18th February 2008 – Rescue Mission for Orchids and Wildlife

An area of about 1 hectare, which was once chalk grassland, began to return to its former glory this week. Over the past 30 years or so this site, which used to be covered with wild flowers and herbs, had become neglected and overgrown making it uninviting for nesting birds and wildlife. Kent Wildlife Trust advised that the area needed ...

30th March 2008 Official Opening of Renovated Paths

Over 100 people attended the official path opening ceremony, conducted by Nigel Wheeler, High Sheriff of Kent, Cllr Paul Carter, Leader of KCC and Cllr Denise Joy, Deputy Mayor of Maidstone. This was followed by lunch at Arran Bank Farm. BWAG also received good coverage of the event on ITV Meridian News. Following the event, the High Sheriff of Kent granted ...

1st April 2008 – BWAG AGM

The BWAG AGM was held on 1 April 08 and 21 members attended. Neil Coombs, the guest speaker from Kent Wildlife Trust, spoke about the history of the woods from medieval times onwards. The new constitution was formally adopted and BWAG will now proceed with its application to become a registered charity. Our current status is as an Advisory Committee ...

20th April 2008 – KRAG – Guided Walk

The Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG) held a survey day on 20 April. Despite the not too friendly weather about 25 members of KRAG & BWAG recorded a number of sightings including, adders, lizards and slow worms. The walk was led by Kevin Johnson and Dr. Rick Hodges of KRAG. A full report can be viewed at www.kentarg.org/content/view/53/45/

25th April 2008 – German TV – Filming Day at Bredhurst

ARD, a German TV company visited Bredhurst Woods on 25 April and spent the morning filming BWAG volunteers at work. The programme was screened in Germany on 5 May. Click here to view footage - all in German though! - Please email postmaster@vanessajones.plus.com if anyone has a translation………

26th April 2008 – Bluebells and Cream Tea

BWAG led a Bluebell Walk through Bredhurst Woods on 26 April. This was attended by approximately 40 members and their guests. The walk was followed by a cream tea at Arran Bank Farm, by kind permission of Pam and Dennis Newman. The event raised almost £200.

4th May 2008 – Spring Bird Walk

A spring bird walk was held on 4 May, led by Owen Sweeney of the Kent Ornithological Society (KOS). Owen, who has now led many walks for BWAG, gave an interesting tour of the woods pointing out birds, plants and other wildlife. It was very well attended and members requested that a Dawn Chorus walk be arranged - details coming ...

7th June 2008 – BWAG Visits the Valley Conservation Society – Tovil

BWAG Members visited the Loose Valley Conservation Area for a very interesting tour, led by Bryn Cornwall, Chairman of The Valley Conservation Society; a conservation group similar to BWAG. The Valley Conservation Society exists to "Protect and enhance the valleys of South Maidstone for the benefit of residents, wildlife and visitors." Founded in July 2000, the Society was formed initially ...

29th June 2008 – Butterflies of Bredhurst

We had an excellent turn out for this informative guided walk, led by Fred O’Hare, whose in depth knowledge of wildlife and nature made the afternoon very enjoyable. Unfortunately, we did not encounter many Butterflies, but we all learnt a tremendous amount about plants and other wildlife in the area. To view a list complied by Fred O’Hare and Issy ...

4th September 2008 – Kent Village of the Year (Environmental Action Category)

Thanks to the hard work of BWAG, Bredhurst has scooped another award. Competition judges said that the work of BWAG was of national significance in terms of environmental achievements and was the best environmental project they had ever encountered. BWAG representatives attended the awards ceremony and were presented with a cheque for £250.00. This will go towards the path restoration ...

12th October 2008 – Fungi Foray

This event attracted over 40 people, including many children. The walk was led by Tricia Moxley, author and Natural History lecturer. Almost 300 species of fungi have been recorded in Bredhurst Woods over the years, which experts consider to be higher than average for the area.

11th November 2008 – Sheep Help to Restore Woodland

Today saw the arrival of 12 Wiltshire Horn sheep, on loan to BWAG from Kent Wildlife Trust. They will be with us for a 3 week trial period to graze an area of land which we are trying to restore to chalk grassland. The sheep will keep the scrub encroachment to a minimum and allow the site to rejuvenate and ...

4th December 2008 – Carols at Green Court

The annual BWAG carol concert was again very well supported. As bad weather was forecast, the Cantium Choir performed in St Peters Church and guests returned to Green Court for Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and the raffle. Thanks to Rev. Graham Lewis for his support and to Jane & Stephen Page for the use of Green Court. Over 200 people ...

22nd December 2008 – BWAG Awarded £4000

We are pleased to announce that BWAG has been awarded £4000 by Kent Community Foundation, Grassroots Grants towards the cost of materials for further path restoration. Together with £3000 secured on our behalf by the Mid Kent Downs Project and funding raised from various BWAG events, path restoration can now proceed in the New Year. We are grateful to the ...

17th February 2009 – Bats on the Downs

BWAG members attended ‘Bats on the Downs’ a presentation given by the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership at Bredhurst Village Hall. MVCP gave details of forthcoming survey work and announced that Bredhurst is to be one of 13 site chosen across the region where detailed surveys will take place. There will plenty of opportunities for BWAG members to get involved. Details ...

5th April 2009 – Scrub Clearance Volunteer Day

The scrub clearance area saw many BWAG members turn up to help with further hand clearance of some of the smaller items of vegetation. This work is necessary to restore the area back to chalk grassland. The initial clearance work, undertaken last year, has already proved beneficial as the site this spring was full of primrose.

20th April 2009 – Sappers Help BWAG Again

20 Field Squadron of Maidstone-based 36 Engineer Regiment have restored another path for BWAG. It's the third time recently that the REs have supplied labour and machinery to bring the paths in Bredhurst Woods up to standard. BWAG secured funding for materials, supplied by Gallaghers at a third of normal price. About 500m of woodcutters' track has been reinstated and ...

25th April 2009 – Bluebells & Cream Tea

This year 81 guests (double the number of last year!) went on the Bluebell Walk through Bredhurst Woods. This was followed by a Cream Tea at Arran Bank Farm, thanks to our hosts Pam & Dennis Newman. It seems to be an exceptional year for Bluebells with the woodland floor completely covered with flowers. Also, many new patches of Orchids ...

29th April 2009 – BWAG AGM

This year’s AGM was attended by 25 members and 3 non-members. In accordance with the BWAG Constitution, three of ten Trustees were required to stand down but were eligible to put their names forward for re-election. Robin Grimble, Wendy Hinder and Rob Attwood were unopposed and unanimously re-elected by members. It was announced (after many months of form filling!) that ...

10th May 2009 – Early Morning Bird Walk

Around 20 members joined the walk, led by Owen Sweeney. It was a lovely sunny morning, perfect for the birds and walkers. For a list of sightings, provided by Tony Witts, please click here. The group also observed Fly Orchids, Early Purple Orchids and Lady Orchids.

12th July 2009 – Butterfly & Nature Walk

Members joined Fred O’Hare for a tour of Bredhurst Woods and the surrounding chalk grassland identifying butterflies, plants and wildlife. A good discovery was Ground Pine found in the scrub clearance area, a plant which is classified a ‘rare to decreasing’ in SE England. For a list of sightings, provided by Issy Whatrup and Fred O’Hare, please click here.

14th August 2009 – Moth Night

An interesting evening of moth trappings led by David Gardner, Chairman of the Kent Butterfly Conservation Group, Ian Ferguson, County Recorder for Moths and Tony Witts from the Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre was attended by about 25 BWAG Members. It was fascinating to see the woodland lit at various locations attracting moths and other creatures. From 4 traps, ...

29th September 2009 – Ponies Help Restoration of Woods

Today saw the arrival of 2 Exmoor Ponies - Merlin & Elfin on loan to BWAG from Kent Wildlife Trust. They will be with us for a couple of months and will take over the grazing of land where we previously had sheep. KWT hope that they will be tempted by the tougher vegetation which the sheep did not eat!

3rd December 2009 – Carols at Green Court

The annual BWAG carol concert was held on Thursday 3rd December and was well attended. The evening began at St Peter’s Church where the 60 strong Cantium Singers from Rochester put on a superb concert. This was followed by mulled wine and mince pies at Green Court. Thanks to Staggan Kennels for attending with their beautiful team of huskies which ...

14th – 16th January 2010 – Kent Mammal Group – Small Mammal Survey

Despite deep snow and freezing temperatures the small mammal survey went ahead as planned. It was led by Dan Bennett of the KMG who informed helpers that the bad weather may actually encourage more mammals to seek refuge in the traps. 50 traps were set on the first day and were monitored twice the following day. On the last day, ...

21st February 2010 – 1st Regular Task Day

A task day was held on 21st February and, despite pouring rain, 8 hardy souls created a small glade within the wood. This will allow more light and offer a varied habitat benefiting both wildlife and ground flora. Thanks to Mike Philips, Mid Kent Downs Partnership, who led the event. Following requests by members, regular task days are now scheduled ...

11th April 2010 – Bredhurst in Focus

BWAG held its first photography event on 11 April. ‘Bredhurst in Focus’, a photo competition, workshop and exhibition of 'Bygone Bredhurst' with village photos from the 1900s onwards. It was well attended with approximately 250 visitors to the show. The photo competition had 6 categories - Street Scenes, People & Pets, Nature, Wildlife, Scenic and Village Events. There were 178 ...

25th April 2010 – Bluebell Walk & Cream Tea

Although the bluebells were a little late coming out this year, thankfully enough were in flower for our annual event, which was attended this year by 102 adults and several children. Two guided walks took slightly different routes through Bredhurst Woods, followed by a Cream Tea at Arran Bank Farm. Thanks to our hosts Pam & Dennis Newman and to ...

28th April 2010 – BWAG AGM

30 people attended this year’s AGM, 28 members and 2 non-members. In accordance with the BWAG Constitution, three of ten Trustees were required to stand down but were eligible to put their names forward for re-election. David Olver, Deana Foulds and Ann Callen were unopposed and unanimously re-elected by members. In addition, Robin Grimble stood down as a trustee as ...

9th May 2010 – BWAG Bird Walk

A spring bird walk was held on 9 May, led by Owen Sweeney of the Kent Ornithological Society (KOS). Owen, who regularly leads bird walks for BWAG, gave an interesting tour of the woods pointing out birds, plants and other wildlife.

19th June 2010 – Rare Butterfly in Bredhurst

Viewers of BBC Springwatch may have seen the recent programme from the South Downs explaining that chalk grassland is a habitat as rare and as threatened as tropical rain forests. We are fortunate that Bredhurst Woods is surrounded by superb chalk grassland which is extremely rich in plant and wildlife. A variety of orchids including Bee, Lady, Fragrant, Pyramidal, Greater ...

22nd June 2010 – HSBC Help BWAG

As part of ‘HSBC in the Community’, Branch & Area Managers from across Kent came to Bredhurst Woods to help BWAG. They worked tirelessly all day and helped install two horse gates, erect fencing, and did some scrub clearance. Their efforts saved BWAG in the region of £1,000 and in return they got a day in the countryside and plenty ...

28th June 2010 – BWAG Awarded £1000

We are pleased to announce that BWAG has been awarded £1000 by Kent Community Foundation, Grassroots Grants towards the purchase of tools needed for our monthly volunteer task days. In addition to the new tools which we can now purchase, BWAG would be glad to accept any unwanted tools you no longer need, even if they are old and rusty ...

4th July 2010 – Nature Ramble & Picnic at Green Court

Fred O’Hare led 45 guests on a very informative and enjoyable tour of Bredhurst Woods and the surrounding chalk grassland identifying butterflies, plants and wildlife. This was followed by lunch in the grounds of Green Court.

July 2010 – Funding Awarded to BWAG

KCC’s Countryside Partnership Small Grants Scheme has provided funding towards the further restoration of Bredhurst Woods.  The total project cost is £6,000 and includes essential tree maintenance work to cut back dangerous and overhanging branches; updating the Bredhurst Woods Management Plan which will identify action needed over the next five years and further coppicing, necessary to rejuvenate the site and to ...

8th August 2010 – Abbotts Court Horse Show

BWAG had a stand at the Abbotts Court Horse Show to promote the work of the group and forthcoming BWAG events.  We also displayed a number of tools which have been donated following our recent appeal asking for old, unwanted items.  Rusty and broken tools have been restored to new and will be used on our monthly task days.

18th August 2010 – Tree Surgeons at Work

Further to the award of funding by KCC, tree maintenance work has been carried out. Where BWAG has landowner consent, dead, diseased and dangerous trees and/or branches have been removed if they were overhanging or adjacent to paths.

24th August 2010 – Bats on the Downs – French Experts Visit UK

Weekly bat surveys, started earlier in the year, have been conducted by BWAG and other groups across the North Downs as part of the ‘Bats on the Downs’ project.  The project, organised by Medway Valley Countryside Partnership and the Kent Bat Group, is examining data collected from the North Downs and partner groups in France.  The project culminated in an exchange visit with colleagues ...

10th September 2010 – Councillors Walk the Woods

A visit from various Parish and Maidstone Borough Councillors was organised by the Mid Kent Downs Project (MKDP).  A tour of Bredhurst Woods highlighted the work undertaken by BWAG, assisted by the MKDP, Kent Wildlife Trust and other organisations.  The walk was followed by lunch at Arran Bank Farm, courtesy of Pam & Dennis Newman.

5th September 2010 – Reptile Walk

Mike Phillips, Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group (KRAG), led walkers on a tour of Bredhurst Woods.  Earlier in the year Mike assisted BWAG to set up a reptile monitoring scheme and walkers were taken to examine sites where reptiles are now known to live. Species identified included adders, slow-worms and lizards.  The highlight of the day was finding a black adder basking in ...

2nd October 2010 – Unveiling of Information Boards

Representatives from Bredhurst WI officially unveiled information boards for which they kindly contributed £500.  The balance of the funding was provided by the Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership Fund.  The boards are located at Day Valley and on the approach to Strawberry Banks.

3rd October 2010 – Sponsored Horse Ride

Despite torrential rain, 53 riders took part in the BWAG Sponsored Horse Ride raising over £1,100.  The course, approximately a 10 mile circuit, took participants over private land to which they would not normally have access.  Thanks to Deana Foulds for organising the event, landowners, riders and marshals.  Money raised will go towards more path restoration in Bredhurst Woods.

November 2010 – Fallen Giant

Sadly, a huge majestic beech tree came down in the high winds at the beginning of November near the Woodcutters Path, heading towards Strawberry Banks. The tree had been weakened by an invasive fungus - Ganoderma.

9th December 2010 – Christmas Carol Concert

Following heavy snowfall, this year’s concert was postponed from the 2nd to the 9th December. Despite a lot of snow still on the ground, we had a record attendance of 169 guests and record takings of £1,564, an increase of £606 on last year’s takings. All proceeds will go towards further restoration of Bredhurst Woods. BWAG Trustees are extremely grateful ...

January 2011 – New Hedge Planted

BWAG has got the year off to a good start with the planting of 200m of hedging adjacent to byway KH94. Thanks to the many volunteers who helped with the planting; to the landowner for allowing BWAG access to his land and to PTES (People's Trust for Endangered Species) who provided the plants free of charge. Once established, the hedge ...

16th February 2011 – BBC Visits Bredhurst Woods

BBC South East filmed in Bredhurst Woods a piece which was broadcast today regarding the implications of woodland being owned by numerous owners. Bredhurst Hurst is split into 139 plots which are owned by 104 owners. Many owners now live across the UK and abroad and had to be traced by BWAG to ask permission to access their land to ...

8th March 2011 – More Paths Restored

BWAG are very grateful to the Public Rights of Way Team at Kent County Council for organising more path restoration in Bredhurst Woods. The work has made access to the Detling side of the woods much easier. The total cost of the work was £13,600 which included a contribution of £2,500 from BWAG.