As usual for most members, the year began with the Spring Lecture in mid-March given by Brian Smith on the garden at Grey Walls, Silverdale, which was designed by the distinguished North-west designer Thomas Mawson. This was an interesting insight into the life of someone who deserves more public acknowledgement of his achievements and influence on garden design.
For some of our members the year is always full of activity and here we are referring to the indefatigable band of volunteers who tend the Trust Land Reserves. They look after our woodland activities at Teddy Heights and give attention to the grassland sites at Coldwell Parrock and Coldwell Meadow, not to forget work at Guard Hill. Without these members, this element of the Trust would fall short of the standard we require for our land and we are most grateful for their efforts.
Early in the year, we entered into discussions with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to help with the acquisition of (how many acres in total?) of land at Warton Mires. We agreed to provide £70,000 and acquired 8.75 acres. We also completed a Maintenance Agreement tying our land into the overall Management of the area.
Then we were approached to see if the Trust was interested in buying two fields, that we had not been able to purchase 5 years ago, that linked our existing Coldwell Reserves. A purchase price was agreed, both transactions were completed at the end of May, and this new reserve will be the focus of much activity in the coming year.
During April and May, the Trust provided several walking opportunities in the area for our more physically active members. We are grateful to the guides who give up their time to provide these activities.
In June we held a difficult Annual General Meeting and the Trustees were grateful to receive overwhelming support from the membership. We were able to welcome back to the Committee Bob Pickup (after a short absence), Roger Cartwright (after a much longer absence) and Steve Benner as a new Trustee. After the business meeting, Peter Standing spoke about ‘Walking in Arnside & Silverdale’ – taking in the Himalayas on the way. He took the opportunity to publicly announce that, due to ill health, he would be retiring as Events Organiser following the November Lecture. The Trust is indebted to him for an ever-increasing annual Events Programme over the years which has been admired by many inside and outside the AONB.
June is also the time for the Arnside/Silverdale Arts and Crafts Trail. As usual we put on a display at the Arnside Cemetery Chapel, this year entitled ‘Gait Barrows – Pavement Art meets Science’
Our Reserves Committee put on two events in July and August to show off the floral diversity of our Coldwell Reserves and hay-making at Teddy Heights.
September brought the final ‘Meet the Villages’ event. This was based at Burton-in-Kendal (slightly contentious!) and included the geology and natural history of the Hutton Roof area. Although on the ‘wrong’ side of the A6, and therefore outside the AONB, many people think that not including this area in the original designation of the AONB was a serious error. From reports we have received this festival was well received.
We look forward to our November lecture meeting when, after the traditional Jacob’s Join buffet, we will be addressed by photographer Laurie Cox on ‘The Magic of Light’.
At the beginning of 2018 we welcomed Ruth Ainsworth as Editor of the Trust journal ‘Keer to Kent’. At the time of writing her third issue is being printed. ‘Keer to Kent’ is issued three times a year, usually at the end of February, June and October. Whilst retaining the usual quality and variety of articles, it will also become a major source of Trust information as we consider our responsibilities towards communicating with our members.
On the matter of communication, we are excited to have our own web pages – as you have obviously already discovered!