Ground Survey of the Lower Field by GBG Geotechnics

Following the emergence of a depression or ‘hole’ not far from the centre of the Lower Field in late November 2019, Hertfordshire County Council commissioned a geophysical survey of the Field by GBG Geotechnics, Cambridge. A lengthy quite technical report on the survey was made available to FoBH and here we try to summarise its findings.

The hole was promptly surrounded by safety fencing and soon after by more fencing. The appearance of yet more fenced off areas last year led to some concern whether the whole field would be excluded to the public. We have no indication that this might be the case. Read more ›

Posted in Lower Field, Maintenance, Sinkholes

Fly Tipping Menace

There were two fly tipping incidents on the Heath during the past week. Both occurred off Spinney Lane near the junction of Townsend Drive and Waverley Road, see below. This happened overnight on Saturday morning, 14th November.

This mess appears to be the result of clearing land, perhaps a garden. The logs are from Leylandii tree(s) and are accompanied by a big pile of wood chippings from a chain saw. Chippings were scattered over several yards of Spinney Lane, suggesting that they were from a tipper truck or lorry. There is also wood from a fence or shed on the right.

If you know where it came from, or have seen suspicious activity, you can report it to the Council by following this link. Read more ›

Posted in Fly Tipping

Monthly Rainfall Record

You can’t fail to have noticed all the rain in October in the Bernards Heath area. It was particularly noticeable on Saturday, 3rd October when 32 mm was the highest over the UK since 1986.  We measured 41 mm on that day when the southeast of England got more rain than the rest of the country.

The total for the month was 199 mm, the most that we have recorded for a single month over the last 7 years. Take a look at our records here.


Barnards Heath is very slippery in places – take care.

Posted in Weather

Travellers back on the Heath

After an absence of about 14 months, yet another group of travellers has come back to the Heath, Upper Field. Some of them appear to be have been here before. In spite of efforts by the Friends of Bernards Heath to get the Council to put in measures to stop this, nothing has happened, with the result that the costs of clearing up are steadily mounting and local children are denied access to their local play area (centre photo).

14.8.20: Fortunately, these travellers have moved on after after very quick action by officers, threating bailiff removal.

Posted in Travellers

Second Depression on the Lower field

A second depression or pit, close to the hedge on the northern side of the Lower field has been apparent for some time. The small size of the pit is in contrast with the relatively large area of enclosed by a new fence – perhaps there is more to this than we know. At least this fence is green and blends in with the surroundings. Read more ›

Posted in Safety, Sinkholes

Woodpeckers on the Heath

Woodpecker with fledgling just behind parent.

Earlier this year, some visitors to the Heath will have heard a woodpecker and word of a nest soon got around in May. This bird chose to make use of a hole in an ash tree and if you look carefully at the photo you will see one of the young looking out. With a large powerful beak, it looks like a great spotted woodpecker.

Remarkably, it stayed in place when a very large branch fell off the tree, which has now been cut up. The young birds have now fledged.

Photo: Keith Morgan

Posted in Birds

Lockdown – Busy times on the Heath

The cherry blossom on the Heath and Sandridge Road Wastes is really beautiful this year – Photo: MN

We have now been in ‘Lockdown’ since March 23rd and since then the Heath has been very much busier than normal. Sunny weather has encouraged walkers, joggers and cyclists (often with children) to take advantage of what the Heath offers – it’s just like a weekend every day. The recently installed interpretation boards are also getting attention. The bluebells in Beech Bottom Dyke are also worth seeing, especially at the end near the railway.

While it’s good to see the Heath playing its part in providing a distraction from worries about Covid 19 and its consequences, it’s also apparent that there is less careless litter than might be expected for high summer. O’Conner the maintenance contractors have generally done a good job in clearing bins and cutting grass. Sadly, John O’Conner, the founder of the company, died in March partly as a consequence of Covid 19 infection.

Posted in Covid 19, Maintenance

Tree planting

 

 

 

While big trees have been tumbling, the Friends of Bernards Heath have been busy planting young ones (easy to spot because they are supported by stakes) which you may have seen last autumn. This flowering cherry tree was planted recently, not far from the play area.

Photo: MN

Posted in Trees

Can you help us?

Could you minute meetings and type them up? Perhaps, you also value the amenity value of the Heath, which is well used throughout the year and would like to help on a voluntary basis.
If so, The Friends of Bernards Heath, a group of volunteers, would welcome your help at four committee meetings and an AGM each year. Find out more about what we do here and if you are interested, please contact the link FoBH mail on the right.

Posted in AGM, Volunteers

Dates for your Diary

Posted in Action Days, AGM