ABOUT THE TRUST 2018-08-06T21:14:10+00:00


34 acres of historic, floodplain and hay meadow called the Bishop’s Meadow close to the centre of Farnham, Surrey was put on the market for sale for over £200,000.

Four concerned local residents were worried that the land might be sold for development purposes and decided to form the Bishop’s Meadow Trust to raise funds to buy the Meadow. They joined together with the Farnham Society in a public meeting to assess community interest in preserving this land from potential development. The people of Farnham overwhelmingly voted to protect the Meadow. The Bishop’s Meadow Trust (BMT) was registered with Companies House, members recruited and donations invited.

Local philanthropist and media businessman, Sir Ray Tindle, was also concerned about the future of the Bishop’s Meadow. When he learnt of the formation of the Trust, he offered to purchase the land and give the BMT two years (later extended to 3) to raise sufficient funds to buy back nine tenths of the Meadow. This was accepted and fundraising became the main concern of the Trust.

  • The Bishop’s Meadow Trust registered with the Charity Commission
  • The Bishop’s Meadow Trust has approximately 600 members
  • Kidsfest – a festival by children for children holds its first event on the Meadow to raise money to purchase the land. It raised £700
A group of travellers take up residence on the Meadow. After a week of negotiation they agree to move. A new security gate is installed.

The second Kidsfest is held on Oak Meadow raising £10,000. An anonymous donor is so impressed by Kidsfest involvement with the local community that they give £25,000 to the Trust. The Trust holds a “Glambash” charity auction at the Castle which raises £5,241
First of the annual hay cuts on the Meadow.

Surrey Wildlife Trust becomes actively involved with the Meadow.

The first portion of the Meadow is purchased by the BMT from Sir Ray Tindle who retains a section of the land – renamed Manor Meadow.

The Open Spaces Society awarded the Bishop’s Meadow Trust its first ever Open Spaces Award in recognition of the BMT’s campaign to save the Meadow.

An interest-free loan of £75,000 received from the Farnham Building Preservation Trust allows the Trust to buy the final part of the Meadow. The loan is to be repaid over 20 years.

The Wild Trout Trust surveys the River Wey running through the Bishop’s Meadow and makes recommendations.

The Environment Agency provides options to the BMT about future options for the Meadow.

The meadow was selected as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) based on the National Vegetation Classification survey report for Bishop’s Meadow (2013) and using data collected during 2011 and 2012 by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.
Planting a fruit tree orchard with children and their teachers from local schools.

Creation of the first wild flower meadow with seeds provided by Farnham Town Council and Friends of the Earth for their bee cause. A local bee keeper sets up an out-apiary on adjoining land.

The Trust participates in Farnham’s entry to Britain in Bloom and receives a Certificate of Excellence from RHS Wisley.

A visit and report from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership provides recommendations on future land management including the potential to graze cattle on the Meadow.

A legacy of £10,000 is received. The loan to the Farnham Building Preservations Trust stands at £55,000.

Surrey Wildlife Trust carry out restoration work on the Wey river bed and banks.

Active work on the Meadow includes hedge restoration, tree planting, removing invasive species of plants and planting additional fruit trees.

What we do

On behalf of its membership, volunteers and the people of Farnham, the Trust and Directors have a mandate to:

  • Manage and enhance the Bishop’s Meadow and its overall environment to increase bio-diversity

  • Make sure that the Meadow is a safe and enjoyable place for people who use it for recreational purposes and to access Farnham

  • Engage with the local Farnham community to increase support for the Bishop’s Meadow and the work of the Trust

  • Communicate with our membership about progress and plans

  • Encourage a greater number of active volunteers to engage with us

  • Involve younger people, especially primary school children, so they can learn and be inspired about the Meadow and what it contains

  • Create partnerships with a wide range of like-minded organisations whether local, regional or national to gain information, access expertise and share experiences

  • Fundraise for projects and activities on the Meadow – both regular maintenance and new initiatives

  • Ensure the financial health of the Trust

  • Plan for the future with a keen eye on sustainability

  • Comply with our commitment to good governance and meeting statutory requirements

The Bishop’s Meadow Trust seeks and receives advice, expertise and support from a wide range of environmental and conservation organisations to help in ensuring good practice management of the Meadow.  

“I enjoy being a volunteer for the Bishop’s Meadow Trust because I want to help the local community and preserve an area of tranquillity and beauty for my grandchildren”

Ian Fabry

Who we are

The Bishop’s Meadow Trust is a charitable organisation registered with the Charity Commission (number 1138417) and incorporated through Companies House (number 07087967).  The Trust is a membership organisation, so all those who have made financial contributions to the work of the Trust are invited to its Annual General Meetings to have a voice on the current and future strategy for the Meadow.

The day-to-day affairs of the Trust are managed by a group of volunteer Directors who form the Board following election by the membership. The current Directors, all local residents, bring a wide range of experience to the Board. 

Volunteer Directors

·             Jo Aylwin

·             Isobel Girvan

·             Nick Green 

·             Lou James

·             Jim Munro 

·             Ed Partridge 

·             Sandy Weaver 

Our Vision

The Bishop’s Meadow Trust owns 34 acres of floodplain meadow in the centre of Farnham.  We aim to restore the land as meadow land, to ensure that it remains a sustainable green environment for the people of Farnham and to actively protect existing flora and fauna while encouraging further wildlife to colonise the Meadow. We are committed to seeking the engagement of the people of Farnham and to work with volunteers (young & old), schools and youth groups.

To create and protect a semi-natural wild space for the people to Farnham to enjoy and experience a greater diversity of British wildlife in our town.

Our Objectives

·           To manage the Meadow to encourage greater biodiversity

·           To provide safe enjoyment and recreational use of the Meadow

·           To promote public understanding of the ecology of the Meadow

·           To raise income to support the work of the Trust on the Meadow

At a glance

·             Formed 2009

·             Approximately 600 members

·             Raised over £200,000

·             Final purchase of the Meadow in 2012

·             7 Directors/Trustees

·             Wide ranging partnerships, local and national

Corporate Donors

The Lions Club of Farnham

Farnham Town Council

The Farnham Institute

Ashgate Publishing

British Car Auctions

Tesco Charity Trust


The Mayor’s Fund (Farnham)