Foreword by Carol Cooper, Chairman
The Trust is perhaps unique in that it manages over 50% by area of the land within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site (WHS), working closely with Telford and Wrekin Council and Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT), who manage most of the rest.
We are all very proud that our work contributes to the ongoing sustainable management of the birthplace of the industrial revolution, so well interpreted through the 10 world class museums owned by IGMT. What many people may not realise is that, as well as our very active volunteer and community programme, and work with 20 or so local contractors, we also manage 70 structures, many of which are historic. We have an active maintenance programme, and are working with other partners within the
WHS to seek funding to be able to interpret some of these and prevent them from deterioration.
This year we have had to overcome some major challenges including a once in 200 year rainfall event in June and July, which led to a partial collapse of Jiggers Bank rock face, as well as several small landslips on land which we manage. Under usual circumstances, the Trust would have let the rock face collapse and regrade itself, but being so close to the highway we have had to spend several
months working out a long term solution with consultant engineers Scott Wilson Ltd. This will be implemented over the summer of 2008.
In terms of Nature Conservation, our surveys show that our woodlands provide habitat for breeding marsh tit and other birds ‘at risk’, and our ongoing ecological survey and careful management ensures that other species such as Bee and Greater Butterfly orchids continue to thrive.
This year we were sorry that Pauline Levesley, our long serving Finance Officer and Company Secretary, announced her retirement. Pauline has been with the Trust since almost the beginning and has contributed enormously. We were however fortunate to recruit Kate Chetwood into the role and we welcome her to the Trust.
One of the financial consequences of Jiggers Bank rock face is that we have amended our plans for a new office by changing the construction method. We have engaged Woodco Ltd to design, manufacture and build our new offices to the highest sustainability standards using a timber framed kit. We will be applying for planning permission during autumn 2008. We hope to move in by late summer 2009 if all goes well.