Neil Anderson & Alan Wood
Leckhampton Hill 2007
The Friends of Leckhampton Hill & Charlton Kings Common (FOLK) represent the widest cross-section of users and lovers of the historic Cotswold escarpment site.
FOLK was formed in the year 2000 to represent local interest in the conservation, recreation, history & land management of the Site of Special Scientific Interest.
View from Leckhampton Hill
Leckhampton Hill, home to the Devil's Chimney, forms part of the Cotswold Escarpment which hosts hundreds of nature loving locals throughout the seasons, and has recently been designated as a Local Nature Reserve.
The dispute and riots of 1902-1906 are well documented, when the owners of the hill tried to restrict the public rights of way. There was huge outrage, with Cheltenham Ladies' College banning pianos made by the hill's owner Henry Dale. Cheltenham Borough Council purchased the site in 1927 in order to "maintain for the public the right to roam over the hill".
The work of FOLK today is protecting what so many locals fought for.
BBC Gloucestershire's Camilla Bassett-Smith shared a sunny afternoon on the hill with FOLK Chairman Alan Wood and member Neil Anderson.
Left entirely to nature, the site would gradually degenerate into coarse, impenetrable scrub and extensive woodland and the flower rich unimproved limestone grassland and views across the Vale would be lost. Thanks to the work of FOLK members, areas have been cleared (see photograph on the left), fences have been erected for cattle to graze and the site looks better than ever, and as Camilla termed an "organised nature".
Neil Anderson said that at times the work can be daunting, due to the sheer size of the area covered, but that it gives you a feeling of well-being and self satisfaction. Alan Wood agreed, describing the site as "the lungs of the local people".
To listen to Alan Wood and Neil Anderson speaking to Camilla Bassett-Smith on Leckhampton Hill, click on the following link:
To view photographs of Leckhampton Hill, click on the following link:
The group hold their regular working parties on the second Thursday and fourth Sunday of every month, to find out more contact Cheltenham Borough Council on 01242 250019, or click on the following link:
last updated: 01/04/2008 at 09:14