The Friends of Harebreaks Wood
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 Whats new

2013 Dawn Chorus

Minutes of the 2012 AGM

Minutes of the 2011 AGM

Dawn Chorus list 2011

Minutes of the meeting 13/04/2011

Minutes of the AGM 13/10/2010

The longstanding path to the playing fields has been blocked, this has been in use for at least 80 years. To contest this we will need evidence, so please download and complete the following forms. Please return them or reply to

HCC evidence form

Minutes 14/07/10

Bat Safari 9th of July 2010. 13 people turned up to check the Bat population of the wood. Using the electonic Bat detectors, the group found 45kh Pipastrelle's and 55kh (Soprano) Pippastrelle's at a number of locations.

Dawn Chorus 10th April 2010. Nine people enjoyed a great morning, the highlight for me was watching Nuthatch's building a nest near the playing field.

Birds seen or heard:Tawney Owl, Song Thrush, Robin, Blackbird, Rook, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Chffinch, Jay, Starling, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Misle Thrush, Jackdaw, Black Headed Gull, Chiffchaff, Mallard, Blackcap, Dunnock, Nuthatch.

Autumn 2008 -
The AGM minutes are available below. The main news is that the reclamation work to the west by Herons playing field is now really beginning to bear fruit. The tree planting programme over the last 4-5 years has arrested the spread of grassland into the wood and the woodland is becoming restablished in this area. We will be continuing with the programme on the 29th November and as part of National Tree Week.

AGM minutes 08/10/08

June & July 2008 -
An ordinary meeting of the Friends was held on the 9th July and the minutes are available below.

This years Bat Safari only attracted a few hardy souls, probably because of the cool and rainy conditions. Nevertheless, we were able to get excellent views of the bats which were feeding low along the edge of wood and Leggatts Campus playing fields. Although we generally expect to identify Pipistrelles, we are now on the look out for Noctules which I understand have been identified elsewhere in Watford.

Minutes 09/07/08

April & May 2008 -
An ordinary meeting of the Friends was held on the 9th April and the minutes are available below. On the 19th we undertook a leisurely clean-up/litter pick, looking out for anything of interest generally in the early Spring. By chance, we spotted a recent fox den, hidden by brush, but very close to one of the kissing-gates on the edge of the wood.

The Bluebell Walk on the 26th April was about ten strong and our timing this year was spot on! The aim is to protect the native English Bluebell over the invasive Spanish variety. The English Bluebell, whose bells all hang to one side of the main stem, appears vivid violet in bright sunlight and we enjoyed plenty of good views.

Finally, many thanks to Christ Church & St Mark's for putting on a great show for May Day. The Friends of Harebreaks Wood were very pleased to be invited and to support the festivities. Thanks also to our supporters and volunteers who were on hand answer questions and enquiries from the public and to distribute information about Harebreaks Wood.

Minutes 09/04/08

(No written agenda)

March 2008 -
We were fortunate to have the expertise of Austin Hollands and Philip McGovern from the local RSPB leading the Dawn Chorus on the 29th. Species identified were;

Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wood Pidgeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Jay, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Songthrush, Mistlethrush, Green Woodpecker(heard), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull.

The Stock Dove was new to most of us, resembles a feral pigeon and is an Amber List protected species. The RSPB website has illustrations, so here's a link.

January 2008 -
We spent a couple of hours tidying up on the 19th. The bare wood in winter is of real interest and allows us to monitor and take stock generally. Our next event is the Dawn Chorus on the Saturday 29th March. It's an early start... 6.00am at the Bill Everett Centre car park. Although it doesn't feel like it, Sunday marks the start of British Summer Time (BST).

Join us at St Mark's after the bird watch. You are guaranteed warming refreshments including a bowl of Keiths' delicious, steaming-hot porridge. Not to be missed!

Minutes 11/01/08

December 2007 -
Many thanks to all who came for our Tree Planting event (1st Dec). We managed about an hours worth before the heavens opened and sent us running for cover! But no matter as the programme is a long term one, aimed at reclaiming areas in the west of the woods that are becoming sparse or reverting to grassland. Other local Friends groups were also out and about that day and as part of the Boroughs' general support of National Tree Week.

Many thanks also to 'The Watford Observer' which covered our event. If you missed it in the paper the first time, you can still read all about it here!

October 2007 -
Our AGM was on the 10th October. The agenda and minutes are available below. Perhaps the most important topic under discussion was the likely impact on the wood of the proposed housing development at Leggatts Campus. Taylor Wimpey, the developers, have commissioned a series of reports in support of their application. For the Habitat Survey Report and the Bat Survey Report see July & August below. These .pdf files are quite large and might take a little time to open, depending on your connection speed.

For all the documents submitted by Taylor Wimpey (there are 63 of them!), go to the UK Planning Service. The Application Reference Number is 07/01268/FULM. The UK Planning Service can also be accessed from Watford Borough Councils web site.

AGM Minutes 10/10/07

August 2007 -
A Habitat Survey Report was carried out by Taylor Wimpey, as part of their submission to develop Leggatts Campus for housing. This document shows just how diverse the eco-system of Harebreaks Wood really is. The 'song thrush', 'mistle thrush' and 'green woodpecker' are Red and Amber List protected species.

July 2007 - Many thanks to all of you came to the Bat safari (20th July) and hope you found it fun and interesting. We identified two species, the Common pipistrelle and the Soprano pipistrelle. The two are most easily distinguished using the bat detectors as they echo-locate at different frequencies (45 kHz and 55 kHz). We are also now really starting to appreciate how interdependent the wood is with the surrounding open spaces of Herons recreation ground (South), Leggatts Campus playing fields (North) and Callowland allotments (West). We've long suspected that there are bat roosts in the old school buildings on Leggatts Campus and this was confirmed from photographs included in a Bat Survey Report carried out in September on behalf of Taylor Wimpey.

June 2007 - We undertook a Litter Pick (23rd June) just prior to the June meeting. We are also keen to establish a formal bio-diversity survey of the wood and we would welcome any help or expertise you may have to achieve this. On Saturday, 14th July, 1.30pm we will continue with our own informal survey. Please come along to help us identify and confirm the various species. We meet up at the Bill Everett Centre car park.

Minutes 27/06/07

May 2007 - Hello to all of you who made it for the Bluebell Walk (5th May). The consensus is that we were a little too late to see the bluebells at their best. We've all heard of global warming and even the damp and shaded woodland probably isn't immune. One cannot fail to notice how much milder our winters have been lately and how this is affecting our traditional seasons. Spring is definately starting earier each year and I've certainly witnessed that many small garden birds are breeding earlier. In the near future, raising 2-3 broods per season might well be commonplace.

March 2007 - Many thanks to all the 'early birders' who made it for the Dawn Chorus (31st Mar). There was about a dozen of us in all despite the heavy, leaden and ponderous sky that greeted us. But it was this dense and muffled air that provided the acoustic treat; and the highlight of the walk - the woodpeckers! First came the'knock-knock-knock' of a Great Spotted tapping at the tall stands by Leggatts Way alternating with the 'yak-yak-yak' call of a Green in reply. Gradually, we edged closer to the calls of these two noisy cousins, eventually spotting both individuals. The show ended with the Green flushing from cover and dive-bombing past us towards The Harebreaks. The event was rounded off nicely with an early breakfast at St Marks', courtesy of Keith.

Minutes 28/03/07

January 2007 - We undertook some more tree planting (27th Jan) on the fringes of the wood and to reclaim areas that are becoming sparse or turning to grassland

Minutes 10/01/07

November & December 2006 - We undertook a litter pick (4th Nov) and some tree planting (2nd Dec). The next organised clean up is on Saturday, 27th Jan, 1.30pm. We meet at the Bill Everett Centre car park. If you can spare some time, please come along. Ian Mather, Watford Borough Council, will kindly arrange tools and equipment.

Minutes 11/10/06