Ash Trees feel the strain

This large ash tree recently came down partially blocking this path to the WW2 water tank, which can just be seen in the background.  The tree broke off near the top of the roots, see inset image. Fortunately, it did not fall towards the tank, which is still threatened by a large sycamore only inches away.  The Council has agreed to deal with the ash tree. Read more ›

Posted in Trees

Lets Play at Bernards Heath website launch


Let’s Play at Bernards Heath is a new fund-raising charity, formed to make a lasting change to the existing tired playground on Bernards Heath. For more information see the website.  You can support the charity by going to the website and in other ways too.

This really nice logo for the charity was designed by a child at Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School. Read more ›

Posted in Play area, Promotional

Repair of Vandalised Bench

This bench, which faces Heath Farm Lane, was badly damaged by an attempt to burn it. Now RM, with help from some pupils at Sandringham School, has done an excellent job of repairing it. The wood is English oak, which is very expensive – it fact it would cost several hundred pounds to make a bench like this, not counting labour.

Unfortunately, there have recently been other incidents of senseless vandalism. Attempts to burn other benches and rubbish bins as well as spray painting – it only spoils the Heath for the majority of users.

Posted in Vandalism

Thanks for cleanup of WW2 water tank


WW2 water tank and its interior (inset)

Readers may remember that this historic WW2 water tank on the Heath was in a real mess with all sorts of litter, wood and leaves. We made a big effort to clean it out in 2016 and 2017, but inevitably it started to fill again. Now, we are very pleased that someone has cleaned it out as shown in the inset picture. Thank you very much that person.

By the way, the depression inside the tank on the left has been the subject of some speculation – maybe it was designed to extract the last of the water which would otherwise be distributed over a larger area and difficult to pump out.

Posted in Action Days, Litter, Maintenance

Return of the Travellers

Travellers on the Upper Field June 3, 2019

A group of Travellers appeared on the Upper Field on Friday, 31st May.

Travellers do not enjoy a good reputation in our area since they converted the old Fire Station site into a big fly tipping site in June 2017 and August 2017.   It then cost the Council tens of thousands of pounds to clear it.

There were over 20 mostly immaculate caravans on the Heath on June 3rd.  Sadly, the occupants didn’t see fit to keep the field in a similar state, for the litter and human waste left behind was dreadful. The travellers failed to vacate the field by 11.59 pm on the 3rd, but did so did the next morning.  Fortunately, the Council arranged immediate litter clearance. Read more ›

Posted in Vandalism

Digging at Beech Bottom Dyke

The result of digging in Beech Bottom Dyke

Not the work of badgers, but holes clearly showing spade marks have appeared in the bank about half way along Beech Bottom Dyke. This earthwork was made to form a rifle butt, or safe bank behind shooting targets, about 160 years ago. The digging may well be the work of someone with a metal detector looking for old bullets or other metal objects.

Since the Dyke is a scheduled is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), where digging or other modifications without authorisation are against the law, anyone caught doing this would face prosecution.  Any suspicious activity in this area should be reported to SADC.


Posted in Beech Bottom Dyke, Vandalism

Joint Friends Summer Event

St Saviour’s Church Hall 2.00pm SUNDAY 28 JULY 2019

What links this saint with this house?
All be explained on the walk.

2019 is the 1,350th anniversary of the arrival of St Theodore of Tarsus in Canterbury. This led, via his work setting out the parish boundaries in England, to his stained glass portrait being installed in the east aisle of St Saviour’s church and an excuse for a summer event.

After the successes of the Beech Bottom Dyke Heritage Open Day event in 2018 and the walk on the eastern part of the parish boundary in 2017, the Friends of Bernards Heath and the Friends of St Saviour’s are collaborating to put on a free summer 2019 event to celebrate St Theodore and walk parts of the parish’s western boundary – some of which are St Theodore’s work still. We will also hope to see what is happening in this part of the parish in terms of County and District Council plans.

Read more ›

Posted in Beech Bottom Dyke, History, Townsend Drive, Walks

What is a Parhelion?

Parhelion, photographed on Bernards Heath, 29 December 2016.
This was the site of the Second Battle of St Albans 1461.

A parhelion or sun dog is an optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun caused by the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere.  There is often a halo as well.  In this case there is just one sun dog and no halo.

Peter Burley, local historian, writes: Its historical interest is that a parhelion appeared on another Wars of the Roses battlefield in January 1461 at Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire. The Earl of March – the Yorkist commander and future Edward IV – seized the initiative and told his troops that it was a sign from heaven that they would win the battle. They did and the Yorkists adopted a symbol of three suns in splendour for their banners – and this won them a second battle at Barnet (1471) when the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford’s banner of stars was mistaken for the Yorkist suns and the Lancastrian army started fighting itself.

Posted in History, Photos

A different kind of litter

Our Action Day litter-picks on the Heath turn up discarded items of all
descriptions, many of which are waste which would be classed as fly-tipping.
This spring a large, bent, steel tube pole, with attached concrete, was found in the
undergrowth at the side of Harpenden Road, opposite Heath Farm Lane.

The pole is identical to those of the Green Ring crossing and signs nearby which,
not long after it was installed, was moved a short distance along the road. FoBH,
putting two and two together, concludes that in the process the pole was damaged
and the evidence ‘swept under the carpet’.

The Council has been informed.

Posted in Litter, Lost

Theft and Vandalism

Climbing handholds


Friends of Bernards Heath tries to protect, preserve and enhance the Heath for the benefit of the neighbourhood as a whole, but sometimes it seems that thoughtlessness and downright theft are conspiring against us.

Anyone who has walked along the bottom of Beech Bottom Dyke will be aware that it can be difficult to get over the bank that blocks the Dyke about half way along its length. This is doubly so when conditions are wet.

To try to make this easier, one of our members has designed a system of hand holds attached to a stainless steel wire (see photo). It was securely attached to a tree at the top and provided an easy way to get up the bank.

It was however, not long before the wire was stolen. The wire could not be removed without tools and it is clear that someone must have come fully prepared to take it away.

This is very annoying, considering that much time and effort was put into this to help public access. A rope for the same purpose was also stolen.

If you have any information about this theft, please contact the chairman via FoBH mail (right sidebar).

Thanks to RM

Read more ›

Posted in Beech Bottom Dyke, Theft, Vandalism