Barclay School Conservation Corps in Hertfordshire then on to National Trust Conservation Camps

From the age of 16, Chris participated in several National Trust 'Acorn' Camps, where one volunteers for a week of practical conservation work at trust properties around the UK. He had gained experience of practical conservation tasks earlier by joining The Barclay School, Stevenage Conservation Corps, run by the Rural Studies (which went on to be Environmental Science) teacher Mr Alan White. These were held monthly during term-time on Sundays at Watery Grove (between Stevenage and Knebworth) which was an Oak-Hornbeam woodland leased to the Hertfordshire Naturalists Trust - where a range of tasks were undertaken from coppicing of the hornbeam to grubbing out willows from over-grown ponds. The bonfires and opportunities to use tools including axes, where sound instruction gave life-long skills - no doubt 15 or even 18-year-olds at school would not be permitted to do these activities nowadays on 'Health & safety Grounds'!

Watery Grove, one of three locations whose vegetation was compared by Chris Chadwell, aged 14-15, towards a Biology 'O' level project.

Maps showing location of Watery Grove near to Stevenage; Diagram of areas surveyed within Watery Grove


Fauna; plants identified at Watery Grove (common and Latin names; being almost 50 years there have been quite a number of nomenclatural changes with the Latin names.

Plant records.

Bar-graph of Ground Cover (%) and number of times occurring

Examples of leaf-shapes found in Watery Grove - see that Chris Chadwell was already gathering pressed specimens of plants, in this case covering them in sticky-back plastic - they have been preserved in fresh green condition for almost 50 years.


With other participants on the National Trust Acorn Camp, Needles, Isle of Wight in 1974 - note the yellow 'waterproofs' which proved so ineffective in the blizzard on Offa's Dyke path in the Black Mountains, Wales on a University of Southampton Hill-walking club outing 18 months later.