The first meeting of a new group, Friends of the Gunpowder Mills, met recently with the aim of promoting the site to locals and helping to make it a strong community asset.
The meeting was convened by St Martha Parish Council, and the group has strong continuing support from them, with Graham Brown the Chair. Continuity and expertise from the old group has been retained, but this is a fresh group of people from across the village.
It is hoped that with good will from GBC, also represented on the group, the popular volunteering sessions will continue with the Countryside Wardens in attendance.
It was agreed at the first meeting that the group should work towards contributing to Heritage weekend, a national event that celebrates our historic places.
This will take place during the weekend of September 14/15 this year.
The Parish Council will also continue to hold the annual Gunpowder Mills meeting in the autumn.
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.
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.