parking is available in the public car park next to the civic centre.

 

Bins

Bins Overfull Desborough webIf you have gone for a walk in Weybridge you can’t go far before you find a bit of mess around a bin.   Indeed, you can find litter strewn around even if there is no bin. The new Churchfield Meadow has litter hidden in the long grass as does Desborourgh Island (shown here) and Weybridge Point for example.  I have contacted the cleansing department on a number of occasions and the stock reply is that the Conservative borough administration has decided on a limit to the number of bins.  That limit is now reached.  The same applies to dog bins.  The only way that extra bins may be placed in Weybridge is if bins in other places are removed. As no other bin is deemed underutilized there is no prospect under this administration to increase the number of bins.

Rubbish Crushing Bins WebBins in certain parts of the town are collected daily but some bins are used seasonally – either across the year or across the week.  One resident told me of a bin they saw around Wimbledon.  This bin compacts the rubbish so they have a very large capacity and they can also notify staff when they are becoming full. They only need to be emptied when full so require far less maintenance then ordinary bins.  This could be a cost-effective remedy.

If you know of any bins that are often overflowing or if you know of a bin which seems never to be used then please get in contact.

I have also been asking about the food waste bins which appear not to be fox proof.  I have asked for the number of bins in the borough, where they are located and how much they cost to install and maintain.

I know that people should take their litter home but unless we can stop people dropping litter we have to provide facilities for them – otherwise our environment will be scarred.

Broadwater Path

Boroadwater East End with Paths-01I have contacted Surrey countryside access team.  They tell me that they have met up with the health club which is the main landowner, and a plan has been agreed.  Surrey intend to clear the path alongside Broadwater, which will then help the health club establish which route they are agreeing to dedicate. Once all the legal dedication agreements have been put in place we can start with the surfacing. It is likely to take about six to twelve months.

I have asked for a plan of the route at the eastern end to ensure all path route are protected (black to Oatlands Drive – red to Thames Path and Green to Cowey Sale).  If you want to be part of a team to register all the bridleways and footpath in the town then please contact me.

Free Countryside Events for the whole family

Fungi walkAs days get shorter and the weather colder, there are still lots going on in the countryside.

Fungi Walk
November is a great month for mushrooms, make the most of it by joining the free Fungi Walk on Sunday, 8 November, 10am to 12noon.

Hibernating Hedgehogs
This family event will be held on Sunday 15 November from10.30am to 12noon. You will be able to make your own clay hedgehogs, go for a walk into the woods to forage for food to fatten them up and build somewhere for them to hibernate.

Toddler Time in the Wild
Toddlers will be especially spoilt with the launch of this new series of free events on Friday, 20 November from 10am to 11am. November’s theme will be based on the squirrel. Activities will include a squirrel scavenger hunt and making a squirrel drey.  These events will run on a trial basis until July 2016 on the third Friday in the month between 10am and 11am and are completely free. Activities will be based on a different aspect of wildlife every month. Locations will vary so check the here for up to date information.

For all these events meet at Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), Esher KT10 9JQ.

For more information on the autumn countryside events, please contact the countryside team on 01372 474575, email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk or visit www.elmbridge.gov.uk/countryside

Dairy Farm Warehouse

Broadwater BuildingA number of you have noticed a new building erected on the Broadwater Farm.  It looks like a warehouse.   I too was concerned when I saw it and contacted Elmbridge planning staff about it as there was not any planning application relating to it.  Apparently, under current planning law this building is agricultural and therefore may be allowed under permitted development despite it being in the Green Belt and also in a rural setting – not necessarily the same thing. I’m told that the borough has no powers to even suggest that the building be erected somewhere else on the farm – perhaps close to the other farm buildings.  Pity.  I daresay no-one wants to impede a farming business but it does seem most unfortunate that another location was not chosen for this building.   If you want get the details behind this click here.

Fly-tipper in town

Fly tippingPlease be aware of fly-tipping in Weybridge.  A Claygate resident posing as a Landscape Contractor has been operating as an illegal waste carrier and dumping the waste he collected on quiet country lanes and beauty spots across Surrey. The borough has had to cover the cost of clearing these tips which often obstruct the roadway.

By handing your waste over to illegal waste carriers you can be held liable so please do check the credentials of anyone offering to away your rubbish and report anything suspicious you may see here.

Grenside Path

ASt georges school path-02s you might know, St Georges School has recently purchased a tract of land between it and the Health Club alongside Engine River.

The school wants to re-align the path – which is a public right of way as marked on the map.  The old route is marked in yellow and the proposed change is marked in red.

At present, one can cycle the whole route from Grotto Road along Grenside Road to Walton Lane as I have been doing for many years.  However, the school proposes to place a kissing gate along the new route.  This will reduce the cycle network at a time when Elmbridge and Surrey have been planning to extend the local cycle network.

You might have a view on this.  If you do have comments you need to get in contact with Surrey.  Call Anne Woods on 020 8541 7081 or anne.woods@surreycc.gov.uk or by post (especially if you want to object).

Anne Woods, Countyside Access Team
Surrey County
Whitebeam Lodge, Merrow Lane
MERROW
GU4 7BQ

Junior Rangers – Keep children busy this summer

Junior rangerJunior Rangers gives children the chance to do many things: explore the countryside, find out about wildlife, watch animals and plants in their habitats, enjoy fun activities and play games, be creative with arts and crafts, build dens and learn some of the skills rangers use in their work every day.

This is a great programme to get children in to the great outdoors to learn more about nature and our environment. All the events are entirely free. So take your children along and have fun discovering your local countryside.

Take a look at the full list of events and see which activities you would like to do:

 Wednesday 19 August – Junior Rangers – build a bug hotel to take home

When: 10 am to 11 am

Meet: Chequers Pond (on edge of the woods near the church), West End Lane, Esher KT10 8LF

Sunday 23 August – Den building

When: 10.30am to 12 noon

Meet: Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills KT10 9JQ

Wednesday 26 August – Junior Rangers – get creative with natural materials

When: 10am to 11am

Meet: Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills KT10 9JQ

For more information on the Summer countryside events, please contact the Countryside Team on 01372 474575, email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk or visit www.elmbridge.gov.uk/countryside

Spot the goats grazing on Esher Commons

Goats on esher commonFor the second year running, Elmbridge is working with the Surrey Wildlife Trust on a trial goat grazing project on a small area of Esher Commons.

This trial forms part of the Esher Commons site of special scientific interest restoration and management plan which began in 2005 to restore 22 ha of heathland.

In spring, a dozen male goats were released into a specially fenced area of Esher Commons as a sustainable solution to control the growth of scrubby vegetation and help restore valuable heathland. Heathland is a rare and precious habitat which is under threat from unwanted scrub which includes pine and birch. By introducing goats to help manage scrub re-growth, we are enabling the heathland to re-establish, grow and spread. The goats job will be to control the birch, pine, gorse and willow and other scrub that threatens to invade the heathland, so protecting wildlife.

The goats are a familiar sight in this fenced area. They are well cared for and have become a natural addition to the commons. Their enclosure ensures they have enough space to explore and plenty of vegetation to eat. Last year, Elmbridge’s countryside team received enormous support from the public and visitors helped to keep the goats safe and secure.

If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is, helping to keep an eye on the goats and their fence, or would like more information on them please contact the Elmbridge ‘s countryside team on 01372 474 582. If you notice an injured or sick goat please contact the Surrey Wildlife Trust grazing team on 07817 769 672.

 For more information contact  01372 474579 or email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk

Junior Rangers – Inspire your child’s imagination

Junior rangerMake the most of the sunshine and join in some Junior Ranger countryside activities and events this summer.

Junior Rangers gives children the chance to do many things: explore the countryside, find out about wildlife, watch animals and plants in their habitats, enjoy fun activities and play games, be creative with arts and crafts, build dens and learn some of the skills rangers use in their work every day.

This is a great programme to get children in to the great outdoors to learn more about nature and our environment. All the events are entirely free. So bring the children along and have fun discovering your local countryside.

Take a look at the full list of events and see which activities you would like to do:

 Friday 7 August – Bugs and Ponds – explore the grassland and the pond on Hersham Riverside

When: drop in between 10am and 12.30pm

Meet: Hersham Riverside by the pond (follow signs from Brittain Road KT12 4LR or from the alley way by Burhill Primary School KT12 4HR)

Wednesday 12 August – Junior Rangers – Are you a superworm?

When: 10 am to 11 am

Meet: Old Common Pond, next to the A3 bridge on Old Common Road, Cobham. Nearest postcode: KT11 1BX

Friday 14 August – Big Butterfly Count – take part in a national butterfly survey and themed activities

When: drop in between 10am and 12.30pm

Meet: Fairmile car park, off Portsmouth Road near ACS Cobham, KT11 1BL

For more information on the summer countryside events, please contact Elmbridge’s countryside team on 01372 474575, visit their site  or email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk