Hands Off Hartlebury Common

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This discussion topic has been automatically created of petition Hands Off Hartlebury Common.

The Fence

#26 Grow Back ...?

Jun 06, 2011, 22:57

Hello All,
My garden fence backs on to the Common and I walk our dog most days on it, and I must admit I feel 'stuck between a rock and a hard place'...I'll tell you why.
I have been informed by a local (very local) Councillor that this has all got to be done to maintain the SSI status?? and if the Common looses the status then houses will be built on it as Wychavon District Council are desperate for building land. Is this true?
If this is the case then I agree it shold be managed in some shape or form, but I to was shocked at the extent of the felling. I am aware the contractor felling the trees feels a little uneasy doing the job but hopes the 10 year management plan will continue and what he is doing will be worth while.
I notice that the area felled has no regrowth all be it some ferns which I believe are to be erradicated and the ground is extremely dry, dusty and exposed, this I believe has also been demonstrated with the latest fuel pipe line root (laid many years ago)which people assume is a central path running through the length of the Common.
Recently I have enjoyed watching a nest of lesser spotted woodpeckers fledge in the afore mentioned area, a lone dead silver birch tree, is this a site I will not see in the future?.
Keep up the challenge.
Regular walker


Jun 07, 2011, 14:14

I've walked on the common for many years and hate to see what's happening, it looks like carnage, I have a horror of the coloured marks on the trees which mean that beautiful aged trees have the kiss of death!
The common is now a dog walking area and as such is a very valuable and much needed space for people and dogs to socialise. I've noticed that as soon as any non council notices go up they are torn down, do the those in charge not want free speech? They seem to have a conscience about the damage they are doing and want to stem the tide of opposition.
I attended the meetings when the council outlined their plans, the second one was packed yet when it came to asking questions of 'the experts' we were not allowed to ask from the floor we were parcelled up into the groups where we were supposed to ask questions in isolation, there were a great many protests to no avail - if the questions were asked in front of everyone we would've learnt more and it would have been much fairer to us who felt so strongly that we turned out to hear the case for and against. Why were the powers-that-be so frightened? Maybe they knew as they must that this is a very unpopular move and they would come in for a great deal of flack - quite rightly. I also attended the appeal and was disappointed to see that not many of the dog walkers attended, but then it was held on 2 week days meaning that those working couldn't attend. The council had 8 people on their side including a barrister, presumably being paid by the tax payer? We who were there to oppose the move didn't stand a chance. As everyone said at the public meetings - it was a done deal! So much for democracy and localisation!
Why has the common been left for so long without being managed? Were they being paid to manage it and just didn't until it became a real issue resulting in the horror we see now?
Also There are notices telling us to pick up our dog mess yet there are only a few receptacles in which to put the bags - in response to this request I've seen a lot more plastic bags left by the side of the paths and by the gates - presumably to be preserved for posterity (it takes upwards of 500 years for plastic bags to break down) - could the council not supply more bins and maybe bags and then empty them regularly? No-one wants to walk that far with a bag of poo!


#28 Re: Grow Back ...?

Jun 07, 2011, 14:53

#26: The Fence - Grow Back ...?

Rest assured in reference to sssi lapse and house building. You have been told a lie. Can you tell me the councilors name?

The common was protected anyway, before it's status as such was undermined by changes to the countryside act, 1996. As a common legally, it's protection should have been irevocable since it requires an act of parliament to revoke its status.

It's protection therefore is only as weak or strong as the people who supposedley uphold it.

Best wishes, Steve


#29 Re: sanity in our open spaces

Jun 07, 2011, 19:04

#27: Regular walker -

Thank you for your considered and thoughtful response to my campaign. Your reply sums up the thoughts and concerns of all the people I have talked to. The feeling of helplesness and powerlesness, is a common feature of how they feel. I am so angry that we are being treated like idiots, I hope that once this common feeling is understood I can organise this into a much more positive force.


steve mccarron

#30 Re: sanity in our open spaces

Jun 08, 2011, 01:28

#27: Regular walker -

It's a very frustrating situation, I am doing all I can to bring about at least an ending to what is being done. Could you try and invlove as many people as you can to sign this petition.

The proposal by WCC is a load of fabricated lies and deception.


Best wishes steve

Regular Walker

#31 Ranger

Jun 08, 2011, 21:07

I met a ranger on the common today who told me that he is taking down any notices he sees as the information is not true, 90% of trees being felled is incorrect, the figure is 25 - 30% over the next 10 - 20 years. I said that if there were misunderstandings then surely it would be a good idea for those who are managing the 'new look' common should attend a (well publicised) open meeting and address the issues raised, no reply to that one!

steve mccarron
The author of this petition

#32 Re: Ranger

Jun 08, 2011, 22:27

#31: Regular Walker - Ranger

There is an artlcle in the kidderminmster shuttle from about a month ago.


Not refuted, the councils estimation is 90%. I was told 90% by a ranger on site a few weeks ago but since I have been making serious enquiries and telling other people the figure seems to be dropping all the time. Will the council please tell us definatley. HOW MANY TREES WILL BE FELLED IN TOTAL? within 20 years

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Jun 09, 2011, 19:40

steve mccarron
The author of this petition

#34 Re:

Jun 09, 2011, 20:46

#33: Guest -

The 38 year "management" has been unobstrusive and so we have the enviroment we have today.

However, I am told, by people like you that it has not been managed for 100 yrs.

Its abundance or lack of trees  has not been an impediment to it's status as a SSSI before and should not be now. (First recognised in 1955 and reafirmed in 1986)

You are steadfastly refusing to acknowlege that the trees have failed to take over the common as you describe and if you where really interested in conservation, then you would support the previous level of intervention.

"One of the only inland sand dune/heathland areas in the country" or "One of a few or one of many inland sand dune/heathland areas in the country"?

It does not matter what you were trying to say but to say that this habitat is so unique and  then say

"There are sooo many species that will be lost if the heathland isn't managed & maintained"

is misleading to say the least. These species are not unique to the common but live in abundance elsewhere, where so called conservationists cannot or do not venture. The trouble is, the common is being marketed in the way you describe and is being turned into a wildlife theme park.

I cannott be bothered to go into detail regarding the pine tree plantation, I can't work out if you are being deliberatley provocative or if you are stupid.

Bio diversity and interdependancy are alive and well  but to transorm this site as is planned beggars belief. I have 25 years experience in conservation and restoration. The common should be CONSERVED as it is and not RESTORED to an imagined image.

Do me a favour, try thinking out of the box, stop quoting by rote and do not insult peoples intelligence with this witless

and gutless flannel in our space.

Over the years I have had to pick up the peices left by people expressing your sort of opinions and try to put them back together

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Jun 09, 2011, 21:48

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Jun 09, 2011, 22:35

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Jun 09, 2011, 23:53

steve mccarron

#38 Re:

Jun 10, 2011, 00:04

#36: SAM -

Thanks for the advice sam.

I have to "Bang on" about management as it is the principal tool- excuse for forcing a Restoration of the common.

I promise I won't mention "Management" again when everybody else does the same.

With reference to the enclosure act, it is just one detail which is incorrect with the WCC proposal, there are many other factors and to focus on just one would be negligent on my part.

I have read the quotes you have enclosed before, thank you.

The trouble is grazing is this instance (up to 33 cattle) is just window dressing for a space of this sort. They will graze areas that were definitley afforded the protections of both SSSI grants within wooded areas. This is not on. also, the cattle will trash the wetland area and pond.

And your last point about having to graze, so its not going to be a fire risk then. Come on.

Dont take my word for it though, have a look at the bottom half of this web page which relates to Hartlebury common, I think your ranger friend should have alook too.


Best wishes, steve



steve mccarron


Jun 10, 2011, 00:15

Absolutley no provision has been made for climate change, so please read this addressed to Hereford and Worcester Fire service

To whoever it may concern

I have just been watching the news on television and have seen the huge fires on Dorset Heathland.

I am a Hartlebury resident and use Hartlebury Common often.

You probably are aware of the fire at the common, not last weekend but the weekend before.


What you may not be aware of is the intention by WCC to cut down 45% of the existing predominant woodland and trees there.

My concern, apart from any significant changes made to the common, is that by re-introducing, or introducing much larger amounts of heath and scrub, the same
vegetation as on the Dorset heath, fires may be a more devastating and regular occurrence.

I cite these reasons for an increased risk of fires and danger therein

Reduction of deciduous tree cover. The ground below these trees is less likely to catch fire as it tends to be damp mulch and leaf mould.

Reduction of deciduous tree cover. These trees create shade not just below but across and around the common, helping the vegetation, scrub and ground to retain moisture.

Reduction of open spaces which are not colonized by either trees or heath. these spaces are to be encouraged to develop as heathland, reducing the natural fire breaks that exist there at present.

The pine tree plantation and adjacent deciduous plantations are to be removed. These currently act as a barrier against fires that spread along the ground. Currently these plantations separate a significant section of the common.

Most significantly, Hartlebury common is a tinder box. We are experiencing the driest spring since 1910. Vast swathes of gorse are dead or dying across the top of the common, prone to arson or accidental ignition.

We now have longer, drier periods of drought, the worst case scenario for heathland and yet climate change has not been considered in the plans of the council. To make matters worse, they intend to have cattle within the fenced common.

Because of these factors, I feel that for the first time, secondary fires to adjacent land and property is a real possibility.

Hartlebury Common will always be at risk of fire, my fear is that the nature and risks of future fires could be devastating within this populated place.

Apart from consultation for the emergency vehicle access, were you asked to provide a risk assessment as part of the heathland restoration?

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Jun 10, 2011, 00:20

steve mccarron

#41 Re: Increase in trees

Jun 10, 2011, 00:57

#37: Old Timer -


Thank you for your comment.

I reccomend that you examine some of the trees that have been cut down, a lot of them are clearley over 25 years old.

What would you prefer, more fires or to keep the common as it is now. The point is that on a common  this level of interference is wrong.

Up to half of the existing woodland is to go including the two plantations as well as the pine woods. These three plantations were clearley there 25 years ago. I also have the book you mention, it shows snapshots in time, nothing more.

Apparentley, it has not been managed for 100yrs, so therfore, it should be woodland by now, sustantiated by your comment.







steve mccarron

#42 Re: No management in a 100 years my ass!

Jun 10, 2011, 01:04

#40: Ted - No management in a 100 years my ass!

Ted, I hope your not having a go at me mate.

If you are, then take note of the following,

When I say that the common has done very well for 100 yrs without any management, I mean the deliberate clearence of woodland and modelling of the landscape.It's good to know that grazing was taking place, because, according to the experts, the landscape we have now is because ther has been NO grazing for 100yrs

It is a side swipe at the personal who are implementing real and deliberate management. In other words, county hall.


steve mccarron

#43 Re: Re: Re:

Jun 10, 2011, 01:36

#35: SAM - Re: Re:

The current felling is much more significant than the management you refer to. Count the rings and look at the species of tree.

Following on from your logic, if someone sees something and feels morally obliged to act. They should not, if the they have not lived in the area long enough. Are you trying ot tell me something?

Also, this is not the same as the yearly cull you refer too, I think your on your own with that opinion. Have you been to the common recentley?

Your following cut and pastes refer to the quality of the commons wildlife when judging by the age of the trees now and by Natural Englands own admission, there were plenty of established, junior and infant trees when those observations were made.The trees were not an impediment to its, 1955 and 1986 SSSI affirmation.

I am taking the time to clearly reply to your posts taking note of what you say and am not simply cutting and pasting. Could you do the same.

All this is just detail though when a common lands protected status is only as strong as the weakest people supposedley protecting it. So, your for the trees coming down then?

Conservation is keeping an enviroment or thing as it is. Restoration, the bets are off, because the finished product can be virtually anything, espeacially without clear evidence, timestamp, etc. Do youcare about hartlebury Common?



steve mccarron

#44 Dorset fire

Jun 10, 2011, 12:43

The risk of a catastrophic fire at hartlebury common is increasing every day, see my earlier post for the details of why. The difficulty for fire fighters at hartlebury is the terrain and its elevation. Drier climate, drier hartlebury common, winds, high elevation,increase in heathland.

The danger as well, is the area around the common is in close proximity to houses, pouplation, etc.

The risk of secondary fires in the future, therefore is very real and increasing.

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Jun 11, 2011, 14:38



Jun 11, 2011, 22:25

It is appalling to read about this destructive deforestation and fencing of a public area -- and for what? to create an artificial habitat of 'heathland' to replace trees

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Jun 12, 2011, 02:52

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Jun 12, 2011, 04:05

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Jun 12, 2011, 16:35

steve mccarron

#50 Re: Name calling

Jun 12, 2011, 19:56

#49: - Name calling

I agree about name calling, I did not start it but was reacting to a delibarate and provacative post.

The process of discussion was, in my opinion being circumvented anyway, its a pity sombody didn't  reprimand

him before me i saw the post.

There always persons who will deliberatley seek to mire a discussion with this sort of inanity.

Thanks for your advice