Minutes of the Open Evening and AGM of the CWCT held in the Old School Room, Curry Rivel on Friday, December 8th 2023 at 7.30pm
Welcome by the Chair and Apologies for absence - Kate Towers of Reimagining the Levels apologised for herself and Phil Stone
Approval of minutes of the AGM of the Trust held on December 16th 2022 -proposed by Alan Cockerell, seconded by Paul Deacon
Chair’s Report - Peter Goodenough- see appendix 1
Treasurer’s report -Alan Cockerell - see appendix 2
Secretary’s report - Sylvia Goodenough - see appendix 3
This concluded the formal AGM. After a brief break James Chapman gave a very interesting talk about his role as Somerset Tree Strategist and how his background fitted him for the role. There was much discussion following the talk and this continued over tea, coffee and cake. The evening finally broke up at 9.30pm.
Appendix 1 Chairmans report
The year started with some more tree planting by the Local Scout Group. Most of the planting was either to thicken up the hedgerow to the South or to plant shrubs, mainly service trees along the Souther edge of the new woodland. Tree maintenance in the new woodland mainly consisted of removing tree guards and stakes from places where the plants had died. During the summer 66 trees and 50 shrubs were removed as it was thought that the plants had died. However,previously it has been noticed that some plants shoot from the rootstock in the following year so we remain hopeful for some of them At worst this represents around 10% loss on the total planting. Considering that all planting was done by inexperienced volunteers, including quite a lot of young people this is a very good survival rate, especially as 2022 was a particularly arid summer.In the ancient semi-natural woodland (NE designation) a large area on the slope was fenced using deer fencing to allow regrowth of native trees. Before the end of the year some coppicing of trees which have fallen or been blown parallel to the ground in the glade will be done. Much of this area is mature ash and, as yet, there seems little ash die back disease. Also in the ancient woodland there was some extensive footpath maintenance, some was done with the help of the scouts to lay wood chippings in a particularly damp area. This area is the site of a natural winter spring and so a large diameter pipe was installed to take the water away from the footpath. This initially worked and the original boggy area is much improved but the water is finding its way back to the footpath lower down the slope. More maintenance will be needed. A wildlife camera has been installed and has proved beyond doubt that roe deer are present. In the spring a very active family of healthy looking foxes used the footpath and could be heard. Several hares were seen in the spring but not latterly. The retained meadow area was cut once this year and the grass footpath was cut as needed to maintain good access. The clearing within the new planting was also cut and a picnic bench installed there. This has been used - as evidenced by the beer cans, and disposable coffee cups left behind. The lack of a waste bin is a hint to revellers to take home their empties. Probably most do but there are always miscreants. We are still experimenting with the best way to increase the native perennial biodiversity. Our trial plots are clearly marked and I would encourage people to look at them in the spring to see how they develop. We are trying three treatments, complete cultivation and sowing in bare soil, sowing in lightly scarified soil and sowing in undisturbed soil. Two plant surveys have been done and these will be posted as a consolidated list on the web-site. One very invasive arable crop weed, hairy ox tongue, has done very well. It has leaves that are very prickly and so probably is not eaten much by herbivores. There were very large numbers of pyramidal orchids in June and outside in the adjoining lane verge a good stand of early purple orchids. In the same location there are primroses and wild scabious, so it is expected these will form a reservoir of seed that will move into the field area. There is a good stand of cowslips near by and so plugs of these will probably be added to the field. Talks were given to the local gardening group when they had an evening visit to the site, and the WI. The WI have planted a stand of trees commemorating 100 years of the CR WI. We sadly had to return the perpetual Monk Trophy which we were awarded by South West in Bloom in 2022 for the best use of native plants; as Curry Rivel didn’t compete in the competition this year. I would like to thank the other trustees for all their work this year, both on site and off, and look forward to another positive year in 2024.
Appendix 2 - Treasurer’s report
ACCOUNTS FOR ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Transactions since last AGM Current Period General Funds £RECEIPTS Donations 375 Grants Curry Rivel Parish Council 223 HMRC Gift Aid 55 Total receipts since last AGM 653 PAYMENTS
Website fees for next 5 years. Hire of Old School Room 742
Picnic bench for field clearing 249 Maintenance costs for site (wildflower seeds, wildlife camera etc). 487 ______ Total payments since last AGM £1614 Cash in bank brought forward 4,126 Cash in bank carried forward £3165
Appendix 3 -Secretary’s report 2023
There have been 4 meetings of the trustees in 2023, one of which was held on site and the others at the house called The Woods. At the November meeting the 4 remaining original trustees, Alan Cockerell, Catherine Mowat, Peter and Sylvia Goodenough, who had come to the end of their three year term, agreed to stand for re-election and were duly elected for a further 3 years. We were delighted that Jeremy Dugdale, who had already been very helpful during the year, had put his name forward for election and he too was elected, bringing the number of trustees up to the maximum of 6.Alan and I put together the annual report to the Charity Commission in April, ready for submission. However the Commission, in its wisdom, had decided to change the method of submission and had not developed the necessary on line form by May, and had made the method of log in far more complicated than before. I spent several hours on the phone to the Commission, along with everyone else who found the process unfathomable, eventually submitting in October. Thankfully the HMRC website for claiming gift aid is much easier to access and use even if it then takes a long time before the money gets to the Trust bank account. I also maintain the Trust website and am pleased to report that it gets a good number of hits, with Peter’s blogs being particularly popular. These appear on the website first and then in the Curry Rivel News but they obviously appeal to a wider audience than just those who receive the CRN. If you haven’t looked at the website please do - the address is at the top of the agenda for this meeting. Thank you