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.



Summary of Past Work Parties

On a nice dry day last mid-November we worked in the shelter belt at Sherborne. Here we cleared scrub and overhanging branches from the beech trees to prevent them further damaging the dry stone wall running beside the A40.

A month later we were at Coaley Peak working in the area below the main road.  Our task was to continue the clearance of small trees and scrub to open up the site for grazing.  Again, it was not too cold for December with the bonus of a good fire.

The first work party for 2019 was again at Sherborne, continuing the clearance alongside the A40 shelter belt.

Later in January we visited a new site on Rodborough Common which turned out to be above the Nailsworth Garden Centre.  Here we tidied up after the steep south facing bank had been cleared of scrub to make way for Cotswold  grassland creatures.  It was a bit chilly so we did manage a small fire.

Continuing with the theme of fires, our visit to Haresfield/Standish Woods in February saw us have a rather large fire built with larch tree brash which had been cleared around hard wood trees.  The resultant cleared area would now be able to regenerate.  We were impressed with the ”dead hedge• that had been previously built around the area so that walkers and mountain bikers did not go across it while the area was recovering.

It was very windy on our visit to Boundary Court in early March where we started to clear an overgrown fence line prior to a new fence being erected by contractors.  We went further up into the coombe than we had been before as the land has now passed back into the control of the Trust from the former tenant.

At the end of March we returned to Bear Hill, Rodborough to continue work on the grassland regeneration scheme.  The work was the same as we had done in January at the other site, with added attention to the juniper bushes.  As with the previous work party, we also had a fire and the weather was again quite nice.

After our five day ANTS spring break in Northumberland, in early May we went to Newark Park.  Our tasks included replacing some steps just behind the wall gates to the lower walled garden near the Orangery.  Whilst this was being done, another group dug out the small stream which ran down the bank behind the wall.  In wet weather the stream overflows and floods the path below so a small retaining dry stone wall was also built on the lower edge of the stream.  Later in the day, by a footpath further up the bank, we replaced some of the stone tiles that were being used to retain the stream and extended the culvert pipe which took the stream under the path.



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.

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:


2nd June Ebworth 15th September,  Haresfield
23rd June Woodchester 6th October, Sherborne
14th July Westbury Court 27th October,  TBA (with Martin)
4th August Sherborne 17th November,  Crickley Hill

18th August Ebworth 8th December,  May Hill


Fish & Chip Suppers at ”Popeyes• Queens Road, Cheltenham (near Railway Station) —The next outings will be Friday 21st June (revised date) & Saturday 2nd 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 long weekend break will again be mid-October. The area around Dorchester has been chosen and I am currently researching accommodation available. I will let the interest parties know in due course what options we have.

The next ANTS Meeting will be at Tim‘s house on Friday, 4th October at 7.45 p.m.

ANTS Christmas Lunch — Sunday 15th 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.


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