Formation of the Trust and Significant Events
The Trust was formed in 2009 when 34 acres of historic, floodplain and hay meadow called the Bishop’s Meadow is put on the market for sale for £250,000.
Four concerned local residents, worried that the land might be sold for development purposes, decide to form the Bishop’s Meadow Trust to raise funds to buy the Meadow. Together with the Farnham Society They hold a public meeting to assess community interest in preserving this land from potential development. The people of Farnham overwhelmingly vote to protect the Meadow. The Bishop’s Meadow Trust (BMT) is registered with Companies House and the Charities Commission, members are recruited and donations invited.
In 2010 local philanthropist and media businessman, Sir Ray Tindle, purchases the land in order to assist BMT to achieve its aim. He agrees to sell back 31.5 acres to BMT at the price he paid, and gives BMT two years (later extended to 3) to raise sufficient funds to do so.
2010 also sees the First of the annual hay cuts on the Meadow and Surrey Wildlife Trust becomes actively involved with the Meadow
2011 - A group of travelers take up residence on the Meadow. After a week of negotiation they agree to move. A new security gate is installed.
2011 - The second Kidsfest is held on Oak Meadow raising £10,000. An anonymous donor is so impressed by Kidsfest involvement with the local community that they give £25,000 to the Trust. The Trust holds a “Glambash” charity auction at the Castle which raises £5,241
First of the annual hay cuts on the Meadow.
2011 - The first portion of the Meadow is purchased by the BMT from Sir Ray Tindle who retains a section of the land – renamed Manor Meadow.
2012 - The Open Spaces Society awards the Bishop’s Meadow Trust its first ever Open Spaces Award in recognition of the BMT’s campaign to save the Meadow.
2013 - The Farnham Building Preservation Trust gives BMT an interest free loan of £75,000, to buy the final part of the Meadow. The loan is to be repaid over 20 years.
2013 - The Environment Agency provides a report to the BMT about future options for the Meadow.
2013 - The Meadow is selected as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) based on the National Vegetation Classification survey report for Bishop’s Meadow (2013) and using data collected during 2011 and 2012 by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.
2014 – The Children’s Orchard created. Children from six local schools and a Cub Pack come to the Meadow to plant their trees.
2014 – The Floodplain Meadows Partnership visits and give recommendations on future land management including conservation grazing as part of the Meadow’s restoration
2014 - BMT takes part in South East In Bloom as part of Farnham in Bloom. A wild flower meadow is created using seeds provided by Farnham Town Council and Friends of the Earth for their bee cause. BMT awarded a Certificate of Excellence.
2015 - The Trust participates in Farnham’s entry to South East in Bloom and again awarded a Certificate of Excellence.
2015 - A legacy of £10,000 is received. The loan to the Farnham Building Preservations Trust stands at £55,000. Surrey Wildlife Trust carries out restoration work on the Wey river bed and banks. Active work on the Meadow includes hedge restoration, tree planting, removing invasive species of plants and planting additional fruit trees.
2016 – The Trust participates in Farnham’s entry to South East in Bloom and is awarded the Chairman’s Award Britain which is only awarded to one project in the whole region.
2017 - School Fun Day, sponsored by Farnham Round Table. Children from two local primary schools have a day on the Meadow with Surrey Wildlife tutor. Fun and games for all.
2017 – Grant received from Heritage Lottery Fund for preparation of a Land Management Report. Surrey Wildlife Trust commissioned to deliver this.
2017 - Farnham Lions fund purchase of weather stations for Meadow and local schools.
2018 - A visit and report from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership provides recommendations on future land management including the potential to graze cattle on the Meadow.
2018 – BMT enters South East in Bloom and wins Gold and first overall Large Conservation Area class
2018 - A substantial donation (together with Trust reserve funds) allows the Trust to repay all of the outstanding loan from Farnham Building Preservations Trust. The whole of the Meadow now mortgage free and belongs to BMT members.
2018 – Cattle return to the Meadow after about 40 years. Part of the Meadow at the West end, called “Oak Meadow”, is fenced and water brought in. Five heifers come from a local farm.
2018 - School Fun Day. Children from three local schools, one infant and two primary, have a fun day on the Meadow and in space2grow including a bug hunt, Tudor Pharmacy, stone painting and storytelling. Beautiful weather makes it a perfect day.
2018 – Surrey Wildlife Trust delivers Management Report. To see full report click here.