As part of a national programme to increase the number of trees on public land, 50 new trees were planted at Ickleford Burial Ground last weekend.  The trees were gifted to Ickleford from The Woodland Trust and include oak, maple, crab apple, hornbeam and wild cherry which were planted sympathetically within the site.

The trees were planted by the Trustees of the Burial Ground, assisted by Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami who is supporting the initiative in parishes within the constituency.

It is hoped the trees will take root quickly and over time will enhance the wildflower meadow and provide shade for relatives and friends visiting the beautiful resting place for years to come.

At present Alleyfield burial ground remains open to visitors as usual. However, the Trustees ask that all visitors observe the social distancing measures introduced by the UK Government, in particular:

  • Only visit Alleyfield alone or with members of your household or support bubble.
  • Ensure you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household/support bubble who might be visiting Alleyfield at the same time.

We thank you for your co-operation during this difficult time.

Following a very kind donation from Emorsgate Seeds, part of the wildflower meadow was scarified and sown with yellow rattle seed in September.

Yellow rattle is an attractive, semi-parasitic grassland annual, which in the past was a serious pest for farmers as it weakens grasses and could reduce hay yields by up to 50%. However, in a landscape context like Alleyfield, this suppression of grass growth is welcomed as it allows a better diversity and growth of wild flowers.

The seeds were originally harvested from Clattinger Farm SSSI in Wiltshire and are a useful addition to any wildflower meadow by encouraging species diversity.

Some of the volunteer Trustees scarified a large area and removed much of the summer growth of grass. The seeds were then spread over the entire area and will hopefully germinate in early spring, flower in June and set seed in July. The seed pods “rattle” when shaken, accounting for its name.

Scarifying at Alleyfield

The Trust is delighted to report that a major engineering project to renew the car park adjacent to the burial ground has now been completed.

The works were required as the car park had previously been subject to flooding during periods of heavy rain, as there was insufficient drainage available. Ickleford Parish Council contracted local land management company Maydencroft Limited to undertake the works, which included the installation of a central soakaway system and resurfacing of the entire car park over a two week period.

The Trustees of Alleyfield are very grateful to Ickleford Parish Council for funding and managing these important maintenance works and their ongoing financial support for this valuable community asset.

As part of the extensive Armistice centenary commemorations in Ickleford this year, Alleyfield was used as the venue to plant a commemorative Oak Tree. Those attending the event processed from St. Katharine’s church to the Burial Ground, where a number of readings and prayers were said to honour the memory of all those that have died in various conflicts around the world.

Brian Reynolds, whose father served in WW1, planted the English oak tree and unveiled a ceremonial plaque which will serve as a reminder to those lost in the conflicts.

Transparent silhouettes were on display all around the village as a poignant symbol of those who sacrificed their lives for their country, whilst the Chairman of Ickleford Burial Ground Trust laid a wreath on the memorial site on the village green later in the morning.

The Ickleford Armistice Centenary Oak Tree