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 currywoodsconservationtrust.com.
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.