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Picture of Conservation Area

Downham Parish Conservation Group

Working for and with the Parish Council

Date of next meeting

7:30 Wednesday 24th October, Speaker from the National Trust.

At the Book Cafe. All Welcome.

Meeting minutes for 18th November 2018

Click here for an
enlarged map of the
conservation area


The walks leaflet for the conservation area is available here.
Click on the image to download the full size version.


Downham Parish Conservation Volunteers have been established since 1995 and have completed many projects including renewing from ground up, (grand designs?) a Cartshed which now houses old fenland agricultural equipment. Other projects include Hedge planting (some 600metres) keeping local footpaths open, pond works (for great crested newts – thanks Theresa),and establishing a Community Orchard.

All this needs management and to help, our group has been funded by Grassroots Grants which is managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

A grant of £2845 will enable the volunteers to better manage the Parish grounds (Local Nature Reserve and Community Orchard), also spread the word with presentations to other interested groups and Parishes, as well as recruiting more volunteers because we could not have achieved all this without our Community support.

Thanks to Grassroots on 01223 410535 or


Did you know that we have a tree warden?

Read here for more details


Downham Parish Conservation Group May 2015

Having lived in the village since 1990 and being involved, with my family, in the planting out of Pingle Wood in 1995, it is with pleasure that I now find myself compiling the latest news from the Conservation Volunteers. Jean has produced some memorable articles over the past few years and will be hard to replace. The great thing about being a volunteer is that there are so many diverse roles within the group, so a new challenge is just around the corner, should you want one. We are always keen to grow our group and the more people we have the more we can contribute to this community project.

As a dog walker with Cocker Spaniels, I generally visit the conservation area, an ‘official’ Nature Reserve, on a daily basis. However, due to the cost of veterinary fees when they remove grass seeds from my dog’s ears, I tend to avoid the area from June to August! But for now, I am enjoying the cycle of nature as we head towards Summer and now that the snowdrops are losing their flowers, note the emergence of other wild flowers such as Lesser Celandine, Primroses, Cowslips and Wild Violets. Over the years we have planted seeds and seedlings in many areas and it is good to see the fruit of that work.

Other sightings of note include at least two Barn Owls patrolling the area (we have, it seems, quite a number in the village at present) and one report of a Tawny Owl nesting in a box in the meadow close to the Holt’s Spinney. I would love to compile a record of all fauna and flora within the reserve and if anyone makes an interesting sighting I would be glad to hear of it.

I have received reports from Keith that ‘Ely Wildlife’ have visited the reserve to survey for newts and they report excellent results, with many males and pregnant females as well as smooth newts present. This is another ongoing work project to ensure that we have a vibrant, diverse eco-culture and doesn’t happen by chance.

Jean has reported on the Easter Egg hunt held on Easter Sunday afternoon:-
“This year the Conservation Volunteers re-instated their annual ‘Great Easter Egg Hunt’ that used to be held regularly until recent years. The hunt was held in Pingle Wood and The Community Orchard and, though cloudy, the weather was good. There was a big turnout of youngsters aged from 3 to 11 years old, in 3 different age categories, who had come to see if they could collect the most cardboard eggs in their age group and therefore win the main, or the runner up prize. In the oldest group Emily Flack won, with Ronnie Darvill second. In the middle age group Emma Spencer won with Ellie Young as runner up, and in the under 5s group Thomas Hazelhurst won with Theo second. All of the entrants were awarded a crème egg as a reward for taking part.
Thanks to all of the volunteers who spread wood chippings over the muddy pathways to prepare the area, hide the eggs, plan the event and keep the records - and last but not least, the young people and Mums and Dads who turned out to join in the fun.”

My final comment this month is to give a brief report on the AGM held in March. The guest speaker, our very own Colin Spencer, (a Maritime Engineering Surveyor) gave us a really interesting illustrated talk about his travels throughout the world, full of facts, figures and amazing pictures of some of the massive ships he has worked on (you see, we are not at all ‘nerdy’!) . We had one guest visitor, Chris Pearson, who offered the services of the Lions workforce for a day. The Lions perform works for various causes and we are fortunate in being offered help. The plan is to bring a number of willing helpers – of all ages – to assist in projects which otherwise we may find difficult or time consuming. One idea put forward was a day to help clear the overgrown path at the south end of Pingle Wood. Depending on numbers there may be other jobs which could be completed and we look forward to their contribution.

Finally, regarding the AGM, the following were ‘elected’ to fulfil various roles:-

  • Chairman: Mike England
  • Secretary: Jean Gallyer
  • Treasurer: Muriel Norton
  • Works Manager: Steve Jones
  • Log Book and Grant Applications: Jean Gallyer
  • Parish Magazine: Tony Payne
  • Public Relations: Keith Norton
  • Social: Penny Chase
  • Tree Warden: Neil Hobbs

For further information: Tony Payne


The group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every other month starting in January at the Book Café in the Village Hall at 7.30pm. Most meetings last till about 9.00pm and new members of all ages are always welcomed. or e-mail our Parish Clerk on