Conservation News (current)

Conservation work on Brook Meadow
Management of Brook Meadow is essential to maintain an appropriate habitat for wildlife and to enhance the biodiversity of the site. To achieve this, the conservation group works in co-operation with the local Council and other agencies to keep the meadow in good order both for wildlife and for public use. It holds regular conservation work sessions to manage grassland, scrub and woodland and, generally, to keep the meadow clean and tidy. The rivers are primarily managed by the Environment Agency to maintain a good flow of water, avoid flooding, and to create a good habitat for fish, Water Voles and other riparian wildlife.

Volunteer work sessions
Regular conservation work sessions on Brook Meadow take place from 10am 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. Children and students from local schools and colleges are welcome to join in for work experience.
Special work session are also organised from time to time e.g. hedge-laying
For further details call Jennifer Rye – 01243 376926

For Brian’s wildlife observations go to . . .

Conservation Work session – Sunday 4th November 2018
Report by Jennifer Rye.  Photos by Brian Fellows

Just 9 volunteers today, which meant that we welcomed a new recruit, Diana, with more than usual enthusiasm! Work was outlined at HQ as usual, tools collected into barrows, safety briefing given, photo taken and we few, we valiant few set off. The first task was to finish off raking, and disposing of arisings from the orchid area of the North Meadow, left unfinished at the last workday. Pam, Debbie and Diana, with some help from Maurice, started that off.

Meanwhile Tony and Mike took the power scythe down to the South Meadow, cutting the green paths en route, to tackle the South East corner. This had not been cut since the Environment Agency had installed the flood barrier there to protect Gooseberry Cottage, and there has been a lot of growth.
At the same time, Dan and Terry got stuck in, almost literally, planting out reed rhizomes donated by David Gattrell from Peter Pond on the newly cleared river bank just south of the north bridge. This is an important part of our River strategy aimed at encouraging the return of water votes from the Lumley Stream to the Ems river.

A much needed break for coffee, ably supplied by Pam as usual, at the causeway seat, gave us all a boost. Afterwards the North Meadow task was completed.
The South east corner looks much improved, a mighty effort by Mike and Tony together, and all the South Meadow paths are now walkable. At a future workday, they will have to be ‘sided up.’ There is still more cutting to be done in the South Meadow.
A big thank you is due to all our hard working volunteers for a mighty good morning’s work. As usual, numbers of passers by complimented us on the work that we do, and again as usual, we encouraged them to come and volunteer with us. Here’s hoping!

A busy week in sight:
Monday Nov 5 – a public consultation by the Environment Agency on the proposed flood barrier for the back of the Lumley Terraces, at 11.30 am in the Community Centre.
Friday Nov 9 – the AGM of BMCG at 7pm in the Parish Hall, to receive reports, elect the new committee and a chance for all members to have a say in the future plans for the management of the Meadow.
We’re hoping to welcome lots of members to these events.
Next workday, Thursday Nov 15, meet at HQ, Seagull Lane entrance at 10am.

Conservation Work session – Thursday 18th October 2018
Report by Colin Brotherston.  Photos by Brian Fellows

Fourteen volunteers turned out on a pleasant late autumn day. The weather was sunny and clear with a light breeze. There were two new volunteers, Denise Miller and Tricia Brotherston and Personal Health and Safety Forms were completed.

After the usual brief welcome and safety instructions task were described and allocated.
The tasks were:

  • Rake up arisings from the previous workday cut in the central meadow and drag them to the central dump.
  • Clear debris and wood from the river south of the north bridge under the fallen tree.
  • Cut the wild flower area in the north meadow using the power scythe leaving a four foot boundary of scrub to mark the area..
  • Remove nettle roots from the river bank south of the north bridge.
  • Litter pick and clean sign cases.

Initially five volunteers started on the arisings in the central meadow while Dave and Reg assisted Dan on removing nettles. Phil commenced task three while Tony and Denise assisted Jennifer in the river on task two.

After about fifteen minutes Gordon redeployed to the wild flower area to start raking and removing arisings assisted by Colin. Leslie kindly did the litter pick and cleaned the sign cases.

At 11.00 the group stopped for coffee and biscuits at Beryl’s seat kindly provided by Pam in the usual efficient manner.

After coffee Pam, Kathy, Tricia and Suzanne continued clearing the central meadow while Reg took over the power scythe from Phil. Dan and Dave joined Jennifer’s team in the river.

At the end of the session there are more arisings to be cleared from the wild flower area and the power scything needs to be finished.  There is still more debris in the river. The nettle clearance task proved difficult and a new approach to this task needs to be considered.
At 12.10 HQ was locked, all tools having been returned and wiped clean.


Conservation Work session – Sunday 7th October 2018
Report by Jennifer Rye.  Photos by Brian Fellows
A valiant band of 11 turned up at HQ, fortunately full of energy and resolve to enjoy a good workout in the lovely autumn sunshine.
There was one main task outlined: to cut the flower-rich area by the Lumley stream with the power scythe, rake up and dispose of the arisings. Nigel made a start with the cutting, so by 10 past 10 there was already enough done to allow the other volunteers to set to with the raking, which was quite heavy work as growth has been so lush this summer. Dragging the arisings to the adjacent dump again required a good deal of muscle power too.
By 11 o’clock we were all extremely glad to take a breather, some even lay on drag bags to rest and enjoy coffee and biscuits. Thank you Pam for that.
We were joined by Lesley, who had done a terrific litter pick, and encountered two unlikely aliens on the Meadow.
Refreshed and cheered, we set to again, and succeeded in cutting the whole area, thanks to Phil on the scythe, and clearing most of the arisings. The rest will be completed at the next workday, hopefully it will gave dried out a bit and be lighter.

One brave new self sown alder tree was saved from cutback, we’ll see how it grows.
Everything back into HQ, counted and cleaned, by just after noon, and  we all set off for home, our spirits raised by the satisfaction of a communal task undertaken and achieved. There’s nothing like it for team building.
Come and join us some time and see for yourself? Workdays every first Sunday and third Thursday of the month, meet at Seagull Lane entrance at 10a.m.

All earlier reports for 2018 are on the archives pages.

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