News and Events

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Events Post

The BCA Annual events listing covers a range of activities including family friendly events, socials, talks, presentations, performances, music and art installations. Join to gain full membership access to all BCA events

Please note that all events start at 7.30pm and are held at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, unless stated otherwise.

The Importance of Trees

A report on Gerald Price's talk on the work of the Woodland Trust - by Simon Fussell

Gerald Price began his talk to members of Buxton Civic Association on the ‘Importance of Trees and the work of the Woodland Trust’ with the story of the origins of the Trust.

In 1972 Kenneth Watkins a Devonshire farmer looked out one day at the wooded hillside across from his farm. He was struck by the thought that, if the grubbing up of trees and hedges continued, the beautiful ancient woodland that was such an important part of his world, would be gone. Burnt and ploughed up in a blaze of subsidies and ‘modern’ agricultural practise.

He decided to do something about it. He bought it. And rather than hide it away behind ‘keep out’ and ‘do not enter’ signs, he encouraged the public to come in, to walk, to linger, to enjoy the shade and the wildlife of the woodland. To share his woodland, if they were responsible about it of course.

Now 45 years later the organisation that he and other enlightened folk started, The Woodland Trust, has 1100 woods and 250,000 members. They have an objective. Currently 12.5% of the country is wooded. The Woodland Trust want this to be 25%, and they are launching a Charter, 800 years after the Charta de Foresta, which provided protection and recognition of the rights of the commoners to the woods and forests, that had been so ruthlessly eroded in the years since the Norman Conquest.

The new Charter for trees, woods and people will provide a set of policies and guidelines to ensure that we protect and cherish our woodlands for centuries to come.

The Trust celebrate trees wherever they are. The urban trees make up a vital and increasingly importance part of our national woodlands. The percentage of land with trees in places such as London and Leicester is around 20%, far higher than the 12.5% National Average. As well as providing a welcome break to the city skyline, they are a refuge for wildlife, and a source of wellbeing for the city dweller.

But of course you cannot plant a woodland, only a plantation. Woodlands take time and evolve over centuries, 4 of them for a decent ancient woodland. They need deadwood to flourish, and insects, animals, plants, fungi and mosses to establish themselves to live and die and provide the lifeblood for the next generation, all across the ebb and flow of a thousand seasons.

For the Woodland Trust, small can be beautiful. A 2-acre wood, where once there was a waste ground, has a beauty and a utility that far out strips its size. It does not take long for a difference to be made. Within 5-10 years the land can be transformed from dull monoculture to the chaotic tangled beauty of a young wood.

It provides a refuge for wildlife, and extra biodiversity, becomes a cherished place to walk or to sit. A place to think. Somewhere to appreciate the rhythm, the hum and throb of the seasons.

And of the Wildwood that once cloaked so much of our island? It is gone. Long gone. We cannot recreate it and it is perhaps best not to try. The wildwood took many millennia to evolve, and who knows it may return. But in its own time and at its own speed.

In the meantime, we have the Woodland Trust to thank for helping to ensure that trees stay important to us and our children.

Members Event – April Talk – The Importance of Trees

Buxton Civic Association’s next talk is on 20th April at 7.30pm at Poole’s Cavern Visitor Centre. Members and non- members are welcome. We are delighted to welcome Gerald Price from the Woodland Trust.

Gerald explains that the “The talk is about the importance of Woodland, to us, wildlife and the environment. Woodland is one of our most precious parts of the countryside and contributes significant positive benefits to each of these. We will look at what these are. For example, Trees bring two important characteristics to the landscape; height and relative permanency. To about half of all our native wildlife species this creates a home, just as buildings do so for us. Loss of habitat is one of the main causes for species extinction. Much in the news is air pollution. Trees can help here, especially in urban areas in extracting dust and CO2. Perhaps paradoxically our towns and cities often have a higher tree cover than surrounding open countryside. Also, most find woodland therapeutic as well as very valuable leisure areas.”

The Woodland Trust is committed to doubling native tree cover in the UK. There are three main strands to this:

Protection
Restoration
Creation

There are many threats such as disease, development and just not caring. The Trust wants to draw attention to these by encouraging people to visit and explore woods. There are 45 separate woodland areas with a 10 mile radius of Buxton that the general public can visit. Gerald will explain will explain how to find these.
The Trust is leading a multi organisation initiative to put in place a Woodland Charter this November to a) celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Carta do Foresta (an annex to the Magna Carta) and b) to formally recognise the importance of Woodland in the Landscape for us all. He will have the latest news on this.

Your Speaker

Gerald Price has now retired from working in IT Operations, an indoor job where the life span of equipment was little more than 3 years. In contrast, at weekends, he found a role as a volunteer warden for a WT wood enjoying the outside life and a project planning 30 Years plus! Having to move to the Midlands he took to speaking to groups, leading walks and helping on new woodland creation projects. As been as a Friend of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, a new 460 acre site in the National Forest he has been helping the creation of new woodland or a site that was until 2010 an open cast colliery. He currently speaks to about 20 groups a year and looks forward to meeting those interested in the world outside!

Members Event March

The story of the Fountain on the Market Place

After last month’s fascinating and revealing talk about the crescent restoration project, Adam Bench will be continuing the theme of historic Buxton, with a presentation on the history of the “Fountain” on the market. Build in 1840 and presented to the town by the Chatsworth estate, it was one of the first sources of clean fresh water for higher Buxton. Adam has conducted extensive research amongst the Chatsworth estate archives and the Derbyshire County Council pubic records office to trace the fascinating history of this grade II listed building. BCA and the Buxton Wells Dressing Festival committee are seeking to restore the fountain to its former glory and hope to announcing plans for its restoration soon.

The talk is at 7.30pm on 16th March at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre

Restaurant Review

Mike Wilde and friends dine at the Cafe at the Cavern

We are four friends who share a taste for the good things in life and food is near the top of our list.
We were not disappointed. We ate well, were served well and the atmosphere was pleasant. The members of the Cavern Catering Team had done well to create a venue for fine dining from what is essentially just a café.

The Evening

We were greeted on arrival and taken straightaway to our table by Café manager Paula. We were given free iced water throughout the evening, which was a sensible addition to the favourite white and red wines we had brought with us. Individual members of staff were happy to discuss all food questions we had during service.

We were soon brought a plate of freshly baked bread and a lightly salted butter as an appetiser. It was simple well baked soft bread with a delicious combination of oil and Rosemary that could only be improved if served warm.

The boys started with onion soup. There was no shortage of nicely softened onions and an agreeably large and tasty cheese crouton added extra flavour. The soup had a distinctively strong taste due to the Buxton Brewery ale used in the stock.

The girls had opted for the pigeon breast that was neatly presented on a white profile plate and topped with potato crisp, pea shoots, dabs of celeriac puree and very nicely complemented with mushrooms, bacon and beetroot. The meat was tasty and the whole dish was a brilliant combination of flavours.

For our main course, three of us opted for the Ox cheek which arrived on a large white platter with substantial portions of dark leafy green kale and red cabbage. This assured me I would have at least two of my five-a-day and was a good healthy choice. The smoky mash was smooth and creamy, just as I like it, and the sweet baby carrots gave a nice colour and taste contrast to the other vegetables.

The Ox cheek was cooked to perfection, being tender and tasty with just the right amount of the cooking juices reduced to a bold sauce. This was truly a flavoursome dish which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

The other main course choice was the Chicken Ballotine. It was a colourful plate of food with 4 generous slices of the ballotine. With mushroom and thyme combining to create a delicious stuffing for the moist and tender chicken breast, the whole was complemented with an ample amount of buttery velouté sauce, potato croquette and seasonal vegetables.

For dessert, one of us chose the Panna Cotta that turned out to be an absolutely winning combination of pear, elderflower, ginger and honey comb. It was a wonderful take on a favourite Italian dessert.

The rest chose the Tarte Tatin. This was another taste triumph. It was a perfect slice of tart. Sugar dusted apple slices with a caramel glaze on a sweet pastry base, an amazing smidgen of rhubarb coulis and a gorgeously light, hot Cardamom custard. Heaven! We all agreed.

To finish we had a decent cup of coffee and a morsel of smooth, sweet and creamy hand cut fudge. It was a nice finale to an excellent meal.

The keys to great food are the right ingredients, the right recipe and the right techniques.
Well done Hattie. You nailed it. Do it again soon.

Buxton Festival Walk

The Duke's Legacy - A guided walk around Grin Low Wood

A 1 hour gentle walk through Grinlow Woods, Buxton, guided by Alyson Phillips, Director of the Buxton Civic Association (BCA). Walkers will be introduced to the variety plants and trees in the woodland, including those planted over 200 years ago, for the 5th Duke of Devonshire, and the history of the industrial landscape they mask.

Please meet at the café at Poole’s Cavern. Parking is available at the starting point: Poole’s Cavern and Country Park, Green Lane, Buxton, SK17 9DH.

The tickets for the walk go on sale to priority bookers on 27th February. It will be open for general sale on 27th March. Booking is via the Buxton Opera House box office 01298 72190, or you can book via the link below.

Members February Talk

Restoring the Crescent - a life time of challenges

The New Kings Cross Station, the Stade de France or building and running national motorways on the continent, is one thing, but the crescent restoration project provides a life time of engineering and building challenges for Cary Hadfield, Senior Project Manager and his team from Vinci Construction.

Vinci construction is well placed to carry out the complex and challenging work that the crescent poses. As well Motorways, Hotel complexes and other major civic engineering projects, they were the main contractors in the scheme to put a roof over the shell of the Chernobyl complex. This required positioning the cover remotely and working in difficult and dangerous conditions.
Speaking to a packed Poole’s Cavern visitors centre, Cary gave BCA members a fascinating and at times a humorous insight into the progress that has been made so far and his personal journey on the crescent project.

As Cary demonstrated working on the crescent is a bit of a leap into the unknown. The enabling works carried out in 2012 were a major civil engineering project, that required the building of a concrete basement complex, positioned over the springs that provide Nestle with Buxton Spring water. It was scheduled to take 26 weeks but in the end as problems were encountered and solved it was 52 weeks before the works were complete and the Main Contract works could be tendered.
The crescent was built over 200 years ago, at a cost of £38,601, taking eight years to complete, and it has seen numerous attempts to shore up the original work over the years. It is often these previous renovations that pose greater problems than the original building works. Rotten timber structures, incomplete fireplaces all add to the difficulties of working in a Grade 1 listed building and having to adhere to strict conservation guidelines. It all contributes to the project budget of £35 million.

Interestingly conservationists are generally more interested in ensuring that the building and decorating techniques of the past are preserved where ever possible to enable future generations to understand how the building was constructed, rather than individual items that are discovered.
The sensitive nature of the building and the complex of rooms and passages often mean that modern techniques and equipment cannot be used. It is back to the old ways, with no choice but for the team to physically dig out cellars and barrow the waste away. This is physically demanding work, often undertaken in difficult conditions, including the steamy heat when working close to the springs. If the original architect, John Carr was to wander in, he would recognise many of the techniques that were being used.

So far 500 tradesmen and construction workers have been involved in the works and Cary expects that it will be closer to 3,000 by the end of the contract. He paid tribute to the team, who as well as working in often difficult conditions, including many local tradesmen, have shown great resourcefulness and skill in overcoming the challenges thrown up so far.
There were many questions from the floor. Often demonstrating an intimate knowledge of the building, these were answered fully and with attention to detail, often with humour.
The nature of the building mean that there have been unforeseen problems that inevitably cause delays, but almost a year since the restoration work began, Cary and his team believe that they have uncovered the major unseen’s.

He has offered to comeback in the summer of 2018 to give a final report on Vinci’s part in this historic project.