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2007 News Round-up

October 2006
New Harlow biodiversity and nature reserve staffing
Wildspace! to continue
New Parndon Wood winter opening times
Town Park masterplan - Harlow Marshes proposals

News archive March 2005 - July 2006
News archive July 2003 - December 2004

2007 News Round-up

Landscape maintenance - The Kier Harlow joint venture company took over maintenance operations on Harlow's open spaces including nature reserves in January.

Biodiversity Officer - Glenn Mulleady started as Biodiversity Officer in March. He previously worked for the Woodland Trust at Hainault Forest. Much of his work so far has been about improving the woodland management at Parndon Wood and Hospital and Risdens Wood.

Seasonal Nature Reserve Warden - Antonio Cutro was the Seasonal Nature Reserve warden at Parndon Wood from June till September. In that time the ramp to the main hide and the steps to the crater hide were renovated with help from some HCV volunteers, and a wooden cycle rack constructed and installed.

World Scout Jamboree - HCV hosted a project in Hospital and Risdens Wood in July for the World Scout Jamboree in July. Scouts from Japan, Spain, and Ireland came to help build a stag beetle pyramid and improve the nearby pond by dragging out numerous logs. Thoughout the week other groups of scouts came on other "Starburst" projects, including completing the new boardwalk started by HCV at Marshgate Spring; in conjunction with the earlier boardwalk to the viewing screen both installed by HCV this completes a circular trail round the marsh.

Marshgate Spring - Following unauthorized use by mini-motos access to the Road Safety Training Centre was blocked up and with it access to Marshgate Spring from the west along the ditch on the northern edge of the centre. With the leasing of the centre for motor-cycle training, a project was developed to properly define boundaries of the centre and reinstate access to the nature reserve. HCV installed a footbridge and style at the western end of the path and planted a hedge and built a post and rail fence for some distance along the path to provide a secure boundary to the centre. Other projects were the building of a set of steps as formal entrance to the reserve off Edinburgh way and digging out of ditches and building a method to control water levels in them, all supervised by Colin.

HCV Clothing - HCV now has its own range of clothing funded by Harlow Council. With a new logo designed by Marilyn this is mainly to give us an improved identity at shows and open days as well as a reward for regular volunteers. If you have shown commitment by attending task regularly over a period of months you too could be the proud owner of a tee-shirt and/or fleece emblazoned with the HCV logo.

Ancient Tree Hunt - The Harlow Tree Hunt was launched to find and record ancient trees. Harlow's ancient trees have been added to the www.favouritetrees.com originally set up to record Epping Forest's ancient trees. For more information on ancient trees go to the Woodland Trust ancient tree site.

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News - October 2006

New Harlow biodiversity and nature reserve staffing

Two events have almost coincided: the end of external funding (via English Nature) of the Wildspace! officer in August and the transfer of Harlow Council's landscape maintenance operations to a joint venture (JV) company with the private sector (understood to be Kier) from January 2007. This has meant a thorough review of staffing looking after the nature reserves and biodiversity in Harlow.

Darren Fazackerley has been appointed to the new post of Landscape and Biodiversity Manager, within a small team remaining directly with the Council to oversee the contract with the JV. A new full time post of Biodiversity Officer will be created in January 2007 combining the functions of the Wildspace officer and nature reserves warden. There is also the intention to create a temporary post of seasonal warden for Parndon Wood to cover the summer opening period from April to September. It is not clear yet whether these latter two posts will be within the Council or with the JV.

Following the end of Jenny Spelling's contract as temporary warden at Parndon Wood at the end of September the winter opening of Parndon Wood is being covered by Darren Fazackerley and other Council staff. Thank you Jenny for all your work at Parndon Wood and for HCV and good luck for the future.

Wildspace! to continue

The Wildspace! project has ended; long live the Wildspace! project! Harlow Council has pledged that, following the end of external funding, the work of the Wildspace! project will continue under the new Biodversity Officer. This includes the Wildspace and Acorn volunteers groups and Friends of local nature reserves groups, as well as the activities and events programme for the general public.

New Parndon Wood winter opening times

Winter opening times of Parndon Wood have been revised as follows:

October - March

Sunday 11am - 4pm
New Year's Day 11am - 4pm

Town Park masterplan - Harlow Marshes proposals

The new Town Park masterplan, produced by landscape architects Allen Scott, includes several proposals for the riverside ditches and flood meadows area, most of which is proposed to be added to the Harlow Marshes nature reserve.

In the centre of the area is a new wetland similar to Maymeads Marsh but including an environmental education facility. While welcome in principle, the suggested site has a good population of rare orchids. Another proposal is to widen the zig-zag bridge and add observation platforms. More controversially, a large new marina for canal boats opposite the existing one would cover a large part of the low lying meadow once used as a winter skating rink. This part has recently been excluded from the nature reserve proposals but it would nevertheless destroy a distinct habitat and slice the green area in two. The green bridge over the railway, although scaled down from earlier proposals would also finish up in this area.

The plans and opportunity to comment are on a dedicated Harlow Town Park vision website.

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