Wickham Way badger and rabbit holes – planning

Here is our newsletter sent today to 314 members and stakeholders of the Hodgemoor Riding Association. If you would like to be included, membership is as low as £5 p.a. for walkers and cyclists and £20 for horse-riders (https://hodgemoor.org.uk/riders/)

Wickham Way badger and rabbit holes

Susie and Marcus had a useful meeting on Monday 5th July at the Wickham Way bridlepath approaching the Spring Link where badgers and rabbits have been tunnelling and creating critical danger for horse riders… well, of course, for the horses themselves.

The meeting was organised by Phill Fox, the Rights of Way Structures Inspector in the Rights of Way Operations of the Highways & Technical Services, Buckinghamshire Council, with the Buckinghamshire Badger Group (www.bucks-badgers.org.uk), Alison Wolfreys and Mike Collard. They were able to advise Phill, as they have done in the past, on the ways of keeping the badgers and rabbits from tunnelling under the bridleway there. The subsoil is delightful soft sand; the badger sett, discreetly hidden on the north side of the bridleway, is the biggest in Hodgemoor. Next step is for Phill to take the case to the Ecology experts of Buckinghamshire Council and to apply for the license from Natural England in accordance with statutory guidance given by the Secretary of State. (see https://www.gov.uk/…/2020-badger-control-licences… and elsewhere for further reading). It looked as if no active badger holes would be affected if Bucks Council could proceed with the works to protect passing horses. The preferred solution is a vertical two-metre-deep grid of wire along 90 metres of the north side of path, which will either deter tunnelling or make the badgers tunnel at such a depth that a horse stepping on the surface will fall through.

We were also pleased to have the presence and points of view of Ian Hawes, Seer Green resident and active with Tiggywinkles, the free wildlife hospital, the busiest and most advanced in the world, in Haddenham (www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk).

We first reported to the authorities the danger of this section of the bridlepath in November 2019 and the issues were discussed at our AGM at the end of 2020. You can find the report at www.hodgemoor.org.uk//wp-content/uploads/2020/11/agm2020.pdf . It reads “The meeting agreed   that the Association   should contribute to   the cost of   doing this if Bucks CC can’t meet full cost, as it was a top priority to make this much used bridleway and access to the woods safe.” The committee will be asked to approve a final figure. Covid-19 has been partly to do with the delay to the process but the energies in place make it possible that the works can be done this year before the embargo on badger control strarting November each year.

You can see videos of adorable badger cubs in this very sett taken by Harry Whiting of St Giles … https://hodgemoor.org.uk/walkers/nature-videos-and-photos/. Please do not visit the sett (but be informed that Alison and Mike might make a night-time census of the badger numbers in the near future). No badgers will be culled and it looks as if no active setts will be interfered with.




Volunteer Clearing – your woods need you

Help clipping back the edges of the trails or digging water run-offs where they have filled up. Come for an hour or two. You know how much Susie, Marcus and one or two committee members work in the woods on your behalf… now is the chance for you to say thank you and play your part, especially as the membership fee is so tiny! We are proposing a variety of dates so that you cannot be occupied elsewhere on every date!

  • This Sunday 18th July: The Seer Green loop starting near Widmer Equestrian.
  • Saturday 14th August 10h: Hodgemoor Woods car park
  • Sunday 29th August 10h: Hodgemoor Woods car park


Wickham Way grass cut

I have topped the grass on each side of the Wickham Way from Seer Green / St Giles to the east end of the wood (map https://hodgemoor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/map-of-hodgemoor-wood_orig.pdf). Nice conditions there and in Hodgemoor.   I have also topped the wide verge in Narcot Lane and will give it another go soon. No charge to Hodgemoor. Mini XC jump field closed till the hay is cut.


Pip has been found

We are so pleased that Hodgemoor’s Facebook is such an active help to the local community. A lady from Chorleywood lost her miniature dachshund on 30th June. We helped, along with other Facebook pages like the Chalfont St Giles Selling and Information Group, to put out the word. Many volunteers went out into Hodgemoor even at night to look for Pip. By a miracle she was found 5 days later on the other side of the main road, safe and sound; just wandering around getting hungry. Harriet wrote “PIP HAS BEEN FOUND! The best news. The community has just been amazing. Thank you everyone for sharing and looking. I am blown away by the support “.


Redevelopment of Perkins Elmer site

Proposed redevelopment of Perkins Elmer site on main access route from Seer Green into Hodgemoor: please submit your views’ There is a proposal to replace the existing office building with 31 new homes on this site located right on the double bend on Chalfont Road and the turn-off into Rawlings Lane, the main access route for horse-riders into Hodgemoor Woods. To the eye, a well-designed development would probably be preferable to the existing office building, but the proposal does not appear to have taken into account that traffic will increase throughout the day, and although pedestrians and cyclists are mentioned for a possible new entrance, no consideration is given to horse-riders. We would be grateful if you could submit your views on www.landatchalfontroad.co.uk and make it clear that this dangerous double bend is in constant use by horse-riders and what do the developers plan to do to keep them safe.



It is heart-warming when we get an ex-gratia donation to your association; that means more in the kitty for creating and maintaining the wonderful all-weather trails in Hodgemoor. Today we thank a lady who would prefer to remain anonymous who gave £65 … she has ridden a few times in the area and has fallen in love with what we do. Thank you.


Dressage as an art form

“If the art were not so difficult we would have plenty of good riders and excellently ridden horses, but as it is the art requires, in addition to everything else, character traits that are not combined in everyone: inexhaustible patience, firm perseverance under stress, courage combined with quiet alertness. If the seed is present only a true, deep love for the horse can develop these character traits to the height that alone will lead to the goal.”

Gustav Steinbrech