The Friends of the Flitch Way and Associated Woodlands

​The Friends of the Flitch Way and Associated Woodlands are a volunteer group who help to maintain and improve areas for the benefit of the community.

 

Working closely with Essex Country Parks and the Rights of Way teams to conserve woods, paths and country parks managed by Essex County Council in north Essex, CommunityAd caught up with Trustee & Secretary Sandra Reynolds to find out more…

 

Can you inform readers about how you started this volunteer group and your reasons for this?

The Friends of the Flitch Way group began in August 2004 when a few people who had expressed an interest in looking after the Flitch Way were invited by one of the Rangers to help with the maintenance of the Flitch Way. As numbers grew, we formed a committee, wrote our own constitution and became a registered charity in September 2005.

We set out to bring together local like-minded people keen to keep active and with an interest in the outdoors and conservation who wanted to maintain and improve the environment for the benefit of the community. Those aims continue to apply today as we work alongside Essex Country Parks and the Rights of Way teams to conserve the Flitch Way, Blackwater Rail Trail and Essex countryside for the community.

 

Throughout your time with the charity, what would you say have been the Friends of the Flitch Way and Associated Woodlands’ most important projects that have helped benefit the community? 

We established and run a museum in an old railway carriage, open between 11am and 3pm at weekends and some weekdays, highlighting the railway history and local wildlife. It features a working railway model of Rayne Station and many items of railway memorabilia given by local people.

We restored Bannister Green Halt and Stane Street Halt on the Flitch Way and Langford Halt on the Blackwater Rail Trail. We have also installed information boards and benches for the enjoyment of the local community.

In more recent years we have worked alongside the park rangers to protect the Flitch Way from inappropriate development through designation as a Local Nature Reserve and commenting on planning applications.

 

What are your plans for 2022? 

We have a lot of catch-up outdoor maintenance work to do post COVID-19 which should keep us very busy. At a more strategic level, we would like to see improvements made on the Great Dunmow Flitch Way connection and also at Langford and Witham on the Blackwater Rail Trail.

 

Are you looking for any volunteers? If so, how can readers get in touch? 

We now have around 90 paying members and 70 active volunteers typically recording around 5,500 volunteer hours per year. We bring together local people keen to keep active and with an interest in the outdoors and conservation who want to maintain and improve the environment for the benefit of the community. There is a role to suit everyone. At the moment our biggest need is for volunteers to help run the museum and full training is given.

  • Flitch Way work parties meet 9:15am Tuesday and Thursday
  • Footpath Work Group meet 9:15am Wednesday
  • Railway Museum Stewards needed weekends and some school holidays

 

Please see our website for further information.

 

To get involved with this wonderful volunteer group, visit The Friends of the Flitch Way and Associated Woodlands website today, or follow the team on Facebook @FriendsoftheFlitchWay to stay up to date.

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