NATIONAL TRUST EXCURSION TO ASHRIDGE. “On Saturday, May 26th, the first of the summer excursions of members of the National Trust took place at Ashridge. Ninety members, accompanied by Mr. S. H. Hamer, the retiring secretary, and Mr. I). Macleod Matheson, his successor, arrived from London in three coaches and were met by Mr. Arthur Mac Donald and Mr. R. K. Webb, the lion, secretary and lion, treasurer of the Local Committee, at Water End.” Reported by the Bucks Herald on Friday the 15th June in 1934.
TREES IN ASH RIDGE PARK “It was reported by the Hon. Secretary that all the trees in the National Trust portions of the Park which really mattered had now been purchased and were secured by the Golden Valley Preservation Fund, an advance copy of whose report and balance sheet was presented, and by a private fund raised by the Hon. Secretary for the purchase of the trees on the south-west side of the Park”.
DESTRUCTIVE ANIMALS AND BIRDS. “It was reported by the Executive Committee that destructive animals and birds had been kept within limits. Grey squirrels and rabbits, by natural and artificial means, had been very considerably reduced. The deer, which bred at large, were still a problem, but arrangements had been made to reduce their numbers next winter, which, it was hoped, will he successful. A few jays had been shot, and steps would be taken to reduce these further. Foxes were still numerous, the universally bad hunting season of last winter having resulted in but few kills of these poultry thieves. Wild flowers had not perceptibly diminished by the moderate picking which had been allowed, and which the committee saw no reason to veto entirely, although wholesale gathering, obviously for sale, was stopped, and, of course, all digging up of plants. Photographs of different parts of the estate, from Ivinghoe Beacon to Water End, were being taken by the official photographers of the National Trust, and were to be put on sale in postcard form. The National Trust had also included Ashridge in a series of films of the Trust Estates to be shown among the educative news-films”.
LAND AGENTS’ REPORT. “The Land Agents (Captain G. Macdonald Brown and Mr. C. Philips Cole) presented their first report to the committee, prefacing it with a complete schedule and description of the estate, now consisting of 2,661 acres of public lands, 251 acres farms let to tenants and purchased in order to retain control of lands adjoining the estate, and 490 acres of farm and woodlands constituting the two estates of the Mac- Donald Trust.” a total of 3,402 acres, extending some six miles from north to south and from one to three miles cast to west. The present rentals of the tenanted lands and of the new estates amount to nearly £5OO year. The Agents advised a partial modification of the forestry policy hitherto pursued, to the extent of removing some of the trees in the less accessible areas when they show signs of incipient decay, instead of leaving them until they are quite dead, and valueless as timber. This would not apply to old trees in prominent positions and having scenic importance. These will be kept as long as they will stand or until they begin to be dangerous. The committee thoroughly discussed this subject and confirmed the decision of their Executive Committee to follow their Agents’ advice in the matter, instructing them at the same time to bear in mind the continuous provision of sufficient decaying fallen trees to maintain the supply of insect and fungoid life of interest to the biologist, with its consequent effect on the retention of bird-life”.
A TREE-PLANTING CEREMONY? “The re-planting of the areas in the woodlands devastated by the timber merchants who bought the trees before the land acquired for the National Trust has been satisfactorily started, and will be continued as funds permit. It is hoped to hold tree-planting ceremony in the autumn, to inaugurate the re-planting of a new avenue of oak and beech along the Rhododendron Drive” in Old Copse, and to re-open the once beautiful drive to the public”.
Interesting stuff – volunteers now sit on the Executive Committee which still operates today.