About the Box Moor Trust
The Box Moor Trust was founded in 1594 and has been caring for the Estate in trust ever since. The Trust estate now comprises just under 500 acres on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon. The vast majority of the Trust lands are open to the public, with much of it being Common land.
The work of the Trust today is far ranging. We have 14 staff and 140 volunteers and activities include the following:
Land management: Management and protection of land and keeping it safe is the Charity’s prime objective and this work brings the Trust into contact with thousands of residents. Our popular sheep and cattle are a key part of our work. The Trust’s estate team uses these animals to care for our diverse habitats, which includes woodland, chalk meadows and amenity land. You may have seen coverage of our recent multi award winning river restoration project, or our water vole reintroduction programme. These are just two examples of our many nature conservation initiatives. Managing land this way alongside a rapidly growing population has many challenges. Much time is spent on providing improved access for wheelchairs, fence replacement and, sadly, clearing an increasing amount of litter. Interaction with our beneficiaries can be on all manner of subjects and this is an area that involves Trustees a great deal.
By constantly striving to work efficiently and to achieve long-term sustainable income it is possible to achieve a surplus after managing the land. This can then be ploughed into the community in the following ways:
Education: The Box Moor Trust offers a variety of environmental courses for schools, youth groups and adult learners. The prime aim is to encourage everyone to understand, value and protect the wonders of the natural landscapes around them. Our facilities include indoor classrooms at the Trust Centre and a small field centre (the Old Barn) at Westbrook Hay. We have the use of woods, meadows, wetland areas and specifically designed outdoor areas for education, including for pond dipping and minibeast hunting. We have a good relationship with the schools within our area of benefit, and our school learning sessions are linked to the national curriculum. Our Forest School programme that takes place outside in all weathers and gives 4-year olds crucial early connection to the outdoors.
Grants: If finances allow, the Trust has an annual grant fund for local organisations including charities, sports clubs, community groups and churches. These are one-off grants to be used for purchase of equipment or for other capital projects. These grants are to a maximum sum of £2,500. There is also occasional revenue support for Arts events and recently, there has been an initiative to provide music in care homes.
Help for the Elderly, Special Needs Groups and people with disabilities: Apart from capital grants, above, money is set aside to support Community Wheels and The Dacorum Community Trust. The latter then helps hundreds of local people with small grants.
Community Events: We organise two large public weekend events every year – the Autumn Festival and our popular Lambing Weekend. In addition to these, our education team often organise activity fun days for families during the school holidays and highly popular Nature Tots for parents and pre-school children.
Talks and walks: Our staff regularly give presentations and illustrated group talks, covering various aspects of the Box Moor Trust, including history, wildlife and nature and estate management, to organisations within our area of benefit. Guided walks for bats, butterflies, glow worms and a range of other interests are held throughout the year.
Sport: Apart from the general exercise on the land that benefits everyone, three local sports clubs have a licence to play: Boxmoor Cricket Club, Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club and Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) Rugby Union Football Club. These clubs can apply for grants as mentioned above but Trustees also work with all three to help them make improvements and increase their membership.
And more! New Trustees always bring new ideas and who knows what we might be looking at next year?