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Timeline

Key dates in our history
 

1963

The inaugural meeting of what was to become the Trust was held in St Albans Town Hall on 16 November. There wasn't enough space for everyone, it was so popular.

1964

The Hertfordshire & Middlesex Trust for Nature Conservation was created on 21 August and formally incorporated on 9 October. Fox Covert was offered as a gift by Mr Fordham of Letchworth and became the Trust's first nature reserve. 

The Trust were lobbying to try and influence the local impact of the route for the North Sea Gas Pipeline. The construction of the Royston by-pass was prevented from having a serious impact on Therfield Heath.

1967

The Commons Registration Act provided an opportunity to encourage registration and improve protection of significant sites.

1969

The Trust worked to preserve Wildlife Sites in the Chess Valley from the impact of the new North Orbital Road.

1970

The Trust continued to grow: Blagrove Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), was taken under Trust management and Lemsford Springs was purchased. The Trust had 20 nature reserves.

1972

Trust membership was 1,200.

1973

The first case of Dutch Elm Disease on a Trust reserve was noted at Ashwell Quarry.

1974

More reserves were added to the Trust's portfolio: Hertford Heath, Alpine Meadow, Hexton Chalk Pit and Uxbridge Alderglade and in 1975, Fir and Pond Woods.

1976

By May the Trust had 30 reserves and a management interest in several more.

1977

Membership of the Trust grows to 5,000: nationally The Wildlife Trusts are 40 strong and have 1,000 nature reserves between them. Government begins pursuing the idea of National Nature Reserves.

1979

Pryors Wood in Stevenage is donated to the Trust while Purwell Ninesprings becomes the Trust's 39th reserve the following year.

1981

The Wildlife & Countryside Act came into force - it is given a mixed reception locally, and is considered to have missed many opportunities.

1982

The Trust moves to Grebe House in Verulamium Park, St Albans.

1987

The name of the Trust was officially changed to “The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust”.

1991

Black-necked grebe seen in Hertfordshire for first time in 60 years at Hilfield Park Reservoir. Meanwhile the “Green Team” was established as an itinerant work force of volunteers.

Aldbury Nowers, also known as Duchie’s Piece, was opened by the Queen Mother.

1995

First report of otters breeding at Rye Meads Nature Reserve.

1996

A 50 Year Vision for Hertfordshire Wildlife and Natural Habitat (Biodiversity Action Plan) was published, the first for a county. Membership of the Trust now stands at 7,000.

1999

King's Meads and Broadwater Lake become Trust reserves.

2000 

Tewin Orchard and Rye Meads are added to the Trust's portfolio.

2003

Membership now stands at 12,000.

2007

The Trust buys Amwell Quarry and embarks on a major restoration project. The following year the Environment Minister Hilary Benn pays a visit and Chris Packham opens the new Dragonfly Trail there. The reserve is now internationally important for its wetland bird populations.

2008

The Trust took action to address the serious decline in water voles with the start of the Wetlands for Water Voles and People project.

2009

Balls Wood is bought and officially handed over in June, after a major fundraising campaign to protect this semi-ancient woodland. Meanwhile the Trust takes on Gobions Wood; Hawkins Wood is left to the Trust in a legacy. Membership reached the 20,000 mark.

2010

The small blue butterfly returned to Hertfordshire at Aldbury Nowers after an eight year absence, thanks to a chalk grassland restoration work carried out by the Trust in 2008.

The Trust acquired Thorley Flood Pound, a SSSI, from the Environment Agency and started planning a restoration project to protect the wet grassland and improve access for visitors.

2011

The Trust worked to raise profile with the re-launch of the members' magazine Wildlife Matters, a new e-newsletter and groups on Facebook and Twitter.

Waterford Heath was secured on a long lease, protecting scarce grizzled skipper butterflies for the next 85 years.

2012

The whole of the Tring Reservoirs complex, one of the most important wetland reserves in Southern England and a mecca for birdwatchers, came under Trust management.

2013

Orchids emerge in swathes on Stevenage roadsides, following a programme of careful mowing by Stevenage Borough Council, working in partnership with the Trust on the Wild Stevenage project.

Our work on Hertfordshire's rivers receives national recognition with a visit from Environment Minister Richard Benyon. Meanwhile the national Chalk Streams Charter is launched from the dried up River Beane near Stevenage, thanks to our work to raise awareness of the terrible state of Hertfordshire's chalk streams.

Thorley Wash re-opened to the public following a major restoration project. Water rail are reported to be breeding on the reserve. Membership now stands at over 21,000... and still going strong!

 

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