Future Meetings and Previous Events

Details of future meetings, social events, outdoor visits, etc. of Friends of Charnwood Forest can be downloaded here.

Here is a checklist of issues to be resolved for indoor meetings.

Previous Events - 2017

Fragrant OrchidOn 7 June 30 members set off from Poultney Farm, Ulverscroft on a fine sunny morning. To help us identify the local flora we were accompanied by Uta Hamzaoui, conservation officer and botany expert from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. The first part of our walk was around Ulverscroft Pool, the source of the River Lin. The Pool was created by the Earl of Stamford as a fishing lake some 200 years ago by damming up the natural springs. The River Lin flows through Newtown Linford, Bradgate Park and into Cropston and Swithland Reservoirs, and is home to brown trout and even lamprey. Amongst the ancient wetlands surrounding the water are many rare species including Pale Sedge and Flea Sedge. We strolled towards the SSSI sites which include Herbert's Meadow, owned by LRWT. These neutral grasslands contain a rich biodiversity of wildflowers, including three species of orchid. We first saw the reddish pink Fragrant orchid (shown in the photo) and then the paler common spotted orchid followed by the Heath spotted orchid. It is interesting to think that these fields are exactly as they would have been seen in Medieval times. Other good indicators of old grasslands are Great Burnet, Greater Bird's -foot-trefoil and Devil's-bit Scabious. Our morning walk concluded with some light refreshments kindly provided by our host Kim Turner.

On April 24 we had an illustrated talk entitled "Living Wild in South America" by Michael and Paula Webster, local life-long conservationists and wildlife photographers; we saw many beautiful photographs, from the Toucan to the Hooded Grebe. They are now exploring the continent of South America, discovering why it is so high in biodiverssity, particularly birds. They described their adventures in search of wildlife in the deserts of Chile, the Andean mountains, the Patagonian steppes and the jungles of Peru; and their collaboration with local conservation organisations, universities and schools. We heard their wildlife stories and learned of their passion for protecting the unique biodiversity of South America. More information is on their website.

On 20 March Liz Robson, owner of Kingfisher"s Pool Vineyard , gave a talk and associated Wine Tasting. She gave an account of how she and her partner, Matthew, set up the vineyard, one of around 500 within England and Wales, and associated winery adjacent to North's delicatessen, and described some of the administrative hoops she had to negotiate. She explained that the overheads on each bottle of still wine amounted to ₤2.59 tax (excise duty+VAT on the duty), plus 65p for the bottle, cork and cap. The varieties grown were Orion, Solaris, Segerribe and Madeleine Angevine (white grapes), and Rondo, Regent and Pinot Noir Precose, also called Fruhburgunder (red grapes); these are varieties bred for cool climates and are typical of English wines although they will be unfamiar to those used to continental and new world wines.
We then tasted examples of her wines: the rosé "Battle Royal", the sparkling rosé "Spirit of Freedom" and the off-dry white "Fearless".

On 23 January Tony Jarram gave a talk entitled "Lace Makers and Luddites", covering nearly 500 years from the first stocking machines to recent times. He reviewed the various stages of machine development and the successes and failures.
Perhaps the most fascinating part was his account of the attack on Heathcote's mill in Loughborough on June 28th 1816. There was great resentment among the workers and machine breaking was widespread. They were called "Luddites" after a character called Ned Ludd (who may or may not have been an actual person). About 200 rioters attacked the factory in Mill Street, Loughborough (now Market Street) with hammers and crowbars, destroying all the machinery.
Heathcote, who lived on Leicester Road, Loughborough, was not hurt and may have taken refuge in a "secret" passage beneath the house. It is still there! The event spelled the end of lacemaking in Loughborough; it moved to Nottingham and to Calais in France. Heathcote and his partner Boden (ancestor of the well known clothing company of today) set up a new factory at Tiverton in Devon, where they prospered. Many of his former workers transferred, some of them walking the 200 miles to the new mill.
However, a lot of details are still unknown. Was there a Ned Ludd in Anstey? How many rioters were hung?

Previous Events - 2016

On Tuesday November 15 we held our Annual Dinner at the Grey Lady.

On October 24 we had a talk by Roger Hailwood, a guide for the National Arboretum. At Alrewas, where he lives, he is regarded as the village historian and he has published several books.
The National Memorial Arboretum is UK's year-round centre of remembrance and is home to more than three hundred memorials nestling amongst lush and maturing woodland, including the iconic Armed Forces Memorial which was dedicated in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen; both military and civilian associations are represented alongside tributes for individuals.
Roger's talk about the National Arboretum was copiously illustrated by slides and covered its foundation and development

on September 19th we had a talk by Celia Sanger, a volunteer at Calke Abbey. Calke Abbey was the home of the Harper-Crewe family for several hundred years, but in 1985 the burden of such a great estate became too much and it was acquired by the National Trust which was faced with neglect on a grand scale. Nothing had ever been thrown away which was both a problem and an enormous resource. Celia's illustrations showed us the good times as well as the bad times and how the National Trust had brought house and gardens back to life.
The old formal gardens, requiring enormous maintenance and many gardeners, are gone forever but in their place is a beautiful estate which we can all enjoy. The deer park, with many red deer, flourishes and the lime avenue, planted in 1846, is as fine as ever.

Members at Bradgate House ruinsOn Wednesday 20 July, Roger West, a Bradgate Park volunteer historian led a group of 30 members of the FOCF on a guided tour of Bradgate House, the Tudor mansion in the middle of Bradgate Park and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, the famous "Queen for nine days".
The house was started in 1495 as the Medieval Period transitioned to the Tudor. So castles were out, unfortified Manor Houses were the new fashion, although Roger suggested that we should think of Bradgate House as a Grand Hunting Lodge. Hence the return to the use of bricks, in this instance, made locally within the Park. Significantly there was no Grand Entrance (therefore not a Manor House), but Bradgate did adopt the new status symbol of tall chimneys that could be seen, hopefully, from miles around.
We viewed the ruins and the Chapel (try to find the carved head of James 1), and the leat, or channel, that was dug to bring water from the River Lin to the stockpool, and subsequently to overflow and power the water mill. We discovered that the Tiltyard is not capable of fulfilling its name being too short, so perhaps it was just a practice area.
.It would be remiss not to mention the shy herd of hefted fallow deer that only live within the confines of the House and grounds.

Robert and Janie Martin cutting the Anniversary CakeOn Sunday 26 June we celebrated 30 years of the Friends with a Hog Roast at the Brand, kindly hosted by Robert and Janie Martin. The photograph shows our hosts cutting the cake with a ceremonial sword.

On June 8, 30 members had a guided tour, led by Neil Pilcher of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (LRWT),through Herbert's Meadow, a site of about 8 acres, and several nearby sites, all owned by LRWT or the National Trust. Herbert's Meadow is managed on a five year cycle, with grazing and this year a hay crop; it was ablaze with wild flowers, including Common Spotted, Bee and Fragrant Orchids. Neil showed us various grasses and other plants and explained the cattle’s choice of their favourite foods, which required careful control.

On Monday 25 April, a near capacity audience, including 60 members and 31 guests, heard retired geologist David Bridge give a talk entitled "Fracking: our new neighbour". David has much experience in the oil and gas industry; he has spent many years with the British Geological Survey. He gave a dispassionate and independent view of the facts behind underground hydraulic fracturing in oil shale ("fracking"), which while it will not happen in Charnwood Forest (the geology is wrong), may happen nearby (there is actually an oil well at Long Clawson between Melton Mowbray and Nottingham). It was clear from his talk that there is an ever increasing requirement for gas in the UK and a diminishing reliability of supply into the future; on the other hand, his detailed explanation of the process of fracking to obtain a new supply of gas left few in doubt that the process was an expensive, messy and dirty business with many threats of pollution and disturbance, all for perhaps a 40 year supply. Much remains to be established. The discussion afterwards was enlivened by a group of protesters whose noisy interruptions were capably countered by our officers and our speaker. They had not come to listen to the factual explanations but to make their own points.

On Monday March 14 Matt Beamish, Project Officer for University of Leicester Archaeological Services, gave a talk on recent archaeaological investigations in Bradgate Park. He spoke about manipulating and interpreting LIDAR aerial data for archaeological purposes, and how it was helping to determine the mediaeval history of the park. He also spoke about the exciting discovery of a late paleolithic stone-age site, containing many flint tools from the end of the ice-age. This site, above Little Matlock Gorge, is of international importance.

On Monday 18 January Michael Jeeves gave a fascinating talk, copiously illustrated by colour photographs, tracing the Forest from its volcanic origins 600 million years ago to the present day. He showed how the landscape had developed, particularly in the last 6,000 years. He dealt with the growth of population, from the first hunter-gatherers, through the development of farming and the Enclosures at the end of the 18th century.
He was particularly interested in the vast range of wildlife, from wolves and aurochs to the wild animals and birds of today. He had many beautiful pictures of flowers and trees within the Forest today.

Previous Events - 2015

On 12 November we held our Annual Dinner at the Grey Lady.

On 19 October Dave Taylor gave a talk entitled "The Greys and the Hastings - Families at War". He discussed the contribution these two Leicestershire families - the Greys of Groby based in Bradgate Park, and the Hastings with castles at Kirby Muxloe and Ashby de la Zouche - had made to the Wars af the Roses and the Civil War, and the intrigues of Tudor times. Here is his presentation.
Throughout much of history the rivalry between the Grey and Hastings families has been a feature of the history of the East Midlands. Dave traced this through the coming to prominence of both families towards the end of the late Middle Ages through Tudor Times, the English Civil War, the Restoration and beyond. He started with the link with the Ferrers family which brought the Greys to prominence and the relationship between the ill fated Lord Hastings and King Richard lll, and went on to chart the wavering fortunes of the two families, from the prominence of the Hastings 'puritan' Earl of Huntingdon under Elizabeth l, through the resurgence of Grey fortunes under James l and the taking of opposite sides during the Civil War, until both families faded into relative obscurity.

On 21 September Tom Ingall gave a talk on the Great Central Railway. Tom Ingall grew up in Leicestershire and now works for the B.B.C. in Yorkshire. He has been a volunteer at the Great Central Railway for 25 years. He told us that the Great Central Railway opened in 1899, the last main line built in Britain. It was developed from earlier lines, notably the Midland, Sheffield & Lincolnshire (MS&L) irreverently known as Money Sunk and Lost! Between Leicester and Loughborough the GCR passes close to Charnwood Forest and encounters a landscape of particular beauty, including Bradgate, Swithland Reservoir and the tree covered south-eastern part of Charnwood. Although currently the Great Central is in two sections, north and south of Loughborough, Tom told us about the project to link them (the reunification project).

On June 10 Neil Pilcher, Senior Conservation Officer, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust led a walk around Charnwood Lodge National Nature Reserve.
The area covered by the reserve was originally part of Charnwood Forest wastes and the now familiar stone walls were erected during the enclosure period of the 19th Century. Among the most striking features are the prominent 600 million year old Precambrian rock outcrops which protrude through the surrounding marl. These outcrops include the famous "Bomb" rocks which attract attention from geologists nationwide and have led to the reserve being declared a National Nature Reserve.
The reserve extends to 200 hectares (480 acres) and most of it is an SSSI. The large tracts of heath grassland are dotted with small areas of bilberry, while marshes and boggy pools harbour a wide variety of species, some of them true relics of the ancient Charnwood landscape such as bog pimpernel, marsh violet, lesser skullcap, creeping willow and climbing corydalis. It is the only site in Leicestershire for petty-whin; there are also some orchids. An area known as The Rough is a good location for ground nesting birds, such as meadow pipet, linnet, reed bunting and skylark. Charnwood Lodge remains one of the last truly wild areas of the Forest.

On April 27, Dr Mark Baldwin gave a talk on "Bletchley Park, Beaumanor and Enigma". Most of his talk was about the enigma machine used by the Germans to encoode messages in the second world war, and the British success in decoding these messages done at Bletchley Park (although the important preliminary work had been done by Poland before the War startd). However, Beaumanor Hall near Woodhouse had an important role: it was a listening station, where the radio messages (in morse code) were picked up and transcribed before they were sent to Bletchley Park for decoding.
125 people came to this meeting!

On March 16, Richard Knox gave a talk on "The search for the Battle of Bosworth Field and the Finding of King Richard III".
Following years of academic debate as to the actual location of Bosworth Battlefield, where Richard III lost his crown and his life on 22nd August 1485, in 2005 Leicestershire County Council embarked on an ambitious landscape survey to try and rediscover this famous lost Battlefield; right at the end of the five year survey, musket balls were discovered and further finds meant that the location of the battlefield had been indisputably identified, about 2 miles away from the Bosworth Battlefield centre.
Then, two years later, the world's media picked up on the rediscovery of Richard III's grave at the Greyfriars site in Leicester by Leicester University archaeologists and the grisly secrets it revealed. Richard discusssed the results of the osteology report which give such vivid clues to Richard's final moments and the DNA analysis which confirmed his identification.

On 19 January Ernest Miller gave a talk on Ernest Gimson and Stoneywell.

Previous Events - 2014

On 27 October Keith Ovenden of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Record Office, gave a talk on "Old Maps of Charnwood".
He initially gave us an overview of the extent of their records stored on six miles of shelving: they have so much historical material that they are looking for larger premises.
The earliest maps were quite primitive and did not show many roads, or tracks, as roads as a means of transport were undeveloped and not considered important. It was a different story when turnpikes and road tolls were introduced!!

On September 22 the booked speaker, Brian Axon was indisposed, but Doug Maas nobly stepped into the breach to give a talk on well-known children's author and spy, Arthur Ransome.

Martin's WoodOn 9 July 33 members visited Martin's and Felicity's Wood on Dean's lane to the north of Beacon Hill. They were guided by Eric Porter of the Woodland Trust, shown addressing the group in the photograph, aided by Tim Adkins, a ranger from Charnwood.
In 1993 the Society, through its members and their friends, raised £12000 towards the purchase of two fields, a total of 12 acres to the south of Dean's Lane. This purchase was in conjunction with the Woodlands Trust and The National Forest, and was to become Martin's Wood. On Saturday 5th March 1994 there was a symbolic planting of the first 50 saplings. The subsequent planting was restricted to small areas to preserve the views of Charnwood Forest and the Trent Valley. Later that year on the 3rd August we unveiled the plaque commemorating Sir Andrew Martin.
Felicity's Wood was purchased by The Woodlands Trust and was planted out in 1997. It comprises 22 acres on the north side of Dean's Lane and is exactly opposite Martin's Wood. The top of the meadow is unplanted and managed as a meadow but then the land falls steeply away to a small stream known as Wood Brook. The new woods are mainly oak, ash, birch and field maple with willow nearer the stream. There is an outcrop of local forest stone known as Hornstone. There are many interesting plants and wildlife in both woods.

On June 18 and July 2 members made visits to Stoneywell, the cottage in Ulverscroft owned by the Gimson family who were pioneers of the "Arts and Crafts" movement, and now owned by the National Trust. The visits not only gave FOCF members a chance to visit this property before it was officially open, it also gave NT management the cance for a couple of "dry runs" to investigate how best to handle visitors.

Chanwood Canal walkOn 14 May, 34 members met with Mike Handford of the Chanwood Forest Canal Trust to visit part of the old canal at Thringstone. We saw part of the old canal bed where it passes through Grace Dieu Woods, and a further piece a few hundred yards to the east where it crossed what is now the A512. This event was twinned with the one on 14 April when Brian Williams gave a talk on The History and Future of the Charnwood Forest Canal.

On March 14 Lynn Richards gave a talk entitled "The Future of the National Forest".

On January 13 Dr. Geoff Mason, retired lecturer at Loughborough University, member of the Leicestershire Access Forum and author of the (out of print) definitive guide to rock climbing in Leicestershire, "Leicestershire Climbs", gave a talk entitled "The Future of Leicestershire's Quarries".
The granite quarries of Mountsorrel, Bardon and Whitwick are all of national importance as a source of supply to much of southern Britain with crushed aggregate. Nevertheless quarrying, including the extension of existing quarries, can be quite controversial, so we were delighted when Geoff looked at the background and future of the Leicestershire quarries.
Geoff has a keen interest in Charnwood quarries and shared with us his thoughts and findings. His main thrust was that Leicestershire's disused quarries had a significant leisure potential, but without public pressure the owners would adopt the minimum work solution which was to surround them with a security fence and forget about them, allowing them to fill with water over a period of centuries.
Click here to see Geoff's slides.

Previous Events - 2013

On Wednesday 13th November there was a wonderful atmosphere at our 12th Annual Dinner held at The Grey Lady. 64 members and their guests enjoyed some superb food and wine making it the best dinner that we can remember. Our President Janie Martin said a simple grace composed by a member of her family, and after the meal our Chairman, Dick Howard, welcomed everyone and thanked the staff at The Grey Lady for giving us such good food and service. He mentioned some of the recent notable events including congratulations to Janie Martin on being made a Deputy Lieutenant to Lady Gretton (Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire), the acquisition by the National Trust of Stoneywell, the start of a Friends of Charnwood Forest Newsletter by Doug Maas, and the creation of the Charnwood Forest Regional Park.
Thanks were also expressed to Louise Gibson, Membership Secretary, who organised the Dinner.
During the meal a collection was made for the Philippines Disaster. A total of £285 was donated and was sent the next day to DEC, Philippines Disaster Typhoon Appeal, the combined charities appeal.

On October 21 Peter and Eileen Crichton gave an illustrated talk describing the final section of their amazing expeditions in their 1992 Land Rover Discovery.
During the first two stages of their expedition, the subject of two previous talks to FOCF in Jan 2011 and Sep 2012, they travelled from the most northerly point on the planet which they could reach with their 4x4 at 72 degrees North in Norway to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
They described their passage through the wilder parts of Patagonia before reaching Tierra del Fuego and finally probing the desolate landscapes near Cape Horn where they reached their most southerly point destination. They then continued up South America's western Pacific Coast through the Andes before crossing Northern Argentina's Pampas to reach Uruguay.

On September 23 Tim Adkin, Access to Nature Officer for Charnwood Borough Council, shared his lifetime experiences. Tim was born in Ulverscroft, but grew up in Anstey. He spent his formative years in fields full of skylarks, butterflies and wild flowers exploring the less public areas of Charnwood Forest. His concerns for how the countryside was deteriorating, and his early involvement at Ulverscroft Nature Reserve, led him into a conservation career spanning thirty years helping communities all over the world manage their natural resources. He has returned to his roots in Charnwood Forest and now works as one of the Wildlife rangers.
Tim described the massive changes which have occured in the Charnwood landscape over his lifetime, giving a personal view of the differences that he saw.

Members with antlers in deer sanctuary On 19 June 28 members and friends joined in a walk through Bradgate Park Deer Sanctuary led by a Park Ranger, Roger West. This restricted area is kept free of the public and dogs to enable the deer to raise their young. Fallow Deer were in the middle of their breeding season so we had to be careful and not stray off the tracks into the bracken. Most of the party had never been in the restricted part of the Park which was refreshingly peaceful and gave wonderful views across the Park from new perspectives. The photograph shows members examining a fallow deer skull and antlers.

On Monday April 22, 2013, Michael Webster gave a talk entitled "Charnwood's Hidden Valleys". This talk was originally scheduled for 21 January, and was postponed due to the snowy weather.

On 18 March Peter Tyldesley, the new land agent of Bradgate Park, gave a talk entitled "From the Brecon Beacons to Bradgate: the Role of Parks in Re-connecting People and Nature". Bradgate Park is a famous gem of rural Leicestershire situated within Charnwood Forest extending to some 830 acres. It is an historic former Medieval Deer Park and was first enclosed as a hunting park over 750 years ago. For many centuries it formed part of the Leicestershire estates of the Grey family and the Earls of Stamford. Even today, much of the Park looks as it must have done in the Middle Ages. In 1928, the late Mr.Charles Bennion purchased Bradgate Park from Mrs.Grey and presented it in trust.

In 1931 Swithland Wood was donated by the Rotary Club of Leicester and the whole Estate now totals 1,263 acres. The Park is now managed by the Bradgate Park Trust. The Trust's charitable objects are:

  • the provision of a public park and recreation ground and the maintenance and improvement thereof for the benefit of the inhabitants of the County of Leicestershire and of visitors thereto with the object of improving the conditions of life for such persons and
  • to advance the education of the public in the care and appreciation of the environment

. Here is a copy of the slides from Peter's talk.

Previous Events - 2012

On November 7 the annual "Meet the Members" Dinner was held in Newtown Linford.

On October 22 Professor Tony Marmont was, at first, somewhat of 'a voice in the wilderness' with respect to renewable energy. He installed his first windturbine in 1968 and, despite protests, the turbine is still whirling away. This was followed by numerous energy saving measures undertaken at his home at Deans Lane, so that he is now virtually 100 per cent self sufficient, even selling electricity back to the Grid. The world's energy demands will soon outstrip the earth's energy supply. Tony predicts that this will be in about five years time and this is backed up by a Shell Annual Report. Already in the UK, North Sea oil is running out and gas supplies are severely reduced, so much so that we now rely on importing gas from Russia. Nuclear power has been 'kicked into the long grass', wave power seems a long way off and wind turbines bring out the protestors. Also, all of these projects appear to cost many billions of pounds which, as a country, we do not seem to have now. Tony has a vision which is shared by a band of like - minded colleagues. There are alternative sources of renewable energy which can be pursued, and they do not need to cost the earth. Here is a copy of the slides used by Tony (may take some time to download).

On 24 September Peter and Eileen Crichton gave a talk accompanied by a slide show entitled "Latitudes". In August 2011, Rabia, their 1992 Land Rover Discovery, was shipped to Columbia from where the adventure would commence. This talk described the first part of the journey. At the heart of the plan was the crossing of the Amazon basin after travelling through Columbia and Venezuela. Records of vehicle crossings of the complete Amazon Basin are rare and documented attempts often failed. They then continued south, through the remote corners of eastern Bolivia and then back into Brazil where they hoped to see something of South America's hidden gems. Finally, the route included the Atlantic coast down to Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Orchids at Lea Meadows On 20 June we visited Lea Meadows, a LRWT nature reserve in the Lyn valley near Ulverscroft. Those who attended Ernest Miller's talk in 2011 could identify a couple of the landscape features he discussed; other could revel in the beautiful flora of this unimproved grassland. The photograph shows some of the orchids on the site. We are grateful to Neil Pilcher for hosting the visit. More photos, courtesy of Michael Webster, are available here.

ON 16 May we visited John and Liz Kettle's 50 acre estate off Sharpely Hill. They are deveoping the estate to be sympathetic to local landscape and wildlife, and we saw this in action with tree planting (with the support of the National Forest and Forestry Commission) and the establishment of traditional parkland and wildflower meadows.

On 19 March Father Joseph gave a talk on Mount St. Bernard's Abbey.

On 23 January Peter Liddle, Leicestershire County Archaeologist, gave a talk on the recent "Time Team" excavations at Groby Old Hall. Here are the slides which Peter used (warning: this is a large file and will take some time to download).

Previous Events - 2011

On 23 November we had our annual "Meet the Members" dinner at the Village Restaurant, Newtown Linford.

On 17 October our planned speaker, Colin Green (due to talk about the "Reservoirs of Charnwood") was unable to attend, and we were very lucky that local naturalist Michael Webster was able to step into the breach at short notice. Michael entertained us with a talk entitled "Wild Charnwood", consisting of a slide show of his wildlife photographs taken throughout the year. His slides were accompanied by an erudite and entertaining commentary on the natural history of Charnwood Forest.

On 19 September, Ernest Miller gave a talk entitled "The Lin, a River through time". Ernest Miller, a noted local historian, archaeologist and lecturer who for over 40 years has investigated, excavated and recorded many local sites brought into the spotlight the River Lin. So little was previously known about this 17km river which flows through the heart of the Charnwood Forest that even Wikipedia does not record it as a river of Leicestershire. Ernest explores the river's path, some would say a brook, which rises at Ulverscroft in the uplands of Charnwood Forest and follows a U-shaped course before emptying into the River Soar at Quorn. He showed how the river has been harnessed over the last thousand years to provide water for three villages, serve six water mills, five moated sites, three water meadows and a Tudor mansion, including feeding lakes, reservoirs, fish ponds and a watercress bed.

We had hoped to be able to host Ernest's presentation here, but copyright issues prevented it. However, further details are available in "The Lin: A River through time" by Ernest Miller and Anthony Squires, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society, Vol 83 (2009) (the paper does not currently seem to be available on the Internet, but that might change in the future).

On 22 June we had a guided tour to Cossington Meadows, one of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust's nature reserves.

On 11 May we had a guided tour of the gardens of The Brand.

On 21 March, after the 2011 AGM, Leanda de Lisle gave a talk on Lady Jane Grey and her sisters.

On Tuesday 25 January Peter and Eileen Crichton gave a talk on a trip through Norway, "Coasting South". This was a last-minute change to the programme after the intended speaker had to cancel.

Previous Events - 2010

On 17 November we held a "Meet the Members" dinner at the Village Restaurant, Newtown Linford.

On 18 October we had a talk by Terry Sheppard on "Church Planting and Beam Bending"

On 20 September we had a talk by Graham Jackson, on Leicestershire's Garden Plants.

On 23 June we had a Guided Walk of Sence Valley Forest Park

Sence Valley Forest Park Between 1982 and 1996 the Sence Valley Forest Park formed part of a large opencast mining area coverings some 460 acres. Once extraction was completed, one of the largest reclamation projects in the County was undertaken culminating in the finished Park that we visited. It covers some 150 acres and is now well established.

It forms part of the National Forest and is managed by the Forestry Commission. lt is also an integral part of a wild life corridor that stretches from Heather to Swannington taking in Kelham Heath and Snibston. The circular walk took us through significant areas of mixed plantings and around large stretches of water which are part of a complex which includes 3 lakes, a pond and a wetland scrape with the River Sence running through the middle. Apart from being a haven for birds and wildlife generally, we saw mixed waterfowl including swans, mallards, tufted ducks, Canada geese, Great Crested Grebes and common terns. There is also a sand martin wall and a hide.

Our host was Bas Forgham (on the left of the photo), volunteer. Bas was Secretary to the L.R.W.T for 13 years and on its Council for 26 years. He has been involved with the Park since its beginning.