In the past few weeks, Pondhead Conservation Trust has taken some major steps forward.
Firstly, we have passed the “public interest” test of the Charities Commission and are now a registered charity. Our Trustees are Dr. Manuel Hinge (Chairman – ecologist & freelance wildlife cameraman), Derek Tippetts (Treasurer – retired banker and volunteer ranger), Sally Billington (Secretary – administrator at Forestry Commission), Suzie Moore (educationalist at New Forest Centre) and Nick Dowling (self employed forester). Hopefully, we bring a good mix of skills and disciplines to the project and we will be very ably supported by our resident Coppice Manager, Dave Dibden.
In the last week we have finally agreed the terms of our 10 year license with the Forestry Commission to manage the hazel coppice and understory timber in Pondhead Inclosure (200 acres). The FC will still be responsible for the larger trees. Now this is in place, it has unlocked our funding and our first purchase will be the Charcoal Retort which has been ordered and should be delivered late October/ early November. Whilst the timing is not ideal we aim to have a couple of trial burns before the year end and film a promotional video at the same time.
We aim to start our work parties next month and initially are proposing regular weekly conservation events on a Thursday – we will email you when these are on the website. Our volunteer base is only small at this stage but we expect this to grow as we start actively promoting ourselves. This means that at present you are a member of a very exclusive club! To help us out in the short term there will also be four Thursday events with the Two Trees Conservation Team, some of which are already on their website.