Our 2020 AGM was held on Thursday, 27th February, at the MY PLACE building


FODP Secretary's report 2020


  • Our litter pickers and working parties have been highly active virtually every week during 2019.The litter we are picking, apart from fresh rubbish goes back many decades. In fact we have competitions to find the oldest crisp packets! We average around 100 black bags a year not including bulky items of furniture and metal also fly-tipped tyres that always seem to end up in streams or ponds!

    The working parties continue to remove old barbed wire. They also landscaped the new carpark area. Repairing fences and planting numerous flowers and young trees. However the deer have been very determined at thwarting our work, by digging them up removing the expensive guards and nibbling away a large percentage.

    We do have new signage by the moat. This was paid for and installed by LBH.

    The archaeological dig now in its 5th year is progresses strongly. We have almost come full circle around the perimeter walls of the Neave built manor house. Our biggest surprise though has been the lack of archaeological finds in the house area- unlike the stable block site, which provided a huge cache of interesting day to day objects that were displayed at the Havering Museum. We believe this shortage is due to the house being demolished in 1950, the walled garden and stable block coming down some 14 years later, so eager children and walkers would have found items previously.

    We meet every Friday at the dig site commencing at 9.30am usually finishing around 1pm. All are invited to join us, if only to hear and learn more of the history of the site.

    The working parties have and are dong a grand job in clearing and making the dig site an area fit for public access and education.

    The 2019 Harold Hill Christmas Lights switch on fair, was again a great success, so also was our new sturdy tented marquee. Big thanks mainly to Belinda Bearman for preparing the 25 raffle prizes, up from the previous 2018 display that was 17 prizes.

    Calendars have sold well 232 to date, but there are some left.

    We have been fortunate during 2019 in successfully receiving a large £3200 grant from the Land of the FANNS organisation. This grant has allowed us with assistance from the Thames Chase Volunteers to almost complete a large area of tree husbandry near to the dig site. This self-seeded forest had become a dark and foreboding area with most of the trees dying and damaged. The Thames Chase volunteers will return this coming November to continue the work.

    The FANNS group will also pay for the moving and fitting of two historic column bases. These will be situated next to the now uncovered front doorway of the Neave house, plus the installation of an enamelled sign giving detailed information regarding the Neave family and their staff. This should all be completed during 2020.

    Finally Tom Fradd the previous LBH Park Development Officer, before he departed, stated this, the best defence against Havering London Borough council to not reuse parks and green areas for redevelopment, is an active and influential Friends group. Looking around at the support we have this evening and during the past years, gives me assurance that all our hard work and dedication has and is, paying a good dividend.


    Alan York Secretary FODP




FODP Chairman’s Report 2020.


London in Bloom.

This past year saw the group take on more work within the nature reserve to keep it up to a certain standard which resulted in a Gold Award for the third year running from the London in Bloom 2019 judge in the Large Conservation category.   Since we started to be entered into the London in Bloom program in 2015 by the local authority, the Nature Reserve has been awarded three Gold and one Silver Gilt in the  Large Conservation category and two silver gilts in the Country Park of the Year category.  This has been a fantastic result for the nature reserve and has only been made possible by the work that has been carried out by the members of the Friend’s group, supported by Havering Parks Department, who have strived to keep the parkland looking the way it does by going out in all weathers to undertake certain projects. 

This coming year we, as a group, will endeavour to carry on with the work that we have planned for the nature reserve whilst still attempting to reach the standards that the London in Bloom Judges are looking for by working with Havering Parks Department who have supported us through out.


Visitor numbers.

Since 2018 there has been an increase in visitors to the nature reserve which rose even more when the large car park was completed last year.  Since then more and more people are finding out about the Manor through word of mouth, postings on social media and importantly via the website.  Where once those using the reserve were in the main local’s who lived nearby we are now finding that people are arriving from place’s such as Hemel Hempstead, Bow, Ilford, Corringham, Chelmsford and Leigh on a regular basis to photograph the wildlife as word is spreading about the nature reserve. All that have visited the reserve are taken with it and are somewhat amazed that they had never heard of it before and many return not just for a second visit but repeated visits to the reserve to watch it change throughout the seasons.  As well as those visitors seeing it for the first time there is a regular walking group of upwards of thirty people now using the reserve and a smaller group which  consists of four or five people, both groups are repeat users.  No matter what they are using it for the Nature Reserve  can still be a place of tranquillity for many who go on solitary walks just to take in what is around them and in some cases to clear their minds of every day worrying matters, if only for a short period of time.

It is for all those users and many, many more that use the nature reserve on a daily basis that the members of  our group strive to make their time in the Manor a pleasant one which will ensure that they will return.  In the light of this there are more projects to take on board and to plan for.  The on-going planting of trees see’s the third consecutive year where group members have planted in whips and saplings with more going in later this year.                  The start of clearing the encroached area’s has now began and like the tree planting program the clearing out of scrub is to be spread over a number of years to lessen the impact to wildlife.  Already those using the nature reserve have been accessing some area’s where they could not go before due to the work carried out by volunteers and those in the friends group.  Later this year the volunteers and members of the FODP will be back clearing out more of the encroached area.


The year ahead.

As mentioned above the FODP have a number of set plans for the forth-coming year as to what they wish to achieve.  This has already started by members purchasing and fixing nesting boxes around the nature reserve some of which are in plain sight for visitors to view any activity that may take place whilst there are others tucked away in more quieter areas away from disturbance.

More tree planting, as already mentioned, will be taking place with Hawthorn and Wild Cherry trees being planted along the main drive which in a couple of years should give a nice show of blossom in the Spring time creating a pleasing sight to visitors. 

New, or replacement, signage will be erected within the reserve and it is hoped that working with the parks department and the highway department of Havering Council that there will be directional signage placed on the main road outside of the nature reserve indicating the route to take to gain access for vehicles. More natural benches and bins have been asked for by users to the reserve and it is hoped that these can be proved as well. 


Parks Development Officer (North).

I would like to take this opportunity to make mention of the enormous help and guidance that we received from Tom Fradd, the former Parks Development Officer (North) for Havering Council over the last five years. It is through the work that he did, both physical and office based, that we received the much needed funding for the new car park, benches, and signage.  His advice on tackling  problems that we have encountered in the reserve has been welcomed and much appreciated  and he will be missed not only by the FODP but by other Friends groups across the north of the borough. Tom has taken up the appointment of  Gardens and Outdoors  Manager at Anglesea Abbey in Cambridge and myself and other members of the FODP committee wish him well in his new role.

In lieu of Tom leaving I would like to welcome Taylor Smyth-Richards to his position in Havering Council as Parks Development Officer and whilst I and others of the committee have met Taylor through his previous post within the council it is pleasing to see him take over from Tom as Taylor is aware of the problems that are faced by not only the members of the FODP but also the other friends groups across Havering.


A final Goodbye.

Over the years I have used the nature reserve I have met many people and have often stood for what seemed like hours just talking with them about the reserve or mulling over life in general.  Others have been mere causal wave of the hand, nod of the head type shared exchanges as we pass through field and wood whilst others stick out in my mind for whatever reason.  One such person is Martin Kenyon.  Living close by in Tring Gardens Martin would often be seen walking his dog Rupert in the reserve and would always be accommodating by stopping for a quick chat even if it was to make him late for whatever he had to do next.  Unbeknown to many Martin helped the FODP and the far wider community of Harold Hill quietly, generously and without fanfare as he firmly believed that that was the thing that one did.  Sadly Martin died late last year and I attended his funeral which found the chapel where his service was being held packed out with family members, friends, associates and work colleagues to the point that many were still standing outside as the service progressed.  He will be, and is, missed by those that he came into contact with and will be remembered with fondness and a smile.  To commemorate Martin’s life and commitment to others within his community a Wild Cherry Tree will be planted in his memory in the nature reserve in the coming months.


Don Tait    Chairman.      27th February 2020.



Minutes of the 14/2/17 AGM were read and agreed




FODP Minutes of AGM 27th February 2020.

1) Welcome by Don Tait

2) Talk by Taylor Smyth-Richards LBH Parks Development Officer.

The speaker gave an excellent detailed talk on his past career path and his current job with LBH.

He reported on the numerous meetings he has attended with the FODP committee, and his actions and hopes for our Dagnam Park nature reserve.

He highlighted the £70,000 Violia Trust grant arranged by LBH to be spent entirely on Dagnam Park. This money will go on signage, pathway improvements, tree woodland management and a tree survey, a bridge crossing a drainage ditch, tree planting and protection.

To be delivered shortly are 10 Hawthorn and 4 cherry trees, all with guards, these will be planted along the gravel track leading from the carpark. These are to be watered, especially during dry periods.

More bins to be installed.

English Heritage and the LBH legal department are in discussion with Taylor regarding the long outstanding issue of the boundary of Dagnams nature reserve.

The talk moved on to our deer numbers. 15 deer currently have injuries. The RSCPA have been contacted. 20 deer warning road signs have been installed on local roads. If possible Dagnams should have more deer fenced exclusion zones, covering areas in and outside of our numerous forests.

Quad bikers are still a problem, the parks police are investigating.

A plaque in memory of Martin Kenyon, a user of the nature reserve and LBH employee, is to be to be created and delivered for installation by his colleagues. This will be placed, along with a tree, in the reserve by the Parks Department.

The FANNS grant for moving two column bases onto the dig site and the installation of a new sign is in progress (see FODP Secretary report for more details).

3)   Apologises for absence; Alison Shorter, Peter Riley, Jan Sargent, Lois Amos.

4)  Minutes of previous AGM agreed, proposed by Don Tait, seconded by Ron Annis.

5)   No matters arose from the last AGM's minutes

6) Election of officers, currently all remain in post, except minutes secretary,  now Alan York. We wish to thank Katie Cook for her previous excellent work.

7)   Chairman report, now posted in full on the FODP web site.

8)   Secretary report now posted in full on the FODP web site.

9)  Treasurer report, now posted in full on the FODP web site.

10) Litter picks dates, now posted in full on the FODP web site.

11)   AOB.

Metal detectorists over the nature reserve are increasing, Taylor advised us to contact parks police.

Part of the Central Park fencing needs repairing, Taylor to action.

11 new nesting boxes have been erected over the Manor, with 24 more on order.

Drapers school use the nature reserve for cross country runs, some of the areas used are in need protection. Also, a high level of litter is being dropped nearby the Drapers school entrance and Settle Road carpark. Taylor will be contacting the school with regards to these matters.

Meeting ended at 9.15 pm.


Friends of Dagnam Park Annual Accounts

15th February 2019 to 27th February 2020


                                  Balance on the 15th of February 2019,  £4641.86




Christmas Stall


Cost of printing calendars


Gazebo and 2 folding tables


Hire of Myplace




Postage, banners and business cards


Renewal of domain name


Tree felling/planting/fencing


Tools, equipment and t-shirts


Summer Festival




Christmas Stall £287.40
Sale of calendars £1145.00
Donations £126.00
Donation from Thames Chase £3260.00
Membership £221.00
Summer Festival £15.50
Total £5054.90


Balance on the 27th of February 2020,   £3661.25


These accounts have been examined by Frank Tapley.