Description of Land owned by LAA
LAA bought the valley land on 4th May 1988 from John Tidman of Loose Court, primarily to protect the land from development and therefore prevent Loose from merging into Maidstone and becoming urbanised. LAA also recognised the considerable beauty and diverse natural habitats of the valley and the need to preserve them and allow public access as a recreational facility.
As part of the land sale, restrictive covenants were placed on the land that LAA is required to comply with (grant Transferor land access and mineral excavation rights, no buildings to be erected, obligation to construct and maintain boundary fencing and gates).
Subsequent to purchase, LAA undertook a public consultation to understand what villagers would like LAA to do with the land. From this consultation, LAA prepared a land management strategy.
The strategy has been implemented with considerable local voluntary support including a number of sizeable projects such as the manufacture and erection of over a mile of fencing.
The strategy focused on making good the neglected state of the land (excessive encroachment by brambles, fallen/dangerous trees, choked river and pond, rotten fencing/gates) and used cattle as the primary means by which to keep the meadows in good condition. LAA also negotiated over a number of years with Southern Gas to get them to replace a cast iron gas pipe that ran through the valley (supplying gas to Little Ivy residents) and was leaking. Agreement was finally reached and the pipe replaced in 2010.
Two subsequent land purchases have been made to enlarge the LAA valley land, these being:
In addition to the valley land, LAA purchased Mercers Wood, a steep sided, long, narrow strip of neglected coppice wood and abandoned quarry that runs alongside the southwest side of Salts Lane. This was acquired to protect it against development. The land was found to be full of years of dumped rubbish and the trees had not been coppiced for many decades and were overgrown. Some unhealthy trees were also in danger of falling across Salts Lane. A ragstone boundary wall defines the boundary of the land with Salts Lane. This wall was in need of repairs.
The land is very steep sloping and therefore not particularly safe or easy to walk through. LAA therefore does not encourage public access. The primary purpose of Mercer’s Wood is to remain as a natural habitat and wildlife feature of Salts Lane
Loose Amenities Association,
General enquiries: 01622 743676