The Role of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
At the outset of this project in 2015 the Council’s Landscape & Ecology Department, agreed with the Friends of Danesbury Local Nature Reserve that they would give them all the encouragement and support needed to make it a success, provided that the volunteers would commit to clear the site and subsequently maintain it.
The Fernery project was established on the basis of this trust, and a highly successful partnership was formed. between the volunteers and the Borough Council.
After the abandoned and overgrown site was cleared a committee was elected and the volunteers formed the Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF), with independent banking.
At key moments in the life of the Project the Borough Council provided specialist help from contractors. This has ranged from:
- poisoning invasive tree roots that were threatening the integrity of the rock work,
- providing mechanical diggers to help shift the 24″ depth of spoil which was found to be covering much of the site,
- uncovering major paths and irrigation systems which the volunteers would have taken years to discover for themselves because of the depth of the spoil,
- facilitating Government grant moneys which in 2020 paid for the purchase and installation of the bridge and restoration of the original metal fencing.
The Borough Council have budgeted to pay expenses of £1000 p.a. to the Friends of Danesbury to cover incidental expenses, which are evidenced by receipts.
The Role of the Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF)
After the payment of expenses, all funds managed by the volunteers go towards the development of the Danesbury Fernery Project.
Apart from the anticipated costs of essential repairs to the Pulhamite Rockwork (see below) the major works of excavation and recovery have been completed and, as we go forward it is to be expected that (outside of Nature Reserve work specified within the Management Plan 2013-23 and its successor), fewer demands for Fernery specific expenditure of a Capital nature will be made on the Borough Council.
General Garden Maintenance
The costs of ongoing re-planting, re-stocking, replacement of tools, and general garden maintenance are met from FODF Funds.
Pulhamite rockwork repairs.
A quote has been received from a leading national specialist company and approved, but not funded, by the Borough Council.
The FODF applied for commercially available grants to cover the substantial costs of essential repairs to the 160 year old Pulhamite rockwork to ensure that it will be safely enjoyed by the local community for many years to come.
As a result, funding to repair the Pulhamite rockwork was received in 2022 from both the National Lottery and from a Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Community Grant. The work was carried out by Alan Bishop & Associates, the Country’s leading Pulhamite Restorer. Subsequently, time recovered through good weather and good management, and with the approval of our sponsors, the FODF was able to spend surplus budgeted moneys asking Alan Bishop & Associates to restore the Steps on the South Bank.
Awards and Donations – Local Societies and Groups
The Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF) have received generous awards from local groups including the Welwyn Festival Committee, The Welwyn Wailers, The Welwyn Gardening Club, the Welwyn Allotments Society, and others.
Additionally, the Project has benefited from generous contributions from private benefactors.
Welwyn Festival – Open Gardens
The Fernery was open in the summer of 2017, 2018 and 2019, 2021 and 2022. This produced a welcome source of income from the sale of refreshments. (An agreed proportion of the ‘gate moneys’ were for the direct benefit of local charities that the Welwyn Festival Committee support).
Talks to Horticultural and related Societies and Groups
By invitation, we regularly give illustrated talks that produce a welcome income. Although curtailed at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, engagements re-commenced in the Autumn of 2022 and dates are being confirmed for talks in 2023.
Become a Benefactor?
Working in partnership with the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) who funded all the key Excavation and Restoration phases of this project, the volunteer Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF) have from the start funded much of the planting and associated materials from our own funds. This has only been possible through fund raising supplemented by generous contributions from private benefactors, local organisations and societies.
As we move forward, gift-aided funds from private benefactors will be vital to the ongoing maintenance of the Danesbury Fernery.
You can contribute today by making an online donation to:
Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF)
Sort Code: 30-98-97
Account Number: 66874760
- Reference : your name
So that we properly acknowledge your generosity, and set up Gift Aid Declarations where appropriate, please also confirm your donation by emailing your name to: