The History of the Trust
With a rich history spanning four centuries, the origins of the Box Moor Trust can be dated back to 1574, when Queen Elizabeth I presented the Earl of Leicester with a gift of land in the county of Hertfordshire. This gift included some pastures in Hemel Hempstead, which were subsequently acquired by three local men – John Rolfe, Richard Pope and William Gladman – at a cost of £75, which appears to have been raised by a secret public subscription.
In 1594, ownership was passed to 67 named locals, or Feoffes, “whereby their heirs and assigns might and should forever thereafter have, hold and enjoy the said meadows and all the commodities that might or should arise thereof” – they agreed that twelve of the them should be appointed as Trustees with the power to pass orders and byelaws where necessary.
The Trust Today
Now a self-supporting charity, the Box Moor Trust manages nearly 500 acres of grazing and amenity land on behalf of the local community. Predominately open access, the land is free to visit and explore, and includes woodlands, recreation areas, the meadows of the Bulbourne Valley between Bourne End and Two Waters, Roughdown, and Sheethanger Commons, Westbrook Hay and Bovingdon Brickworks.
Our Trustees are elected by people living with the Trust’s Area of Benefit and they’re charged with administering its charitable work in accordance with an Act of Parliament in 1809, which was later updated under the new Charity Commission Scheme in 2000. The Trust is supported by a team of highly committed individuals who work hard to ensure that it continues to function successfully and meet its core objectives.
Revenue is generated through investments, the sale of pasture tickets and property rents. The trust currently owns a diverse range of properties, including twenty-seven houses and various workshops and barns: it also owns the valuable Boxmoor Wharf, a canal-side commercial site which was once used for the shipment of port and whiskey and is now home to a large, national DIY retailer.
What does the Trust do?
As a registered charity, the team and the Box Moor Trust is proud of the many roles that the Trust plays in the local community. Here is a brief overview of the work that we do.
The estate team takes care of the many diverse habitats within the trust’s ownership, including woodland, chalk meadows and amenity land.
True to its origins of the protecting the grazing rights, the Trust continues to provide pasture for the local graziers, its own herd of rare breed Belted Galloway cattle and flock of Norfolk Horn Sheep. Please remember that horses and cattle can be curious about people, which can feel intimidating. Therefore, refrain from feeding or stroking livestock. Dogs should be kept on leads when entering fields with livestock. Please ensure you always clear up after your dogs.
Boxmoor Cricket Club, Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club and Hemel Hempstead(Camelot) Rugby Union Football Club all have current licences to play on our land.
Education We offer a variety of fantastic courses for schools,youth groups and adult learners which primarily take place in the great outdoors. We foster strong relationships with school within our locality and ensure that the sessions we provide link in with the National Curriculum.
Forest Schools have become an increasingly popular initiative, using the natural resources of the woodland to stimulate creative learning. Our qualified team of Forest School leaders run regular sessions for local schools through the academic year – and the kids love them!
The Box Moor Trust is proud to support RSPB Wildlife Explorers. Design for children with an interest in wildlife and nature, groups to cater for all ages meet once a month.
Trust Area of Benefit
Below is a map showing the Area of Benefit within which the Box Moor Trust operates. In short, the AoB covers the vast majority of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon. Please click on the image for a full size version.