Maintaining the Clump (Mark Strutt letter to parish council)

 

Clearing out some files I came across this 2013 letter from our original land agent Mark Strutt, drafted for the parish council mag. I’ve no idea whether it was ever published, so let’s put it here. It’s good explanation of what we’re working our way through at the Clump.

The owners of Roundhill Farm have been concerned for some time as to the well being of the Roundhill Wood, ‘The Tump” which, as you all know, forms a very prominent local landmark.

Over the years, the wood has been declining and is in danger of disappearing completely unless it is managed to allow natural regeneration and new trees and shrubs are planted.  It has also suffered from a degree of abuse and vandalism in the form of fires set against the trunks of trees and litter scattered across the site.

The owners are now undertaking a programme of regenerative management to ensure the future of the “Tump” for the enjoyment of the local communities and the many visitors to the “Tump”.

This will consist in the first instance of some site clearance to remove dead decaying and dangerous trees and the old barbed wire fencing.  New under-planting with shrubs and  native hardwoods will take place along with the encouragement of natural regeneration.  In order to protect the new planting, and to allow the natural regeneration to get established, it will be necessary to exclude deer and sheep, and to protect the new planting with spiral guards against rabbit damage.

To this end, a temporary deer fence will be erected and remain in place until the new trees are sufficiently established so as not to be vulnerable to deer predation.  Once that is achieved, the deer fence will be removed, leaving a traditional parkland iron railing fence in place to exclude sheep and cattle.

At the same time, the owners propose to enter into a new Permissive Path Agreement with Bath and North East Somerset Council, the existing one being time expired, to maintain the thee existing permissive paths, (two off the Cotswold Way  and one  off Cullimore’s Lane (aka “Fred’s Lane”). There will be some realignment of the South East Path off the Cotswold Way to align it with the existing hedge.  Plans will be submitted to BANES shortly and they will be copied to the Parish Council / amenity groups for comment before the new agreement is signed off.

Roundhill is mainly grazed by sheep.  There have recently been a number of incidents concerning loose dogs and sheep.  It must be understood that if these incidents continue, the owners will have little option but to consider closure of the permissive paths when sheep are present on the Roundhill unless dog owners keep their dogs under control, which  means on a lead.  This closure would be an unfortunate step to take and will cause disappointment to many visitors, so we urge all to help and to ask dog owners who do not abide by the Countryside Code to do so.

Litter has been and is a continuing problem. It is unpleasant for visitors and a danger to livestock.  Whilst many observe the rule to remove litter, some do not.  Please encourage anyone seen dropping litter to remove it.

Looking after the Roundhill is a task that  falls to all who visit it as well as the Owners.  We would like to hear from anyone who would like to become actively involved on a “warden / volunteer” basis to help look after this important and prominent feature.

Mark Strutt had to retire on health grounds soon after. We much miss his expertise and crisp, military manner.

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