Report and Pic – Chilworth Station, part of the North Downs Line

New signs, a spruced up station, and a special new poster showing the local Surrey Hills around Chilworth were unveiled on October 31 at a short ceremony. Our railway is now badged the North Downs Line, and a guide, encouraging people to access the countryside using the rail network, has been launched. This is good news for locals in Chilworth, where car parking for visitors is a particular issue.

Thanks to Parish Councillor, Patricia Allen, good working relations have been established with David Daniels, Community Rail Development Officer of the Sussex Community Rail Partnership. Today, David Daniels unveiled the new sign which shows the public rights of way to the Surrey Hills, and a circular walking route from the station.

Locals, walkers and representatives from St Martha PC and Shalford PC watched the unveiling of the new sign.

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Concerns over low water levels in Gunpowder Mills

A concerned local has reported concerns over the low levels of water in one of the canals in the Gunpowder Mills that feeds the Mill Race.

The normal channels of communication with GBC have temporarily been curtailed following the cessation of the original Gunpowder Mills Group earlier this summer. To fill the gap, Chilworth2gether contacted the appropriate officials at GBC on behalf of the local concern, and alerted the Parish Council of the query.

Both responded promptly. St Martha Parish Council has been aware of the problem of sluggish water in some of the channels and slow flows of water for some time; it is aware that a metal plate inserted upstream some years ago has reduced the flow of water and is a potential cause of the problem.

St Martha has advised that they have already contacted the Environment Agency with the purpose of having the metal plate removed in order to restore the flow.

GBC on the other hand attributed the slow flow to the hot summer and less rainfall than usual; this is based on the advice it has been given. In addition, it has attempted to improve the damage to the Mill Race by introducing sand bags; it is commissioning a survey of the Mill Race, but thinks that the costs of full restoration may be prohibitive in the current climate.

Both Parish Council and GBC also point out the problem of silt and rubbish in the channels mean the channels will probably need to be dredged out to restore the right levels so that, if the water flow is increased, it can flow freely.

St Martha Parish Council has announced that it hopes to establish a sub-group of the Parish Council for the Gunpowder Mills in the autumn, which will represent its interests, and open up lines of communication again with GBC.

Gunpowder Mills Group retires, but representation carries on

After 20 years of keeping an expert eye on the Gunpowder Mills site, with particular interest in the history and archaeological remains on the site, the members of the Gunpowder Mills Group are retiring, and the group is to be disbanded. Much has been achieved over the time, in partnership with the GBC Parks and Leisure team, in trying to stabilise the ruins and manage the site. Not an easy task, with different priorities and management styles, and of course within limited budgets.

At its last meeting, the Group invited the local parish Council, St Martha’s PC, that has always had representatives on the Gunpowder Mills group, to consider continuing their involvement. As a result, the representatives from the Parish Council will consider whether they should form a sub-group of the Council, so that the dialogue and good relations with GBC can continue. It is envisaged that local expert advice and the support of the community will continue as before.

The local Annual Gunpowder Mills Meeting, chaired by the Parish Council, will meet as usual in the autumn. The date has been set, and the village hall booked for Thursday November 8 at 7.70pm.

The community would like to thank the gunpowder Mills Group for giving freely of its time and expertise, to make the Gunpowder Mills a better place.