Friends of Allestree Park

Allestree Park in Derby, England

Friends of Allestree Park Annual General Meeting 9th November 2011

The meeting was held at St. John’s Methodist Church, Allestree

Minutes

1. Those Present:

John Menzies - Chairman

Mark Sims - Treasurer

Mike Kaye - Acting Secretary

Peter Grundy - Secretary

Ruth Boocock - Committee Member

Bill Grange - Committee Member

Tony Johnson - Committee Member

Martin Pickard - Committee Member

MEMBERS:

Margaret Johnson

Cliff Goodwin

Carol & Tony Berwick

David Gibson

Margaret & Peter Statham

Chris Vaughan

Anne Wigley

Jim & Mary Bosworth

Anne Hart

ALSO PRESENT:

Mick Day - Park Ranger

Nick Moyes - Guest Speaker

Mary Davies

Felicity Jackson

Sandra Heard

2. Apologies:

Apologies had been received from:

Edwin Slade - Committee Member

Pat Sears - Committee Member

Peter & Jane Parkin

3.Minutes of AGM held 10 November 2010:

These were accepted as a true record. There were no matters arising raised at the meeting.

4. Chairman’s Report:

John Menzies introduced his report by saying that the Friends’ Committee had worked particularly hard during the last year, and then gave the following report: 

4.1 Introduction

Since the last AGM our work to promote conservation and improvement of the Park and to advance the education and enjoyment of the public in all aspects of the Park has continued. An important development during the year followed the Committee’s decision in November 2010 to apply for a grant from Community Spaces which awards funds from the Big Lottery Fund. With a deadline in December 2010, an intensive effort was made to complete the Stage 1 Application required. We named our project ‘Allestree Park Access/Conservation. The project is described below followed by reports on our other ongoing activities during the year.

4.2. FOAP Project ‘Allestree Park Access/Conservation’

In our Stage 1 application we proposed a project made up of four elements;

  1. To lay a path, suitable for pushchair and wheelchair use, to connect the Main Car Park through woodland to the Lake. This path will enable improved access to the Park and a circular walk to be taken around the Lake in all weathers. The path will also help keep foot traffic on one route allowing ground vegetation to regenerate in the wood.
  2. The second element is to combat some of the severest erosion of the Lake shoreline which has arisen mainly due to pressure from anglers and other visitors. Where the bank has collapsed bays are created which need revetments to re-establish the bank.
  3. The third element is to remove invasive sycamore and rhododendron from Big Wood to enable the future planting of native species, making the woodland pleasanter and more diverse.
  4. The fourth element is to define a new nature trail in Big Wood in the Park involving waymarkers and a new leaflet; to revise an existing trail, to print copies of both for use by visitors and to put them on our website to enable the community to follow the trails and learn about local wildlife.

To arrive at our Stage 1 proposal we had discussions with Derby City Council officials and consulted residents in Allestree during November and December 2010 on improvements that might be made to the Park. We received a strong positive response from local people to our ideas. In February 2011 we received confirmation from Community Spaces that our application had passed Stage 1 of the application process and we were invited to complete a Stage 2 application.

We made a further community consultation during May/June 2011 via our website www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk ,through the FOAP Newsletter, leaflets and publicity in Allestree Life and elsewhere. We received overwhelming support again and more detail of the needs and benefits was identified by local people. We also received much helpful support from Council officials. Following identification of an accountable body (Derby City Council), a project manager, lead professional and referee, further refinements to our estimates for the work, and soundings of possible contractors (including BTCV to undertake part of the invasive species removal in Big Wood) we submitted our Stage 2 application in July 2011.

As a result, in August FOAP received an offer of grant for the project from Community Spaces. Contractors have now been appointed to undertake the work with completion anticipated in Spring 2012 and a Project Launch event in June 2012. There will be publicity of the progress of the project during the coming months through the FOAP Newsletter, Allestree Life, the FOAP website and email/post contacts with FOAP members and supporters. The work on the woodland began last week and work on the path is due to start this week.

4.3. Ongoing Conservation and Improvement of the Park

Recognition of the Allestree Park Local Nature Reserve

Allestree Park comprises a designated Local Nature Reserve (LNR), the golf course and the area occupied by Allestree Hall. In fact the LNR occupies about half the area of the Park. Derby City Council has defined obligations and responsibilities for the LNR. FOAP believes that this fact and the status of the LNR are not well known amongst members of the general public and has suggested in discussions with Council officials during the past year that the signs in the Park should identify areas that are part of the LNR to encourage the public to recognise and value the local natural habitat. The discussions are ongoing and we hope the signage in the Park will specifically refer to the LNR as it is updated when the new management of the golf course arrives.

Management of the Local Nature Reserve

The conservation work carried out by FOAP is focussed primarily on the LNR area and is done with the full co-operation of the City Council.  Council officials convene a Management Group, on which FOAP is represented, for the LNR to guide the LNR Management Plan. There are usually two meetings of the Group each year, one in November indoors, and one in June in the LNR.

In June 2011 Council officials were joined by FOAP members and members of the public for a walk around the Reserve to see what conservation work has been carried out, what needs to be done and any problems connected with the Park’s management. Vandalism in the park has unfortunately been a recurring theme and there has been much discussion about what we and the Council can do.

Vandalism

As reported last year, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) had constructed a platform at the head of the Upper Lake to provide a safe ‘family friendly’ environment for viewing the Lake and the wildfowl. The platform was vandalised by fire in July 2010 and reconstructed some months later. It has survived so far but not without some minor vandal damage.

During this last summer, the ranger, Mick Day, has reported around 30 incidents of fires in the Park. Such fires present a serious hazard to the Park and anyone who observes a fire or other vandalism is urged to report the incident to the Park Ranger and the police.

Erosion of the Lake shore

During the winter of 2010/11 Derby & Derbyshire Groundwork carried out remedial work at four eroded locations by constructing ‘living walls’ of willow across the eroded area. The willows have grown well. On the bank-side of these barriers the water is calm, allowing sediment to build up and the re-colonisation of the bank with vegetation. Four areas have already been tackled.

At other locations where the bank erosion is more severe, small ‘log-wall’ revetments will be built as part of our Community Spaces project.

Tree planting by Burley Brook on the east side of the Park – 28 November 2010 

A working party of FOAP members and supporters, worked with the Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers (DCV) to plant trees. Freezing conditions prevailed so that, after planting some hollies, the remaining trees were stored and planted later, together with rabbit guards, in January with the help of Park Ranger, Mick Day.

Tree planting near Woodlands Lane Car Park -  20 February

Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers (DCV) and members of  FOAP planted 150 young trees in an area previously cleared of rhododendrons.Unfortunately almost all of these young trees, and others planted in previous years, were destroyed by vandals during Summer 2011.

Edging of paths in Big Wood – 11 December 2010, 22 January 2011 and 20 February 2011 

In December, again working with DCV, a working party continued delineating the edges of some of the major paths in Big Wood with logs fixed in place with wooden stakes. This work continued into January. All of the edges to the main path through the wood from Woodlands Lane Car Park have now been  edged in this way and also most of the length of the side path to    Woodlands Lane to just south of the water tower. It was pleasing to see in Spring 2011 that pedestrians were tending to keep within the delineated path and beyond that the bluebells and other ground plants were growing again as a result of the much lower footfall outside of the marked path.

Information Panels

During the year FOAP received a grant from the Allestree Neighbourhood Board for the production of two sturdy information panels, mounted on metal supports, showing some of the

wildlife and main paths of the Park. The panels were designed by Bill Grange and were erected in August, one near the Main Car Park and the other at the Woodlands Lane entrance to the Park.

Last year we reported that a third panel was planned to be mounted on a stone plinth near to the Hall. Given the proximity to the Hall, Bill Grange has offered to design a panel featuring some historical aspects of the Park and Hall. We hope to obtain Council permission to erect the plinth with its panel during the coming year.

Footpath Signs and Notice Boards

Tony Johnson has examined the footpath signs and our Notice Boards and concluded that improvements are desirable, including some changes as a result of our Community Spaces project. During the coming year we hope to improve the signs and install three new Notice Boards, one at the Main Car Park, one at the Woodlands Lane entrance, and one at the Park Avenue entrance.

Himalayan Balsam Pull in Big Wood – 3 July 2011

Quite an area of the invasive balsam plant was cleared one glorious Sunday morning by some ten people who had responded to our publicity call for help. The locally rare climbing corydalis was found to be quite abundant in the area and care was required not to disturb stands of the plant. At the end of the day, substantial amounts of balsam remained despite the volunteers’ strenuous efforts – we plan to do more of this clearance work with the help of volunteers during Summer 2012.

Wildlife and Habitat Recording

Bill Grange and Steve Plant – an FOAP member - have continued making an in-depth record, including photographs, of the wildlife of the Park based on the habitat compartments in the Management Plan of the Local Nature Reserve. This work has been continuing for two years.

4.4. Events

Pond Dipping – 4 June 2011

Members of the public joined Pat Sear and FOAP members at the ‘Turtle’ Pond in front on Allestree Hall to discover the joys of pond dipping by hunting for pond creatures and looking at their habitat and at information provided about ponds. We are grateful to Derby City Pond Warden Association for supporting this event. An illustrated account was placed in the Nature Diary on the FOAP website.

Insect walk – 25 June 2011

Members of the public were invited to join Bill Grange and FOAP members for a stroll through the Park and use a variety of techniques to capture samples of the fascinating insect life of the Park. Attendance was probably deterred by the gloomy weather but quite a variety of insects were found.

‘Wild Derby’ Big Day Out – 10 August 2011

Derby City Council’s ‘Wild Derby’ Project and Groundwork ran a day out for some 50 children in the Park in August. Much enjoyment was had by all despite wind and rain.

A Nature Walk in the Park – 14 August 2011

Bill Grange led a walk of about 12 people from the Main Car Park to the Lake observing the wide variety of plants, insects and birds.

Veteran tree event – 25 October 2011

An activity for children centred on the veteran trees of the Park was held with FOAP collaborating with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, as part of their ‘Saving the Great Trees of Derbyshire Project. Earlier, on 8 October, Tony Berwick – veteran tree warden for the Park – and Bill Grange attended a course on propagating veteran tree species from seed organised by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust at Kedleston Hall.

4.5. Education and Publicity

The FOAP website – www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk - has been further expanded and developed by Bill Grange during the year. The website provides much useful information about

the Park and forthcoming FOAP events. Members of FOAP and also non-members are invited to send articles, photographs, etc. to Bill for placing on the website.

In Spring this year the FOAP Committee decided to have a FOAP Newsletter to improve our communications with FOAP members and with the public more widely. Mike Kaye, a member of the Committee, undertook the preparation work and so far there have been four excellent issues. The Newsletter is distributed by email/post to FOAP members and may also be found on the website.During the year Bill Grange gave three talks to groups on the subject of the Park and FOAP, including one to the South Derbyshire Group of the National Trust.Throughout the year Pat Sear has contributed articles on FOAP activities to the Village News section of the monthly Allestree Life which is distributed widely around Allestree. Bill Grange, as part of our Community Spaces project, has designed - ready for the project launch in June 2012 - a fully illustrated leaflet for the new Nature Trail to be set up in Big Wood. Bill has also re-written and redesigned the leaflet for the main Nature Trail which goes round the Lake.

4.6. Additional Objectives

Funding

As already mentioned, FOAP has been successful in obtaining grants during the year – from the Neighbourhood Board and Community Spaces. Considerable effort has been required by the Committee to achieve this welcome success for the benefit of the Park. We are most grateful to DCC officials for their advice and assistance, in particular with the Community Spaces application.

Membership

The membership of FOAP is small. New members would be most welcome. A minimum donation of only £2/year secures FOAP membership. See www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk or telephone 01332 551749. The Committee is particularly keen for younger members to join and become involved in FOAP work – commitment can be quite light and to suit the individual volunteer. Those interested may like to contact Mike Kaye (01332 559566) Committee member, for more detail. The Committee is keen to maintain a programme of work along the lines of that during the past year. To assist the FOAP continuing effort, volunteers from the existing membership or from non-members would be especially welcomed. There are many ways that a volunteer can assist the work of FOAP. ‘Many hands make light work’.

4.7. Concluding remarks

FOAP has made progress this year in implementing its Long Term Plan but much remains to be done. For the coming year we hope to increase membership and to expand, if possible, our conservation, improvement and education work. In all our work, we are most grateful for the co-operation and help of Park Ranger, Mick Day. We understand that the number of Park Rangers in Derby is about to be reduced again and are concerned that this will have negative effects on the care of Allestree Park and the deterrence of vandalism. In our work on the ground in the Park we are also most grateful for the help provided by FOAP members and members of the public who assist in response to our publicity of forthcoming events and working parties on our website, notices, in Allestree Life and elsewhere. Finally I would like to thank your Committee for their support throughout the year.

There was only one comment from the floor: Ruth Boocock said that many people she had met in the Park were delighted with the new information boards. John Menzies thanked her for her contribution.

5. Treasurer’s Report

Mark Sims spoke to his written report circulated to the meeting, which is reproduced below. He said that the Community Spaces funding mentioned by the Chairman does not form part of FOAP’s formal accounts as it is being channelled via the Council from the Lottery Fund.

He said that the change from subscription to donation had, with only a modest increase in membership numbers, led to a significant increase in receipts. He also referred to the bequest from Mrs.Hart which was to be devoted to finger-post signing and new notice boards over the coming months. He also highlighted that the Neighbourhood Board’s Grant does form part of both our receipts and payments, having been for information boards.

 

Statement of Accounts 2010/11

Balance brought forward: £1,501-81 ( Bank Statement No. 44/2nd August 2010)

Receipts:

Membership Donations:              £284-33

Derby City Council Grant:                       £2,455-00

Talk Donation (BG)-Guides:                    £25-00

Derby City Council ( Go Wild):                £50-00

Ann/Alan Hart Bequest:                          £1,000-00

£3,814-33

Payments:

Meeting Room Hire:                               £46-00

Poster/Art Materials:                              £93-00

Information Panels:                                £2,395-20

£2,534-20

New Balance at 2nd Nov. 2011: £2,781-94    ( Bank Statement No. 60/2nd Nov. 2011)

The Chairman thanked Mark for his report. There were no comments from the floor.

6. Elections

6.1 Chairman

John Menzies was re-elected Chairman unanimously.

6.2 Committee

The Chairman asked Mike Kaye what nominations had been received. He said that notice of willingness to continue had been received from all existing Committee members but that no further nominations had been received. He reminded the meeting, however, that the Committee does have powers of co-option if there are others interested. John Menzies said that the Committee would welcome indications of interest from others after the meeting, and re-iterated our interest in encouraging younger members to get involved.

Bill Grange, Mark Sims, Peter Grundy, Mike Kaye, Pat Sears, Edwin Slade, Martin Pickard, Ruth Boocock and Tony Johnson were elected to serve as the FOAP Committee unanimously.

7 Any Other Business

No items having been previously raised, the Chairman thanked members and others for their attendance and concluded the formal meeting.

8 Guest Speaker

Nick Moyes gave an illustrated talk about the recently launched Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan.

Nick Moyes, who is one of the two Biodiversity Officers for Lowland Derbyshire in a job share arrangement with Debbie Alston, gave a wide-ranging illustrated talk on the various natural history projects that he has instigated. He started his work as former Assistant, then Keeper of Natural History at Derby Museums, from which he was made redundant earlier this year.

He described the Biological Records Data Bank which he set up and the various surveys he conducted, including one of hedgehogs (now much less common than they were) in Derby City ; of glow-worms and, most importantly of the flowering plants of Derbyshire. He also portrayed the project for which he is best known - the establishment of a Peregrine Falcon breeding platform high up on Derby Cathedral's tower, entailing him abseiling down to install it, plus two web-cams, which have made the Derby peregrines famous all over the world via a special website.

Nick then went on to describe his current work, which has involved up-dating the extensive Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan of which FOAP is a partner. He gave a resume of the plan - which is available online at:

http://www.derbyshirebiodiversity.org.uk/lbaps/lowland-derbyshire.php

He demonstrated how it was arranged in landscape areas, reflecting the predominant wildlife habitats of each. Proposals are put forward to encourage local authorities, official bodies, voluntary groups and individuals to play a part in enhancing the biodiversity in each of these areas. Derby City is one of these and Allestree Park, as the largest Local Nature reserve in the County, is an important component. He stressed that the work that FOAP does is an important part of the network of conservation activity which will help to fulfil the aims of the Action Plan.

Summary by Bill Grange

MINUTES END

Mike Kaye

Acting Secretary

14 November 2011

Tuesday, July 17, 2018