Grass Meadows at East Court

Earlier in the year we reported that certain grass areas at East Court would in future be left unmown to encourage wildflowers and the insects that are associated with them.

Despite the fact that we haven’t had much rain this summer, the unmown patches are now clearly visible, with an abundance of wild flowers already apparent.

Our friends at Ashplats Conservation Group will be keeping an eye on these areas during the year to let us know what species emerge.

McIndoe Path finished

Work to improve the McIndoe Path that was started during the winter is now complete, with a handsome new flight of steps making the climb up from the bridge to the higher path, which has also been resurfaced, now much easier.

Previously this area had suffered from excessive erosion as walkers tried in vain to avoid the worst of the mud. In coming months and years we will undoubtedly see considerable greening around the new steps as the woodland floor there is given time to regenerate.

Upgrade of the McIndoe Path starts

Work has started on a joint project between MSDC and EGMEL to upgrade the McIndoe Path through Ashplats Wood.

The path runs from Lancaster Drive, down to a bridge over the stream, and from there onwards to the East Court playing fields. Every winter it gets extremely muddy, and almost impassable.

The project involves installing a flight of steps from the stream to more level ground, and from there to the Lancaster Drive, hardcore is being laid to provide an-all year walking surface.

Parking issues at East Court

Recently, East Grinstead Town Council, who own the East Court Mansion and the adjoining car parks, have implemented some more stringent parking restrictions.

Unfortunately this has had the knock-on effect of drivers starting to park their cars along the access road to the sports pavilion, which we own, but is leased to MSDC. The parked cars are not only spoiling the visual amenity value of the landscape, but are also ruining the grass and creating a hazard for legitimate users.

We are currently in discussions with various parties to try and resolve this issue without resorting to draconian measures.



Increased protection against Travellers

Unfortunately it has recently proved necessary to install very heavy concrete barriers at the end of the road to the sports pavilion to prevent travellers causing further damage to East Court.

Whilst all are welcome to enjoy walking the open space and woods at East Court, driving vehicles and caravans over the park causes much damage and cannot be tolerated.

We hope that these measures will only be temporary.

Ancient oak loses an important limb

One of our oldest oak trees recently lost a huge limb in high winds

The Pendunculate Oak is near the green shipping container on the estate road and when surveyed a few years ago, it was estimated to be 250 to 300 years old. It is listed on the Woodland Trust Ancient tree register.

The bough that fell is about 1m diameter at its base and the whole branch must weigh many tonnes. It’s a good job nobody was underneath it at the time!

MSDC do keep a look out for dangerous trees, but not surprisingly it’s not always possible to predict when this sort of event may occur.

Improvements made to Estate road

In recent years there have been a number of instances when irresponsible joyriders have driven their cars across the grass at East Court, causing immense damage to the surface.  In addition, a group of Travellers moved onto the Estate illegally earlier this year leaving much rubbish and hazardous waste behind them.

East Grinstead Memorial Estate has been discussing these problems with MSDC for some time now, and we are pleased to report that long-planned ditches and bunds have now been constructed alongside the main estate road. In addition, a number of tarmaced passing spaces have been created which should negate the need for drivers to go on the grass to pass other cars.

In addition, it’s hoped that the ditches will provide a wildlife corridor for species such as Great Crested Newts, to move safely across the open spaces.

Swale upgraded for better drainage

MSDC has recently completed work near the football fields to resolve some of the drainage problems that have been experienced.

It seemed that the original underground drainage pipes that dealt with the overflow from the Lake and surrounding areas, had become blocked, and during and after rainfall, water was backing up in nearby ditches and grassy areas.

The new system that has been installed should ensure good flow rates under all conditions, directing the water away to the stream that runs along the south-east boundary of the estate, and eventually on into the River Medway.


Travellers make camp at East Court

Earlier this week some Travellers moved onto the East Court playing fields without authorisation. Our land is open to all members of the public to enjoy 365 days a year, but it isn’t acceptable for one group to unilaterally take it upon themselves to take over part of our land.

We are in discussions with the Council about how to normalise the situation.