GOING GREEN – January 2024

I saw a lovely idea the other day that appealed to my love of simplicity. Every time something good happens to you, write it down on a scrap of paper and place it in an empty jar. At the end of the year tip out all the slips and remind yourself of all the lovely things you have done, seen or heard during the year.
It’s surprising how the good things add up.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I think I will make a ‘Jar of Good Things’ I’ve even had some good experiences since the New Year and it’s only the 4th January as I write.

My family and I walked to the Natural Burial Ground at Rotherfield Greys which is becoming something of a regular New Year’s Day tradition for us. My mum and sister are both buried there. It is a lovely peaceful place.

Every year Andy, the steward, plants new native trees to mark the lines of graves (there are no gravestones as it is completely natural) so eventually a native woodland will cover the site with all the biodiversity that will attract. Currently there are sheep grazing in the remainder of the field which seem to add to the calmness of this idyllic resting place.

The third day of the New Year saw a group of us from the Greener Henley Wildlife Group planting a natural hedge at Gillotts School. Working with the Wildlife Group is very rewarding – with good team work, good company and good cakes when we stop for a cuppa. Even more rewarding is knowing that we are doing something that helps nature.

This was the second hedge planting we’ve done recently. In November we reinstated the old hedge dividing up Marsh Meadows. If you are interested in joining the Wildlife Working Group, it’s a relaxed friendly group and very informal. You don’t have to be a specialist – I quite often pick up litter when I
go.

The group usually meets on the first and fourth Wednesday morning of each month. Our next session will be on the 24th January when we will be working at the Holy Trinity churchyard in Greys Hill which is a wonderful wildlife reserve right in the middle of Henley.


Last month Greener Henley were pleased to give away 57 native trees as part of the Oxfordshire Great Garden Tree Giveaway. In total 3,000 new trees will be planted in the county under this scheme.

Some of us are interested in the “Tiny Forests” movement, I think I have mentioned Miyawaki Forests before. Normally it takes about 100 years for an ancient forest to grow but by densely planting native trees and shrubs in a small area the wood will mature in 20 years. If you have a piece of unused land about the size of a tennis court (or smaller) or know of somewhere that would benefit from some shady trees and wildlife as well as sequestering carbon, we would be interested in hearing from you.

Another good thing that happened just this morning was an enquiry from someone interested in putting up a swift box. As their numbers decline it is really important to welcome these wonderful birds back to Henley. Swifts return each year to the same nesting site and if these sites disappear through building demolition or renovation they have to quickly find a suitable alternative. Also the new breeding pairs will be looking for nesting sites too. If you would like to find out more about swifts and whether your property is suitable for a swift box please contact [email protected] .
Looking forward to the summer we have the 8 th – 16 th June earmarked as

Henley’s Great Big Green Week. This is a countrywide celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature. Last year we were delighted that Henley managed to put on 18 different events during the week which involved hundreds of individuals, groups and businesses.

Now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to do this year. If you took part last year and want to do something this year, let us know now. If you haven’t been involved before but think that you really want to do something this year – please get in touch.

We have a few ideas pencilled in but we would love to hear from members of book groups, churches, sports organisations, scouts and guides, gardeners, businesses, artists and creatives. We can help with suggestions and contacts but let’s start the conversations going.

We really care about Henley and environs adapting to change and improving nature and we’re sure you do too. Contact us at [email protected]

Happy New Year friends!

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