Curry Woods Conservation Trust

A charity that cares for the environment

June 2022

June started with a great, even monumental!, success for the Trust. Thanks to the kindness of Tim and Ellen Schroder of Burton Pynsent House, we were able to open the monument on June 3rd so people could scale the 170 step spiral staircase to the small viewing platform and the magnificent views seen from there.
It's a tight squeeze inside so for safety we had to restrict it to 9 people at a time inside the monument - resulting in some long queues and a constant stream of people from 1-6pm.. We appreciated the cheerful atmosphere and for most the wait in the field was not unpleasant - though a sudden downpour rather changed that! Thankfully it was in the last hour of opening so we were able to squash most people into the space at the bottom of the monument to keep (almost) dry, but anyone without the forethought to bring wet weather clothing was destined to get very wet on their way after leaving us!
Hats off to the lady who cried her recalcitrant dog two thirds of the way up and all the way down! Also to the amazing lady who made it to the top after brain surgery which had led to her having to learn to walk again. A couple of dogs and lots of children went up, though one dog and one child flatly refused to climb, preferring the safety of ground level!
We had cleaned every step the day before, removing about 80kg of dusty rubbish over a two hour period so were pleased no one complained on the day!  We asked for donations for both climbing and the drinks we had available and people were very generous - with gift aid on donations we have raised over £600 for the Trust. This will go towards future plans for good signage and information boards as well as woodland maintenance.
You will notice that there is a large amount of space at the entrance to the land with no trees on it - this is going to be our wildflower meadow. Volunteers have been setting up a trial to see how best to get a lovely but economical meadow in a reasonable timeframe. Peter wrote an article about this for the April CRN and you can also see it by following the link:​/peter-s-blog/april-2022-wildflowers​​​.

On June 19th a survey of plants already present was made - and 38 species of grasses and other plants were counted!. The grasses are rather rampant at present so we will need to introduce some yellow rattle in the autumn to reduce their growth. A list of the species seen can be found on another page - click here:/species-list

Elsewhere you will have seen the barrier at the gate to the lane - this is to prevent unwanted vehicles on the site but pedestrian access is unimpeded and the barrier can be opened on request or when events are going on. We also have the Trust name on one of the barrier posts so it's obvious where you are! You also won't be able to miss our crane sculpture - brilliantly made by Alan out of the old gate and a few other recycled bits and bobs. Its' eye follows you as you walk past! There is now commemorative bench in the clearing - please treat it with respect. We hope there will be more benches in the future.

In the mature woodland things have been happening too! One side of the Trust land is marked with white painted stakes and, near the bottom, a clearing has been designated for an experiment. It will eventually be fenced off with deer fencing to allow regeneration to take place. Frustrating for our (very) friendly deer but their love of new shoots means we have to exclude them! One side is going to be fenced first to check the method works (being rough ground and on the slope means it's not easy) and, all being well, the other sides will follow.

The official footpath across the land has been marked and the grass on it cut through the new trees. At the moment it is difficult to get into the mature woodland from it as there is a steep drop down but Somerset Council footpaths team will be cutting steps down in the (we hope) near future.- but please remember to keep your dog on a lead and pick up after him/her!

About CWCT
.The CWCT  is a  small local charity which was formed when 9 acres of farmland and mature woodland came up for sale on a ridge above the Levels. During 2020, in spite of the pandemic, we raised £60K , mainly from the local community, to buy the la have already planted 500 trees and shrubs on the farmland and the local community has enjoyed the wildflower meadow that has developed alongside them. In the 21-22 winter we obtained another  grant for a further 400 trees and shrubs, with guards and stakes. Planting is now over for the season.
The weather was kind to us and our trees in 2021 as the early rain allowed them to establish their roots and we didn't need to water. Very few trees didn't grow. However, so far 2022 has also been obliging, so we have not had to use our rainwater store. The water capturing apparatus was constructed for minimal outlay and we now have 6m3 of water in large tanks. However, we need a means to get it from the tanks to the trees when needed. Various ideas are being considered, but they will all cost money. Our boundary in the woodland is now marked by white metal stakes on the east side but the other sides are currently not marked, though we have identified where they are from our documents. We need to mark them clearly and to protect saplings growing in the wood from being browsed by deer. As the woodland is on the steep slope to the Levels on the north this will not be easy!

CWCT land showing footpaths on or near it

The Trust land is off Hellards Hill Lane,  Curry Rivel, which  is a turning (unmarked) off Dyers Road. After a straight, 2 bends and a further straight the trust land is reached on the third bend in the lane, just before the tarmac ceases and the lane becomes a track. On the map above the Trust land is shown enclosed by the black dotted line.

  • The Woods, Curry Rivel, Langport, Somerset, United Kingdom
  • this is the nearest house. CWCT land is at the last bend before the house

AGM reports 2021
Reports from the AGM on 7th December 2021

Chairman’s report:
A warm welcome to you all- we thank you for your support. I am sure you will agree with me that Phil Stone gave a very interesting and informative talk about the work being undertaken by the “Reimagining the Levels”group. Many thanks to Phil.
The Trust has worked very closely with RtL to obtain funding from the Somerset Rivers Authority to buy trees, stakes and guards to enable us to plant trees and shrubs on trust land in 2020 and 2021. I hope this report will put into perspective the way in which the Trust’s work fits into the jigsaw of tree planting on the Hills surrounding the Somerset levels.
The land, situated on a high point above the Levels to the north and the village of Curry Rivel to the south, became available on the death of the tenant farmer in 2019 and the Trustees agreed with the owners (Somerset County Council) that they would try to raise the money needed to buy the land. The purpose of this purchase would be to increase water and carbon capture on the land and to protect and enhance the existing woodland and also the rich biodiversity already present. Initially, at the end of 2019, SCC wanted to set a six month deadline for the Trust to raise £60000. The Trust is very grateful and happy to publically acknowledge a grant from The Fairfield Trust for £15000 without which the project would not have succeeded. Initially in late 2019 the Trust asked for £10000 from Fairfield and they generously gave the sum mentioned above. The Trust also thanks South Somerset DC for an environmental grant of £12500 and also Curry Rivel Parish Council for a grant. However the biggest thank you must go to the communities of Curry Rivel and greater Somerset who contributed half of the money.
The result of this fund raising was that the Trust was able to proceed with the purchase of the land in late 2020. This was a tribute to all concerned as fund raising could not make use of traditional events or public meetings and was a mammoth
task and unimaginably successful. The land was in the Trust’s ownership early in 2021 and, working with Reimagining the Levels, the further grant mentioned earlier was obtained from the SRA to cover trees, guards and stakes. Many, many thanks to Kate Towers and Phil Stone for their help. There was also money to cover some of the cost of tree maintenance. By overlapping planting with the purchase process the Trust was able to plant 400 trees by February. Again very many thanks to the Community of Curry Rivel for help with this task and to the CR School Community who spent an afternoon with us in the new year planting trees. Especial thanks to Emily (the outdoor learning lead) and Mrs Pook (Head teacher). We also received support from a charity called “One Planet Matters” who gave 100 high quality British native trees to plant, making the total planted in the 2020/21 winter season 500.
Having completed the land purchase and tree planting by March the Trustees turned their thoughts and efforts towards tree maintenance during the spring and summer. As the spring was dry there was considerable anxiety about the survival of the new planting as most newly planted trees lost in the first year are lost through lack of water and thus poor root growth. Therefore the Trustees agreed to buy six second hand water tanks from a local farmer; many thanks go to our Acting Treasurer Alan Cockerell who arranged the purchase and delivery of the tanks. Alan also put together a roof system to collect rain water and deliver it to the tanks. The summer proved kind and there was copious rain. The tanks now contain in excess of 4000 litres and we have not had to artificially water during 2020. Only 25 out of the 500 trees and shrubs do not seemed to have grown and most have done very well.
We received another grant from the Somerset Rivers authority in late 2021 to plant a final 400 trees and shrubs on the site during this winter and we shall be looking for volunteers to help with this early in 2022.

So, a very successful first eighteen months of the Trust has resulted in the achieving of the initial aims of the Trust- namely, to buy land to plant trees to help prevent flooding and to increase carbon capture and biodiversity in the area. Other important aims have also been achieved and these will discussed by our Secretary, but first I will hand over to Alan Cockerell, our acting Treasurer.

Treasurer's Report:
 The purchase of the field and woods was completed at the end of 2020, with Pardoes Solicitors in Bridgwater acting for the conveyancing. All bills relating to the purchase have been paid.
The Trust started the calendar year with £870 in the bank.
HMRC was contacted last year to set-up Gift Aid for any donations made to the trust.
Expenditure during 2021 has been associated with the practical business of looking after the newly planted trees.
Money was spent on tree guards and stakes, a bulk delivery of mulch to put around the tree stems, half-a-dozen 1000ltr containers for collecting rainwater and wood and tarpaulin to increase the rain catchment area.
Charity law required that the Trust submit to the Charity Commission an independently examined set of accounts. This was because the Trust income was above £25,000 through 2020, due to money raising for the purchase of the land.
Chalmers Accountants in Langport were engaged to do the independent examination. They submitted a report and accounts and these have now been uploaded to the Charity Commission website for anyone to see.
It is anticipated that the Trust income for the 2021/2022 accounting year will be well below £25,000.
The Trust was also required by HMRC to submit forms relating to Corporation Tax. The Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and so shows up as a potential business in their system.
This has been done, but the status of the Trust as a CIO should mean that no Corporation Tax is payable.
The Trust has recently received a grant from the Parish Council to assist on boundary/hedge maintenance work, and a few other donations.
As of the date of this meeting the Trust has £2300 in the bank.
Future expenditure will involve the boundary/hedge maintenance work, possible seeding of part of the field, and the looking after of the newly planted trees, e.g equipment for watering them if a long dry spell occurs.

As Secretary to the Trust I have the day to day responsibility of dealing with most non-financial correspondence, calling and taking the minutes of Trustee meetings, having agreed the agenda with the Trustees in advance. These, together with the accounts and a summary of activities during the year had to be sent to the Charity Commission by a given date

Secretary's report.
One of my first challenges was to complete the application to the Charity Commission to become a registered charity. The application sent on our behalf by a solicitor had been been incorrectly formatted and so rejected, but luckily help was at hand in the form of a family friend who was familiar with the Commission’s requirements and who, at no cost to the Trust, worked with me to put our application in the correct format to gain rapid registration.
Being a registered charity means that our objectives as a trust have been recognised as of benefit to the community and our activities are scrutinised on a regular basis. It is good to be seen as a community organisation providing a vital environmental service at this time when we are all aware of the need to mitigate against the effects of climate change.  There are also financial advantages; we were immediately able to claim back gift aid on all donations made by people who pay UK income tax, thus increasing donations by 25% with no cost to the donor. Registration also opened the door to grant -giving bodies who only deal with charities. One of these in particular proved very fruitful but more of this in a moment. Of course the obvious downside of charitable status is the need for increased paperwork, as Alan has described, but it is reassuring to know that we novice trustees are doing everything right!
Alan has mentioned some of our recent funding but the organisation I alluded to earlier is Aviva. They have two funds - their Community Fund and their Climate Fund. We applied to each of them and were chosen for both. The community fund is a pot of money,allocated as £25 for each Aviva employee. Employees are given this money in the form of a voucher, which they can allocate to the charity of their choice from those chosen to take part. The money in the community fund is then doubled for organisations in the Climate Fund. The funds closed at midday today and by then we had raised £4000, which will be used to finance the hedgelaying Alan referred to as well as other future expenditure referred to by Alan. We are aware of the potential relaxational and educational benefits to be had from our project and hope that, in the future, we will be able to install information boards and seating in the clearing being left between the newly planted trees. Another project will involve restoring the footpath through part of the trust land.
As you will realise, this is an ongoing project but with your help we hope to make it something the local community can be proud to be part of.
Our first AGM!

The Trust held its' first AGM on Tuesday, 7th December.
We started with a very interesting and informative talk by Phil Stone of  the Re-imagining The Levels group, about "Planting trees to reduce flooding" . Following Phil's talk the trust Chair, Dr Peter Goodenough, gave a general update on the progress of the trust in meeting its' aims and objectives and the acting  Treasurer, Mr Alan Cockerell and the Secretary,  Mrs Sylvia Goodenough gave reports on their specific areas of interest.  Alan was able to be upbeat about the finances as the Trust has a healthy bank balance at the moment.  
Days after the AGM he reported that the bank had received just under £4000 resulting from the Aviva campaign, as described earlier below:

November 29th Stop press on the message below
Exciting news!   We were chosen to enter  both the Aviva Community Fund and their Climate Fund. Aviva employees are all given £25 Community Fund vouchers to "spend" on the project of their choice and the Climate Fund then matches funding. The funds opened on November 3rd and in the first two days we had pledges of £1250! 
Click on the link AGM reports to read the reports:
December 2021

We have now got the stakes and guards for the next 400 tree (thanks to Alan and Tony for collecting!) and the trees and shrubs themselves should be available in a week or two. We will then be arranging planting days and looking for volunteers to help! Please let us know if you can do some planting - if you supply an email we will contact you with details of sessions or alternatively let us know you can help at the AGM.

Nearly all of the trees planted in December 2020 and earlier this year are thriving, thanks in part to the weather so far this year. The alternating rainy and warm weather has been great for them. You will see that we have already collected a considerable amount of water in the collection apparatus on the land (pictured below: Alan being the chief architect here!) and we hope to have organised a method of getting the water from tanks to trees by the time watering becomes necessary next year. The trees planted last season should be well established by next Spring and will only need watering if we get a very dry period -but we have another 400 trees to plant over this winter and it's too much to hope that the weather will be so kind to them in their first year!

Unfortunately plans for a second major planting session immediately after Christmas 2020 had to be put on hold due to the pandemic restrictions. We were particularly looking forward to a group of 30 from the school, led by Outdoors Coordinator Emily Langford, coming to plant on January 14th. However, to our delight the school group was able to help us plant the last trees for the 2020-21 season on Wednesday 17th March.The children were very excited to be doing something different and they were quick to understand what they needed to do to plant the trees correctly. Peter Goodenough demonstrated a planting for them before they got started and talked to them about how important trees are for all of us, but particularly for their generation, who will have to deal with climate change in the future. He told them that the school has been flooded twice in the last 10 years, with water flowing down Water Street from the fields on the ridge. Our trees will help to hold water in the future and prevent future flooding. We were all impressed with the children's knowledge of environmental matters, which we understand they are being taught about in school.

Chidren, staff and CWCT volunteers alike all had a really good afternoon and hope to be able to repeat the experience soon when the new trees arrive.. We hope the school will also use the Trust land for other environmental topics now they know how easy it is to get groups from the school to the woodland.

Water capturing!
It appears some people are not sure where the CWCT land is! Starting from in front of the church, walk away from the green and turn sharp left up Butt Lane. At the top, where Butt Lane meets Dyers Road, carry on straight over into the unnamed lane going north. (It is actually Hellards Hill Lane but isn't marked.) Follow the lane round two bends, first to right and next to left. Carry on on the next bend to the right, but don't turn, instead walk straight ahead into the CWCT land. You can't miss it now as the 200 trees already planted are very obvious in their green guards! It's a nice walk from the green ,taking 15-20 minutes and can be made into a circular walk if you carry on down the lane and take the footpath to your right before the house at the end of the lane. That brings you out to Dyers Road, cross over and keep straight on back to the green!

Our thanks go to the organisations that gave us grants for trees and shrubs and also the stakes and guards to protect them.Our first grant for 400 trees and shrubs involved three organisations- Reimagining the Levels (,) obtained a grant from the Somerset Rivers Authority ( on our behalf and used the money to procured the plants from the Woodland Trust ( RtL themselves provided the guards and stakes for them. This protection is essential as there are many roe deer in the area that will be very happy to nibble young trees given the chance! These organisations will provide the further 400 plants under the same grant this autumn.

One Planet Matters ( donated 100 trees and 50 tree guards/stakes to the project. They have supplied species that are naturally found in the south west to cut out the danger of introducing disease and the trees are well suited to our ground.

The Trust is very grateful to these organisations, as it is to all those who have helped with planting and those detailed on the "Thanks" page, without whom we would not have been able to purchase the land.

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Common name   Latin  name
Wild carrotDaucus carota
Red cloverTrifolium pratenseClover
Lentil vetchVicia tetrasperma
Pyramidal orchidAnacamptis pyramidalis
Common fleabanePulicaria dysentrica
Hedge woundwortStachys sylvatica
Rough small-reedCalaagrostis arundinaceaGrass
Oxeye daisyLeucanthemum vulgare
Bristly oxtongueHelminthotheca echiodes
Perennial ryegrass lamium perenneGrass
White cloverTrifolium repensClover
TimothyPhleum pratenseGrass
Common velvet grassHolcus lanatusGrass
Orchard grassDactylis glomerataGrass
Smooth hawksbeardCrepis capillaris
RagwortJacobaea vulgaris
Redvein dockRumex sanguineus
Grass peaLathyrus nissola
Common agrimonyAgrimonia eupatoria
Common mugwortArtemisia vulgaris
Meadow peaLathyrus pratensis
Meadow buttercupRanunculus acris
Common vetchVicia sativa
Cow parsleyHeracleum sphandylum
Common birdsfoot trefoilLotus corniculatus
Spear thistleCirsium vulgare
Common St John's wortHypericum perforatum
Creeping thistleCirsium arvense
Hairy St John's wortHypericum hirsutum
Smooth hawksbeardCrepis capillaris
Field bindweedConvolvulus arvensis
Black medickMedicago lupulina
Autumn hawkbitScorzoneroides autumnalis
Smooth cat's earHypochaeris glabra
Cutleaf geraniumGeranium dissectum
Scarlet pmpernelLysim achia arvensis