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

Can you spot these Plants on the Heath?

1 Red Dead-nettle – crimson-purple flowers, square stem and pungent smell. Thanks to MB for pointing out that this is not Field Woundwort.

2 Green Alkanet – a member of the forget-me-not family with blue flowers. It is common in damp shady areas.

3 White Dead-nettle – has leaves that look like a common nettle with white flowers, but they do not sting

Posted in Flowers, Plants

Spring Action Day

More than 20 people, including these young helpers, turned up for our Action Day on 24th March – maybe it had something to do with the weather which was great.  Lots of other bags were placed around the Heath for collection too.  Thank you everyone who took part. Read more ›

Posted in Action Days, Beech Bottom Dyke, Litter, Maintenance

First Snow of Winter

About 2 cm of snow fell over the night 22/23 January and rapidly disappeared. The last substantial fall of snow was in December 2017.

The weather was good enough to see the first phase of the ‘blood red moon’ over the Heath late afternoon on the 20th January. If you were up at 5 am on the 21st, you may have seen a more intense blood red colour.

Photo: MN

Posted in Weather

Muntjac Deer Found Dead on the Heath

A Muntjac Deer was found dead by the side of Harpenden Road opposite the entrance to the old Fire Station.  Both sides of the road are wooded near this area and probably provide cover for these animals., although one has been spotted running at speed along Waverley Road.

They are 10 – 18 Kg in weight and can do considerable damage in a collision with a car, particularly in this area where speeding is commonplace. Being avid browsers they can also cause a lot of damage in gardens and to trees.

If you spot one we would love to have a photo.


Posted in Accidents, Photos, Safety

Autumn Action Day

Posted in Action Days, Litter, Maintenance

Autumn Fungi

Photo: RM

Posted in Autumn