Sunny weather on Sunday 23 April may have helped us, for about a dozen people turned out to remove litter (see inset) and clear growth around the top of the Dyke. The bluebells made it a picture and their smell was wonderful, especially at the eastern end of the Dyke, near the railway. Only native bluebells smell so strongly. Well done everyone who helped.
At the end of January Bernards Heath lost Peter Butcher, almost certainly its oldest resident. Ninety two years old, he had lived all his life in Upper Culver Road, bar military service at the end of WW II. At one time Butchers were to be found at several addresses in the streets to the east of the Heath. Their occupational speciality was well-sinking. After leaving the army Peter briefly tried the family business, then shoe-making, the Ariston suet factory on the Heath, finally settling for aircraft at de Havillands, Hatfield, for the rest of his working life. Read more ›
Bluebells have appeared on the Heath early this year and there are two general types – native and Spanish, but can you tell the difference? The picture (above left} shows the Spanish type which is more prolific with upright stems, no scent and bell-shaped flowers with open tips.
The native type on the right have a droop at the top, a sweet perfume and narrow bell-shaped flowers with rolled back tips.
Left – nest on trunk, Right – cluster of moths
We reported on the Oak Processionary Moth last year, which can defoliate trees, especially oak. As far as we know, none have been seen on the Heath and the nearest outbreak was in Watford. Contact with these moths should be avoided because they have irritating spines which can cause an allergic reaction. They are likely to emerge in early April.
For a fuller account of this moth, see the Forestry Commission update.
This heavy branch (top photo) )was left across the track from Townsend Drive to the Ancient Briton as the result of Storm Doris. Our chainsaw was faulty, so we were reduced to muscle power and bow saws (inset). As a result this precariously perched branch was moved out of the way. A fallen tree in Harpenden Road caused traffic to be diverted to Townsend Drive/Waverley Road on Saturday afternoon.
Left to right: William Naylor of Buttle’s Building Supplies, with Peter Cook and Rod Keat, Friends of Bernards Heath
Bernards Heath is a unique, widely used public space in St Albans. Close to the centre of town, it provides attractive open spaces and woodland of historic interest, quite unlike parks in the city.
Unfortunately, its very nature lends itself to to unsightly fly tipping. Recently, it has happened in nearby Soothouse Spring, next to Beech Bottom Dyke, an impressive ancient earthwork, which the Friends of Bernards Heath has opened up and tried to keep litter free. Fortunately, two local businesses, Buttle’s Building Supplies and A1 Tools and Fixings, have jointly supported the installation of a substantial fence alongside the Dyke to deter follow-up incidents. The area is now covered by surveillance cameras. Read more ›
Until now it’s been almost impossible to find a parking space in Townsend Drive, Palfrey Close or Waverley Road because of all day parking. Bernards Heath is on the right-hand side of the photo.
The introduction this week of a controlled parking zone (see inset) has had a dramatic effect. In the afternoons when parking is unrestricted, there are usually spaces.
The Lower Heath, with dark track showing the remains of the temporary access road (February 2017).
We were very grateful to everyone who contacted the press and their local Councillors when we got the shock news, only a week ahead of the Cabinet Panel meeting on 9 December, that Hertfordshire County Council (“HCC”) was going back on its previous decision in 2014 to support discussions with the District Council to transfer the Lower Heath to them. Read more ›
A walk around the parish of St Saviour’s, Sandpit Lane conducted by local historian Peter Burley.
Meet at the hall, 25 Sandpit Lane at 2.00 pm
on Sunday 19th February.
The walk will be followed by tea and a talk in the hall at 3.30 pm. You are welcome to arrive in time for the talk.
It will not cover the whole boundary, that would be too ambitious, but the eastern third of the parish going from the church via the Wick and back again along Marshal’s Drive.
This is a valedictory event for Father Peter at St Saviour’s and all are welcome.
Download a poster here (pdf)
Work on the removal of hundreds of tons of sand and hardcore which made up the road across the Lower Field has been going ahead this week and it looks as if it will be completed next week beginning 30th January. Material is being transported to the old fire station yard before removal from the site. Read more ›