Ashplatts Conservation Group

For Sundays task we continued on the Ghyll Steps, whilst other volunteers removed litter from around the lake. We had 10 volunteers: 6 on the steps, 4 litter pickers. Some left at lunchtime.

We have created new steps about 1/2 way up the slope where a seep line had formed, eroded desire paths were forming around the resulting bog . We’ve also cleaned the drains and created channels to clear the water seeping out of the hillside.

We haven’t finished topping the new steps, the ground under the tray was still too soft to receive the self-bonding layer. We’ve only topped next to the riser, and there is a temporary section of corduroy at the top where its far too wet to do anything. We’ll be finishing this section in May once the drainage has had an effect. We will also widen and re-stake the bottom steps in May.

We’ve noticed the bridge at the bottom of the Ghyll Slope has a rotting upright ( see photo), this will be added to the inspection list.

We had to cut new risers for the extra width, but noticed that the risers we cut originally prepared have been removed…

Rotting Post

East Grinstead Memorial Estate Ltd. Chair

In 1949 Alfred Wagg a merchant banker of the Hermitage, East Grinstead, set up what is now The East Grinstead Memorial Estate Limited as a charitable trust for the benefit of the residents of East Grinstead.

The assets placed in trust comprised the East Court estate and incorporating Ashplats Wood. During the latter part of the 20th Century various parts of the land were sold and the playing fields and Ashplats Wood leased to the Mid Sussex District Council.

The company continues to manage Ashplats Wood in conjunction with the Council in accordance with a detailed Management Agreement and continues to invest all its capital from which annual grants are made to worthy causes in the town and surrounding area.

Request for applications

The Company has a board of 12 Directors and the current chair is intending to stand down after 6 years in the post but continue as Company Secretary.

Accordingly, the board now seek applications for the position of Chair. The successful applicant will reside in the East Grinstead area and will have a strong commitment to the area, an interest in woodland management and would naturally be able to chair Directors Meetings.

Applications with CV’s to closing date 7th June 2021

EGMEL grant to Halsford Park School

We recently got an update on what Halsford Park School has created with the help of a recent grant from EGMEL

We wanted to give you an update on the stage that the East Grinstead Memorial Trust donated money towards in 2020.

Due to the pandemic and school closure, the build of the stage was delayed. However, we are now delighted to inform you that the build did go ahead during the Christmas break. We were able to pool the money with a grant we also received from East Grinstead Lions and build a 5m x 3m stage, meaning that a whole class of 30 children can be on it at the same time.

As we come out of lockdown the outdoor spaces will become a much more integral part of our children’s welfare, it is a key lesson that we have learnt through this terrible pandemic.

The stage has been the catalyst to start our new project to raise approx £45,000 to renovate the outdoor areas at Halsford Park school.

We would like to thank you once again for your support in making the education of the children at Halsford Park a little more enriched, you will of course be receiving our new application in the coming weeks.  We wish you all the best and if we can be of any help to the East Grinstead Memorial Trust please do not hesitate to contact us.

Rebecca Smith and Claire Winslade

Necessary Tree Surgery

This week it’s been necessary to remove 3 Ash trees from the small wooded area next to the East Court entrance at the bottom of Blackwell Hollow. The Ash trees were suffering from a disease known as “Ash dieback” and were slowly succumbing. Ash dieback is predicated to affect 80% of the Ash trees in the UK, radically changing our landscape as it progresses.

In an ideal world we would leave such affected trees to die, and fall to the ground naturally, and in doing so, as they rotted down, they would provide a valuable habitat for insects, birds and mammals. These 3 trees were close to the pavement and road though, and would in time have become hazard – hence the need to fell and remove them.

It’s always sad to lose any tree, but the open space created by their removal will quickly become filled by other species.

Mixed blessings at East Court

Photo: Dick Sweatman

The fields and woods at East Court have been a great place for East Grinstead residents to enjoy during the Covid-19 lockdown. The wide open spaces have enabled people to socially distance whilst still appreciating the scenery and fresh air.

Unfortunately though there has been a significant amount of rubbish left there by visitors, and often, rather than taking it home with them, people have piled it high by the bins, or just left it where they’ve been sitting. Mid Sussex DC have done their best to clear up the rubbish, but they, of course, are operating with Covid restrictions as well. Big thanks to some publicly-minded citizens who have taken it upon themselves to do a bit of clearing up.

Let’s all hope that this public health crisis is over soon and the grounds at East Court get a chance to recover.

Grants 2020

Every year our Charity makes grant awards to local organisations that we believe align with our Objectives. Applications are invited through Mid Sussex Voluntary Action, and are considered by our Grants sub-committee before being ratified by our Board of Directors.

In 2020, 18 grants have been made totalling £20,180:

EGMEL Grants 2020

2nd EG RainbowsHelp with running costs£485
4th EG GuidesNew Mess Tent£1,000
6th EG RainbowsHelp with running costs£500
6th EG Scouts6 Tents, Fridge & Cooler for group camp£1,000
Chequer MeadReplace garden furniture£800
EG Assoc. for Mental HealthCreative expressions arts group, employ artist, provide materials£250
EG Football ClubImprove pitch drainage£1,000
EG MuseumCosts of craft materials£1,000
FegansIncrease availability of counselling hours for local children£500
Felbridge & Sunnyside CCReplace the cricket wicket£3,000
FoodbankLaptops etc to support voucher system to support safe distancing£1,700
GloYouth, Jubilee CentrePurchase new camera etc for online interaction£500
Halsford Park SchoolUpgrade playground equipment, benches, play equipment£1,500
Hindleap WarrenReplace UPVC frames to Hindleap walkway£1,000
Imberhorne SchoolTo purchase books for their library£750
Nature Nuture SussexTo cover admission costs, to enable a reduced fee to users£250
Sackville School3 permanent outdoor table tennis tables£4,575
Trefoil GuildRefurbish Centenary Nature Trail at East Court£1,000

EG Floral displays


Our charity this year is sponsoring one of the flower beds in the High Street in East Grinstead to the tune of £500. The donation will go towards planting out and maintaining all the floral displays in EG which have been so spectacular in recent years.

Allan Tyler

8th September 1935 – 9th December 2019

It is with sadness that we report the passing of Allan Tyler, aged 84. Allan was a staunch supporter of our company, and East Court/Ashplats Wood in particular.

Allan gained his interest in maintaining public parks and green open spaces through his employment by the Greater London Council.

He was the East Grinstead Town Mayor in 1982/83 and in 1991 joined East Grinstead Memorial Estate Ltd (formerly East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd). Allan was Chairman of the company for a number of years.

He was involved in setting up the national ‘Green Flag’ scheme, and East Court gained this ‘Green Flag’ status in 2019.

Allan will be sorely missed and we send our condolences to his family and friends. 

Remembrance Day 2019

Many people know of the War memorial in the High Street, but not so many people know of the other War Memorial in the grounds of East Court. This smaller one is dedicated to both the armed forces and civilian casualties of the 1939-1945 War.

Each year at 11am on Remembrance Day there is a large ceremony in the High Street, but there is also a smaller ceremony preceding it at 10am in East Court. On November 10th this year, as every November, East Grinstead Memorial Estate lays a wreath in both ceremonies to remember local people from East Grisntead who gave up their lives for us.

You can learn more about the East Court memorial on our Roll of Honour page.