The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common Ludlow will be held on Thursday, July 27th 2023. It will be in the James II Room at the Feathers Hotel, Ludlow, at 7.30pm. There are a number of important items to be discussed so all members will be warmly welcomed.
The volunteer group which cares for Ludlow’s Whitcliffe Common has issued an urgent plea for new younger blood to help run it.
The 9 remaining Trustees of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common are the “past and the present of Whitcliffe but not the long term future,” said Chair Daphne Jones.
“That may seem a bit harsh to describe ourselves in that way but the truth is we have to be realistic. For FOWC to continue to survive into the future we urgently need new – and younger – blood to join our ranks,” she said.
Most of the present group have been involved in the care of the common for well over 30 years. Those years have seen – first under the chairmanship of the late Alan Poulton, then John Barnard and now Mrs Jones – Whitcliffe transformed from an overgrown “wasteland” smothered in bracken and bramble with deteriorating paths.
It now truly is the jewel of Ludlow, well maintained and a great asset for townspeople and visitors. Though the common is held on lease by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, it is the Friends – and their loyal band of members -who have raised the money to make the transformation possible.
FOWC has also had the support of a magnificent band of volunteers led by Trustee Rick Summers who have provided the muscle and sweat for maintenance and restoration work.
Mrs Jones said, “It is this combination which has made it all possible – and we desperately want it to continue into the future. For that we believe it needs a vibrant local group to continue to support FOWC. And that is what we are trying to do by making this plea.
“The old Commoners Association members did their very best but always lacked the resources that we have managed to put together.”
She acknowledged that the current rising living cost problems and the lack of people able to take early retirement has had an effect on the availability of new volunteers.
“But it is volunteers who make things possible in towns like Ludlow. Many think it is “The Council” which looks after Whitcliffe. But it is not – it is volunteers.
“We, the present Trustees and our volunteers, have worked so hard for so long because of our love for Whitcliffe. There are so many people who live locally who use the common regularly. There must be some who will come forward to take FOWC into the future.
“So please, if you feel you can help by joining us as Trustees – and volunteer workers – please contact me on email@example.com or telephone 01584 874773.
Work planned for Whitcliffe by Friends of Whitcliffe Common
A programme of important improvement and restoration work is planned to start on Ludlow’s Whitcliffe Common in September.
The areas involved are the bottom of the Donkey Steps, the Breadwalk and the car park. The cost is expected to be over £3000.
The work was due to be carried out some time ago but had to be put on hold because of restrictions imposed during the Covid pandemic – and the difficulty in finding someone to do the work needed.
Everything was now in place, said Friends of Whitcliffe Common Chair Daphne Jones. A contractor who does a lot of work for Shropshire Council had been appointed.
“It was decided to start the work in September so that it lessened the impact and inconvenience for people who use Whitcliffe, both local and visitors,” said Mrs Jones.
Heavy rainfall over the past couple of years have added to the damage done by water to the walkway and existing path at the bottom of the Donkey Steps. This has added to the amount of work which needs to be done to keep the area useable and safe for walkers.
The existing boardwalk construction will be replaced with a full length raised stone path with drainage underneath. This will be the most expensive part of the work programme.
At the car park the repair programme will see the approach road surface levelled out using a digger and then topped out with a load of stone.
All members are invited to the The Feathers Hotel, James 11 Suite
Thursday, August 4th, 7.30pm.
Planting one of 20 native trees registered with the Queens Green Canopy being planted end of March 2022.
The storms of the Winter have left the carers of Ludlow’s favourite beauty spot – Whitcliffe Common – with plenty to do.
The band of volunteers who work free of charge for the Trustees of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common have been out regularly working to clear the damage caused through the winter.
Much of the usual maintenance work has had to be shelved while they have worked hard to clear paths of fallen trees, stacking logs and brash as neatly as they can.
Volunteer co-ordinator Rick Summers said, “There is an amazing amount of wood when a big tree falls down. Some were so big that they were beyond the capabilities of the volunteers. So we have had to use qualified help from staff of Shropshire Wildlife Trust (who hold the lease on the common and work hand in hand with FOWC) and also outside contractors who have the necessary equipment such as winches.”
Mr Summers said there were 15 large trees which fell and blocked a number of paths. Numerous others fell in not so public areas and were checked that they were safe and then left to form habitat while they rot down.
Despite the amount of volunteers work running into hundreds of hours there is still a lot to be done. SWT has already identified a number of trees which will need work and it is also keeping a watchful eye on the amount of Ash die back which will eventually lead to the need to fell a considerable number of trees as a matter of safety.
On the good news side FOWC’s programme of tree planting has continued and includes English Oak, Sessile Oak, Silver Birch, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Wild Cherry and Dog Wood.
Limited permitted clearance will be carried out but the focus now, with nesting season restricting what can be done, will see the volunteers switch to normal maintenance including strimming around seats and keeping paths clear of brambles and nettles.
Whitcliffe suffered badly from this storm. Around 20 trees of various sizes were brought down, including large Oak, Beech and Larch. Blocked paths were cleared in time for Christmas by SWT and volunteers. Much remains to be dealt with by proffesional tree surgeons.
Wrekin Forest volunteers recently visited Whitcliffe on the lookout for unusual insects and they were well rewarded with David Williams getting this picture of a scarlet tiger moth while Jim Almond photographed a white plume moth and a white letter hairstreak.
The work party has been out again reinstating the stone which guides rainwater off the paths and helps stop them wearing out.