WNHS Programme for 2015


Programme 2015 – 2016


Meetings held at Welwyn Civic Centre 8 PM.

Feb 25            Wicken Fen Past, Present & Future                   Stuart Warrington

Mar 25            Spring Bringers                                                   June Crew

Apr 22             Wallasea Island –  RSPB Project                        Rachel Fancy

May 27            Baja California Wildlife on the edge                    Ann & Phil Farrer

June 24           India its Birds, People & Taj Mahal                     Richard Pople

Sept 23           Redlist Revival & Greys Farm                             Edward Darling

Oct 28             British Wild Flowers                                            John Negus

Nov 25            Joint meeting with Hertfordshire Natural History Society

                       Aspects of Hertfordshire Geology & Landscape   Prof. John Catt

Dec 9              Light Hearted Quiz & Christmas Gathering


Jan 27             AGM and Members evening

                        Members’ photos, exhibits and short talks welcomed.

                         (Offers to Raymond Uffen please)

Feb 24             A Year at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve               Trevor Gunton


3rd Sunday    Friends of Mardley Heath work parties

                           – Meet at car park 10 am

4th Sunday    Tewinbury SSSI work parties September – April

                            – meet at HMWT car park on Farm Drive 9.30 am

3rd Thursday  Danesbury Local Nature Reserve – work parties

                             – except June & July

                             – call John Roper on 07910 311589 for 10 a.m. meeting place.


Nov 25           Joint Meeting with WNHS at Welwyn Civic Centre (See above)


Meetings held at Howlands Baptists Church WGC 8 pm

Feb 24           Ethiopia – The Horn of Africa – talk                    Richard Pople

Mar 8             Mad March Hares – a walk around Therfield

                         – meet at Therfield Green 10 am  Booking essential

                         – phone Neil on 01707 324313

Mar 24           Penguins & the White Continent                       Trevor Gunton



Welwyn Natural History Society – Introduction

WNHS Logo The WNHS holds regular Indoor Meetings at 8 pm on the 4th Wednesday from September to June, excepting the December meeting held on the 2nd Wednesday, and sometimes the June meeting made to coincide with Welwyn Festival week.

Indoor meetings are held at the Welwyn Civic Centre, Prospect Place, AL6 9ER at 8 pm to 10 pm.

Visitors are always welcomed for a fee of £4 per meeting, but subscriptions are available at £15 per year.  Juniors (up to 18 years) are welcomed free of charge.

President                        Rev. T.W.Gladwin

Chairman                        Raymond Uffen            01438 815693

Secretary                        Robin Cole                   01438 817618

Treasurer                        Richard Darby              01438 813403

Committee members      Isabel Darby

Sue Stephens

In Welwyn there are three Nature reserves with strong WNHS involvement:

Tewinbury Wetland Reserve map ref. TL268138 is managed by the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust on behalf of Thames Water. WHNS members are welcome to undP1080439ertake and record their own studies on a regular basis. The Warden, Robin Cole tel.01438 813403 organises work parties on the 4th Sunday, but check with him for actual dates. Wellingtons or waders are needed on this site.


Mardley Heath Local Nature Reserve

The volunteer group ‘Friends of Mardley Heath’ meet on the third Sunday most of the year. For details go to the WNHS Calendar.

Danesbury Local Nature reserve.

The volunteer group ‘Friends of Danesbury LNR’ meet on the thirDanesbury cattled Thursday throughout the year. For programme details go to the WNHS Calendar.





Singlers Marsh Local Nature Reserve

Awaiting an update.




Village Clean Up Group – Bags of success

On 24th February a resilient bunch of supporters turned up on a very cold Sunday morning at the High Street Car Park for a briefing from the Group leader, Sarah Butcher, and equipping with litter pickers and SERCO bags, before being sent on missions to far flung parts of the village.

Within the space of a few hours, the Group managed to fill 10 bags of litter, including assorted hub caps, car bumpers, traffic cones, metal, wood and one rather nice bike!!

More volunteers are encouraged to join this worthy volunteer Group.

For a full report, and details of how you can join, please go to Welwyn Village Clean Up Group.

Follow the link for details of the next scheduled meeting.

Welwyn Village Clean Up Group Picks Up

Sarah Butcher is the Co-ordinator of the Welwyn Village Clean Up Group which meets periodically to pick up litter at various points around the village.

The Group is in need of more help to increase their overall effectiveness, and they aim to achieve this by appointing lead volunteers, equipping them to manage their chosen local ‘patch’, and then encouraging them to organise litter picking on a regular basis..

The Group currently has many roads ‘signed up’ including; Danesbury Park Road and surrounds, the Danesbury Local Nature Reserve, Oakhill Drive and Fulling Mill Lane and surrounds, Wendover Drive and the top end of Church Street and surrounds, School Lane and Surrounds. Although quite impressive as a list, it is clear that there are many large gaps in and around the village.

The next Group meeting is being held on Sunday 24th February at 11 a.m. in the car park opposite the Doctors’ surgery. Sarah Butcher, the Group Co-ordinator will be on hand to offer bags and equipment etc. to volunteers.

If you would like to ‘adopt’ a road near you please call Sarah Butcher on 07885 875977 or email   and turn up at the Group meeting on Sunday 24th February if you can, to get equipped and briefed.


Welwyn’s Community Cafe – Regularly Tuesdays

A Village Partnership formed

Launched in 2009 as one of many products of the Welwyn Parish Plan, the Community Café is a joint venture between Welwyn Parish Plan Action Group (WPPAG) and St. Mary’s Parochial Church Council (PCC). The weekly Community Café, which is held in New Church House, Welwyn, has recently celebrated three years of successful operation.

The WPPAG idea was to create a social facility for Welwyn along the lines of the long established community café in Codicote. The aim was to hold a weekly coffee morning, and the then rector, Alan Winton, was very supportive of the choice of New Church House with its excellent meeting and catering facilities.

So, a partnership was formed, with shared responsibilities. The original explicit policy, which was to make a modest profit without charging commercial café prices, still stands.

The Community Café duly opened on 3rd November 2009 and, apart from exceptional interruptions, it has been in business every Tuesday morning since.

Who Runs the Community Cafe ?

A small committee representing the founding partnership is responsible for overall management decisions.

The WPPAG Treasurer keeps the Community Café accounts and annually ensures the equal division of the financial surplus between WPPAG and the PCC.

The kitchen is staffed on a rota by local volunteers under the guidance of a volunteer supervisor. Barbara Spencer is currently in charge.

What is on offer?

The freshly brewed coffee, tea, and the biscuits and popular toasted teacakes (supplied by Katie’s village bakery) are of excellent quality and at prices unchanged since the day of the launch.

Church House in Welwyn Village is an accessible and friendly place and the Community Cafe has become a recognised venue for the exchange of local news and views.

Customers come from all parts of the village, and beyond, to socialise in an informal and friendly atmosphere.

Regular attendees include parish councillors (who attend on a rota basis) and our local Neighbourhood Police Team make very regular drop-in visits –  “’Hello, Hello. Do I smell a good cup of coffee”?

Spin off activities from the café have included several series of computer classes and a weekly patchwork and embroidery group.

Everybody is welcome at Welwyn’s Community Cafe.

Drop in – any Tuesday morning – every Tuesday morning.

Make it a habit.

(With thanks to Jon Green, Chairman WPPAG for his input to this News item)


Online Newsletter – Edition No. 1 Published

The first monthly online newsletter (WPAG Monthly Digest) was published on Sunday 20th January at 8 p.m.

Did you get your copy?

Have you remembered to ‘subscribe’ on the Newsletter Subscriptions page?

Have you then followed the double-check procedure when asked to?

If you have done all these things but you have not received your January 2013 newsletter, please tell us in the Comment box below.

We do not want you to miss out on this new feature.

Subscribe today and keep up-to-date with what is going on




New Plan to Improve the River Mimram

David Cheek, of the Friends of the Mimram kindly submitted the following Report.

Plenty of projects planned to improve the River Mimram are about to start. Improving the quality of this rare chalk stream, the wildlife and our accessibility to enjoy it. From Jan 23rd see what’s happening at www.beaneandmimrampartnership.org.

The Friends of the Mimram, in conjunction with the Herts Middx Wildlife Trust have developed a Catchment Management Plan to improve the river quality to help meet EU Water Framework Directive guidelines and this is being presented as a dynamic website, which will evolve as the projects come to fruition. The projects have been developed in consultation with other local conservation groups, parish councils, Welhat Borough Council,   HCC and the Environment Agency.

One of the projects will start in Singlers Marsh this winter. Chalk streams should have crystal clear water flowing over gravel. After years of low flows, silt has built up to 2’ deep in the river at the top end and trees have overgrown keeping out the sunlight which stops vegetation growing. So HMWT have managed to get some funding for an Environment Agency plan to dig out the silt from a section of the river opposite the Vineyards and replace it with gravel, while also pollarding some trees to let in the light. The Friends of the Mimram will also clear some of the scrub away form the river bank and maintain a footpath along the river so that we can enjoy it. Meanwhile the Friends will also continue the work near Singlers Bridge to narrow the river slightly to increase the flow and achieve the same effect.

If the trial is successful, it will be extended upstream when more funds become available. More information on http://www.friendsofthemimram.co.uk/improvements.html.

All this assumes there will be water in the river – but we will have to keep on lobbying to achieve that.  See the latest on the Friends website http://www.friendsofthemimram.co.uk/campaign.html

Singlers Marsh – New Year Project

A river enhancement project is planned to take place during January and February 2013 at the north end of Singlers Marsh. David Cheek, of the Friends of the Mimram volunteer group will be producing an article for this website which will detail the work being planned.

Our local volunteer group, the Friends of Singlers Marsh, manage projects which cover the southern ‘recreational’ end of Singlers Marsh, and the northern ‘Local Nature Reserve’ too. (The Friends of Singlers Marsh are represented on the WPAG Committee).

As you would expect, the Friends of Singlers Marsh work closely with the Friends of the Mimram, whose flow of interest naturally follows the full length of the River.

Singlers Marsh offers a unique amenity value to the community of Welwyn, not least as the site of the Annual Welwyn Festival Families’ Fun Day. Over the past year the WPAG has worked closely in support of the Friends of Singlers Marsh to encourage both the WHBC, and the Welwyn Parish Council (WPC), to respond to their responsibility for properly maintaining this priceless site.

(The WHBC are the Land Owners of Singlers Marsh, and the WPC pass on the costs of maintenance to us, the ratepayers, within their Annual Precept).


WPAG Website is Launched

Dear Member

In my first Chairman’s Report in October 2012, I stated my aim to give members of WPAG better value for their annual subscription. At the AGM members then responded positively and asked that your Committee does more to involve the membership in the broad debate on key planning issues.  We agreed to respond by finding ways of sharing, with you, much of the data and information that Committee members acquire.

I am pleased therefore to announce that we have now created this website which we will use as the primary tool for achieving these objectives. We hope very much that you will like this website, and use it.

Our new website is still at an early stage of development, but as you look around it, you will see that it already holds useful information. Alongside news items, the aim is to provide you with a convenient method for finding things out for yourself, so that as a member of WPAG you will a) be better informed on planning matters, and b) be able to use the website and join in the debate on live issues, with an appropriate Committee member.

The ‘Links‘ Page will take you to appropriate external websites, and we will gradually build up a ‘knowledge base‘ of our own, initially created by a series of articles entitled – ‘What is..’, or ‘What does..’.

We want your comments!  – It is important for all of us that when you have had a chance to look around the new website, you complete the ‘Comment’ boxes provided on many of the pages, so that we can be sure that you are happy with the form, shape, and style of the website, and that it reflects your wishes and aspirations as an existing member of WPAG. We hope it is self-evident that this website should place us in a stronger position to attract a new audience, and strengthen the WPAG membership for the future.

One final point to note. Although currently accessible by the general public,  ultimately www.wpag.org.uk will be a ‘Members Only’ site, but with a public face to encourage wider interest and applications to join WPAG . However, it will remain ‘public’ until the majority of those WPAG members who have email addresses, ‘subscribe’ (see below), and do become users. When that happens, we will introduce a ‘sign-on’ routine so that parts of the site will be accessible exclusively for paid-up members of WPAG only.

You can subscribe now, if you wish to, but we will soon be sending an email to members with an invitation to subscribe.

With thanks for your continuing interest and support.

John Roper

30th November 2012