Wednesday, July 08, 2009

So it's goodby from me ...

This year has been very mixed, dealing with the fallout from Leach Fields being closed to the public, against the handover of ownership to Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, after 3 years of effort.

Not least of the problems was to move our container off Leach Fields on to our land - a mammoth effort.

On a personal front, problems with my parents' health has meant being away from the work parties many weeks, but the upside is that they are now safely installed in warden controlled accommodation. Our house has been on the market for 16 months, but we have finally sold, and I'm off to pastures new next week.

The rest of the work party will carry on the good work, and I hope to join them when I am in the area visiting friends and relatives. It does mean that we are one down on our numbers, so if you fancy some healthy exercise, and a quick pint in the Woodman at Wild Hill on a Sunday morning, drop an email to

I have really enjoyed the last 15 years, and am sorry to be leaving. But please continue to enjoy YOUR woods - that is why we we do the work. And if you see the team, please give them some encouragement.

Best wishes to you all - enjoy.


Monday, February 23, 2009

February 2009

We have had a visit from the Wicets Brood Morris Dancers, who needed a new supply of staves. We helped them harvet some of the hazel trees, which helped us with our coppicing programme.


January 2009

We are still spending a lot of our time dealing with Leach Homes. However, we have been continuing with the maintenance of the woods.

We have been replacing broken slats in some of the footbridges, and HMWT have sent in their Green Team to coppice some of the hazel on the south path.


December 2008

As we have not been able to re-negotiate the lease of Leach Fields, we have spent this month preparing to hand back the land to Leach Homes. This has involved moving our container to a new site off Mymms Drive. Un fortunately, there were problems with this and it had to be off-loaded about 80 yards short of the new site. This will have to remain where it is until drier weather in the spring.

Please accept our apologies that this is somewhat unsightly. We will move it as soon as possible.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

October-November 2008

You may be aware that we lease the Leach Fields at the West end of the site from Leach Homes, and have done so for the last 20 years. The lease has not been renewed, and we have now been given notice to quit Leach's land, and have spent the last few weeks moving our equipment and stores onto "Gobions Owned" land. This has involved clearing access to the container we have at the Bluebridge Road entrance, and identifying a new site off Mymms Drive.

Although we will have a smaller area of land to look after, we are persuing all means to re-lease the Leach Fields as soon as possible.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday 12th October 2008

A fallen tree had been reported near the ice house on the North boundary path. Luckily, this was not too large and we were able to clear the path quite quickly.

The rest of the day was spent clearing vegetation from our stock of hard core, and checking over the Bobcat loader and dujmper truck. We will then be able to make repairs to paths in readiness for winter.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

September 2008

Although we have had some wet weather this month, it has softened the ground, and has made the task of clearing the Brazier plantation a lot easier.

We have cleared brambles, elder and sycamore saplings which has made space and let in more light to help the young oaks and beech trees to grow with less competition.

We should now be able to take the mower in to keep the new growth down in the next few months.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday 31st August 2008

Rather a wet morning - fortunately a rare occurrance. However, we were able to make repairs to the bridge where the West boundary and South paths meet. Three broken slats were replaced.

Hopefully better weather next week.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday 24th August 2008

Continued clearing the Jonas plantation and made a start on the Brazier plantation.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday 17th August 2008

Spent the day clearing the paths, trimming back the hegdes and mowing the path edges. We noticed that some slats on the bridge joining the West boundary and South paths had been broken. These will be replaced as soon as possible.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday 10th August 2008

Due to holidays, there are just two of us today. We have received 4 new dog plaques, so mounted them on the bench by the fallen beech near the old brick bridge. Then spent the rest of the morning mowing the borders of Oak Tree Path.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday 20th July 2008

Josh was back with us again this week and we went to add some hard core to the "squeeze gate" to the North of Leach Fields. He had his first experience of driving a dumper truck.

We then went to the Dog Bench by the fallen beech tree near the old brick bridge. Regrettably vandals had damaged one of the plaques, which we drilled out and will replace.

If you see any damage,vandalism or anything which needs attention, you can email me on, or ring me on 01707 274494.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

A new volunteer

We welcome Josh Cooper to our little team. He is doing his Duke of Edinburgh's award, and has chosen Gobions as the place to do his community service. He was soon put to work with long handled loppers to trim back foliage from the paths, and had a stint on the mower.

An useful adition to the team.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Feb - June 2008

Work commitments have prevented me from keeping up the blog.

However, we have been keeping the paths open, trimming back hedges and verges and clearing occasional fallen trees.

We have also been trying a new organic herbicide to try to keep the ragwort down. There have been mixed results, as there is still evidence of ragwort in the Leach Fields, but far less than we have had in previous years. As the teatment was rather expensive, we may revert to hand pulling in future.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

I've been away a great deal over the last 6 weeks, but the other volunteers have been busy (family and Christmas commitments permitting) and have been clearing out ditches around the Leach Fields. This will prevent flooding as the anticipated spring rains arrive.

Today (Sunday 13th Jan)we continued clearing around the container and had a fire to get rid of the brambles etc that we had previously cleared. We also checked that all our equipment was working, cleaning and servicing as necessary. One or two items will need professional help, but should be back in service in the next week or two.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

October-November 2007

We have been clearing brambles from the Leach Fields and trimming back hedges, mainly on the Oak Tree path in the centre of the fields. This will prevent paths becoming obstructed when the winter rains and snow arrives.

One of the footbridges suffered a broken plank, and a handrail was broken on the South path when a branch fell. The replacement timber was ordered, and we managed to fit the replacements on 25th November.

We are attending a charity lunch next week, so for once there will be no work party in the woods.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Apologies for my absence

It has been some months since I was last on the Blog

Mainly there have been technical problems in getting into the blog, also there has been a great deal of fallout following Michael's death, and issues on the workfront for me, and Friday Grove for the Trust.

Regardless, we have been on site almost every week, clearing paths and clearing around the various plantations. We have paid special attention to the East path around Leach Fields, and have removed all the brambles from those paths. With the autumn upon us, we shall soon be inspecting the paths, and filling where needed.

Several fallen trees have been removed, and also those elders in the Jonas plantation, which were starting to shade the beech trees which were planted as part of Michael's last work.


Monday, February 26, 2007

In Memoriam - Michael Jonas

It is with deep regret to have to advise all our friends and visitors that Michael died on Friday 23rd February 2007.

Michael was the founder of and driving force behind Gobions Woodland Trust, and active in many other community organisations.

For further information see

We have planted a tree in his memory in near the North path, in an area where Michael was last active. In due course, we will erect a memorial to him. Details of the funeral will follow. The family have requested no flowers. Donations are requested to be sent to either Gobions Woodland Trust or the Isabel Hospice.

For Gobions Woodland Trust, please contact:-
June Redgrove,
Secretary of the Friends
59 Bluebridge Road
Brookmans Park

For the Isabel Hospice, please go to:- and follow the link to Donations (Donations in Lieu of Flowers)

Michael is sorely missed as a friend, colleague, mentor and leader.

Iain - on behalf of the Gobions Trustees and Workparty

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Gobions Workparty Sunday 18th February 2007

I was unable to attend today, but the workparty were busy planting some new trees in various locations, and starting the spring task of keeping the undergrowth down until the new trees can fend for themselves.

This work will continue for the next few weeks, unless something urgent comes up.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Storm Damage - January 2007

Following the high winds on 18th January 2007, we had a lot of clearing up to do, as several paths were blocked. The worst was on the South Path, near the Brazier Plantation.

These have now been cleared, with the exception of one large tree towards the Folly Arch at the South side of the wood. We have checked the rest of the wood for damage, but if you do see anything which needs clearing, or have anything you wish to bring to my attention, please contact me at


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gobions Workparty Sunday 14th January 2007

Happy New Year to you all.

Last time we were out (19th December) it was very soft and muddy, so we left well alone over Christmas. The lads were out last week doing general tidying up jobs, and this week we had four fallen trees to deal with. The largest is near the old brick bridge, and will have to remain for another weekend. We removed the other three and did some consolidation on the new gates installed on the Oak Tree path.

I realise that many of you may not be familiar with the locaions, so I will add a map here and where appropriate on future blogs.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

19 November 2006

A lovely frosty morning, with the sun just shining through and waking the wood.

Removed a fallen tree from the West boundary path, and cleared the rest of the path.

Carried on with the hedge trimming to the North of the Leach Fields. Two volunteers today - Claire and Clive. Thanks to their help, we got much further along the hedge than we would have done.

About two thirds completed. Onward next week.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

12 November 2006

We had a full complement this week, plus two additional volunteers.

It made all the difference, as we were able to (almost) complete the taming of the West half of the hedge to the North of the Leach Fields. The view is now excellent from the path, and specimen trees, mainly oak, have been left to enjoy life free from brambles and other competition.

We were also able to do a little more pathing work, until a puncture delayed that activity - to be continued next week.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Dog Walkers - An Appeal

We have noticed an increase in the number of blue bags containing dog excrement being thrown into the hedges. Excrement left on the ground is not very pleasant, but it will degrade naturally in time, but plastic will not.

There are dog waste bins at various entry points to the woods, and these are the proper recepticles for the bags.

If you see anyone not disposing of the bags in the appropriate place, could you please point out that bins are available, or contact the trustees on

Thank you


September-October 2006

It's been busy for the last few weeks.

Having taken advice from our butterfly experts, we decided to get a contractor in to cut all the Leach Fields and the surrounding areas. Regular cutting over the next two years will reduce ragwort and other weeds, and the butterflies will return and thrive provided we then only cut once a year.

We have been surprised that the hedges have grown so high over this very dry summer, so we have started to cut back the hedges on the North side of the Leach Fields, which will improve the views and make it easier for us to maintain the hedges in future.




Monday, September 25, 2006

September 2006

Another mixed month. We have been clearing paths and laying more roadstone to keep the paths dry and suitable for walking.

Our old hedge trimmer is rather heavy, and the volunteers are not getting any younger, so we have invested in a new trimmer. This one has the motor on a sling, and various attachments allow us to strim and chainsaw at heights of up to 2 metres. This has been put to good use and you can see the results in the paths being less overgrown.

There were also a couple of trees down on the path to the Little Rye Plantation, which we have cleared.

If you notice any trees down, or any work which needs doing, please let us know at ""



Sunday, August 20, 2006

July - August 2006

What a mixture of weathers! During the dry spell, we were out again watering and path clearing. Then down came the rain - very welcome, but we kept out of the woods as we could have caused damage with the dumper truck.

We have been reviewing and upgrading our tools, and attending to some much needed paperwork.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Maintenance

The last few weeks have seen us doing the usual summer jobs.

Watering was essential for the young trees in the Jubilee Walk in the North Leach Field, the new saplings and the trees planted recently on the North path. While doing this, we found that the cut-through acress the West Boundary path had suffered in the rains, and we had to put a couple of loads of roadstone down to stabilise it.

We are also doing our best to keep the hedgerows trim, both for your enjoyment and to thicken them out. Moving and trimming will contilnue over the next weeks.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pathing Continues

During the wet weather over most of the recent weeks , we have been concentrating on pathing - mainly down the track on the east side of the Leach Fields.

With the hotter weather over the last couple of weeks, everything has started growing like mad, and we have started mowing the paths, and will be hedge trimming in the next few weeks to keep all the paths accessible.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hedge Planting Continues - Sunday 9th April 2006

Three of us here today to continue the planting effort. We were quite pleased to have planted a further 80, bringing the total up to 200, with 800 more to go!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hedge Planting - Sunday 2nd April 2006

This Sunday we started planting the 1,000 young hedgerow plants (whips).

These were planted along the Hedgerow path, to the east of Leach Fields.

Six of us planted 120 over a 24 metre length. So only 880 to go !


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gobions Workparty Sunday 26th March 2006

Well, I've been away for a couple of weeks, and as it is Mothering Sunday, only a couple of us were available. So it was an ideal day to do those little jobs that get put to one side. One plaque had to be replaced near the Jubilee Trees, and three more plaques put up, two on one of the dog benches, and one on the Brazier Plantation.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Path laying - Sunday 5 March

The community hedge planting event turned into a path laying exercise, because the roots of the 1,000 hedge plants were frozen and could not be trodden in.

Instead, the team continued strengthening some of the paths (mentioned below).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gobions Workparty Sundays 12th to 26th Feb 2006

Path laying and sorting out our tools and shed has gone ahead for the last 3 weeks. The east side of the Leach Fields now has a decent surface for everyone to walk on!