BROOK MEADOW CONSERVATION GROUP
The Brook Meadow Conservation Group was formed in September 2000 by local residents to help restore, protect and conserve the natural environment of Brook Meadow and its wildlife for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of the people of Emsworth. Since then, Brook Meadow has become a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation because of its important wildlife and in 2008 was designated as a Local Nature Reserve. Havant Borough Council who own the site, have pledged their full support for the conservation project.
Here is a group of volunteers assembled for one of the regular work sessions.
To join the group go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/membership/
Colin Brotherston (Chairman) Tel: 07779 759696
. . . E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maurice Lillie (General Works) Tel: 01243 374716.
. . . E-mail: email@example.com
Pam Phillips (Membership Secretary and Treasurer) Tel: 01243 377791
. . . E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Fellows (Web site editor) Tel: 01243 375548.
. . . E-mail: email@example.com
Volunteer Work Sessions
Conservation work sessions on Brook Meadow take place from 09.30am to 12 noon on the 1st Sunday and the 3rd Thursday of each month throughout the year. Everyone is welcome and tools are provided. We meet at the new tool store HQ at the end of Seagull Lane. Safety for all volunteers is a priority and risk assessments by trained members are given at each session. There is a break when refreshments are served.
The main tasks include cutting and clearing of the grassland and scrub, removing broken tree branches and keeping pedestrian paths open and clear of obstacles. Clearing litter is a priority. For reports and photos of recent work sessions go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news/
This blog edited by Brian Fellows provides ongoing wildlife news from Brook Meadow and the surrounding local area. Go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/meadow-blog/
Newsletters in PDF format are published every 3 months. They cover both conservation work and wildlife news and are are prepared by Colin Brotherston. These newsletters replace the fortnightly newsletters that Brian Fellows used to send out by e-mail.
Links to all the Newsletters are at . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/newsletters/
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
The group AGM is held each autumn at St James Church Hall, Emsworth. It includes the Chairman’s Report on the past year and the Treasurer’s report plus a wildlife report and general discussion.
Reports of the last four AGMs for 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are on the following link. https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/agms/
HISTORY OF THE GROUP
“Brook Meadow Through the Ages”
This booklet published in 2010 and written by ex-chairman of the group Frances Jannaway provides a detailed history of Brook Meadow and of the conservation group.
Copies are still available from Pam Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org
A very brief history of the conservation group
by Brian Fellows (Chairman 2000-2006)
The meadow was purchased by Havant Borough Council in July, 1990, they constructed footpaths and put up two wooden bridges over the river, but did very little with the meadow itself with the result that it became severely overgrown with rank vegetation. Not only did this seriously reduce the attractiveness of the meadow and its accessibility to the public, but it also diminished its ecological value and made it look like a site ready for development. This is what the meadow looked like when the group took it over in Year 2000
These concerns prompted myself and a number of other concerned local residents to get together to form the Brook Meadow Conservation Group in September 2000. Our aims were to restore, protect and conserve the natural environment of Brook Meadow and its wildlife for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of the people of Emsworth. There were several priorities. We had to get organised and start to care for the site, we had to gain the support of the local community and we had to get good evidence about the ecological value of the meadow. Our guiding vision was that the meadow, with proper care and management, could become both an important reserve for wildlife and a place of natural beauty where people would want to walk and enjoy its openness. It was also our hope that the meadow would, in the future, become a valuable recreational and educational resource for our children.
With the help of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers we set up the group, elected a committee, drafted a Constitution and opened a bank account. With initial publicity we quickly attracted members who paid £3 subscription to join the group. A Programme of Action was drawn up for the year which included monthly committee meetings, monthly workdays and monthly guided nature walks during the summer months. We also set up a voluntary wardening scheme in which members visited the meadow to note things that needed doing and to record wildlife. We became formally affiliated to the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers from whom we obtained public liability insurance for practical work in the meadow.
Conservation training has been an important part of our activities so as to ensure that all practical work on the meadow is conducted responsibly and with proper care for safety. Members of the group attend conservation training courses in Risk Assessment, Leadership, Emergency First Aid, Wardenship and the use of strimmers. Thanks to membership subscriptions and a number of generous donations we assembled an extensive range of tools. Our first major purchase was a BCS Crusader Power Scythe which we obtained with a grant from the landfill tax. This has been a superb machine and was put to very good use on workdays. We also purchased a Stuhl Brushcutter which has also been put to good use.
Havant Borough Council own the site and have been fully supportive of the conservation project. They gave permission for the group to manage Brook Meadow. They provide funding for the cutting of the meadow and among other things, installed our first seat as which has stood up remarkably well to the test of time. Here’s a photo taken when the seat was first installed in 2001. It has been an important priority to keep everyone closely and constantly in touch with all that is happening in Brook Meadow. To this end all group members and various other interested people (e.g. members of Havant Borough Council, Hampshire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, local naturalists) receive either a printed Newsletter or a fortnightly e-mail bulletin to keep them informed about the progress of the conservation project and about the wildlife on the meadow. More general publicity has included articles in local newspapers and periodicals.
A logo was designed for the group by one of our volunteers (Richard Bishop) featuring a Water Vole and this is shown on all our publications.Another important step to publicise the work of the group was the setting up of a web site. Three Metroguard Signcases were installed at the entrances to the meadow and another one in Palmer’s Road Copse specifically for Water Vole information. These signcases are regularly updated with news and photographs and are clearly much appreciated by members of the public.