Volunteers do good work removing invasive rhododendrons

Yesterday morning I joined a party from Surrey Heath Tree Wardens clearing invasive rhododendrons from Lightwater Country Park.

Our work area was around the Hammond ponds, specifically the upper Hammond pond. The weather was kind to us, resulting in a happy and satisfied party. Some of the party will return this Saturday morning to continue the work.

Here are a couple of photos. One is of  Trefor Hogg, chairman of Surrey Heath Tree Wardens, and the other of the piles of cleared rhodos.

Burn off Christmas calories with a Winter Walk in Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce that,

The Surrey Heath Walking for Health Scheme is delighted to announce that it has been chosen as one of five locations in the UK to be a host of the Ramblers’ annual Festival of Winter Walks.

The cold crisp days of winter are a magical time to go walking, with transformed scenery and spectacular early sunsets – it’s a great way to escape the demands of the festive season for a few hours too.

Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) is pleased to invite people to join them for a short seasonal stroll in beautiful Lightwater Country Park during the Festival of Winter Walks, which runs from 23 December to 7 January.

The Festival of Winter Walks, supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is now in its 30th year – so the Ramblers know a thing or two about the joys of getting out and about in the colder weather.  The details of the Festival walk in Surrey Heath are:

Lightwater Country Park New Year’s Resolution Walk

  • Date: 1 January 2018
  • Start time: 10 am
  • Starting Point: Lightwater Country Park Cafe
  • Distance: 2km
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Description: The walk will follow the 2km Heathland trail which takes in ponds, heathland and woodland as well as the beautiful Curley Hill which boasts views of Ascot Racecourse, Wembley Stadium and the Crystal Palace transmitter! Why not bring your family and friends along for a sociable and rewarding morning out in the park?

Everyone that takes part in the walk will be given a pedometer to record their number of steps, as well as a family friendly quiz to complete, a walk brochure and stocking full of duck feed for the ponds.

On returning to the cafe, every walker will automatically be entered into a prize draw. Prizes include a £50 Amazon voucher and family swim at the Arena Leisure Centre. Walkers can then share stories and wind down with a free jacket potato with filling in the Lightwater Country Park cafe.

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Lightwater Country Park achieves ‘Favourable’ assessment from Natural England

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce that,

Lightwater Country Park has achieved the highest rating from Natural England for the condition of its ecologically important habitat.

The area of heathland within the Country Park has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Country Park is therefore an area of high nature conservation value, protected by law.

In the most recent assessment by public body Natural England (NE), the habitat management of Lightwater Country Park by Surrey Heath Borough Council has been praised. The report, following NE’s visit in August 2017, said: “The diversity and quality of habitat management actions being undertaken is excellent, and is maintaining and enhancing the heath land habitat.

“It is a result of this diligent stewardship of the Country Park/SSSI site that habitat conditions have improved to bring the site into favourable condition and this is to the credit of Surrey Heath Borough Council.”

The ‘strategic and sensitive signage”, active visitor management, use of goats to control invasive trees and scrub, and abundance of heathland birds such as the Dartford warbler are all commended in the report.

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Day Fishing available at Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council is pleased to announce that day fishing will be available at Lightwater Country Park from June 2017.

In a new initiative, day fishing will be possible on Hammonds Pond, which offers mixed course fishing so is an ideal place for pleasure angling. There are 10 ‘swims’ (fishing spots) available on the pond. A valid Environment Agency rod licence is required.

Day fishing will be offered from dawn to dusk, starting at the beginning of the fishing season on 16 June. Permits must be purchased from the Lightwater Country Park (LCP) café during opening hours (10am – 4pm).

For those that have arrived at dawn and are already set-up, permits can be bought over the phone by credit card if anglers do not wish to leave their tackle.

The cost to fish at LCP (Mon – Fri only) is:

  •                                        One rod        Two rods
  • Adult                                    £6                   £8
  • Child                                    £3                    £5
  • OAP concessionary rate:  £3                   £5
  • The entire pond is also available to hire for events and competitions at a day rate of £70. Hammonds Pond will be open for fishing from 16 June 2017 until mid-March 2018 when the angling closed season starts.

    More info: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/residents/sport-leisure-parks/parks-playgrounds/lightwater-country-park

    A Swan and Mallard ducks slither on the ice of Hammond’s Pond

    Popping into the Windlesham Parish Council office in The Avenue in Lightwater I spied, in the distance, birds slithering around on the iced-over Hammond’s Pond.

    After my Parish Office visit, on which more later, I toddled over to the pond. I was delighted to see a Mute Swan paddling in the water with no ice. A couple of young families joined me, and began feeding the ducks. The Swan then wandered over.

    The Swan came very, very close to me. I told it that I hadn’t any food. Also, I noticed that it wasn’t ringed. Odd, as I thought that Swans were generally ringed.

    I know one reader – Pippa – will be especially pleased to know we’ve a Swan on our pond. Pippa tells me that their cob [male] Swan on Tomlins Pond died, and his pen [female] has flown away. Pippa is trying to get Swans back on their pond, saying

    I follow Swan Lifeline on Facebook and the Swan Sanctuary too – should your readers be interested. They can follow rescues and swan updates – interesting for me.

    Here are my photos and a short video of the Swan.

    Council PSPO consultation at Lightwater Country Park Cafe on Saturday 7th Jan

    Surrey Heath Borough Council remind residents that time is running out to give your views on Public Spaces Protection Order consultation.

    The deadline is approaching for public submissions from Surrey Heath residents to have their say on proposals to help address anti-social behaviour in public places around the borough.

    2-lightwater-country-park-cafe-official-openingPublic Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) were created by the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, to regulate activities in public that have a detrimental effect on the local community.

    The council is considering introducing a PSPO to help address nuisances or problems in local public places. A PSPO would assist in taking steps to improve issues such as alcohol and substance misuse, begging and irresponsible dog ownership.

    There’s a range of ways to express your views before the consultation closes on 17 January 2017.

    More information, including an online questionnaire, map and a list of the proposed areas for restrictions, is available at: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/PSPO

    If you wish to receive a paper copy of the questionnaire to complete, please call the council to request this on 01276 707100 or email pspoconsultation@surreyheath.gov.uk

    Or you can come along to one of our drop-in events below:

    •  Lightwater Country Park Café – Saturday 7 January, 11am-1.30pm  
    • Frimley Lodge Café, Frimley Lodge Park – Saturday 14 January, 11am-1.30pm

    The survey responses will be analysed and be used to inform the council’s decision about how the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order is progressed. All answers will be kept confidential.

    Surrey Heath Community Portfolio Holder Cllr Vivienne Chapman said: “This PSPO Consultation is a great opportunity for members of the public to have their say on important issues and I would encourage people to take part, whether online, by post, or in person at one of the drop in events.”

    The council’s Executive will make the final decision about the Public Space Protection Order on a date to be confirmed, with the details of the meeting and subsequent decisions to be published on www.surreyheath.gov.uk

    Dog-friendly café in Lightwater Country Park officially opened by the Mayor

    Lightwater Country Park has a new café that was officially opened this morning by Surrey Heath Mayor, Cllr John Winterton. Surrey Heath Borough Council presaged the opening in an announcement – read HERE.

    Yours truly was in attendance to witness, and record a brief video, of the ceremony. I spoke with Stuart Nicholl of Churchill Catering about the café. They also operate the café at Frimley Lodge Park.

    Here are a few photos of the event, [click to enlarge]