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Southern Country Park: Tributes to conservation volunteers at Bishop's Stortford park



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Two founder members of the Friends of Southern Country Park have stepped down.

Members paid tribute to outgoing chairman Andy White with a framed montage of some of the group's activities and achievements over the past 13 years.

Andy has been at the helm since the friends group was formed in 2009 and has championed its conservation work to ensure the park provides leisure for the community and a haven for wildlife.

Andy White, centre, and Peter Bevan, to Andy's left, with Friends of Southern Country Park committee members. Pic: Vikki Lince
Andy White, centre, and Peter Bevan, to Andy's left, with Friends of Southern Country Park committee members. Pic: Vikki Lince

Also retiring was treasurer Peter Bevan. He was presented with a rose bush in recognition of his work covering not only the finances of the group but also many practical tasks in the park.

Spread over 22 hectares (54 acres), Southern Country Park provides open spaces, a lake, woodland paths and play areas. It is the only park in Bishop's Stortford to have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag status, marking it as one of the best in the country.

Under Andy's leadership, the friends have worked with East Herts Council and Hertfordshire Council's Countryside and Rights of Way Service to develop the park's facilities while always protecting its ecology.

Coppicing and scalloping at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham
Coppicing and scalloping at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham

The volunteers meet at least once a month to carry out a rolling list of tasks based on a five-year plan. For example, they regularly lay wood chippings on paths to stop them from getting muddy, create steps to make it easier to get down slopes, plant trees and thousands of bulbs and wildflowers, prune overgrown areas and make hedges.

They also leave woodpiles as a habitat for insects and small mammals, encourage and monitor the abundant butterfly population, create ponds for water creatures and ensure there are habitats for all sorts of wildlife, from bats to water voles.

Andy will continue to act as a wildlife consultant to the friends while Jim Hook takes over as chairman.

The lake at Southern Country Park on Saturday. Picture: Sim Richardson (55598779)
The lake at Southern Country Park on Saturday. Picture: Sim Richardson (55598779)
Mute swans on the lake at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham
Mute swans on the lake at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham
A black-headed gull feeding in large puddles at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham
A black-headed gull feeding in large puddles at Southern Country Park. Picture: Jono Forgham
READER'S PHOTO: An early start at Southern Country Park by David Francis. Send your photos to us at photos@stortfordindie.co.uk (55598653)
READER'S PHOTO: An early start at Southern Country Park by David Francis. Send your photos to us at photos@stortfordindie.co.uk (55598653)


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