The 'Cheltenham National Trust Volunteers Group'

- known as The ANTS (Active National Trust Squad) are a conservation group based in the Cheltenham and Gloucester area. We have recently worked at The Ebworth Estate, Rodborough Common, Woodchester Park, The Sherborne Estate and May Hill as well  as other NT Gloucestershire countryside properties.

Our work days are usually held every third Sunday. We also have a variety of social events and two Open Meetings‘ a year for members to air their views. Newsletters are produced two or three times a year. This information can be found on the Centre web site Click on the ANTS button on the left of the first page.

It is essential to let Russ or Tim know if you intend to come on a work party in case there is a last minute change of venue or cancellation due to adverse weather.

For bookings and further information please contact: Russ Self 01242 243714 or or Tim Parker on 01242 522435

You will need to bring enough food and drink for the day and have good boots (preferably  with steel toecaps), strong gloves and waterproof clothing. Tools are provided by the N T Rangers. We aim to arrive at work sites between 9.30 and 10.00 and usually finish between 14.00 and 15.00.

Work Party Dates and Locations Winter 2018 and also 2019

These can be found here Work_party_dates.pdf


ANTS Newsletter, Autumn, 2018

One of the themes this past period has been dry stone walls.  At Ebworth they are gradually restoring the wall down the sides of the entrance drive. The side aspect is there remains piles of stone rubble.  In order to be able to cut the grass verges the morning was spent removing several trailer loads of this stone.

The second wall project was preparation for rebuilding a wall. This occurred at a place called Clump Farm, which is off the now terminated road in Broadway.  Some wall had been done but the remaining fence line had become overgrown with bramble and other small tree growth.  Again this is fronted by a grass verge, waiting to be cut.

We had a second job while at Ebworth, which was clearing and widening a footpath, which gave us a view of Sheepscombe  cricket pitch.,  which in turn has good views over the valley from its high location.
Many of you will know Coaley Peak - the car park.  But did you know that the name includes the hill side below the road?  We helped clear the "wrong" growth as this area is one of several in the region that is having concentrated attention to restore grassland habitat.  A job we have also done elsewhere.

The annual Autumn break this group is taking is based at Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire.   There are various places and Thames side places to visit.


Summary of past work parties

In early June we visited Ebworth where Laura took us down to the Deer Lawn for a new task.  The job was to clear the very invasive Small Balsam from the Lawns above the lakes.  It was a fiddly , back bending job, but we picked quite a few black bags' worth.

The weather had really warmed up by late June when we went to Iron Mills Common near Nailsworth.  We were dragging and piling up cut scrub. However, due to the steep slope and the south facing aspect, it had grown too hot to continue by lunchtime, so we had an early finish.

It was still warm at Westbury Court Gardens in July when we did our annual task of clearing the banks of the stream.

We were unable to work at the Sherborne Estate at the beginning of August as Mike, the Ranger, had another engagement.  So, rather than cancel the day, we had a walk around the pleasure grounds and the water meadows, with a break at the shop & cafe in the village to keep our strength up!

In mid-August we returned to Ebworth to clear left-over stone from beside the entrance track where the drystone wall had been partially rebuilt.  In the afternoon we walked along the path below the centre which led to the side of the Sheepscombe Cricket Ground.  Here we cleared the side of the footpath for easier access.

A month later we were at Coaley Peak at a new site below the road which lead up to Frocester Hill.  We cleared scrub and brambles in preparation for the site to be grazed at a later date and had a fire.  The weather was still warm but breezy with a few spots of rain in the wind.

Somewhere we have not been to in a long time - Clump Farm, Broadway — was our work party in October. We cleared brambles & scrub from the wall beside the road which leads to the turning point at the top of the High Street.  The cut material was stacked on a very large pile just beyond the Orchard.  It was a beautiful sunny day.

By the time we went to Crickley Hill in late October, the weather was more autumnal.  Our task was to clear the sides of the Cotswold Way at the roadside entrance leading to the car parks.  For the first time we built a ”dead hedge" just inside the entrance gate using stakes cut from beside the path, stacked and woven in between with lengths of hazel, also coppiced from the sides of the path.



WORK PARTIES - see above

Please bring enough food and drink for the day, together with suitable clothing and footwear.  Tools will be available, supplied by the Rangers, and we can provide protective gloves if required.

Due to parking problems we will no longer meet in the centre of Cheltenham so please let either Tim or Russ/Sally know if you are coming so that we can arrange enough transport and in case there is a last minute change of venue.  We aim to arrive at the worksites between 09:30 & 10:00. 
Tim — 01242 522435 Russ/Sally — 01242 243714 or email:


Fish & Chip Suppers at ”Popeyes• Queens Road, Cheltenham (near Railway Station) —The next outings will be Saturdays, 22nd June & 3rd November (which will be followed by a small Fireworks display).  The evenings start at 7:00 p.m. and you can either meet earlier at Tim‘s abode (19 Libertus Court, Cheltenham) or at the restaurant.

ANTS Weekend - The dates for the next long weekend break will be 11th—14th October.  I have received suggestions for the venue to be in the areas around Ely, Plymouth, West Sussex or Knowle, so please indicate if you are interested.  I will then research for available accommodation at a reasonable price.

The next ANTS Meeting will be at Tim‘s house on Friday, 26th October at 7.45 p.m.

ANTS Christmas Lunch — Sunday 9th December has been pencilled and Tim has provisionally booked ”Madisons•, the venue we were at last year.  Details of the cost, menu and times will be communicated in the autumn.



Here is the link to the latest  Gloucestershire Volunteers newsletter      



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