Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Otford villagers given the opportunity to find out how to make their gardens more wildlife friendly

WILDLIFE MEETINGS: Members of Sevenoaks RSPB were transferred from their venue in Otford Memorial Hall to the warmth of California and New Mexico during their recent evening meeting through a presentation of the varied wildlife that can be found in the two destinations. The next meeting on Thursday, 7 February will be closer to home when Brian Nobbs will give guidance on how our gardens can be made to be more wildlife friendly.  Something that can be guaranteed to attract surprises to all gardens and help all important species survival. This meeting begins at 7.45pm in Otford Memorial Hall. Admission for non-group members is £3.50.

The group also provides an excellent introduction to the fascination of bird watching by inviting people to join free field trips. The next ones are on Wednesday, 6 February, to Rye Harbour and Wednesday, 27 March to the impressive Dungeness bird reserve. These trips are led by Anne McGregor who can be contacted on 01732 454304 for more details.

This weekend (26-28 January) there is an opportunity to take part in citizen science with the annual RSPB garden Birdwatch full details are at:

www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch

Further information of local activities can be found at ww2.rspb.org.uk/groups/Sevenoaks, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/RSPBSevenoaks/ where you can ask questions about birds you have seen and share your sightings.

VILLAGE RAMBLING: A leisurely seven-mile (11.3km) circular walk from Shoreham to Lullingstone and back is being hosted by the Tonbridge & Malling Ramblers (Breakaway) Group on Sunday 27 January. The 10am meeting point is Shoreham PCP, Filston Lane, TN14 7SR, (TQ518615). Dogs on short leads are allowed and there will be a nibble break and a pub get together at the end.  The estimated finish time is 2pm. Contact Graham on 07716 170900 or 01732 446101 for more details.

COMMUNITY WARDEN Paul Tapper holds his weekly surgery, to discuss any problems and community issues, at the School House on Tuesdays between 11am and noon. He can also be contacted on 07813 713366.

VOLUNTEER DRIVERS: Dial 2 Drive is still seeking car owners to volunteer to take an increasing number of elderly/disabled passengers to a medical appointment or shopping just once a week. The role is flexible and could even be once a month or daily depending on the time the driver can offer.  Please contact them on 0300 777 1200 or driving@imago.community if you would like to help.

LIBRARY CONSULTATION: Kent County Council is running a Consultation Questionnaire on its Libraries, Registration and Archives Draft Strategy until January 29. Paper copies are available in Otford Library or complete the questionnaire online by CLICKING HERE. KCC is seeking your views on their proposals to introduce a tiering model for their 99 libraries and are also hosting 20 consultation drop-in events across the county where you can speak to members of their LRA team. Visit their website or libraries for more information. A brief snapshot from their documentation shows their proposal to amend the current hours from 24 to 23 for Otford  but for Sevenoaks from 55 to 42, and Riverhead 25 to 15.  As you can see from these figures it is necessary for every resident to have their say as its once again a question of use it of lose it.  Adult reader numbers in Otford are declining so unless it can be demonstrated that the Library is well used by both adult and child readers there will be every opportunity to cut opening hours yet again.

VISITORS to Otford can now plan their time in the Heritage Village using the Visit Otford website (www.visitotford.org) which was launched in mid-November. The website, which was developed with the support of the Otford Sustainable Tourism Working Group, provides detailed information on the many interesting buildings and places in the Heritage Village including the 16th century Archbishop’s Palace, the Grade II listed pond, St Bartholomew’s Church and the Otford Solar System – the largest scale model in the world. It also includes information on places to eat and drink and lists 13 walks around the Village.

QR tags around the Village enable visitors to access the website with smartphones to get information on the buildings in front of them and directions for their chosen walk. The project to develop the website was undertaken by the Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust, on behalf of the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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