Curry Woods Conservation Trust

A charity that cares for the environment

James Chapman is leading the Somerset County Council tree strategy, with ambitious plans for planting trees in the county, which has less tree coverage than nearly all the rest of the country. The Trust is very involved and hopes to plant more trees in Curry Rivel. We are so well positioned, being on the ridge above the Levels to north and south, to slow down the flow of rainwater from the ridge to the Levels by
capturing it in our trees, which will also capture carbon and increase biodiversity.
Please come along to our Open Evening on Friday, December 8th at 7.30pm in Curry Rivel Old School Room, to hear James on this very important topic at this time of climate change. The Trust AGM will be brief but will inform you of what we have been doing over the past year and our plans for the coming year - we would welcome additional suggestions to consider. Peter's latest blog - /peter-s-blog/floods-trees-and-water-butts  - tells you how our tree planting is helping to prevent flooding and also what measures we can all take to help. After the more formal business of the AGM there will be a chance to talk to James and the Trustees over cups of tea/coffee, with a slice of cake on the side and of course there will be a handy box should you feel like making a donation to the Trust!

Our trees from the 20/21 and 21/22 plantings are already showing well above their guards in many cases and we have been very pleased with the survival rate. Congratulations to all our volunteers who planted -the schoolchildren and their teachers, the Scouts, the WI and many others. The wild flower test plots have so far been less successful as they seem to be supporting more agricultural weeds, left over from the site's previous life, than the wild flowers we hoped to see after seeding them with a local mix. We will talk more about these at the AGM.

Finally if you can visit the CWCT site in late November you should still be able to see the range of beautiful colours in the mature woodland trees. Sadly they will all be gone in December! A wander through the mature woodland will also give you a chance to spot several different types of fungi as the recent wet but warm weather has been just what they like.
An Amanita species - pretty to look at but not to be eaten! Although there are perfectly harmless species of Amanita others are very poisonous so you need to be an expert to risk adding them to your cooking.
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.

Minutes of the AGM of the CWCT held at The Woods, Curry Rivel
on Friday, December 16th 2022 a 7pm

 Welcome by Chair and Apologies for absence: Peter Goodenough (PG,Chair) welcomed those present - all 5 trustees (Catherine Mowat arrived late from working away) and 7 members of the public (Peter and Dee Wallis, David German, Elizabeth Anliffe-Clarke , Jeanette and Jeremy Dugdale, Michael Beacham)
 Approval of minutes of first AGM of the Trust held on December 7th 2021 These had been circulated in advance and were approved and signed by PG.
 Trustees introduce themselves: The trustees briefly explained their backgrounds. As Catherine Mowat had not arrived at this point a resume she had sent previously was read out by Sylvia Goodenough (SG). She currently works for Natural England and has an environmental background, Alan Cockerell (AC) has an engineering background, Paul Deacon (PD) in public service.  PG and SG both studied Botany, with PG subsequently working in scientific research and SG in research and then teaching Biology.
 Report on the year’s activities and their financial implications - Chair and Treasurer:
Tree planting - PG outlined the planting of approx. 400 further tres that took place early in the year, with thanks to the Reimagining the Levels group for providing the trees, stakes and guards. AC said that a grant of £400 had been received from the Somerset Rivers Authority for tree maintenance.
PG described the hedge laying on the southern boundary of Trust land that happened in January. He reported that these hedges are now growing strongly. AC explained the costs - £1600 for the contractor and £400 to chip the debris. This was then used to mulch the trees so there was a saving on buying mulch.
PG then outlined the funds received during the year, from the Aviva Environmental Fund and the opening of the Burton Pynsent monument on behalf of the trust. He thanked the Schroders for allowing the opening, which raised £631. The Aviva fund provided £3,935. AC also said that a Wessex Water grant for £750 had been obtained by PD and gift aid on donations had totalled £137. Full details of the finances are shown in appendix 1.
AC then described how the need for a barrier to the land had been identified as people were driving onto the land and one person had camped overnight. He had constructed a barrier and he and PD had installed it, with a cost for materials of £230. The Trust land boundaries in the mature wood were not marked so another £280 was spent on angle iron marker posts and these were also installed by PD and AC. An area of the mature woodland, a natural glade, has been enclosed by deer netting so allow regeneration. This was not an easy thing to do and AC and PD, with help from a local contractor, spent some time installing this.Costs are shown in appendix 1.
The meadow area already supports a range of plants. SG counted 50 different species there in early July. A large number of pyrimidal orchids were observed there,. Following debate on the best and most cost effective way to improve the meadow three trial plots were set up in the spring. Each plot had three strips with different treatments and the treatments were in different positions in each plot. One strip in each plot was treated with herbicide in the spring. In late October PG and SG (with some assistance from Elizabeth and her granddaughter)worked on the plots; this strip was rotivated, to simulate ploughing, a second strip was cut and then scarified and the third was just cut. Wild flower seed was then spread evenly on the plots and the results will be observed next summer , when a decision on the way forward will be made
PG said that one bench was already in place in the clearing. This was donated by Peter and Dee Wallis in memory of their son. The WI are also providing a bench to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the WI in 2022. This will be placed in the glade on the southern edge of the 2022 planting.
AC said that he had placed a padlock on the barrier to prevent it being opened without agreement.
PD described the information board by the entrance to the Trust land. He had planned it, Andy Jordan had done the artwork and AC had provided support posts for it.
The footpath though the mature woodland is the responsibility of the SCC. The local footpath warden has been in contact with the person in charge of footpath maintenance at the council and she has arranged for finger posts to mark the official path and council workmen have just recently diverted the stream away from the footpath to the side. Villagers still use the unofficial path along the east boundary of the land as they walk east through the wood at the top of the slope. This is not an official path and one landowner objects to people using it.
David German said PG had forgotten the success in the Britain in Bloom competition. PG agreed that winning the South West in Bloom Monk trophy for the best use of native plants was indeed a great success, as was the Trust being designated as “outstanding” by the judges.
 Secretary’s report- SG reported that there had been 5 Trustee meetings during the year. with agendas circulated in advance to trustees and members. Draft minutes were circulated after the meetings and, after any corrections/additions final minutes were circulated. As Secretary SG is the contact for both the Charity Commission and HMRC, dealing with information from both and gift aid on donations with HMRC. At the monument opening the Trust had invited donations from those climbing the tower and these were then eligible for gift aid at 25%. SG also runs the Trust website at
 Future plans - All the trustees made comments under this item. In summary the aims are to increase diversity on Trust land, grow the new trees to their maximum potential, manage the mature woodland based on advice on best practice, protect hares known to be living in the long grass, identify whether dormice are present and encourage them if not, particularly in an area of coppiced hazel trees by the old well, and finally continue to maintain the hedges and meadow.
 Questions and discussion - PD commented on the need to involve some younger people but it was agreed this is not easy. Curry Rivel in Bloom has the same problem. David German proposed a vote of thanks to he trustees and after further chat the formal meeting ended at 8.20pm and was followed by light refreshments.
  • The Woods, Curry Rivel, Langport, Somerset, United Kingdom
  • this is the nearest house. CWCT land is at the last bend before the house

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.

Open Evening 2023

Talk by James Chapman about the Somerset Tree Strategy, Trust AGM, refreshments and chat

  • Date: 09/12/2023 07:00 PM
  • More Info: Old School Room, Curry Rivel

Price: £00

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

.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!