Autumn 2023 Newsletter

Chairman’s report
Chris Bellamy

The Wish List
Maurice Austin

Essex NT Properties

The Wish List
Maurice Austin

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A smiling young woman shaking a pink piggy bank

I imagine that even the most contented amongst us will have a Wish List containing things that will make life just that bit better, easier, or more pleasant. Things you can’t just get around to due to shortage of cash or time. Well, National Trust property managers are just the same! Budgets and staffing levels will rarely be sufficient to do everything desirable.

This is where we and other Supporters Groups (SG) come in. Property Managers and their colleagues can submit bids, usually annually, for additional funds to provide those “little extras” that would enhance the visitor experience, allow volunteers to be more productive or generally just make things better.

Those who were able to attend the recent AGM will have seen that our Supporter Group had donated £9,155 to several local properties for a variety of projects, listed below.

  1. Rayleigh Mount steps: £600
  2. Danbury dormouse boxes: £400
  3. Danbury camera: £200
  4. Flatford rabbit fence: £1,920
  5. Hatfield picnic benches: £2,625
  6. Hatfield Draper tool kit: £150
  7. Hatfield general kit: £250
  8. Hatfield rigging kit: 360
  9. Garage Barn fencing: £1,000
  10. Hatfield sheep fencing: £1,650

We have since donated a further £950 to Hatfield Forest to purchase sheep-shearing equipment (in earlier years we helped purchase Selina the sheep dog!) to help keep these magnificent scrub clearance creatures in good order.

7 June 2023

Good Afternoon Maurice & Jackie,

I hope this email finds you both well, and hopefully making the most of the sunshine.

First of all I just wanted to let you know that we are almost at the stage when our new sheep paddock is completely fenced, funded by the Chelmsford NT SG, and ready to welcome its new lodgers! All of our new picnic benches are being utilised by our visitors in the recent glorious weather and our newly purchased tree rigging equipment is coming in very handy whilst carrying out essential tree maintenance to Ash trees that have unfortunately succumbed to Ash Dieback disease over the past year. All of this would not be possible without the support and generosity of the supporter group and I’d like to say a huge heartfelt thank you, it really makes a big difference and I’ll look to get some photos over to you in the coming weeks.

At the recent AGM, Maurice was kind enough to present the opportunity for further funding, should there be a suitable project within the year ahead. After consulting my team, our resident shepherd Ian, flagged that some new sheep shearing equipment would be extremely valuable for our operation, the cost of which matched Maurice’s offer of circa £950. As we enter June, we are at the stage where our flock are due a trim and I wanted to check in to confirm whether your kind offer still stood. If so, we would be looking to make a purchase in the next week or so as the temperatures are creeping up and our sheep are starting to feel the heat!

Once again, thank you and I hope to see you soon,

16 June 2023

Everyone on 2 legs and 4 legs are extremely appreciative! Thank you very much both.

James Rowland
Property Operations Manager
National Trust, Hatfield Forest - Estate Office, Takeley, Bishops Stortford, CM22 6NE

Our grants are given unconditionally although we do ask for an acknowledgement and occasional update so we can let you know where your generous contributions are being used. A sample of emails from the staff are in this article.

Just a reminder, we do not receive any grants from the NT, we must pay our own way. Our income comes from your local subscription, surplus from coach trips, holidays, and winter lectures as well as fund-raising events at the Cathedral, book sales and raffles.

So, thank you for your generosity; long may it continue!

19 May 2023

Ian Pease is really grateful for the donation for the fencing of the sheep field leased from Thames Water. Work has started on the fence which will go round the field and divide it into two paddocks.

David Simmonds


31st August 2023

The fencing is now completed with sheep grazing in the paddock who are eating grass and thistle leaves amongst the other vegetation in the paddock.

Paul Chaplin


23 January 2023


Thank you very much to Chelmsford & District National Trust Supporters Group for their very kind donation towards more Dormouse boxes and the thermal camera to aid in ecological surveying at Danbury and for the timber to replace the steps going up to the motte at Rayleigh Mount.

I am currently awaiting a quote for the fence repairs at Flatford. I will let you know what that figure is as soon as I find out. I will chase them today.

I will send you a follow up letter and photos of the new kit once it comes in.


Dave Piper
Countryside Manager
Essex and Suffolk Countryside

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