The AGM took place on Wednesday 5th April 2006 at 8.00 pm in the Clubroom at Lord Pirbright's Hall
2005 has been a rather quieter year for the Association with only minimal activity on the site together with the usual round of maintenance and general enhancement. Even our annual Summer BBQ had to be cancelled at the last minute because of wet weather, the first occasion that we haven't managed to enjoy glorious sunshine. Hopefully the sun will shine on us again this summer! During the year, we welcomed another class from Gosden House School. Gosden House provides for children with severe learning and behavioural difficulties and the Wildlife Area is the perfect secure place for a day out in the country with the pond providing almost limitless entertainment especially with the pond-dipping equipment. We have also been very glad to welcome groups of Merrist Wood students back to the site as part of their studies. They were particularly useful in a tree-thinning exercise adjoining the spinal path in the Wildflower Meadow. One notable visitor last spring was Woking's MP, Humfrey Malins. He was very impressed with all that he saw and especially appreciative of all the voluntary and community effort which has enabled the site to be developed.
ON THE SITE
Following the major work of last year in the woodland area, there has been some further clearance and tidying. The meandering path is an excellent new addition, and with the extra aggregate topping laid during the year, is settling in very well. Following advice not to plant until it is possible to assess the quality and type of groundcover which occurs naturally, we will be reviewing this in the summer. The number and type of birds in the woodland area will be of particular interest now that the trees have been thinned. We were encouraged by the very positive feedback from the 'Living Spaces' assessor who came to inspect the work we had done with the grant money. It was a very thorough visit followed by completion of a detailed questionnaire and we passed with flying colours! During the year, there have continued to be various access issues arising in relation to the green path to the rear and side of Pirbright Cottages involving the Land Registry, Guildford Borough Council and now the Rights of Way Dept at Surrey County Council. At the time of writing my report, these have yet to be resolved but Mike Nevins, with his County Council hat, is actively pursuing a satisfactory resolution. He has warned that this may take some time...! Last year, I reported the theft of the fox from the sign at the front of the site. Observant local residents will have noticed that a new fox has now reappeared courtesy of Gary Mountjoy's skills. The Association continues to be very grateful to the small but faithful band of volunteers who have kept the green path network mown and the site tidy and safe. A very welcome addition was the hard work of James Oliver in removing some of the invasive plant species in the Wild Area as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. We are also v grateful to Pirbright Parish Council who included the Wildflower Meadow in their Paths and Greens contract again - an invaluable contribution.
OFF THE SITE
The most exciting piece of news from the Wildlife Area is the production of a full colour leaflet to promote the Wildlife Area. With pump priming sponsorship from Surrey County Council, we were very fortunate indeed to receive a generous offer from Guildford College to set up and print the leaflet - a true example of the positive partnerships which the Association aims to foster. It is a superb piece of design work using photographs by a professional photographer and we have printed 5000 as the leaflet content is intended to be as timeless as possible utilising the website for all current information and contacts for site visits. Our initial circulation has been to local libraries, local primary schools and the Guildford Tourist Information Centre as well as to residents around Fox Corner and the Parish Shop. It will be included in the welcome pack for all new Pirbright residents. Designing the leaflet has also prompted us to update our logo which we have now incorporated into our headed notepaper. The old logo has served us well but we felt the need to modernise our image just a little... On the membership front, there are 185 members including 35 U16s. Once again, almost every member has indicated a willingness to donate either time or money, the great proportion of which is gift-aided and adds a further 28% through reclaim from the Inland Revenue. More detail on this later from Doreen Tonkin. On the publicity front, the Association continues to run its own website which is now being updated on a regular basis thanks to the skills of Carolyn and Chris Guest. We are now able to put up current photographs and news on a regular basis. In particular, Nigel Emmerson's photographs bring the site to life as the seasons change. It is, of course, an indispensable partner to our new leaflet and continues to give a good impression to potential funders.
WORK/PROJECTS FOR 2006
As always, I would like to finish by thanking the hard-working Management Committee and all of you who have contributed by helping with maintenance jobs around the site. As always, new volunteers are always welcome!