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Working sessions
We are again planning to carry out some regular maintenance in and around East and West Hanney this year. We plan to work from 09:00 until noon, and as usual, the location will depend upon what needs to be done. Please add these dates to your diaries. It would be great if everyone could do at least one session during the year as it then spreads the load out.
*** Venue and work details will be advised each month by email to subscribers of our E-newsletter ***


No further dates.

We are looking for volunteers to organise each weekend, so please contact us via the contact form or email Clive Manvell: or call 01235 868216; 0796 4144 109.


Saturday 17th of December
A very good turnout for this mornings limited and focussed tasks on yet another very cold morning with a special thank you to Phil and Adrian for the mince pies.
First the skilled team of Stewart and Keith completed a fact finding survey of the towpath from the Iron Bridge to the stile. Stewart has taken the data away to number-crunch and will be producing a comparative graph with data from previous surveys in 2008 and 2012. This will establish if and to what extent the bank has been eroded since the restoration project of 2008. Results will be submitted to EHPC.
A team of James, Paul and David C tackled the remaining dead trees and other obstacles in the drainage ditch between Lamb Cottage and 2A The Causeway. This channel is an important drainage route from the Woodland, Churchyard and areas around the Church and houses in St James Way. James has been working on this for some time and now, hopefully, a less demanding but routine maintenance programme can keep it clear and free flowing.
David S has been working away on creating a new storage container for the existing and new stock of sandbags located near the Iron Bridge where there are several low areas of the bank. A team of David S, Adrian, Mick, Peter and Clive M transferred the base, front and roof components from their construction site to the Iron Bridge. A number of sandbags were transferred to the new container but not all as they are frozen solid and impossible to pack down. These will need repacking when conditions allow and the remaining stock of sandbags added.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have helped keep the village drainage channels, ditches and other water courses clear throughout this year.

Saturday 19th of Nobvember
Great turnout this morning of 11 volunteers to continue reducing debris in the Brook below the Iron Bridge. Thank you too to another 11 people who sent apologies in good time. We have now finished this stretch for this year. No Rununculus was removed from the riverbed and the willowherb plants already fallen into the water were carefully cut and removed along with a few brambles and some deadly nightshade plants. The area around the Iron Bridge was also tidied up carefully this morning.
Work also started on preparing the ground for a new container to house some of the emergency sandbag stocks in readiness in case the Brook overflows. Although there has been a lot of rain recently the Ock catchment area aquifers remain low after two years of drought. We are just getting prepared for large amounts of rainfall over the winter pending much needed repairs to the bank below the Iron Bridge.
Thanks are due to Phil, M, David, S, Paul S, Mark B, Mick M, Clive F, Ian G, Dickon G, Stewart S, James S and Clive M.

Saturday 15th of October
The weather, despite varying forecasts, turned out to be a fine, dry sunny autumnal day with a total of 11 volunteers turning out, all meeting up at the Iron Bridge.
The main effort was to clear back some of the reed bed from the Iron Bridge heading down stream towards Lower Mill. After a hard 3 hours graft the group reached as far as the old bathing place, and did so ensuring all work that was undertaken with great care, regards any known water vole habitation.
In addition to this a fallen tree in the corner of the wood, which was partially blocking the fish bypass around lower mill was also removed and the footpath vegetation running along the side of the brook trimmed back to allow clearer access.
All in all a good mornings work and a big thank you to Paul, Keith, Meryl, Andrew, Mark, James, Dickon, Ian, Adrian, Mick, David and Lamorna for an excellent effort producing good results.

Saturday 17th of September
A crisp but brilliantly sunny and dry morning to achieve many objectives.
Once again we have cleared the drainage ditches around Philberds Manor and the land associated with Willow Barn at the end of Ebbs Lane. This involved clearing Gods Ditch and its side arm of brambles, nettles, dead elms, willow branches and other fallen trees. A further drainage ditch was cleared in the small wood which drains Poughley Farm and the fields of the farm to the north of the village.
It is a task that needs doing annually and is the responsibility of the riparian landowners to keep these really important village drainage channels clear of obstructions. They are all clear now ahead of the autumn and winter.
Many thanks to Ian and Dickon for pulling the trailer, Phil for pulling more Himalayan Balsam, Peter, James, Mark, Richard, Adrian, Clive F, Mick, Phil, Ian, Dickon, Alastair and Clive M for their efforts in the ditches today. A long morning with a great deal achieved.

Saturday 20th of August
The weather was perfect for the working parties. We had three groups of volunteers, twelve in total.
Group 1 was led by Mark Bradfield with a final push of the season pulling Himalayan Balsam from the banks of Letcombe Brook in the meadows associated with Willow Barn at the far end of Ebbs Lane. The team with Mark Bradfield was Phil Manvell, Richard Paterson and Alastair Johnson. Thank you to them for a long mornings work with just a little HB left to finish off another time.
Group 2 was led by David Stubbington clearing a short stretch upstream of the weir and sluice of Lower Mill. This had become clogged with debris from further up the Brook which was hindering flow over the weir and sluices under Lower Mill. As well as clearing debris, litter and a few reeds, some dead and other overhanging branches were also trimmed back. The team with David was Paul Sayers, Lamorna Zambellas, Ian and Dickon Green. They were joined later by Group 3 team members.
Group 3 was led by Clive Manvell intent on removing the bubble wrap from a tree behind the garages associated with Brookside. This eyesore and potential litter threat was removed by the application of science and nifty ropework. The team with Clive M was Adrian Bodimeade and Mick Mantle who then joined the team by Lower Mill.

Saturday 16th of July
Nine volunteers this sunny morning, enough people to tackle one long running task clearing out the drain behind the block of Brookside garages. Thanks to Keith, Meryl, Mick and Adrian for removing the vegetation and some of the considerable volume of silt that has built up here. The horrible piece of plastic hanging over the Brook is the next target!
The rest of us undertook the annual inspection and maintenance tasks for the Flood Group, Woodland and Emergency Team equipment. Nicer to do this in the warmth of the summer than the bitter cold of midwinter. Thanks to Ian, Phil, Denis Paul and Clive M.

Saturday 18th of June
A good turnout of 13 volunteers today despite the pessimistic weather forecast who tackled the invasive Himalayan Balsam from Lower Mill as far as discretion enabled towards where Gods Ditch joins the Brook. In some areas it was very evident that the efforts of recent years to reduce HB has been effective but there are still some areas where stubbornly remains and these were dealt with this morning.
Thank you to Ian, Dickon, Peter, Paul, David S, David B, Sean, Gill, Phil, Clive F, Oliver, Mick and Clive M.

Saturday 21st of May
Despite the thunder storm 24 hours prior to undertaking the work, the morning of the working party was dry and sunny and most importantly the ditch / soak away to be cleared at what was previously known as Headings Pond was dry.
The removal of significant leaf mold, branches, brambles and nettles was undertaken with due care to the possibility of nesting birds (none identified) and the team set too with gusto and the cold drink provided by the neighbouring property was most welcome. All work completed by 10:30 so a shorter time frame than envisaged and what seems to be normal these days the collection of two large bags of rubbish.
The area cleared that provides the soak away to a number of road drainage pipes from Church Street (cleared and rodded previously) will be monitored over the coming weeks / months to ensure that all remains good, assisting with reduction in flooding along the street. A big thank you to the volunteers David C, Richard P, Mick, Keith, Ian, Dickon and Paul.

A quick reminder that the HFG will have a small stand at the Platinum Jubilee Michaelmas Fayre on Church Green Saturday 4th June and should you be able to help and support on the day, setting up in the morning and or manning the stand 14.00 to 16.00 in the afternoon it would be greatly appreciated. The stand will feature the work of The Hanneys Flood Group, The Emergency Team and The Letcombe Brook Project and if you could let David know by the end of May (this month) if you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact David direct on

Please note that the 18th June working party will most likely be the removal of the ever returning, invasive Himalayan Balsam which appears along side the brook. More details will be published nearer the time

Saturday 19th of March
Glorious sunshine with a bit of a breeze kept the working party volunteers warm and cool working hard this morning clearing branches, brambles, tree stumps and litter out of the Brook below Lower Mill as far as Gods Ditch. Huge thanks to the volunteers cutting branches in the water and those on the bank fetching and carrying many large loads of debris away from the footpath and pilling it neatly out of the way. Visibly there is a significant improvement and more importantly potential blockage issues have been removed. Sincerely hope new volunteer Gill enjoyed herself along with Stewart, David S, Lamorna, Mick, Ian, Andrew, Keith, Phil and Clive M.
Whilst this was happening a second team was at work in West Hanney clearing blocked culverts in the area around the Meads and Church Street. Again thanks to Paul and David C with Chris Surman for tackling this.

Saturday 19th of February
Cancelled. There are currently no outstanding jobs and strong winds plus heavy rain are forecast.

Saturday 15th of January
The group assembled wrapped up against what was a chilly morning with a light frost to tackle the stretch of Letcombe Brook meandering between Philberds and Poughley Farm, where it had been identified that at least three fallen branches and one rather large tree had started to cause significant obstructions in the water flow. After a quick safety briefing, taking into account the weather and COVID, the hearty bunch split into two working groups with the larger group tackling the large tree.

After two hours of hard work, sawing, pruning, raking and consolidating wood piles (one which very much looked like a den) all of the tasks identified plus a few minor additional ones such as bramble clearing were completed and a tired and rather warmer team finished for the day. The following members are thanked for their assistance Mark, Paul, Keith, Meryl, David S, Violeta, Stewart, Lamorna, Jane and of course and a big thank you to Dickon and Ian for towing the trailer. Clive M who although not able to show up on the day is also thanked for all the preparation and loading of the trailer which without would not have enabled the session to run as smoothly as it did.

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Himalayan balsam

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