Minnis Management Plan 2016



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Below is the article which appears in the October issue of the Hardres and Stelling News relating to proposals for enclosures for grazing of Stelling Minnis Common, which will be presented to the community at a public meeting to be held on Friday 11th November at 7.30pm in Stelling Minnis Village Hall.


Stelling Minnis Common


Minnis Managers

At a meeting held earlier this evening the Managers, Trustees and Agent for the Owners of the Stelling Minnis Common have decided on a course of action that will allow continuation of the grazing plan after the expiry of the existing time limited fencing.

Since the last public meeting all ideas have been considered and researched.  The default position for the Common is open grazing.  The owners of rights to graze can graze the Minnis at anytime and anywhere.  If these rights are not exercised then the owners of the Common may graze or give licence to graze the Common so as to manage the area.

However it was agreed that some form of control of grazing livestock is preferable.  To this end the Managers have looked into several alternatives which include electric fencing and also time limited fencing.  The latter would require a new submission to the Secretary of State.

As part of the research, groups of Managers and Trustees, along with William Trower, the representative of the owners and Charlie Gooch, agent for the owners, has visited two commons which use "invisible fencing" to manage livestock. 

Both Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches use the system very successfully.  The latter Common is very similar to our own, and the use of invisible fencing has been a "complete success".   The meeting tonight agreed unanimously to adopt "invisible fencing" as the preferred option for the future management of the Minnis.

Design is key to the success of the system. To put this type of enclosure forward as a realistic option much time has already been spent in developing a layout.   The design is not only for the safe containment of the animals, but also allowing access for those who would prefer to keep away from the cattle.  Further meetings with those who already use the system will be arranged to fine tune the design for our own Common. 

There will be an open public meeting in Stelling Minnis Village Hall on 11 November at 7.30pm where the proposed scheme will be presented.  This will be an opportunity for anyone to ask questions about the proposals. 

It is a very exciting way forward for the Common which very much satisfies the brief of the Minnis being a multiuse area within a village.   Cattle will continue to graze in well defined and controlled areas, which recognise the original purpose of the Common.  It also allows those who wish to take air and exercise either on foot or horseback completely open access to all areas - no more muddy gateways, and no more fencing.

Our contract with Natural England requires grazing in the areas of the existing enclosures.  The new scheme will allow us to meet the requirements of this agreement.   DEFRA and Natural England are fully supportive of the plan.

There will be those who will have reservations about the idea, but I urge everyone to give the plan a chance to prove itself.  Please come to the meeting and hear about the plans in more detail. 

Other news- over 60 new dormouse boxes have been put out on the Minnis.  Once Peter Fry and Derry Lowe have gone round installing the new boxes they will check all the existing ones and monitor occupancy and activity. 

It is evident from the successful rearing of 3 chicks by the pair of kestrels that there is an abundance of small mammals on the Common. The brood have now all left the nest but have been spotted several times, still together, perched on rooftops looking healthy and quite clearly fending for themselves.


Work parties will start again soon.  The October dates are the 1st, 15th and 29th.  12 noon until 3pm.  The meeting point for the first meeting will be at Pony Cart Lane.  Please come along and help - many hands make light work!

Lastly, as autumn comes, and gardens require a good tidy up with pruning and hedge trimming, please do not use the Minnis as a dumping ground for garden waste.  Use the brown topped bins or take the rubbish to the tip. 

John Haffenden - Chairman

John Haffenden

Chairman of the Managers of Stelling Minnis Common

E-mail: wwilsonhaffenden@btinternet.com

September 2016

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Produced for the Managers of Stelling Minnis Common - February 2016

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