Spring is now definitely upon us and, lockdown or not, that means that the Town and Manor is as busy as ever attending to the tasks the new season demands. These include pollarding the trees in the Croft and preparing the Common for the return of the cows at the end of the month. March also see the start of the birds’ ground-nesting season which has led to a request below to dog walkers using the Marsh.
Another seasonal issue is less welcome, that of litter. The spaces like the Common and the Marsh are there for all to enjoy. Please ensure that you leave nothing but footprints after your visit.
The Wednesday market continues as ever and the section below brings you up to date on some further improvements to the marshalling arrangements – and please remember to observe the “no parking” signs in the High Street every Tuesday night.
We’ve also got an update (and a video link) about the exciting Sparkling Streams project in which the Town and Manor, the AONB, Action for the River Kennet and the Southern Streams Farmer Group are all involved.
Finally, at the foot of this post we’ve got our usual summary of what the Town and Manor does – it’s a unique organisation and has a special role to play in the life of the town. You’ll see that one of the things we do is rent out the Town Hall for events. For obvious reasons that hasn’t been possible recently but we hope that this will soon be able to change – get in touch if you’d like more information on this.
The Wednesday market
The Town and Manor continues to support the weekly Wednesday market. We would like to thank the volunteers who give up their time every week to ensure that visitors to the market are reminded of the regulations during lockdown to maintain the safety and well-being of all shoppers. We are working with HTC, WBC and the Self-isolation group to ensure the market can continue for the benefit of the community and those who come to visit from the villages for their weekly shop.
“We have received hundreds of positive comments from visitors to the market, and we have been told that for some it is their only time they leave their homes” said Ellie Dickins, the Town and Manor’s CEO. “We would also like to remind visitors to the market to scan the NHS Track & Trace QR code, or to leave their name and contact number with the marshal, to ensure the Covid-19 regulations are adhered to.”
Volunteer marshals have now been given hi-vis Market Marshal vests to wear. The Town and Manor would like to thank the Mayor and Councillor James Cole for arranging these on our behalf. Our Volunteers are on site from 8-10am. Should you wish to give some time to help marshal the market from 10am, please do contact the Town and Manor via email Admin@townandmanor.co.uk or call 01488 686555.
The market takes place every Wednesday from 8am until about 2pm. Please see below for important information about parking arrangements from midnight on Tuesday.
Parking on in the High Street
Please observe the ‘No Parking after midnight’ signs put up on Tuesday afternoons in some bays on the Town Hall side of the High Street.
Some traders set up very early in the morning but can’t do this if vehicles are parked there.
The Town and Manor is delighted to announce that a grant has been awarded from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and DEFRA. The £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund, part of the government’s wider green economic recovery, jobs and skills package, brought forward funding for environmental charities and their partners to start work on projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change.
The North Wessex Downs AONB is the lead applicant administering the grant award on behalf of the Heritage Fund and the Partnership which includes Action for the River Kennet (ARK), Hungerford Town and Manor and the Southern Streams Farmer Group to deliver the Green Recovery Challenge Fund project.
The Sparkling Streams project will enhance the River Kennet at Eddington Mill, and help to restore the degraded tributaries of the Shalbourne and the Dun. Most of the work is due to start in October 2021, and due to the nature of the grant, needs to be completed by March 2022. Chalk streams are globally rare and this project will reverse centuries of damage. Over 90% of the world’s chalk streams are within 100 miles of Hungerford, and the Town and Manor continues to encourage and protect the biodiversity of the rivers Dun, Shalbourne and Kennet.
For more information, please click here to watch a film explaining what the Sparkling Streams project will achieve. The film illustrates how, with some careful help, nature can quickly restore itself. Definitely worth watching whilst enjoying a cuppa or something stronger!
Dogs on the marsh
Dog Walkers on Freeman’s Marsh are reminded that the ground-nesting birds’ season started on 1 March. Please read the signs placed at all the entrances to the marsh and should you wish to let your dog off the lead, please only do so where permitted.
I mentioned about this last month and I want to mention it again. The vast majority of you don’t need to read this paragraph as, when you visit the Common, the Marsh or indeed any other outdoor space, you don’t leave cans, bottles, sandwich wrappers, dog-poo bags and other rubbish behind you. (Regarding the latter, West Berkshire Council has agreed that from now on it will empty the bins every week so there should no longer be a time when they’re overflowing.)
As well as being hideous to look at, all this mess can be environmentally damaging and can directly hard wildlife (such as the cows, who will soon be returning to the Common). It also costs us money and time to clean up, both of which could better be spent on the many projects which we’re involved. It also eats into the sums we’re able to distribute to local organisations as grants. Many thanks in advance.
The responsibilities of the Town and Manor
The Town and Manor of Hungerford is a unique institution, the only such body in England to have survived (in other places, the functions and assets of these organisations have been assumed by local councils). Some reflections on its past, and its present, role can be found here.
Many aspects of the Town and Manor, including its ownership of the Town Hall, make it look like another tier of local government (which it is not) and as a result many people are unsure of what aspects of local life it is responsible for. These are some of the main things that the Town and Manor does, all at no cost to the local residents:
• Hungerford Common (including maintenance, the cows, the paths, the trees and event licences).
• Freeman’s Marsh (including maintenance, the cows, the paths and the trees).
• The trees in the High Street from the Canal Bridge to the junction of Atherton Road (maintenance).
• The Croft (including grass cutting, trees, posts and event licences).
• The Town Hall (including bookings and maintenance).
• River Kennet and River Dun (including weed cutting, debris clearance and bank maintenance).
• Hocktide (all aspects of the festival).
For any problems, issues or enquiries relating to any of these matters, please email email@example.com or call 01488 686555.