In the last few months the Friends of Deepdene have stepped up their activities on the Trail and we welcomed fresh support for the team.
One of the fantastic achievements of the Friends of huge benefit to the Trail has been the creation of several new connecting paths. These paths were marked out to follow historic routes located on old maps that in several areas had become impassable. With chainsaws, bowsaws and loppers at the ready the Friends have cleared these paths providing great new connections around the estate.
Outside groups lend a hand
The Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) Partnerships team and a MVDC apprentice joined the Friends on site and helped install some essential new steps on one of our new paths. It also gave them some idea of the work that has gone into the Trail by the volunteers.
The Gatwick Greenspace Group also joined us for a few days supporting the conservation of the landscape and helping clear invasive species like, Himalayan Balsam and bracken.
Most recently students from local Starhurst School have been lending a hand on site and learning new skills with our volunteers.
The new entrance way area to the Trail at Deepdene Gardens has been made much more visible from the road for walkers and there has been a lot of work clearing debris on the new paths.
The Friends have further widened the paths in the Gardens along the Middle walk and are cutting new spurs that will take visitors off the middle walk into the centre of the Gardens. They worked to carefully clean the flight of flint steps above the Grotto which they will be helping repair before the opening in September 2016.
The volunteers also helped support friendly archaeologist, Justin Russell of Archaeology South-East, who voluntarily performed the standing building survey for the WWII structures in the Garden.
At Betchworth Park the Friends have worked on de-frithing the lime trees (trimming the unwanted sprouting growth around the base), leaf-blowing and clearing invasive species. This already popular public path will provide a historic link through the wider estate from Deepdene Gardens to Betchworth Castle and Brockham.
The Friends spent a couple of sessions out at Betchworth Castle helping Martin Higgins lay a new iron stone path next to lovely new railings commissioned by Martin for the Deepdene Trail. This key path has now made the unstable north side of the Castle accessible to future walkers on the Deepdene Trail.
At Chart Park the Friends have been keeping on top of the rapidly growing meadow and grassland, strimming, mowing and pulling out bracken. The area has been lovely throughout spring and early summer.
Helping the community
The Friends of Deepdene also spent a couple of days at Ranmore bike jumps clearing the area for users.
Would you like to join the Friends on site and get involved in work like this? They currently work two days every week (Wednesday-Thursday). If you are interested in conserving this fantastic historic landscape, looking for a bit of regular exercise or are a dab hand with a pair of secateurs and willing to lend a hand, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact: