Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a selection of answers to some of the questions we are often asked. If you have any further questions not covered here, do of course get in touch (see our Contact page). Please bear in mind that the Trustees are all Volunteers, and that paid administrative support is part-time – so while we do endeavour to get back to you promptly whenever possible, we are not always able to respond quickly.
Friends and Members
Payment is due on the 1st of the month in which your car sticker expires. We take subscriptions on a rolling basis throughout the year. Usually these are set up to be due in the month when you originally joined.
If you pay by Standing Order or Direct Debit, the expiry on your sticker will be for the month after your payment, and we’ll send your new sticker before the old one expires.
If you do NOT have an annual payment in place, then you’ll need to pay proactively in order to receive a new car sticker; we can’t promise to send any other reminder.
ALLOW UP TO FOUR WEEKS from sending payment to receipt of your new sticker/s; please do not chase up, unless it’s been more than a month since you sent payment.
Early renewal payments are very welcome; your new sticker will not overlap with the old one if you pay early. However if you pay late, whether by one month or many, and do not set up a standing order, your renewal month will be re-set to the month before your late payment was received.
Currently £15 for an Individual (receiving one car sticker), £25 for a Family (two named adults; eligible for up to two car stickers).
The subscription rates have remained unchanged for many years. The Trustees will next review them
at the end of 2022.
YES: We do still accept cheques as payment.
NO, SORRY, but we’re always happy to take additional donations on top of a Friend/Member subscription.
Standing Order: We welcome this method. Please use Surname and Friend/Member number as a
Reference in order to identify your payment.
Direct Debit: Please follow the “JOIN” button on various pages of the website
YES. We welcome this method. Just as with Standing Orders, please use Surname and Friend/Member number as a Reference. Existing subscribers may have been sent an email reminder with payment details prior to renewal. New Friends, once you’ve sent in our form, or at least told us your full postal address, we will be happy to send you the necessary bank details so that you can make a direct payment. (We do not publish our banking details on the website.)
ONLY FOR DONATIONS. We are happy to process CAF vouchers and receive CAF account direct payments. However, that CAF account money has already been enhanced by a Gift Aid rebate, and because of the HMRC benefit rule, it cannot be used to pay for an item or service (a ‘benefit’), unless the value of that benefit is below a certain limit relative to the Gift-Aided donation. See below.
ONLY FOR GENEROUS TOP-UP DONATIONS. Free parking is considered to be a ‘benefit’, the value of which is the minimum subscription level to receive a car sticker: £15 for one car sticker, £25 for two. It is not eligible for Gift Aid, and in fact we pay VAT on it.
The exception to this is where the ‘benefit’ does not exceed 25% of the donation, thus a generous donation of £60 or more from an Individual Friend, or £100 or more from a Family would mean that a car sticker, or two for the Family, can be issued and still claim Gift Aid on the whole amount.
Yes, please. Any amount on top of the basic minimum for your car sticker is eligible for Gift Aid. It’s fine and indeed preferred to make one payment that covers both the Friend subscription and a donation on top. All those many small top-up donations that Friends make get aggregated in a simple way on our Gift Aid claim, and it all helps.
Those who are a “Member of the Magog Trust” have a formal say in the running of the Charitable Company which owns and manages Magog Down. In 2010 the “Friend of Magog Down” scheme was launched for new subscribers; while Friends pay the same annual subscription rate, they do not have the formal role in the management.
We’re always delighted to hear from those who want to do more than simply making the modest annual subscription as a Friend. If you want to become involved in the Company, The Magog Trust, having a voting right at the AGM, then an application to become a Member will be reviewed by the Trustee Directors of the Trust: write to The Chairman at our registered address, explaining why you wish to become a Member – perhaps there is a particular aspect of our work which you would like to become involved in or think you can help with?
NO. The £5 “gogs” certificates issued to hundreds of families when the land was first purchased in 1989 proved very popular and were a great way to raise money as well as raising awareness. However, only those who have continued to pay their annual Membership subscription (or who bought a Life Membership) are now current Members.
The “gogs” certificates do not confer any right of ownership over the land; what they do indicate is a level of interest and unselfish commitment to this community-led project by those who bought them at the time. Without that widespread support we would not have Magog Down as a place for so many people to visit and enjoy today, and into the future.
Please drop us a line so that we can update our records accordingly. (We will also be able to confirm whether you have a standing order in place that you will need to cancel yourself.) It helps us greatly if you actively let us know that you don’t wish to renew, rather than just ignoring payment reminders. Thank you.
Car Parking and Stickers
It costs £75,000 per annum to maintain the Down for its conservation and the safe enjoyment of all. Only 30% of this figure is covered by grants and other land income, so we need the financial support of all who use the Down. Car parking charges make a significant contribution and are seen as a fair way of spreading the cost amongst visitors.
Parking remains free for those who pay an annual subscription and display their up to date “I’m a Friend” car sticker.
NO. The £3 per day parking charge applies to all visitors. There are of course designated parking spaces for disabled visitors, and the “easy access” path around North Down means that even the least mobile of our visitors can still enjoy the best views in Cambridgeshire.
Sign up to become a Friend. Just press the green “JOIN” button on the top menu bar and follow the instructions.
We aim to dispatch your sticker(s) within two weeks from receiving your payment. It is usually
quicker than that except in busy holiday periods.
If you pay by Standing Order or Direct Debit you can expect to receive new sticker(s) in the second half of the month following your annual payment.
If you pay only as a “one-off” by other means, you’ll need to make a payment in order to receive new sticker(s). We hope that the date on your sticker will serve as a useful reminder, since we can’t always guarantee to send any other reminder. Please allow up to two weeks from payment before delivery of your new sticker(s).
We send one sticker by default to Individual subscribers, and two stickers to Family subscribers. If you have received one you don’t need, or two when you only need one, then please do let us know so that we can update our records. Now that a sticker allows free parking, we can no longer claim Gift Aid on those subscriptions, and in fact have to pay VAT on the transaction; hence, if you decline a car sticker your subscription is worth 50% more to us – thank you!
Just send the unwanted sticker back to our Registered Office address, with a note, so that we can update our records.
NO. Your Friend subscription is a commitment to support the ongoing work of The Magog Trust in maintaining Magog Down; the sticker allowing a year of free parking is a perk of this subscription. We do not issue refunds.
NO. As a Friend at Individual rate, you are entitled to one sticker only. A Family subscription entitles you to maximum of two car stickers, the subscription covering up to two adults at the same address.
If you currently pay as an Individual and wish to upgrade to Family, get in touch.
YES, BUT there is a charge of £10 for replacing lost stickers; this charge is to cover the additional administration costs. The replacement sticker will have the same expiry date as your lost one.
How clean is your car windscreen?! The ‘stickers’ we have produced are in fact a ‘static self-cling’ style (chosen so as not to leave a sticky residue on your windscreen after they’re removed). Once peeled off their paper backing, they should stick easily to your windscreen. If you find that yours doesn’t want to stick, try cleaning the windscreen first and that should improve matters.
Manufacturer’s technical spec is as follows:
– Both sides adhere securely on clean glass
– Minimum application temperature: +10°C
– Temperature range: -20°C to +50°C
– Take care applying to cold glass as initial adhesion will be reduced.
Yes, we do not charge a parking fee for motorcycles. However, if you intend to be a regular user of the Down, a donation towards the cost of maintaining the site would be appreciated.
Events and Activities
Please check out the Rules where you will see that ball games are only permitted for under-14s, and kites must be flown with care not to cause danger or annoyance to others.
No. These have been specifically prohibited under the revised Rule regarding Aircraft.
You must gain the prior permission of the Trustees for any organised gathering, and only certain types of events will be permitted.
For large events, we will ask for notices to be put up to advise regular users in advance. And you will need to show evidence of Liability Insurance for your organisation. Please contact us with details of your proposed event as early as possible.
No. Under the terms on which the land is owned, it is not permitted for any commercial activity to take place there.
No. As above, under the terms on which the land is owned, it is not permitted for any commercial activity to take place there. See the Rules under “Trading”.
Yes. We are delighted that various local schools and other groups do use Magog Down as a resource for study. Please tell us when you plan to come, and the nature of the group.
If you would like access outside of the advertised Gate-opening times, we can usually arrange this with our volunteer gate-lockers, given sufficient notice. Again, contact us with the details.
The Height barrier across the entrance gate is 2.1m, so please contact us in advance. For educational visits, we can usually arrange to open the top barrier to allow you access, given sufficient notice.
Because the Down is private land, you need to formally seek, and be granted, permission from the land owner, who is the Magog Trust. Please contact us with some information about when and where you would like to scatter ashes.
We are keen to limit the number of such signs on the site, though have made a few exceptions over the years in special cases. We plan to offer the opportunity to purchase small celebratory plaques of a defined size, which will adorn the back of our Noticeboard. Details of how to arrange this will be posted on the website.
No, we are not in a position to plant specific trees on the site in memory of loved ones. We welcome donations towards the upkeep and maintenance of the Woodlands, and for those made in memory of loved ones, we keep a permanent record in our Book of Trees.
We have a waiting list. There are now about 50 seats around the site, all of which bear inscriptions to loved ones. The decision was made some years ago not to add any more seats, lest the site become overcrowded with them.
As and when the existing seats come to need replacing, the positions will be offered first to the original sponsors if we are still able to contact them. If those families do not wish to replace the seat, then the position will become available to those on our waiting list.
For those who may wish to join the waiting list now, we anticipate it could be a very long wait, in the region of ten years or more, before a place becomes available.