Autumn Action Day – Clearance work at Beech Bottom Dyke


Despite heavy rain on the morning of Sunday 16th October, an intrepid group of volunteers were able to clear large areas of brambles adjacent to the path on the southern side of the Dyke.  This clearance work not only makes the the path more accessible, but gives clear views to the bottom of the Dyke. It may also provide more ventilation to the Dyke and reduce its boggy nature at certain points. Read more ›

Posted in Action Days, Beech Bottom Dyke

One year has elapsed since Fontmell Close sinkhole event


Location of sinkhole in Fontmell Close.

The news of a sinkhole in Fontmell Close, which appeared dramatically in the early hours of the 1st October 2015, rapidly hit the national media. Not only were residents stranded in Fontmell Close and Bridle Close, but the event prompted a long sequence of investigations on the adjacent Bernards Heath and the construction of a relief road across the Lower Field.

The 12m hole has been partially filled with concrete and most services restored. You can read a press release by the Herts County Council, who hope to have the road through Fontmell Close open again by Christmas.

There is no news yet about the removal of the temporary road across the Lower Field.

There are more links to the sinkhole in our document archive.

Posted in Ariston site, Fontmell, Play area

Thunderstorm over Bernards Heath area


A thunderstorm on the 16th September over Bernards Heath broke the long spell of relatively dry weather in July, August and September, when local gardens and the Heath were looking parched.  We’ve only been measuring rainfall and temperature over the last 2½ years, but this was a record.  You can find our data here.

Posted in Weather

Cyclamen – an unexpected delight


These hardy, but small, cyclamen flowers usually appear in autumn and winter and were found in a shady spot on the western side of the Heath.

Posted in Photos



Damage to bench and ‘tags’ inset right. Do you recognise them?

This oak bench by the Green Ring path, installed by the Friends of Bernards Heath in 2005, was seriously fire damaged overnight on the 30/31 August.  A pile of burnt paper/cardboard was left by the path and the bench was smouldering in the morning (see below).   Buckets of water put out the source of fire. Read more ›

Posted in Vandalism

Exploratory drilling at the play area

The Heath has been subjected to drilling work in several areas as a follow up to ‘anomalies’ found in the ground that might be related to the subsidence in the Fontmell/Bridle close area.  Work now continues by the children’s play area which is temporarily closed.

Update: Work completed

Photo: DP

Posted in Ariston site, Fontmell

Japanese knotweed on the Heath


Japanese knotweed, showing its characteristic zig-zag branch structure

There have been several outbreaks of the not unattractive, but very invasive plant Japanese knotweed on the Heath, mostly near the old Fire Station and behind the Judo Club. It is a major problem in that it grows very rapidly and can cause serious damage, especially to underground structures. A garden outbreak can easily be a reason to refuse a mortgage application.
Read more ›

Posted in Maintenance

Watch out for caterpillars on oak trees


Development of an OPM nest on the trunk of an oak tree

As you will probably know, there are a lot of oak trees on the Heath and these could be affected by the oak processionary moth (OPM) following an outbreak in Watford. Read more ›

Posted in Trees

Beech Bottom Dyke Action Day 2


Thanks Harry for all that rubbish you and others collected. Unfortunately, the chain saw on the right gave up the ghost in the effort.

After determined efforts, Friends of Bernards Heath has now opened up the Dyke so that it is possible to walk along the bottom from the entrance near the Ancient Briton junction to the railway embankment, a distance of about one mile.  Read more ›

Posted in Action Days, Beech Bottom Dyke, Litter

Berry good jam


David Pearce giving  young people a taste of hedgerow jelly (or jam) at Bernards Heath Infants School on Global Families Day.  Read more ›

Posted in Promotion

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