Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Dear Friends of Etching Hill,

We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in obtaining a sum of £8,000 from the Tescos bags of help scheme for the project to open up the views on the hill towards Trent Valley and Derbyshire. 

We will be working closely with the Trustees and ecological advisors in managing the trees and restoring heathland habitat over the next 12 months. This follows requests made by members and residents over the past few years. 

We will be removing a number of trees (mainly, but not exclusively self seeded ones) in order to achieve this, however for those who love trees there will still be plenty left.! This will make the remaining trees more manageable. 

When the project is completed we will have a celebration party for everyone.
We have an exciting year ahead and we look forward to your continued support.

Due to project planning work there may be some delays in getting the programme for the year published as we will need to liaise with contractors and ensure litter picks do not clash with other work - but we will be in touch as soon as we can put out dates. We will have a range of speakers for the year ahead too.

In the meantime we would like to thank all our supporters and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Our final speaker of the year is giving a talk on Butterflies of Staffordshire. 
This is on October 27 th at 7.30 at Etching hill Church Hall. This should be particularly interesting as it is discussing local species of butterflies. Please come along and bring your friends. There is no charge for our meeting and refreshments are provided.

Don't forget to vote for us in Tesco Rugeley between 31 st October and 13 th November each time you buy a 5p bag.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Please vote for us in Tescos Rugeley between October 31st and November 13th. This is
an opportunity to obtain much needed funds to make a lasting difference to the hill.
Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 416 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 31st October to 13 th November on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. In total, there is over £12.5 million up for grabs across the UK.
See the following site for more information:  Bags of Help website 

The Friends of Etching Hill was formed five years ago after a community litter pick.
Having tidied the area, helped with the maintenance of the hill and had speakers on environmental issues the group now plans to work with the Trustees of the hill in restoring the views by thinning and managing the trees and enabling the return of greater biodiversity on the hill.
This has been a longstanding request from local residents and members of the group, but there has previously been a lack of funding. Tescos Bags of Help scheme offers groups money to manage areas and will provide our opportunity to enable the work to take place. The Friends of Etchinghill  have been selected to participate in this scheme and they will be working closely with the Trustees who have overall responsibility for the management of the hill and also with their advisors such as ecologists. 
Every time you buy a plastic bag in the Rugeley store during the voting period you will be offered a token to put in a box in their  store. You can use this to vote for the Friends of Etching Hill Openview project. The more tokens we have, the more money we will be allocated for this much needed restoration work. With your help we may be able to increase the biodiversity on the hill and restore the spectacular views that have historically been visible from the mount. To see our progress  follow us on Facebook and see our website and blog

The hill 1974 and today

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Revised voting dates for our Tesco project

Don't rush off to vote for our project just yet- we have had an email from Tescos this week saying they have altered the voting dates.
The new dates to vote for the Friends of Etching Hill Openview project are:

October 31st to November 13 th

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Great news everyone. Our Tesco bid has been successful! 

 This means that every time you buy a plastic bag in Tescos 
between 26th September 2016 - 9th October 2016 
you will be able to ask for a token which you can put into the box to vote for our project. At the end of the period of voting the group with the greatest number of tokens gets the largest sum of money. We are guaranteed a sum of money but with the your votes we can increase this.
Look for the Friends of Etching Hill project title "Openview" as we will be working with the Trustees to open up the views from the hill, manage the trees and encourage greater biodiversity. This is an opportunity to make a significant difference to the hill.

We need your votes for the Friends of Etching Hill Openview project 
Votes mean money! This is our one big chance to make the changes you have been asking for! 

Don't forget we have a quiz night on September 29th 7.30 pm at Etchinghill Church Hall. You are guaranteed to get some of the answers as there is something for everyone. Come alone and make some new friends or come with a team. We look forward to seeing you. £1 per person to enter all proceeds will go to the church on this occasion as they have supported our group.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

September update of events to look forward to

If the weather is kind to us we will have our autumnal litter pick and path clearance on
Saturday 10 th September. Meet at Etching Hill Church Hall at 11.00 as usual. There will be refreshments provided as well as all equipment.

Don't forget the quiz night on September 29 th  at 7.30 at Etching Hill Church Hall. We ran this event last year and had a lot of fun. We raised money for the church as they have supported our group. Come along and join in - everyone is welcome. There will be lots of fun questions so you don't have to be a regular quiz goer to enjoy this evening! Come with a team of four or come alone and make some new friends as you join a team. At only £1 per person - which includes refreshments this is a great night out.
We look forward to seeing you.

We are still awaiting news on our the bid that we put in to Tescos bags of help scheme. Fingers crossed as the money will make a big difference to the work that we can do on the hill. We will let you know when we hear the outcome of this.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

As our group is well known in the area, we get lots of requests about local issues and one resident has advised us about plans to build a block of stables and a tack and feed store on land at Shooting Butts Road. The application can be viewed on  scroll to view planning applications. Or it can be viewed at the Civic Centre in Cannock Beecroft Road.
A consultation charter for any comments that are relevant to planning applications is available from the council. If anyone wishes to make comments on this application they need to be submitted by 30August by letter or email. You do not need to submit personal details if you choose  to comment on any planning application

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Charter Fair Day

A big thank you goes to Don, Bridie, Phil, Geoff, Chris and Joe for helping at the Charter Fair.
Thank you also to everyone who came to our stall at the charter fair. We had a very exciting treasure hunt trying to find the square were the treasure had been hidden on the hill. The person who found the correct square was Mick Grocott - well done for guessing it was hidden under square M6! Mick won the hamper.
At this event we launched an interesting new leaflet " A short history of Etching Hill past and present"- so look out for it at the visitor centres and library as we plan to distribute these to local venues. They will also be  available at our litter picks and other events. The squares covering the spaces on the treasure hunt relate to the historical leaflet on the hill.

On our next litter pick date as well as collecting litter, we plan to pull up the rosebay willow herb and bracken that are growing on the area where the heathers were planted last year, so come along and
join us! See the events list opposite for dates.

Monday, 16 May 2016


Our AGM was on Thursday 12 th May. The committee were appointed as follows:
Geoff Brookes Chairman
Pam Owen Vice Chairman
David Bowden Treasurer
Phil Brockhurst Membership secretary
Christine Travers Brookes Secretary
Mike Mottershead Committee Member

Don Heath has decided to stand down this year, although he is still offering us considerable support. We thank Don for all his hard work - he was also our vice chairman for a period of time. We have one vacancy if anyone feels they would like to join the committee and become part of this exciting year ahead please ring 07792814607 to discuss this.

June Jukes

June Jukes came to talk about the history of Cannock Chase. The land was owned by the Bishops of Lichfield but became part of Henry 8ths territory. She explained how it was coppiced and the wood used in furnaces or for building timber framed houses and ships.
In the wartime the Chase was used by the military and a railway ran through the area. The M.O.D. wanted to claim the area and make the land out of bounds to the public. The Association of Friends Of Cannock Chase was formed in November 1947. In 1958 the area was given the status as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONB)
Further battles have ensued to prevent the area being swallowed up by the M6 and no doubt there will be future challenges but The Friends of Cannock Chase have an active membership with events planned throughout the year. For enquiries or to join contact June Jukes on 01543 571241. Their membership is £7 per year. Their website is
As an aside our Etching Hill is part of the AONB.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The speaker for the evening of 10th march was Joan Lockley of the Hedgehog rescue. She gave us lots of interesting information on how to encourage and protect hedgehogs. Here are some useful tips:

Dangers / extinction
Hedgehogs have been around for 20 million years! They are becoming extinct. There are below one million hedgehogs left now. The reasons for the decline are garden strimmers; cars; badgers; compost heaps and garden forks, bonfires, netting- they get trapped, cattle grids - some have ladders in them for hedgehogs now; concrete drains- they wear their feet down trying to get out; slug pellets; insect sprays; garden pools- they can swim but get exhausted unless people have built a shallow exit route for the hedgehogs ( build up some stones at one end); sheds- they go in and get locked in without food; slug pellets; anti freeze (they like the sweet taste, but it is a poison) and also sprays put on roses (which they lick off their fur when cleaning themselves). In addition there is habitat loss due to the decline of hedgerows. 100,000 miles of hedgerows have been lost. Contact the rescue centre if you see a hedgehog out by day ( they are nocturnal) or if you suspect a hedgehog is sick.

Attracting hedgehogs to your garden
Some things can be done to encourage hedgehogs such as leaving a patch of long grass or a rough area, leave a hole in a fence, feed them mealworms and cat biscuits as well as a tin a night of the cheapest cat food (they take in and excrete a tins worth per night! ) level water for them to drink, have a feed station and remove dangers - see above.
A hedgehog safe space may be created by putting two parallel rows of 6-8 bricks and covering these with a slab. This creates a small tunnel (it should be five and a half inches wide) Leave the feeding dish at the end. Hedgehog rescue telephone 01922 419532 or 07837 409533 website

Sunday, 6 March 2016

On Saturday 5th March we collected around 30 bags of rubbish during our Clean for the Queen event. We had 23 volunteers who turned up, including Amanda Milling our local MP.

The rubbish collected included a single bed headboard, some builders rubbish, broken glass and a tent as well as general rubbish. Our volunteers wore the visibility vests which were kindly donated to us by Rugeley Power Station.

It seemed fitting to start the event with the National Anthem and to end with afternoon tea. Tescos helped to part fund the refreshments. We had sandwiches, pork pie, crisps, scones with clotted cream and jam.
New faces

Our MP Amanda Milling

familiar faces

family groups

scattered on the hillside picking litter

wrapped up warm

finding litter everywhere
A presentation to our Facebook page manager

chatting to the MP

litter picking dogs
afternoon tea

Monday, 8 February 2016

Welcome to the Friends of Etchinghill 2016

We know how important the hill is to everyone in the area as it is part of the AONB area of outstanding natural beauty, a site of geomorphic importance RIGS site, a site of biological importance SBI and a site of selective heritage SHINE. Apart from all the titles it is a tranquil area which has formerly been used for beacons due to its height.

Our group has been running for 5 years and we have helped to keep the hill free from litter and tried to maintain the paths as well as working with the Trustees of the hill on preparing the ground to reinstate the heathland, setting heathers and clearing brash. We have found funds to replace the information boards around the hill and encouraged the council to provide extra litter bins. We have an active friendly group of volunteers who give up an hour every few months to help with these things. The Friends of Etchinghill also have guest speakers who tell us about our native wildlife, managing the environment, local history and other local news.

We are always keen to hear your stories of how you have enjoyed the hill in the past.

We have a website and update a blog of our activities which can be accessed through the website. We also have a Facebook page Friends of Etchinghill. Our chairman, Geoff Brookes, can also be contacted on 07792 814607.

We invite you to join us at any of our events throughout the year. See our programme itemised opposite.

All meetings are held at the hall of The Church of the Holy Spirit, Mount Road Etchinghill and litter picks start from there. We provide all equipment and refreshments after litter picks. All meetings are free of charge unless otherwise stated and they are open to everyone.

During 2016 we are working with the Trustees of the hill to find ways that we may be able to restore the views from the top of the mount. This would involve thinning the trees, as this was one of the main issues raised at previous meetings we have had. We hope to apply for funding to achieve this and we would welcome any comments that you would like us to consider. The Trustees are keen to work with us and with the members of the community whilst we draw up plans and apply for funds. If you have any comments please feel free to either ring 07792 814607 or to attend our first meeting of the year where we will have space to discuss this.

If you would like to become a member we charge £1 per person for the year (or part year) payable in April and will send you regular updates and minutes of meetings (members also get discounts at some local shops ask us for further details) Come along and join in - We are a friendly group. We look forward to meeting you.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year

Happy New Year to all our members and friends. On New Years Eve 13 of us decided to climb the hill to see the fireworks at midnight. The evening was dry and clear, although it was cold. The fireworks could be seen all around the district as well as in Rugeley town and Etching Hill.