Chiddgreen hosts Third Local Skills Day

Many Thanks to all Exhibitors, Speakers and Flute Players…

Press release – watch out for an article in the Halsemere Herald on 11 October

Chiddgreen hosts Third Local Skills Day

Too small to be Transition Town, Chiddingfold has its own group promoting sustainable living in the village.

Chiddgreen held its third local skills day in aid of Skillway on Saturday showcasing a variety of skills and activities – with a twist – visitors are encouraged to have a go at everything!


  • Bicycles were mended for free, and bike owners learned how to mend a puncture, tweak the gears for a nice smooth ride and discovered the best way to apply oil to the chain.

  • Children made clay animals by hand and everyone had the opportunity to have a go at throwing a pot – visitors will collect their creations after they have been fired, in the village, of course.

  • The Forge on the Green was open, with the smithy hammering out useful items and explaining as he went.

  • The First Responders were in attendance in case of accidents, and had their dummy ‘Annie’ available too. More than one person was heard singing ‘Stayin’ Alive’ for rhythm whilst practicing resuscitation.

  • Not only was there a bread-making demonstration, including grinding flour from whole grains, but delicious home-made sourdough bread was served for lunch with soup made by committee members. And anyone with wheat- or milk-  intolerance was catered for, too.

  • Thankfully the bee-keeper left his bees at home, but folk could try on his hat and veil to see how it feels. The honey-comb and hive designs drew fascinated questions about starting a new colony and the importance of bees in food production. Bees really are miracle-workers, and need our help to stay healthy and busy.

  • More crafty displays and a chance to try something new included water-colour painting, jewelry making and fabulous flower-arranging.


  • Last year, the talks included one about keeping chickens at home, so Chiddgreen went one bigger this time with a talk on keeping pigs as a hobby.  Pigs are intelligent creatures, who like fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of fresh water to drink, and like to wallow in mud on hot summer days: there are many pleasures in keeping these wonderful animals. But a word of warning – if you are planning to eat them, don’t give them names!

  • A talk on energy efficiency measures at home noted that saving money was only one motivation – make the right investments and you will also feel more comfortable and reduce your carbon emissions by up to 65% too (compared with an average home). There was plenty of advice on the best choices from wood-burners to under-floor heating and photovoltaic panels, not forgetting finding ways to fund the investments. Very usefully, we were given some top tips for right now that won’t cost more than a round of drinks.

  • Chiddgreen’s chosen charity Skillway was showcasing their work, with a stonemason working alongside an impressive display of wood- and metal- work projects, all completed by 14-16 year old students.  A talk from their Chairman described Skillway’s work. They have workshops in a converted chapel, and provide apprentice style tutoring on a set of accredited courses as an alternative to more academic choices.

  • And we also enjoyed a recital by The Chiddingfold Flute Group… all the talented players live here in the village, and if you would like to revive your flute-playing talents, contact us, and we will put you in touch.



Surplus funds from the event will be donated to Skillway and will help to pay for things like new hand-tools and materials for the coming term.


Chiddgreen’s Chair, Jane Devlin said “The whole idea of the Local Skills day is about building local resilience, showing and sharing skills and communicating what we can do sustainably within our local area. Skillway plays a vital role in training young craftsmen and women to be part of a sustainable future.  We are delighted to be able to show our support for Skillway with surplus funds – I think nearly £500 – raised from this event.”


The next Chiddgreen event is on Saturday 19 October 10-12noon at Chiddingfold Village Hall – Autumn Swap-it Day. For more information on this waste- reduction through swapping and recycling, please see


Jane Devlin

7 October 2013

More information

Jane Devlin 01428 684979

Great Swap-It Saturday

A big Green Thank You

to everyone who brought, took and helped to reduce waste last Saturday. Better to be a Swapper than a Shopper!

We estimated a whopping 30 cubic meters of previously loved stuff walked out of the village hall – the beginning of  the next chapter of usefulness with new owners. The residue – the items left at the end of the event – fitted into two cars to be taken to the Witely recycling centre or to charity shops. Really, this is a good indicator of the high-quality of  items brought along to swap: most things brought along were useful to someone!

Examples of things delighted people collected included..

  • a compost tumbler – almost new.
  • several bicycles – rather dusty from being in a shed too long, but soon to be part of someone’s new exercise regime.
  • some lovely wicker baskets of various shapes and sizes –  for use as a kindling-store, an umberella-stand, and a vegetable-rack.
  • a number of small-animal carry-cases that looked brand new to me.
  • a wonderful, if  wobbly small table  – perfect as a renovation project
  • a rake, a fork and a hoe – all in good nick. These tools didn’t even reach the table before three new owners bagged them.

There were some great stories, too: one person brought some ‘antique’  straight-back chairs, and swapped them for some more modern ply-and-metal  chairs. A dining-room make-over made simple!   And a new use was found for those plastic-covered metal racks previously used as shelves – a discussion between swappers came up with the idea to position them in the garden to grow seedlings through to prevent birds (chickens, actually) from pecking the ground bare.

Tea and Coffee with a home-baked cake or biscuit was only £1, so  lots of people stayed to watch the procession of goods arrive – and leap to their feet if they saw something for them. Everyone was smiling – it is a good feeling to give something away to someone who will really appreciate it. And even better when you find something useful that has only cost you the time to look, and a donation in the Chiddgreen tin.

Talking of money, we collected enough in donations and sales of rhubarb to cover our costs, and made a small surplus. We will use the money to fund events that don’t make a surplus, because we aim to keep our events ‘free’ and open to everyone. We also use the money to help to pay the expenses of speakers who we invite to give talks in the colder months.

Keep in touch with News and Events by signing up to our Electronic News Letter.

Next Event is the Village Fete on Sunday 9 June when we will be running a Smootie Stall, complete with the famous Smoothie-Bike. If you want to help on the day, please drop us a note via the Contact Us page.

Jane Devlin  May 2013



Surrey Hills Talk – write-up

Surrey Hills AONB and ‘Love Local’ Talk by Kenneth Bare on 11 December 2012

Chiddgreen welcomed Ken and the audience with spiced mulled apple-juice and festive biscuits, and rounded the evening off  with a lively discussion.

Illustrating his talk with stunning photographs, Ken took us on a journey: to the north and east, chalk grasslands support a diversity of flora and fauna, including wild flowers, herbs and mosses. Further south, the area is characterized by woodlands, with 40% woodland cover, with shaws, old coppice, wooded ghylls, parkland trees, small carrs and conifer plantations. Ancient semi-natural woodland is important for nature conservation and the yew and box woodlands on the North Downs are of international importance.

The Surrey Hills ‘Love Local’ initiative provides a directory of local and sustainable business based in the Surrey Hills. From tangy blue cheese to award winning wine, hand-blown glass to restaurants with rooms, the area boasts a wide range of independent companies and artisans committed to showcasing the best of Surrey.

By choosing to ‘love local’ you are supporting small scale sustainable businesses and independent traders, which in turn keeps rural communities thriving and helps to conserve the landscape.

These diverse produce, crafts, activities and places to stay bring life to our landscape. You can find a directory and a map  at


Chiddgreen AGM is on 5 March at 7:30pm in the New Chiddingfold Club ‘The Villagers’ on Woodside Road opposite the Vet, followed by a short talk to be confirmed.

2012 Swap-it Success!

Thank-you  to everyone who helped at the Swap-it day on Saturday 20 October, baking and bringing cakes, and sharing the work to deal with the residue (waste is such a dirty word!) It was great to see so many things carried off to be used afresh by new owners. And after identifying items suitable for the jumble sale, and to be gifted to charity shops, the pile at the end was really quite small. I think part of the pleasure of these type of event that we run is to catch up and have a chat with friends and neighbours from around the village. Next Swap-it day will be 11 May 2013.
We collected enough in donations to cover the cost of the Hall. Also, I think nearly everyone who came must have had a piece of cake: the variety of cakes on offer was clearly irresistible.

Next  Chiddgreen event is Tuesday 11 December in the Charles Watts Room 8pm – An illustrated Talk from the Surrey Hills Society about the AONB and Chiddingfold’s place in it.

The thought is to have mulled apple juice on offer with perhaps some festive biscuits? Let us know what you think, and please save the date!

Chiddgreen visits Skillway to present a cheque for £500

Last Thursday Jane Devlin presented a cheque for £500 to Skillway, a Godalming based charity. The money raised came from our recent ‘Local Skills Day’ event, which was a great success and we had decided that profits would go to this organisation which is tucked away in

the chapel in Deanery Road with an idyllic view across Godalming. The organisation was set up to provide local youngsters with a base in which to learn a vast array of hands on skills from highly technical processes to creative opportunities.

Whilst we were there some of the young men cheerfully explained what they had been working on and what the purpose of their tasks were, which in one instance included making a device to help aid hoisting a mast for a small boat. Several had been using lathes to turn wood and were combing their skills to make solid wooden side tables constructed using traditional methods. All the youngsters are encouraged to make metal angles which they can then use as their own essential tool.The numerous skills the young people gain from their time with Skillway will enable many of them to broaden their future job prospects and some may become craftsmen or engineers to name but a few.

Thank You!

Heartfelt Thanks to everyone who demonstrated, contributed,  cooked cakes, made suggestions, and enjoyed the Local Skills Day on 21 April!

Photographs of the day – if you have more to share please email them to or let us know on the contact form or email us at

Dates for your diary – Looking forward to the next Chiddgreen event?

And if you want to share a lift to other events

like the Transition Haslemere Green Drinks and the scree

ning of Animate Earth  contact us for a lift share!




Helen Hosker -10 years (at least!) of Greening Chiddingfold


On 14 March at the Chiddgreen AGM, Helen Hosker stood down from chairing the committee after 10, or was it 11 years?

Both the founding members of  ChiddGreen, or Chiddingfold Local Agenda 21 as it was originally known, were there: Christine Tebbot and Rebecca Laughton thanked Helen for her leadership.

The list of events is growing, and the group has contributed to the village with litter blitzes, traffic calming measures, planting of  the school hedge, affordable housing schemes, cycle powered smoothies, Local Skills Day, Swap It events, visits, talks, the creation of the website, and more.     On everyone’s behalf, they thanked Helen and also Rosie Gill,  who is still the treasurer.

Helen was presented with an enormous bouquet of flowers (many thanks to Jasmine Bardell for arranging these so spectacularly) and a present.

Helen responded by thanking the committee for all their enthusiasm and hard work in making Chiddgreen a successful village group. Far from cycling off into the sunset, she will stay on the committee and promises to continue to make a significant contribution.

 Jane Devlin becomes new Chair

The meeting unanimously voted in a  new chair – Jane Devlin.  So apart

from Helen and Jane swapping places, the committee remains the same, with Rosie Gill as Treasurer, Lucy Hatcher as Secretary, and Karen Bardell, Wendy Lockwood, Jeanette Walker & Rachel Whitehead forming the rest of the team.

Please do contact Jane if you are interested in receiving email news, and details of  future ChiddGreen events.