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2019 Open meeting
This year’s Open meeting will be on Monday 20th May at 7.30p.m.. Keep the date free and look out for our next newsletter which will have full details of the event. The 2018-2019 accounts summary s available on the resources/open meetings page of this website along with this year's agenda.
The winter working parties have been opening up part of Icknield wood (the wood that runs alongside Icknield Way). This work, part of the current Five Year Plan, aims to give more space for the existing trees along with some replanting to maintain the woodland for future generations. Whilst doing this work we have been creating habitat piles which are a home and a source of food for many animals. These woodland management plans follow the guidelines of the Forestry Commission and the Wildlife Trust. Some people have admired the work and a few people have reservations about the size and extent of the work. We believe that we are treating the Common correctly but welcome any views from people who have concerns. We are due to discuss this topic as part of the new Five Year Plan at our March Steering meeting. If you feel strongly either way then please let us know.
Ron Jennings, a long-standing volunteer with Countryside Management Service (CMS) and a life-long resident of Letchworth recently passed away. Ron was an important member and motivator of the Thursday CMS group, which often came to the Common for joint working parties. He was also quite a local character and whilst he’d slowed down a little in later years, he was a very active person, being well known and regarded amongst those who were involved in organised walking, running and badminton. CMS will be installing a commemorative bench on the Common in memory of Ron.
Paths on the Common
Additional Section 106 funding has been found to help with some of the pathways across the Common that get muddy in prolonged wet periods. Quotes are being obtained for several paths that are particularly prone to this problem. It is unclear at this point in time how far the funds can be stretched but we will keep you informed.
Cowslips on the Meadow
The number of Cowslips counted during the 2018 survey was low (possibly due to the weather). The surveys are completed at the same time each year so that we have a direct comparison to monitor numbers across the years. This year we hope to run the survey twice with one being completed earlier. It is a possibility that with the changing weather patterns the plants may be developing earlier in the season. It will be interesting to see the numbers from both surveys.
During last year’s Bat surveys some dates were missed due to the lack of volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for this survey then please let us know (no prior knowledge/experience needed). Last year’s survey noted six species of bat which is an increase on the previous figures.
Ash dieback (Chalara) has recently been confirmed on Weston Hills in Baldock so it is just a matter of time before it reaches Norton Common. It could have a devastating effect, since a majority of the mature trees on the common are Ash. If you see any evidence of the disease please notify us by using our contact email. Alternatively notify the forestry commission at the web site given below.
In order to prevent the disease spreading we urge you to make sure you clean and dry your footwear at home after leaving site, and make sure you have clean footwear before coming on site.
We are now on Facebook
We are pleased to announce that we now have a Facebook page. If you use Facebook then please sign in and give us your thoughts and photos. https://www.facebook.com/friendsofnortoncommon
Five year plan for Norton Common
The plan covering the next 5 years has now been published you can view it at the link below:
Norton Common is a Green Flag Award Winner
The Friends of Norton Common (FoNC) is a voluntary group working to preserve the precious habitat of Norton Common for both the people and wildlife of Letchworth. Working in consultation with the Countryside Management Service (CMS) and North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), we push forward with work, solving issues on the site and holding monthly work parties to carry out conservation tasks.
Nestled in the heart of Letchworth Garden City, Norton Common Nature Reserve is a haven for people and wildlife. Starting life as arable and grazing land many hundreds of years ago, the town of Letchworth was built around it in 1903 by town planners who saw its potential as a place where the town’s citizens could connect with nature. Generations since have used this green space to walk in, run, cycle and play. Many visit to see the wildlife that is on their doorstep.
Now, more than ever, the Common is alive with wildlife. Orange tip and meadow brown butterflies dance from wildflower to wildflower, birds such as chiff chaffs and blackcaps share their song and mammals like the black squirrel and muntjac deer peek out from behind trees. Pix Brook meanders through the site providing a vitally important source of water and creating rare marshy grassland where dragonflies and the pink spires of orchids can be spotted during summer months.
The Friends of Norton Common are an Associate Group under LALG and we would like to thank them for their ongoing support and help in our work to promote and conserve the Common. LALG is a unique organisation with such a wide range of interests. If you have not already come across them then have a look at their website (www.lalg.org.uk)
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