The Countryside Group was set up to promote greater connection with and appreciation of the surrounding countryside and those who work on the land.
To increase contact between villagers and landowners/farmers
To promote understanding and enjoyment of the countryside
To explore possibilities of increased access to farmland
To record and protect village trees and plant new trees
An indoor meeting was held in the spring of 2014 with a number of speakers, both villagers and other local people. Topics covered included footpaths, farming, gamekeeping, the Pillhill Brook and its management and local flora and fauna. Villagers were also invited to mark on a map where they would like to see trees planted or new footpaths established.
Several outdoor events were also held in 2014: two nature walks were organised in conjunction with Abbotts Ann Green Action, two walks took place to familiarise villagers with their local footpaths, and Vitacress kindly hosted a visit to the Abbotts Ann cress beds.
Work has begun to establish new local footpaths. Agreement has been reached with the landowners to create a new permissive path between the Wyevale garden centre and the Hexagon, which will create a safe way to walk into town or to link up with existing footpaths; it is hoped to open this path before the end of 2015.
Although it has been used by the public for a very long time, on foot, horseback and horse-drawn vehicle, the Old Coach Road is not however recorded as a Right of Way, and access could be closed off at any time by the owners. In order to have the track added to the Hampshire definitive map as a Right of Way, and to maintain public access, we need to collect evidence of unimpeded use during the last 20 years from as many people as possible. This involves filling in a very simple one-page form, which can be obtained from the village shop or by email from the Parish Footpaths Officer, Phil Wood firstname.lastname@example.org Forms should be returned to the shop after completion. If you have any queries, please contact Phil (phone 710844 or email as above). Please do your bit to help keep this track open.
Another possible permissive path under investigation would run from Abbotts Ann Down towards Saxley Farm on the opposite side of the A343; this would link up with existing footpaths. Discussions are taking place with the landowner.
A management plan for the wildflower meadow adjacent to the churchyard has been drawn up in conjunction with Abbotts Ann Green Action and the Fun Club. Preliminary work has been carried out to bring the meadow into good condition.
Click here to read the Countryside Presentation.