Dulas Parish Plan

Dulas Action Plan:

  1. EHGPC and ward councillor to lobby Amey and HC so that Dulas Road (along the Parks meadow) be made safe, without increasing traffic  speed.
  2. EHGPC  to request signage to designate Dulas.
  3. EHGPC  to request Mill Lane sign at top and bottom of road.
  4. EHGPC  to request “unsuitable for heavy vehicles” sign on the Mill Lane sign above.
  5. EHGPC to have “Don’t be a Junkie” sign printed for fly-tipping hotspots.
  6. EHGPC  to instigate a “Don’t be a Junkie” education campaign at school, shop and chip shop, with posters in junk hotspots.
  7. EHGPC to take the lead, and support linking commercial and volunteer bus services into integrated transport network to better meet the needs of rural area, with an improved timetable and later buses.
  8. EHGPC to find glass recycling point.
  9. Residents of Dulas support the idea of the community taking control of unused Catholic Church.
  10. Residents of Dulas support  re-opening of Pontrilas Rail Halt for passengers.

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ABOUT DULAS

Dulas is a rural parish centred around Dulas Court and Dulas Church.  There is no village centre; dwellings are mostly farmhouses and scattered cottages.  There are 65 adults living in the community with nearly twice as many women as men on the electoral roll.  Many are frail elderly people living at Dulas Court Residential Home.

 

FACILITIES

Dulas has few facilities. There is no shop or pub or school or public telephone. There is one post box in the parish.  There are no facilities for children or young people.  The attractive nineteenth century church is redundant and decaying.  Most residents go to Ewyas Harold for their needs, or further afield to Hereford or Abergavenny.  Art classes are held at the Barn, Dulas Court, courtesy of  Dulas Court Residential Home.  Other parish meetings are also occasionally held here.  

 HOUSING DEVELOPMENT  

Little or no housing development is wanted by most residents.

HIGHWAYS

The road along the side of the Parks meadow (west of Dulas Court) is undercut and eroded.  Eastbound traffic is forced to pull over to avoid oncoming vehicles, but the verge is deceptive and cars run the risk of rolling off the road and into the meadow.  White lines and marker posts have been installed but are ineffective.  The posts have fallen over as the verge is eroding rapidly.   An increase in heavy traffic has been reported along this road.  Road improvements should be sought as a matter of urgency.  Road maintenance is poor in Dulas,   Water seeping on to roads from fields and blocked drains is particularly hazardous in icy weather.  There is a rubbish and fly-tipping problem.

TRANSPORT

Apart from the daily school bus (running from Craswall to Pontrilas via Dulas)  there is only one public bus service  which goes to Abergavenny at  9.45am on a Tuesday.  There are no designated bus stops or bus shelters in the Parish. Car ownership is high, as you would expect in a Parish with virtually no public transport.  Measures introduced by government and local councils aimed at curbing car ownership (high car parking fees, reduced parking provision in town) hit the residents of parishes like Dulas very hard.  Dore Community Transport and Dial-a-Ride are vital lifelines for those without access to a car.

LAW AND ORDER

Few incidents are reported from this area.  There is an email-based, neighbourhood watch scheme in operation. Smartwater is used by some residents.

CHURCH

The redundant church of St. Michael is surrounded by an outstanding churchyard of great natural history interest which is full of orchids in the spring.  It was built in the nineteenth century to replace a much older church that formerly existed in the grounds of Dulas Court.  Although it is an attractive church, it is not considered to be of great architectural importance.  It is currently for sale.

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

Once entirely dependent on  agriculture,  Dulas has changed.  The main employer is the residential home for the elderly, Dulas Court,  Farms have diversified, using the premises to support a range of small businesses.  Agricultural activity, contracting and forestry remain important occupations, but there is also a builder’s yard,  IT company, food production businesses,  journalist,  medical training company, yacht charter company, forestry consultancy and a horse livery business.   Employment patterns have changed.  Residents often commute to work. most to nearby towns or villages, however, some travel much further, with  two residents commuting regularly to London.

Travel by train is popular and local residents go to Abergavenny or Hereford to access the rail network.  Commuters say they would welcome the reopening of the Pontrilas Railway Halt and would use it.

ENVIRONMENT

Dulas Churchyard is the most outstanding natural feature in the Parish.  Thanks to careful management the churchyard is wonderfully rich in wild flowers, particularly orchids in the Spring.  Visitors come from far and wide to admire the remnants of Herefordshire’s natural flora  which has mostly disappeared out as a result of modern farming practises.

Orchids in the churchyard Ancient oak tree

Dulas Brook  Rising in Newton St. Margarets and fed by springs, the Dulas Brook runs down the Dulas Valley and through the centre of Ewyas Harold before it joins the Monnow. This stream  enjoys excellent water quality and it is rich in wildlife.  The endangered  White-clawed crayfish and otter use the brook as a corridor.  Kingfisher, pied flycatcher and dipper are regularly seen here.  It is an important trout-breeding stream which has economic value for the whole region.

The Parks nature reserve, owned by Herefordshire Nature Trust, surrounds the western end of the Dulas Brook as it runs through the parish.  This is one of the trust’s most important reserves.

Ewyas Harold Common dominates the eastern part of the parish and some of the residents enjoy Graziers Rights. In addition many people living in the parish visit the Common to walk and enjoy its fine views.  This recreation facility is regarded as an extremely important.  Although an interesting wildlife area, Ewyas Harold Common is not an SSSI.  Management policy is decided by the Graziers’ Association and Herefordshire Nature Trust.

Ancient trees  An extremely old hollow oak tree grows on a small ridge overlooking the Dulas Brook on Middle Cefn Farm.  Another very old tree can be found a few hundred yards away in a field below Upper Cefn Farm.  Both trees are on private land with no public access.

Environmental opportunities
Several farmers have joined the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and have been able to profit from grants aimed at improving local habitat.   This has resulted in raised awareness of environmental issues.

HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY

Dulas Court.
A large Victorian house now used as a residential home, Dulas Court is in fact a historic site.

The former (pre-nineteenth century)  Dulas Court was once owned by the Parrys of Newcourt in Bacton.  Blanche Parry was nurse to Queen Elizabeth 1st and became Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber.  She served the Queen all her life and the Parry family profited from the connection.  Dulas Court was later bought from the Hopton family by the Rev. Robert Mosley Fielden (1858) and passed on to his son who pulled down the Court as well as the old church (which spoilt the view!) in spite of the fact that it lay on the site of a former Benedictine priory.

Only a trace of the early establishment remains. Some of the profusely carved oak panels in the main hall of the modern Dulas Court are said to have come from the old church. The base and stem of the old preaching cross and two gravestones lie in the garden.  An early 12th century archway, taken from the old church, has been erected as an entrance to the walled garden that lies on the other side of the Dulas Brook, north of Dulas Court.  Where the Dulas Brook enters the Court grounds there is a raised mound surrounded by hollows.  This may be the site of a former mill as the field opposite was known as Millpond Orchard.

Items of historic interest in the parish which need protection:

  • 3 stone stiles (either inside or bordering the parish).
  • An historic preaching cross.
  • A Norman arch, circa 1000AD which is Dymmock School (typical of group of Masons set up in Dymmock Gloucestershire before Norman Conquest).
  • Boundary stones on the Common

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Norman Arch Ancient stone stile
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