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It costs around £60,000 per year to maintain the accessible parts of Magog Down, including the Ranger service, twice-weekly dog-bin emptying, regular grass cutting, fence and gate repairs, and forestry activities (not counting the cost of farming our arable section).

Grants and investment income do not fully meet these costs, so the Magog Trust looks for additional support from each visitor to the Down. Please become a Friend to help us look after this special piece of countryside, year after year.
 

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES?

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So many people make regular use of the free Permissive Open Access on Magog Down, it is easy to forget that the whole area is privately owned, and access is permitted only within certain rules.

Why not read through the Rules of the Down before your next visit? (And see more detail here about recent changes). We also now maintain an FAQ to help in answering some common queries.

NOT US, BUT NEARBY:
"The Gog": Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop and Cafè

cartshedSitting on the A1307 opposite the turning to Magog Down is the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop and café where you are welcome to have a rest and a drink.

This neighbouring business is totally separate from Magog Down, despite Google sometimes conflating the two!

25 years on - how it began

The project started in 1989 when the land came on the market; the price of the land was £327,000. The Magog Trust was formed, and purchased the land in September 1989; it then initiated a programme of reclamation and development for long term conservation and recreation.
... Now, with average annual expenditure in the region of £90,000, continued support is required so that the work goes on...For much more on the history and background, go to 'About'

Follow the Countryside Code!   Respect – Protect – Enjoy

countrysidecodelogo2Correspondence in the November edition of Stapleford's Parish magazine has prompted us to remind our visitors of the importance of following the Countryside Code when enjoying Magog Down, in particular "keeping dogs under effective control" as the Code says.

Read our full response to this correspondence.
 

Next Working Party

The next Volunteers' working party will be on Wednesday 7th December. Our thanks to those who contributed to the very productive session in November, cutting back scrub along Middle Walk to widen the path.

Task for December is yet to be decided. The group will be led by our Conservation Ranger, Jon Gibbs. As ever all are welcome who would like to spend a couple of hours in fresh air and good company, doing a bit of physical work to assist in the management of Magog Down. Meet at 2 pm in the car park and bring stout gloves.

We Showcase Your Photos

We're always delighted to receive pictures taken on and from Magog Down. These two beautiful Autumn Colour shots were sent in by Faruk Kara, who caught the wonderful light conditions on the last day of October:

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We've created a Your Photos page in our Gallery to showcase some of the pictures from our visitors. If you'd like to send in any you have taken, you can  use the dedicated email address:  photos@magogtrust.org.uk

We can't promise to use them all, and we do rely on you kindly allowing us to use them for free. We will always credit you by name, unless of course you tell us that you don't want that.  Maximum size we use for the website is 1000 pixels wide.

New Trustees welcome

Are you interested in securing the future of this fragile landscape? Consider becoming a Trustee!

We are looking for able local people interested in what we are trying to achieve with the restoration of intensively farmed arable land to traditional chalk grassland. The Board of Governors needs to have people with a wide range of knowledge and skills to inform our discussions and decisions.

Collectively we need working knowledge of current environmental issues, finance, land management and relevant legal requirements.  Governors do not have to be experts in any of these subjects as we can and do seek professional advice from experts.  We need people able to give time to helping the Trust and its small army of volunteers without whom we would be able to achieve very little.

Magog Down – a unique area for restoration and conservation

The Magog Down is an area for restoration, conservation and informal recreation on the Gog Magog Hills just south of the boundary of the City of Cambridge, off the A1307 road to Linton and on Haverhill Road, Stapleford.

Magog Down is owned and managed by the Magog Trust who bought it in 1989. It covers 163.5 acres of previously intensively farmed arable land. It is freely open to all, all year round.

It has two meadows sown with wild flowers and grasses native to chalk grassland. Six woods, planted between 1990 and 1992, with 24,000 native British trees. It is seeing the return of ground-nesting birds, like the skylark, and native flowering plants like the cowslip...read more

A community space for all to enjoy

Some of the activities enjoyed at the Magog Down include:

  • Fun for all the family - From flying kites and picnics in the summer to the toboggan runs of winter, the Down is just the place for a family day out all year round
  • Health & recreation - Whether out for a stroll, a walk with the dog or a slightly more energetic jog, the rolling fields and stunning views make this the perfect setting.
  • Flora and fauna - With a wealth of native trees, shrubs, meadow grasses, flowers and associated wild life, this restoration area is a must whether you are a keen amateur or a seasoned enthusiast.
  • Agricultural use - About one-third of the land is farmed under a standard arable crop rotation by contractors. Sheep are grazed in the paddocks on the South Down. Part of the site is managed under Entry Level Stewardship and part under Higher Level Stewardship under the guidance of Natural England.This helps in the overall aim of the project - to recreate a chalk grassland typical of more than a century ago.

EASTER PROMOTION SUCCESS

formdownload_180Over the long weekend of 25th to 28th March, the Governors and other volunteers took turns to meet and greet visitors in the Car park – inviting donations and raising awareness of the Friend scheme.

We also leafleted cars which were not displaying the current  “I’m a Friend” sticker (see News item), inviting them to contribute to the upkeep of the site. Parking is at present free, but when current grants finish, a charge will be introduced.

It was a useful awareness-raising exercise which we hope to repeat across the year. We were very pleased to take cash donations of over £100, and to receive a steady flow of new Friend applications subsequently.

Car Park Opening Times

CURRENT: Winter opening:
late October - mid February:  8am - 5pm

Spring  opening:
mid February - end April      8am - 6pm

Summer opening:
beg May - late October    8am - 8pm

Other News Highlights

AGM and talks

barbara_thumbnail_60The well-attended AGM in October included talks by Jon Gibbs our Conservation Ranger, and by Barbara Massingham-Stubbs, who has taken over monitoring the butterflies on Magog Down.


Ragwort pulling

ragwort_close_60In July a team from Natural England joined volunteers to  pull Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) from Colin’s Paddock


Parents act as Poo Fairy

poofairy_thumb_60Parents organising the school's Fun Run very kindly cleared up stray dog poo from the route  read more...


Village Cafe supports the Down

villagecafe_60On Sunday 17th April we were pleased to  take part in a Stapleford Village Cafe event  read more...


Car Stickers launched

sticker_square_60We have now sent out smart new self-cling car stickers to all our subscribers  read more...


60,000 visits per year

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The Magog Trust has been using a car-counter to gather data on how many visitors the Down gets read more...

Notice to Members

AGM packs distribution

This year's AGM was held on Saturday 15th October at 2pm in the Johnson Hall, Stapleford. Postal notices were sent out in September, only to those Members for whom we do not have any email address (now only about a third of the Membership) and an email notice went to all other Members.

If any Friends or Members think they received neither email nor postal notice of this, do get in touch so that we can check we have your details recorded correctly.

Annual Car windscreen stickers

All current Members and Friends will now be entitled to an annual car windscreen sticker declaring "I'm a Friend of Magog Down". These self-cling style stickers leave no residue on your car window, and help us when monitoring the car park to determine how many of the thousands of visitors every month  are helping to contribute to the upkeep. (See News)

If you didn't get one in January 2016 and think you should have done, do get in touch before the end of October, so that we can make sure to include you in the 2017 distribution.

User Survey Summary

In July 2014 we surveyed visitors one weekday morning between 8am and 10.30am. During this period:

  • 42 visitors (cars) were logged
  • 38 of these were dog walkers
  • all but 2 were regular visitors
  • only 12 of the dog walkers were Members or Friends.

We would like all regular visitors to Magog Down to help contribute to the costs of upkeep by either becoming a Friend or, if they prefer, just making a donation. This form allows you to do either. Thank you.