Sadly, the NT were recently forced to remove the holm oak that has been growing inside the flint tower known as Broadwood’s Folly at Box Hill. The tree has been looking decidedly ill for the last year or so and was having a detrimental effect on the stability of the Tower. See the full explanation of the decision on the NT website.
The work was carried out by tree surgeons who used a “cherry picker” to access the Tower from the top. Branches were carefully lopped off to avoid too much sudden movement of the tree which was actually resting on the Tower at the top causing a large crack and severe crumbling of the mortar. Once the top branches were gone the tree surgeon climbed onto the trunk inside the tower to lower the crown, leaving the majority of the trunk in place. Hopefully it can be incorporated in whatever restoration work NT decide on for the future of the Tower.
Once the work was complete, the Friends’ Chairman, Lyn Richards, was offered the opportunity to go up in the cherry picker to see the result of the work from the top, and also admire the even more magnificent views of Box Hill from well above the Tower.
Reminder: Don’t forget the FOBH AGM on Saturday, 13th February at Juniper Hall, 1430. You’ll have a great view of the Tower from Juniper Hall just as Thomas Broadwood intended when he had it built.
Please note that the Zig Zag Road will be closed from 11th to 15th January from 8.00 am and 6.00 pm so that the National Trust can undertake the reinstatement of the roadside verges. The Car park and Servery will be able to be accessible from one side or the other during this period except on Wednesday 13 Jan which will be NT’s official annual Road Closed Day when the Zig Zag Road will be closed to all unauthorised traffic for 24 hours.
Parking may be limited through January and February as works to improve the car park will be undertaken.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
A festive Christmas wreath making workshop for Friends was held at Warren Farm Barns, led by NT ranger Amanda McCormick. Everyone went away pleased with their wreath and full of Christmas cheer (helped by an excellent lunch and some very welcome mulled wine and mince pies).
The FOBH Autumn Newsletter is available and can be found by clicking here.
The Belties are back! Autumn has arrived on Box Hill and the cattle have returned to take over the grassland conservation work. Look out for them in the Zig Zag valley (14 of them) and Lower Viewpoint (just 6). Not that this means the Box Hill NT volunteers can now take it easy as there is still plenty of work to do. The Belties are just a little fussy over what they eat so the volunteers have been tasked with getting rid of the nasty prickly hawthorn and other scrub that the cattle won’t touch before they move into their new areas. Scrub clearance work has already been finished on the slopes above the old Military Road (bearing in mind that the objective is to thin it out not completely remove it) and work has started on Dukes. It’s all a balance between clearance and leaving enough for the invertebrates to have shelter over winter.
On two evenings this week a cinema screen will be erected on the Donkey Green and two films will be shown – “Finding Neverland” on Wednesday 9th September and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” on Thursday 10th September.
This is put on by Luna Cinema in conjunction with the British Film Institute and NT.
Entry is from 6pm, films start at 7.30pm. To book and for more information visit:
Have a look at this video produced by young people at the Box Hill Spring Activities week…
Spring Activities video
For those interested in how well we are doing in maintaining the chalk grassland of Box Hill, here is a technical note produced by Natural England which gives clear examples of how chalk grassland should (and shouldn’t!) look over the seasons. How do you think Box Hill compares?
Spring and early Summer means nesting birds so the volunteers conservation efforts are restricted. That doesn’t mean no work – far from it – as the work now focusses on lots of small scale scrub clearance where no birds are affected and general clearing up and maintenance. The volunteers have been busy across the hill, on Dukes, Lodge Hill, Lower Viewpoint, and last week on Juniper Top where we were joined by a very enthusiastic group of volunteers from RBI (Reed Business International).
It’s the time of year when the conservation work really shows results, with orchids appearing all over the hill and butterflies beginning to emerge. A walk last Sunday revealed Man orchids, Bee orchids, Common Spotted orchids, Fragrant orchids and more, with sightings of Marbled Whites and the very rare Small Blue. Keep a look out and let us know what you see.
What do you think about wildflower verges? Check out this BBC article.