Special recognition from the Chief Scout

scoutsThe scout group would like to congratulate their longstanding cub leaders, Kerrie Anderson and Julie Hogg who have given up their time and Wednesday evenings for the past 14 years, been on numerous camps, outings and parades, made camp fires and shelters, tied knots and bandaged knees.

They have been given a commendation for their ‘services to scouting’ from the chief scout Bear Grylls. We would like to say on behalf of the scout group, thank you!

The Cuckoo Bush Mound

L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers
L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers

The Cuckoo Bush mound is situated at the top of Court Hill the south of the village.  Walk up Hill Road, over Gypsum Way and follow the bridle path straight up the hill to the top.  The mound is situated just inside the corner of the wood where the path to West Leake forms a cross roads with the Gotham – East Leake path.

The mound is the alleged site for the tale of the Wise Men of Gotham’s attempt at fencing in the cuckoo. The wise men thought that the cuckoo was the harbinger of spring and summer, a time of plenty, and what better than to have good weather and good crops all year round? By keeping the cuckoo in the village surely good weather would remain all year and everyone would be well fed and warm always. Their attempt to fence the cuckoo in a bush failed when the bird flew away. The Gothamites had built the fence too low!

In fact the mound is a Neolithic burial mound. It is about three thousand years old and it was excavated in 1847. It contained two rock cut graves each with a burial; one with a flint spearhead and a bronze pin. The mound is roughly 20m in diameter and 1.5m high with a shallow ditch around its perimeter.

The land on which the mound stands is now owned by British Gypsum Ltd and with the go ahead of their head of environment, Allen Gorringe, two modern day Gothamites, Andrew Vickers and Stan Watson, cleared the mound over the winter period of its invading brambles and foliage and erected a mock fence around the site so that visitors can appreciate the splendour of this historic mound.

Why not go out for a walk and take in the mound? In April it was awash with a sea of bluebells. Stand on the mound and imagine no trees around you. The view over the Fairham Brook flood plain and Trent valley beyond would have been a dominant site for the graves of our Bronze Age forebears who lie interred in this barrow.

Andrew Vickers

Gotham Nature Reserve Trust

Some of you will have noticed activity and even smoke around the Sandbanks. We are delighted to report that after months of boring old administration we have finally started work on restoring the area.

Within two weeks of completion of the lease, the first work party took place led by Gary Cragg of Nottinghamshire Wildlife trust.

In early January we held a public meeting to update the community on our plans and to encourage people to become members of the GNR Trust. The attendance was truly impressive, considering it was one of the coldest evenings of the winter, and resulted in some 32 new members. Representatives from Natural England and Saint Gobain addressed the meeting and were available to answer questions.

Up to mid February, some eight work parties have taken place both at weekends and, by popular demand, mid-week. Thanks to the many hardworking volunteers, an amazing amount of the grassland has been cleared of scrub. The bird nesting season is almost upon us now, restricting the work we will be able to do on site, but look out for our fund-raising projects over the coming months.

Why not become a member of the GNR Trust? It is free and you don’t have to be a ‘tree fella’ or volunteer for other jobs. Maybe you would be happy to do some litter picking, or help organise fund raising events, or offer your garden for ‘open gardens’. You could even come up around mid day on work party days with flasks of tea or coffee, or just stroll up and take an interest in what we’re doing. As a member you will be kept informed of all our activities and can have your say at our open meetings.