1 August 2018
More than 80 people answered the questions in our on-line survey and we’d like to thank you all for giving us such overwhelmingly positive feedback. It’s good to know that among the 95% of respondents from Headley Down or nearby, many of you (47%) are regular visitors, 16% using the nature reserve every day.
We’re extremely pleased that 71% believe the work we are doing will help to increase the diversity of wildlife in the area while also improving the image of the Heatherlands Estate. The fact that 58% think our projects are helping to bring the community together and that over 40% have noticed a reduction in littering is very rewarding.
The majority of you have visited our facebook page and website, and we’re really grateful that 28-30% have made a donation or taken part in one of our events. A few of you have supported us in other ways too, for example by nominating us as their Co-op Cause or brightening our day by painting and hiding such a wide variety of stones.
Our suggestions for further improvements (seating, informal pathways, community activities, volunteering, and child focused features), were all supported, the highest percentage being for more features for children. Another bench has already been installed and we will gradually buy others. We are planning additional pathways with a nature trail and wildlife design rubbing posts to be installed during the winter. We hope to make an extra loop of informal path down from the main seating area with the bench in the direction of Maple Way. Some den building materials have already been placed in the children’s area near Alder Road, soon to be the site of ‘Story Spinney’, an area which will have a story-telling chair and mushroom seating.
Further suggestions included woodland climbing apparatus, which we can consider as an addition to the fallen trees already in place, and more planting to increase biodiversity, which we have planned for the coming year. Greater local media coverage will be another aim, though sadly it seems as if the Messenger newspaper will no longer be delivered and now will only be available on line. A proposal for more bins on the nature reserve would mean that we would have to pay for rubbish removal every week, so at the moment we hope that people will use the extra bins next to the playing field, provided and managed by EHDC.
There were 28 suggestions on how to reduce vandalism, but unfortunately, not all of them were legal! Several respondents raised issues which are out of our control because they relate to the children’s playground next to Woodlands Hall and the recreation ground, so are the responsibility of EHDC, rather than the Nature Reserve Trust. We have made repeated requests for more visits from dog wardens and community police officers but although they have called round to see us and look at the site, they haven’t been able to come frequently enough. Trustees make a daily check of the reserve and hope that you will let us know if you see any signs of vandalism, or will ring the police if you see any vandalism in progress. From discussions with EHDC about the possibility of having a youth club at Woodlands Hall again, we have established that they hope this can be organised in the coming year.
As several of you suggested, we will be trying our best to involve young people with projects on the nature reserve and in any events or activities we organise. Our current project about the history of the nature reserve and the Heatherlands Estate is now underway and local schools have been contacted to try to encourage the participation in our oral history workshops at Woodlands Hall. This will give younger people the opportunity to talk to older residents and find out what life was like here, during and after the Second World War. Illustrated information boards will form part of a commemorative site with new seating. Everyone will then be invited to an inauguration party to meet guests from the Canadian Engineers who have helped us by supplying photographs of the construction of Erie Camp. We hope to see you there.