26.9.18 | Further Award for the River Bulbourne Project
The River Bulbourne Restoration Project has picked up another award, this time coming away with a Highly Commended at last week’s Canal & Rivers Trust Living Waterways award. This marks the fourth award the project has won, previous having won awards from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Wild Trout Trust.
The purpose of the project was to restore a 1000m stretch of the Bulbourne between Fishery Road and Two Waters Road. The river in this location had been heavily modified in the past and was over-wide and lacking in features characteristic of a chalk stream.
The changes made to the river are now beginning to bed in. The banks have managed to regenerate, despite the unseasonably dry weather, which has improved the look of the river. Our river fly monitoring volunteer group has seen extremely positive results since the works have been carried out; they have seen a marked increase in the number, and range, of river fly on the sites at which large scale works have been undertaken. The project returned the River Bulbourne to a healthier, and more natural, state. To read more about our double award-winning project, click here: Bringing back the Bulbourne
A brief video highlighting the restoration works, as produced by the CRT can be seen below.
12.7.18 | Updated Education Charges
Starting from September, all Education visits to the Box Moor Trust will be subject to revised charges. The Box Moor Trust have simplified the charging scheme which is as follows:
Schools in Area of Benefit: £3.00 inc VAT per child.
Schools outside Area of Benefit: £7.00 inc VAT per child.
Likewise, this also applies to Uniform groups such as Brownies and Scouts:
Uniform / Youth Groups in Area of Benefit: £1.50 inc VAT per child.
Uniform / Youth Groups in Area of Benefit: £6.00 inc VAT per child.
16.5.18 | New footpath created
The Box Moor Trust is pleased to announce that a new footpath has been created from the old Two Waters Road (under the new Two Waters Road bridge) leading directly into Bulbourne Moor. Established in collaboration with Dacorum Borough Council, this new permissive path allows users to access the moors without having to cross the busy Two Waters Road.
8.5.18 | Fencing on the moors and why we’ve put it in
The River Bulbourne
All of our Trustees, staff and volunteers at Box Moor Trust are absolutely committed to maintaining the Moors in their natural beauty for local residents to enjoy and for their future generations.
One of the key features of the Moors is the River Bulbourne, a chalk stream that contributes significantly to the character of the open space around Boxmoor. It is a key asset to the landscape, but has been heavily compromised by historic modifications, and because of this, under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 was listed as a priority habitat for restoration.
About five years ago the Box Moor Trust, in conjunction with the Environment Agency and other interested parties, embarked on a restoration project for the Bulbourne, largely at the expense of the EA. This involved:
• Regrading the banks to narrow to the channel, to create more sinuosity and a shallower bank profile
• Installation of woody habitat features to help improve habitat diversity and flow
• Stabilisation and narrowing of river crossing points
• Reconnecting the floodplain and creation of floodplain scrapes (aka seasonal ponds)
• Bed raising where the channel has been over-deepened
• Removal of the weir
• Installation of fencing
• Creation of a Kingfisher bank
The project was a huge task taking more than five years to get it to where it is now, with scope for further improvements.
Fast forward to today, the Bulbourne has returned to a more natural, healthier state, a chalk stream restored to its former, meandering flow. Its wetlands now provide an abundance of habitats for all wildlife, including fish, invertebrates and plants.
The project has inevitably disturbed the river banks and it will take time for them to settle and stabilise, i.e. allowing for vegetation to be restored, which brings us to the fencing that we have recently put up.
Why electric fencing?
Firstly, the electric fences are only temporary – they are only erected for the grazing season to prevent stock (cattle and horses) from destroying the reconstructed banks which took more than five years of planning and delivery, thereby ruining the newly created habitats for wildlife, fish, invertebrates and plants.
Electric fence energisers put out a voltage which gets the attention of stock however it is the number of amps which is important in safety terms. Electric fences operate at a very low amperage of around 120 milliamps. This is 120 thousandths of an amp (normal mains electricity is 13 amps) and therefore such fences are not at all comparable with mains electricity. They are in widespread use worldwide and frequently encountered by walkers in the countryside. If touched they will give a jolt, but the sole purpose is to achieve temporary protection of the banks and newly created ponds. Responding to concerns we are installing additional notices along the fences.
New stock proof fences
Along the canal from Two Waters to Old Fishery Lane, a new standard stock proof fence topped with strands of barbed wire, has been installed. This is not connected to the river restoration project, but was necessary to replace due to ageing rust. Over time this will be covered by the hedge it’s protecting, and won’t be so visible. This new fence is much more dog friendly thanks to the lower part mesh.Our commitment to you
We assure readers that our commitment to all Beneficiaries is that we want to see the Moors and the rest of the Estate remain both beautiful, open and enjoyable for everyone now – and in the future.
Whilst the temporary fencing may be seen as an inconvenience by some of you, we believe that the gain from the current work programme and its long term benefit is enormous. All we ask for is appreciation of the effort and time that we, the EA and volunteers have put in. We welcome constructive feedback, we promise to listen.
Invitation to come for a guided walk
Our Chair of Land and Estates Committee as well as our Estate Manager would like to invite you to join us on another guided walk along the Moors, where you’ll be able to ask us any questions and raise concerns.
Details of the walk…
Following up on last year’s walk which we offered across the Moors, we are inviting people to enjoy another guided walk through the moors on Sunday 27th May starting at 12:00 from the gate on the moor opposite the K2 restaurant on Two Waters Road. By concluding at the former Cressbeds at Old Fishery Lane, we will all be able to see what a wonderful job staff and volunteers are doing there for everyone’s benefit, to preserve a little more of our threatened natural world. (You might even like to try pond dipping). (BUT VERY SORRY, NO DOGS POSSIBLE ACTUALLY IN THE CRESSBEDS).
19.4.18 | A response to fencing on the Moors
The following is a brief statement in response to a few concerns regarding fencing upon the Moors. The fencing has been installed as part of the Trusts effort to enhance the environment which is an important asset to all beneficiaries.
Box Moor Trust is in the process of replacing the existing and dilapidated 3 strand barbed wire stock fencing which runs along the hedgerow boundary between the moors and the canal, with standard stock fencing topped by 2 strands of barbed wire, which is an industry standard. The existing dilapidated stock fencing has been in place for many years and as such was in real need of replacing.
In addition, a single strand of electric fencing has been installed in small areas to protect the newly constructed scrapes which are part of the award winning Bulbourne restoration project, funded largely by the Environment Agency.
The quicker flow now achieved in the river has produced a dramatic improvement and increase in the variety of aquatic invertebrates and fish in the river. The scrapes are part of restoring the moors as water meadows which will support a wide variety of different species common to such areas.
Fencing of the sort employed is commonly used in management of such areas which are so very beneficial to the natural environment.
The long term impact of all these improvements will be greatly beneficial to everyone in the local community including for the education of young people in appreciating the natural world.
12.4.18 | Overflowing Dog Bins
Many of you have contacted us regarding several Dog Poo bins across the Trust Estate, most notably those on Blackbirds Moor, Sheethanger Common and at the Old Barn which are currently in a state of overflow. Unfortunately, these bins are the responsibility of Dacorum Borough Council and as such we are waiting for DBC to empty them. The Box Moor Trust kindly ask that any dog walker intending to use the bin instead takes their dog waste home, or finds an alternative receptacle in which to dispose it. Dumping waste at the base of the bin, or hanging it in a nearby tree/bush is not helpful and only serves to exacerbate the problem.
10.4.18 | New Fencing on the Moors
You may have noticed, new wooden fencing posts have been erected around some of the newly restored areas on the moors. These will support a single strand of electric fencing, which will be utilised from 1st May until end of Sept; the fence will keep livestock from entering these areas at such a sensitive time in their establishment, but also allow grazing of grass that was not grazed last year.
To enable effective access to regularly used paths, we have created squeeze points at areas where access has been previously enjoyed. We would encourage users to not touch the electric fencing and only access the paths through the squeeze points provided.
The Box Moor Trust thanks your for your co-operation.