Thursday, 16 April 2009

You can help us preserve future access to Grove Woods by filling out an evidence form to say that you have used the woods for any of a variety of pastimes. Please print the two pages below, fill them in and return them to the Snuff Mills Action Group. Grove Woods are shown in green on the map above.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A Rhino in the valley?

It was revealed at the recent Council meeting to confirm the Tree Preservation Order by John Mair, the land agent for Grove Wood, that the ownership of the wood had been transferred to Rhino Group Ltd. We've now received the publicly available documents on this company from Companies House.

Its most recent return shows that it is a company that works in 'general construction and civil engineering' as well as 'forestry and logging'. The company was originally establised in 2003 as the 'Industrial Cutting Group Ltd'.

The company is registered in Stoke Bishop and it has a single Director, Lord Houshang Jafari Najafabadi, who appears to be the only shareholder. The Company Secretary is Yaser Jafari Najafabadi. Both reside in the location where the company is registered, along with many companies.

We can find no trace of any website or other publicly available information about Rhino Group Ltd. However, we are alarmed that it no longer seems to be the intention of Mr Jafari to use Grove Wood as 'private woods and gardens' as he has claimed in correspondence with the Council. He must now clearly see his interest in Grove Wood as some sort of commercial venture. Why else would he transfer it from his own personal ownership to that of one of his companies that has interests in construction, engineering, forestry and logging?

Thanks to Jake for undertaking this research. All the information provided here is publicly available from Companies House and no privacy codes have been broken by publishing this information. To be courteous, we have not published the precise location of where Rhino Group Ltd is registered.

Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Fair

Our Easter Egg Hunt through the Valley on Easter Monday was very successful and really appreciated by all who took part. Everyone said how much they enjoyed it, and how it made them think about the wildlife that is in the area, which is great news. A special thank you to Sue for organising it and for running it with just one other person as we were very short on helpers that day.

The Spring Fair took £205.06p and there was a steady trickle of people all afternoon and several people seemed to spend a fair bit. Everyone worked really hard from Snuff Mills Action Group to set it up and run the stalls, make the teas and clear up afterwards. Thanks to Hilary and Sue for running the White elephant stall, Andy and John for the book stall and Janet and Hilary(2) for organising the teas and coffees. A special thank you to Annette for some wonderful cakes decorated with easter chicks and rabbits and some lovely meringues from Lesley. They all went down well with a nice warm cuppa. Lots of member's of Chris' family helped on various stalls and Jill donated loads of toiletries, but the star stall was the Cake stall, run by Alan and his wife Joan, which took over £57! Joan made loads of lovely cakes and presented them beautifully and other people also made cakes to sell.

Thanks to everyone that came along. They'll be more events soon.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Valley Spring Clean

Over twenty people spent Sunday afternoon tidying up all of the rubbish from the valley. All sorts of rubbish was collected from old televisions to the usual detritis that people leave behind.

On a sad note a dead peregrine falcon was also found during the clean up. Its body will be passed on to make sure it was not poisoned as these birds sometimes suffer persecution, though we don't think this is very likely in this case.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Spring in the Valley

After a long hard winter, these cherry trees near the Snuff Mills garden have blossomed to let us know that it's all going to warm up soon and that summer is just around the corner. Many other trees are producing their first leaves, so soon the whole valley will have that special fresh green colour of springtime.

Being an ancient woodland, Grove Wood is host to loads of lovely wildflowers at this time of year. At the moment the wood anemones are at their best, but don't go in the woods too early because the flowers open up in the morning and close at nighttime. Soon it will be the turn of the wild garlic and bluebells. Can you believe someone wants to stop you from enjoying this?

Maybe this person should take some lessons from nature. Just look how these celandines have tried to disguise the ugliness of the container that he put in the wood last May. We recommend that you try to ignore this monstrosity and the ridiculous fencing that greets you as you enter Grove Wood. There is the sheer beauty of nature just beyond. Enjoy!

Dawn chorus walk

About twenty people were up with the lark on Sunday 29th March to listen out for the dawn chorus in Snuff Mills and Grove Wood. We heard woodpeckers tapping on the trees, magpies and crows squawking as the sun rose and blackbirds celebrating the dawn. The sounds of robins and great tits cheered everyone up even though it was so early.

Walkers went on a circuit of Snuff Mills and then enjoyed Grove Wood, providing further evidence that people use the woods for peaceful pastimes and so it should be designated a Town Green!

Garden progress

All of the Group's efforts to improve the garden seem to be showing results. Already we have loads of golden daffodils flowering along the edge of the garden and some of the plants added last year seem to be establishing really well despite the really cold winter.

We'll be giving the garden a Spring tidy up to prepare it for our planting weekend on Sunday 19th April between 10.00-12noon. Help us get rid of some nasty weeds. Bring tools and gloves.

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th May we will be planting up the whole garden with a huge range of new plants thanks to generous donations from the Co-Op and individual fundraising efforts. Come and join us to help make the garden a real splash of colour for summer.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

TPO confirmed

Great news. Councillors confirmed the Woodland Tree Preservation Order on the whole of Grove Wood this afternoon. 50 people submitted comments to the Development Control Committee. 49 of them supported confirming the TPO while only one was against it. This was a submission by the landowner's agent.

People from the community gave impassioned statements calling for the TPO to be confirmed and the agent for Mr Jafari made a statement that included all sorts of accusations about the campaign and the role of the Council.

Bizarrely, the ownership of Grove Wood has now been transferred to Rhino Group Ltd, a company that the agent claims to at least partly own, although it is registered at Mr Jafari's House in Stoke Bishop. The company describes itself as being in the 'general construction and civil engineering' trade.

I think this is a clear signal that we must continue to be vigilant over Grove Wood by continuing to call for the upper footpath to be designated a Public Right of Way and for the whole wood to be designated a Town Green as well as calling for Grove Wood to be brought in to safe public ownership.

But for now it is time to celebrate the latest success in our campaign to save Grove Wood.