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Effingham Eye: Nature At The Golf Club, Planning Matters, Summer Pics And Lovely On The Water

Published on: 15 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 18 Sep, 2020

Chris Dick offers some views on local matters with a second visit to Effingham Golf Club, latest parish council activity, a chance meeting with someone who had a novel approach to lockdown activities, some fairly average garden photos and more.

Another visit to Effingham Golf Club

Sunrise over Effingham Golf Club: Photo by Jon Budd.

Once again leaving aside the golf, it still remains difficult to cover all that is happening on the Effingham Golf Club ecological front.

Course manager Jon Budd explained: “Our ecology programme has encouraged the return of several species of butterfly and bees including the very rare small scabious bee. We also support badgers, roe deer and other small mammals such as the dormouse, wesseals, stoats, field mice and voles.”

Badgers seen on Effingham Golf Club: Photo by Jon Budd.

Jon listed an impressive range of raptors now regularly seen over the club’s land as a result of its ecology programme that had involved the reintroduction of lowland grasses which are left to grow and reseed the land. This had created the right environment for insects and small mammals which attracted the raptors.

Jon said: “We now have a pair of buzzards that nest with us every year as well as pairs of kestrels, sparrow hawks, owls, a large population of skylarks, woodpeckers, goldfinches, mistlethrush, fieldfare, brambling, red kites, kingfishers and many more.”

Malcolm Fincham our Guildford Dragon NEWS birdwatcher has kindly agreed to visit the golf club grounds in the near future to hopefully photograph some of them.

Reptiles seen at Effingham Golf Club: Photos by Jon Budd of a grass snake above and a slow worm below.

Jon went on to say: “The club has 21 hectares of meadow grass land which is left for the wildlife to thrive in as well as large areas of woodland which is managed by the green staff. They have been building bird boxes and insect habitats which we have placed around the estate over the years. We have grass snakes, common lizards which are increasing in numbers, slow worms and newts.”

Our meeting came to an end all too quickly but not before it did we had agreed to another meeting to visit the farm and look at the progress being made to become environmentally more sustainable, with water-harvesting, recycling, composting and reducing the club’s carbon footprint.

Effingham Parish Council

Effingham Parish Council held its regular public meeting on Tuesday, August 25, via Zoom. Apart from the councillors and a few regulars the audience was boosted by the Sir Douglas Haig pub site developers, Castellum.

It was a long meeting with planning matters taking up a significant chunk of the evening. The Sir Douglas Haig debate took over 25 minutes with Cllr Charles Thorne questioning the need to hear from the developers at all. Indeed when speaking about the prospective Church Street field development, Cllr Thorne referred to it as a “no brainer.”

Judging by what the other councillors said afterwards, Cllr Thorne had captured the feel of the process accurately.

Neither prospective developer appeared to have respected the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan nor the sensitivity and setting of the Conservation Area. The councillors – apart from Guildford Borough Councillor Liz Hogger who does not vote on planning matters – unanimously objected to both applications.

As one irate local resident, Neil Pennington said afterwards: “If the developers put in plans that fail to follow our adopted Neighbourhood Plan, then Guildford Borough Council should throw it back in their faces and refuse to even register it. The Neighbourhood Plan said ‘up to nine’ houses on the Church Street field. Not bloody 17!”

The chairman, Ian Symes, fairly whistled through the remaining items on the agenda although one item stood out.

A highways working group, chaired by Cllr Bronwen Roscoe, was tasked to review traffic in the village centre.

Although an uninspiring topic on the face of it, Cllr Liz Hogger commented that someone had contacted her – probably in her capacity as borough councillor – to raise concerns about pedestrian safety.

Apparently the resident had nearly been struck by a car in Church Street at the bend by St Lawrence Church burial ground. Liz muted the idea of a possible one-way system.

Readers will be aware of the Berkeley Homes development plans for around 300 homes in the village and the amount of HGV traffic such development will bring for years to come.

The Street, Effingham, blocked by a wide load on Sunday, September 5.

Clearly the highways working group will have a significant role to play in the coming months as access routes take form. The recent photo above shows the sort of problem encountered in the village centre that brings traffic to a standstill.

Gypsy incursion

On Sunday, September 6, the King George V recreation grounds in Browns Lane were once again subject to a Gypsy incursion.

Gypsy incursion on King George V recreation grounds.

Two trailers and two camper vans entered via the car park gate in Browns Lane just before 7pm. They drove across the grounds to park at the eastern boundary.

Police attended to advise those present. It is understood that the Gypsies were in Effingham for a family funeral later in the week.

Summer shots

Summer comes to an end!

After an amazing summer, what could be better than, as promised last month, three very average photographs of some garden action… and inaction.

Parking at Effingham railway station

Effingham railway station car park at midday on Monday, September 7.

On Monday, September 7, some media reported public transport was at 90% capacity with no social distancing.

However, bearing in mind that the Effingham railway station car park is usually at maximum capacity and overflowing on to Effingham Common Road most weekdays, this photo – taken around noon on September 7 – does not reflect this level of use. It looked to be less than 20% occupied with only 23 cars parked near the ticket office.

One solution to lockdown

A slight change of subject, but as restrictions were eased David King and I took to the local waterways again for some gentle canoeing.

It’s usually around this point that my editor jumps in to remind me that this is the Effingham Eye and that our links to such far away places as Cookham or Shepperton are at best tenuous and to the River Thames … not at all. But as I haven’t seen my editor since lockdown began perhaps he will have forgotten these minor constraints.

Reuben White in his 14.5 foot Dagger kayak.

It was a hot day of unbroken sunshine in late July and we had paddled downstream six miles from Aston Ferry to Cookham. We were sitting by the Thames lock eating our packed lunch when a single kayak came downstream and paused… We had blocked the portage point.

It turned out that the kayaker was Reuben White from Brighton. His normal job was working in London as a Blue Badge tourist guide. But Covid-19 had put him out of work for 2020. So he had decided to paddle the entire length of the River Thames in a week and set up camp where he could on the way.

We chatted, took a few photographs to send on to him, and off he went. It was amazing to learn that a couple of days earlier had been his first time in a kayak – and he had not capsized!

Three days later my wife and I were having coffee at the Shepperton Nauticalia Marina in Ferry Lane and talking about Reuben’s 14.5 foot Dagger kayak, to which I had taken quite a liking.

Looking over my shoulder my wife pointed to something in the water and said: “You mean like that one there?”

Sure enough there was Reuben White paddling passed looking for somewhere to stop for lunch. It was his final day on the water and he was as surprised as we were to meet him again.

And what has this got to do with Effingham?  Well not very much but you might like to consider using the beautiful waterways which are so close to Effingham.

Since the easing of lockdown restrictions British Canoeing membership has risen by a reported 11,000. Indeed after years of canoeing David and and I are amazed at the increase in people who have taken to our waterways.

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