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The Glebe Project


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The Glebe in Capel Parish.

The Glebe - Five Oak Green's Wildlife Area

Five Oak Green is a ‘Cinderella’ of a village in so much that it grew up in a working environment and much of its history is associated with industry in the Capel area. It will never be a beautiful place unless a fairy godmother waves her magic wand over the area.

Celia Worracker does a good impression of the mystical mother for the village by rallying green fingered troops each year to bring a touch of colour to the public areas of the village and cajoling the various ugly brothers and sisters into tidying up their patches and, hopefully adding a splash of colour in the prescribed combination for the year known better as the Village in Bloom competition.

It will come as no surprise that we have not yet won a gold award. But in 2007 we got silver and so Celia looked at what the judges had said that might enable us to obtain the elusive gold. Amongst other things, they recommended that we establish a community wildlife area and this was where the Capel Path Rangers came in. One of our group, Ann Smith, is also associated with the Village in Bloom group and she raised the matter at one of our meetings.

Always up for a challenge, the Capel Path Rangers group rapidly transmogrified into handsome princes (and princesses) and galloped to the rescue of the lowly Cinderella village. An area of unused land was identified, known locally as ‘The Glebe’; discussions held with responsible people, and so the community wildlife area was born.

The Glebe was in fact part of the old Capel school grounds which presumably were associated with the vicarage adjacent to Thomas a Beckett church. When the school moved down the hill in the early 1900’s, anecdotally, the grounds continued to be cultivated until the 1950’s by someone who lived in the village. I guess that when he passed on, the area began to be reclaimed by Mother Nature and this carried on until the 1990’s when a car park was created for the church on much of the site. There remained an area of some 300 square metres which continued to revert to nature until early in 2008.

In 2008, the judges commended our efforts but we still needed to do more to achieve that elusive gold. We achieved a silver rating in the Village in Bloom competition in 2009 and a silver star in 2010, so there is still more to do. We are keeping our fingers crossed for 2011. Maybe we should plant some pumpkins and get some mice into the area.

We had some success in the Wildlife Gardening Awards in September 2010. Our work at the Glebe attracted the attention of the judges from the Kent Wildlife Trust. Founded in 1958, Kent Wildlife Trust is the leading conservation charity for Kent and Medway, protecting wildlife, educating the public, influencing decision makers and restoring habitats.

Kent Wildlife Trust

It works in partnership with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Kent High Weald Partnership.

KHWP is a countryside management partnership started in 1991 and based in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells. It works with the whole community to 'link people and the countryside, by raising awareness and encouraging action'.

Kent High Weald Partnership

We received a Bronze award from this esteemed body in recognition for our efforts in bringing the Glebe wildlife area into being. The certificate is now proudly displayed in the nearby Thomas à Becket church.

Bird and Bat Nesting Boxes Installed at The Glebe

Bird Nesting Box. Bat Box.

The Capel Path Rangers were ably supported by Guides, Scouts, and Brownies, their leaders, and some parents, and have undertaken a number of working parties to clear away unwanted growth and to encourage the establishment of a variety of flora and fauna. In 2008, the judges commended our efforts but we still need to do more to achieve that elusive gold. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for 2010. Maybe we should plant some pumpkins and get some mice into the area.

In conclusion then, The Glebe activity illustrates what the Capel Path Rangers are about; being physically active, helping foster a community spirit and, of course, having fun. Why not come and join us for one of our events.

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