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Priory Wood village green management
September, 2007
At an open meeting called for by Clifford Parish Council at 7.00pm on 13th September 2007, to which all parishioners were invited, the following points were agreed concerning the management of Priory Common and the ownership and management of Priory Wood Village Green:

Priory Common
The Common, which is opposite the chapel and is owned by the Parish Council, will continue to be mowed once a year.

Priory Wood Village Green
The Green, which is in three plots, and for which formal Village Green status is being sought, will continue to be maintained for recreational purposes.  

Plot 1, which is located to the north of Oak Cottage and between Cheyney Cottage/Porking Barn and Cedardene, will have regularly mowed paths through it and will be given a full topping once a year. Mr and Mrs Southall kindly offered to provide a bench to be located on the plot.
Plot 2, which is triangularly shaped, bisected by a track, located to the east of Oak Cottage and bordered by the unclassified roads UC 75202 and 75203, will be mowed on the side west of the track once ayear. The area to the east of the track wil have regularly mowed paths through it and will be given a complete topping once a year; wild flowers will be sown and trees planted; seats will be provided in a central area.
Plot 3, which is located adjacent to Well Cottage, will be mown regularly to allow public footpath and vehicle access to the field on the northern boundary.
A management committee will be formed to oversee the work on the Green.  Should you wish to participate please contact Will Bullough on 01497 831 416.

Victorian star parties to return to Hardwicke
July, 2007

A 50,000 project has been established in order to revive the tradition of amateur astronomy throughout Herefordshire.

As part of the project, Victorian star parties are planned.  These are social events where families and friends gather to stargaze through a telescope with a local amateur astronomer.  

Volunteers and community residents will also be able to get involved in the project through researching local history, family scientific events, and a touring exhibition.

The project will celebrate the life and scientific work of former Hardwicke resident Rev. Thomas William Webb, as well as Rev. Henry Cooper Key (vicar, Stretton Sugwas, 1846-1879) and Geoge Henry With (head teacher, Hereford Bluecoats School, 1851-1876).  

webbReplica telescopes, based on the one used by Webb, will be built as part of the project (called Webb-SHARE), which will run until 2009. There are also plans to produce a play and a DVD based on Webb's life.

Workshops will be held at Clifford Community Centre on Thursday, 8th November and Thursday 6th December, run by former Hardwicke Vicarage occupants, Janet and Mark Robinson.

The project is financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more information please see the project's website or contact Paul Haley.


Early purple orchid on Merbach


orchidThis flourishing example of an early purple orchid* was spotted recently on Merbach common.

Around 20cm in height, the flower is growing in an isolated patch of the common.  

There is a wide fluctuation in the number of flowering plants from summer to summer and it may not be in bloom again for several years.  

Although the flower is common in southern England it is more rarely seen in this part of the world.

Click here for more information on the early purple orchid.  

* Discussion was ongoing 
between local residents and experts at Kew Gardens and Herefordshire Botanical Society over whether in fact this is an early purple orchid, a green-winged orchid, or a very rare hybrid of the two plants.

Historical documents of Clifford and Hardwicke
1st May, 2007

A number of maps, farm survey records and old photographs of Clifford and Hardwicke have been made available to local residents.   Please contact the website manager for more information.  

Fire on Merbach Hill common
3rd April, 2007

A large fire destroyed bracken and surface litter covering dozens of acres of Merbach Hill common on the evening of 3rd April. Three fire engines were called out to control the blaze.  
It is not clear how the fire started.path

The fire affected all of the area south of the central path from the new bridleway gate up to, but not including, the grassy areas around the quarry.

Recent volunteer work parties to clear paths on the common meant that the fire did not reach the fence or the fields beyond, as shown by the photograph to the right.  

logTwo weeks later there remained a strong 'bonfire' smell right across the common.  Emerging bluebells had been scorched, and other low-lying plants important to insect life - though roots, bulbs and seed sets below the surface of the soil remained unharmed.  

Since regular grazing on the common ended in the 1990s, bracken and brambles have taken over much of the visible area.  These plants will no doubt grow back stronger than ever, but by clearing so much of the surface litter, the fire may have encouraged previously dormant species of herbs and grasses to grow again.

E-mail Dave, the website manager: cliffordparish(at) [replace 'at' with @]