Latest News

Gaddesden Estate News February 2021

Dacorum Local Plan Consultation
You may already be aware, but Dacorum Borough Council are consulting on their Local Plan, which includes proposed development of 5,550 houses on Green Belt land to the North of Hemel Hempstead, around Dodds Lane and Cupid Green Lane.   Much of this land sits within the Parish and is immediately adjacent to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Whatever your views on this, it is important that as many voices as possible are heard, so that the consultation process can reveal a true picture of local feeling on the proposals.  We will be submitting a response, and we hope that you will too.  Further details can be found in the dedicated section of this magazine and through Great Gaddesden Parish Council. 
January is a relatively quiet time on the Home Farm. As usual it is an opportunity for maintenance of machinery and buildings, as it is both too early and much too wet to get on the land. One task that comes around at this time of year is the annual inspection for the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme. This as you would expect involves a considerable amount or record keeping, paperwork and computer spreadsheets, in addition to a thorough inspection and checking out of the grain stores.

The End of the Common Agricultural Policy

Now that the UK has left the European Union the whole basis of farm support is changing.  Under the CAP, farmers received an annual payment based on the amount of land they farmed, not owned, subject to various conditions.  Without this payment many of the farms in the country would have become unviable without a big rise in commodity prices and consequently prices in the shops. Basic Payment Scheme “BPS” is now being phased out over the next few years to be replaced by “ELMS”, the Environmental Land Management Scheme. This scheme will pay farmers for, as Michael Gove said, “Public Money for Public Goods”. This is still being trialled and when it is clearer, I hope to be able to explain it. Among other things which are likely to be covered are soil health, public access, organic production, carbon capture and climate change mitigation.
The planned felling in High Park Wood was completed last summer. When the ground is dryer, probably after May, we will be bringing on a machine to mulch the remaining stumps and the “lop and top”, in order to prepare suitable conditions for replanting with native tree and understory species.

We hope also to clear the diseased Ash trees in New Gorse and do a light thinning in Marsh Wood, as well as harvesting some mature Oak, planted about 1830, in Big Wood.

We may well be harvesting and replanting some more Cricket Bat Willows on the Water End Meadows.

Golden Lodge
We are delighted that work on refurbishing the Golden Lodge is virtually complete. This has involved a comprehensive “top to toe” operation, starting with the roof replacement, re-wiring, re-plumbing, insulation and internal and external redecoration. The property went on the market for letting in mid-January, so by the time you read this may well be occupied.
Following an article in the “The Times” on the Saturday after Christmas a very large number of people came to take their exercise on our local footpaths, often inadequately clad for walking in the country. It was cheering to see so many people enjoying the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside during this time of lockdown. However, such large numbers resulted in the paths becoming very muddy and spread to a considerable width across the pasture fields.  The path through Marsh Wood, which has a hard surface, has been reduced to yards of mud in places.
Gaddesden Ride
Like everyone we are really hoping that the spring brings with it some form of normality and an ability to meet and do the things that we enjoy together.  With this in mind we have booked in Park and Ride events on 9th May, 4th July, 8th August and 12th September.  It seems a long way off in these dark days, but roll on some sunshine and a Wagyu burger from Marbled Meats!