Winter 2022 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to our latest newsletter. In case you’ve been missing us we have now moved to quarterly newsletters.


As yet, unfortunately, the lease has not been signed. The Church Commissioners, who own Bartonsham Meadows, have agreed to lease the land to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust for twenty-five years. However, the signing of the lease has proven rather elusive. The Church Commissioners assured us that they have completed the lease for their part and hope it will be signed by the end of the week. We will be sure to share the announcement as soon as we hear.

Gareth Dart
Jobie Hoar


HWT is preparing to take on the lease and nurture the land in the interests of plants, animals and people. The weed burden is such that they are considering spraying and lightly ploughing to achieve floodplain meadow reversion.

The Friends group have campaigned tirelessly for the past three years for the best long term outcome for the meadows in terms of benefits to plants, people and environment. We do not consider spraying to be an optimum strategy for land management. We regret that the lack of management by the Church Commissioners over the last two years has led to a deplorable weed burden that is unlikely to be alleviated through non-chemical means.
Sara Ingram – Yellow Fieldcap


Check out Will’s map! Here are the hedges and ponds as they used to be and as we would love to see them restored. This would increase habitat diversity and provide navigational routes and wildlife corridors for ground-dwelling animals and bats.

Will Steel. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database rights 2022


There are developments afoot at the sewage treatment works. Welsh Water are working with their ecological consultants, Arup on the project. They have provided us with the following update to share in our newsletter.

Work at Eign WwTW – Ecology

Update: 2nd November 2022

Eign Wastewater Treatment Works is responsible for treating the wastewater it receives from those living in the town of Hereford and surrounding catchment area, before returning it safely to the watercourse.

There are a number of factors which contribute to pollution levels in rivers which are not in the control of the water industry. Our modelling on the River Wye for example shows that our assets are responsible for between 25 - 33% of the phosphorus in the main water bodies, with Combined Storm Overflows (CSO) only responsible for 2%. The remainder is caused by other factors such as urban surface water drainage, misconnected drains, agricultural run-off and animal faeces as well as private septic tanks.

However, we recognise that there is more that we can do to help keep our contribution to the absolute minimum. That is why over the next year we’ll be carrying some work at both Eign and Rotherwas waste treatment works to remove a higher proportion of phosphorus from the treated water before returning it safely back to the river Wye.

What we will be doing?

From the middle of November until May 2024, we’ll be carrying out some work at Eign Wastewater Treatment Works. This will include building new pumping stations, installing screen chambers which will remove heavy particles from our waste water, and introducing an enhanced treatment process which will remove a higher proportion of phosphorus from the treated wastewater.

We have been working closely with an ecologist and a number of environmental surveys have been carried out within the area over recent months, including:

•   Phase 1 Habitat

•   Great Crested Newt

•   Invasive Species

•   Badger and bait marking (to establish badger territories)

•   Water vole

•   Fish habitat assessment and vibration assessments

•   Bats

•   Otter

•   Dormouse

We have also applied for several licenses, which will enable us to carry out our enabling and main construction works.. 

As part of our enabling work, at the start of the project we will need to carry out some vegetation clearance between our site and the river. The vegetation is located in between the two security fences surrounding the treatment works just north of the services bridge and includes the removal of:

·   3 mature yew

·   2 mature Scots pine

·   1 semi-mature Scots pine

·   4 semi-mature conifer

·   1 mature holly

·   1 semi-mature red cedar

·   Some scrub and ground cover

We are currently working on a comprehensive biodiversity enhancement plan and will share this with the Friends of Bartonsham meadows for comment as soon as it’s ready.
Giles King-Salter, Will Watson, Anna Gundrey and Charlie Arthur


Words: Anna Gundrey

Still no news on the lease, but let’s be optimistic and focus on the When and not the If.  Our survey this summer revealed that a third of respondents would be interested in volunteering to restore the meadows.  

HWT offers a multitude of volunteering opportunities, with something to suit all interests and abilities, from wildlife surveys to practical work parties. Current opportunities include harvest mouse surveying (with training included), tending the wellbeing garden at Birches Farm and, if you are feeling really energetic, being a repair and maintenance volunteer at Queenswood. More locally, HWT City Branch are involved in numerous projects with volunteering opportunities across Hereford, such as the  Yazor Brooks’ Restoration Project and at  the city’s three nature reserves at Wyevale Woods, Hampton Park Road and Lugg Meadows.  Fingers crossed there will soon be four!

At Bartonsham, help will be needed with practical work such as gate building, tree planting and hedge laying. If poking around in a quadrat is your bag, ongoing botanical monitoring will be required to gauge the success of habitat restoration measures. There are likely to be more creative opportunities too: designing interpretation boards or art installations for example.

I got my first job through volunteering with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust (not to mention meeting loads of wonderful new friends), so I am slightly biased, but for me it’s hard to beat spending time outside working with a like-minded group of people to improve the environment.

We will be putting a call out for volunteers in the Newsletter when the big moment comes, but in the meantime, if you would like to get involved with HWT’s  City Branch, email or for countywide volunteer opportunities with HWT as a whole, go to 


Talking of volunteering, pop into the shiny new HWT charity shop on Church Street to buy gifts for yourself or others, drop off donations of clothes (they are particularly keen for women’s clothes so get sorting out your cupboards) or consider volunteering your time in the shop (if being inside and dry is your volunteering thing).


Words: Will Watson

The River Wye from Bartonsham Farm, October 2022  © Will Watson

On 22nd September this year Giles King-Salter and Will Watson conducted an aquatic invertebrate survey of the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm and further downstream just below the footbridge.  This coincided with the low water levels which enable us to safely reach the riffles and the overhanging vegetation where the majority of the invertebrates will be found.  At the footbridge site we found 17 species of aquatic invertebrate and 13 species upstream on the old farm side with 24 aquatic invertebrates species in total found including the 2 sections (see Tables below).    We were pleasantly surprised to find a reasonable range of mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies.  At Bartonsham Farm we found the nationally scarce (provisionally RDB 2) Yellow Mayfly Potamanthus luteus.  There are a scattering of records from the Rivers Usk and Taff in Wales and from the River Teme in Worcestershire but surveys in the River Wye undertaken in 1995 by the Environment Agency found it be widely distributed in the middle on reaches of the river.  According to the Environment Agency this species may now be spreading.  In addition to the Yellow Mayfly we found the rare long-toed water beetle Pomatinus substriatus. It is listed as Nationally Vulnerable.   It has only been recorded at about 30 sites in Britain over the last 40 years.   There are records for this species from the River Wye from Symonds Yat, but not from Hereford. 

In many respects the assemblages of aquatic invertebrates found at Bartonsham was perplexing because we had a reasonable range of the species which are considered sensitive to pollution but some of the species that are typically super abundant were missing from the samples.  This included the Freshwater Shrimp Gammarus pulex/fossarum which in a 3-minute quick sample can be found in the thousands ( Robert Aquilina, Freshwater Ecologist).  The only species of shrimp found was the North American shrimp Crangonygx sp.  It was suggested ( Robert Aquilina) that a toxic chemical maybe implicated in its decline, perhaps a chemical that interferes with the respiratory system in Gammarus; Gammaridae are identified as strong indicators of pesticide pollution. 

A long-toed Water Beetle Potaminatus substriatus found in the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm on 25th September 2022 © Will Watson
FamilySpeciesCommon name
DryopidaePomatinus substriatusa long-toed water beetle
LymnaeidaeRadix balthicaWandering Snail
TateidaePotamopyrgus antipodarumJenkin’s Spire Shell
PlanorbidaeGyraulus albusWhite Ramshorn
BithyniidaeBithynia tentaculataCommon Bithynia
EphemeridaeEphemera danicaa mayfly
CalopterygidaeCalopteryx splendensBanded Demoiselle
PotamanthidaePotamanthus luteusYellow mayfly
HydropsychidaeHydropsyche contubernalisa caddisfly
AsellidaeAsellus aquaticusTwo-spotted Water-hoglouse
SericostomatidaeSericostoma personatuma caddisfly
LeuctridaeLeuctra fuscaa stonefly
CrangonyctidaeCrangonyx pseudogracilis/floridanusa shrimp
Table 1 Aquatic Invertebrates in the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm 25th September 2022
The Yellow Mayfly Potamanthus luteus.  Photo Courtesy of Buglife
FamilySpeciesCommon Name
CalopterygidaeCalopteryx splendensBanded Demoiselle
PlatycnemididaePlatycnemis pennipesWhite-legged Damselfly
ElmidaeElmidae sp.a riffle beetle
BithyniidaeBithynia tentaculataCommon Bithynia
LeuctridaeLeuctra fuscaa stonefly
HeptageniidaeHeptageniidae sp.a mayfly
BaetidaeBaetis scambus/fuscatusa mayfly
AphelocheiridaeAphelocheirus aestivalisRiver Saucer Bug
PhysidaePhysella sp.a bladder snail
HydropsychidaeHydropsyche pellucidulaa caddisfly
PolycentropodidaePolycentropus sp.a caddisfly
HydropsychidaeCheumatopsyche lepidaa caddisfly
CrangonyctidaeCrangonyx pseudogracilis/floridanusa shrimp
LeptoceridaeLeptocerus interruptusa caddisfly
SphaeriidaeSphaerium corneumHorny Orb Mussel
ErpobdellidaeErpobdella octoculataa leech
LymnaeidaeRadix balthicaWandering Snail
Table 2 Aquatic Invertebrates in the River Wye at Bartonsham Footbridge 25th September 2022


Words: Bill Laws

Having missed a month, we were back with a quick visit on a sunny November morning with the river in full spate. Kestrel, buzzard and a fly-by from a red kite have been seen on the Meadows recently. This morning we saw:

Black-headed gull (1)
Blackbirds (5)
Blue tits (40)
Canada geese (20 flying south in V formation)
Carrion crows (10+)
Chaffinch (2)
Chiffchaff (1)
Cormorant (2 - a river bird still persecuted for its diet)
Great spotted woodpecker (1)
Great tit (5)
Grey heron (1)
Lesser black backed gull (5+)
Magpie (4)
Mallard (25)
Mistle thrush (1)
Mute swan (5)
Pheasant (1)
Pied wagtail (1)
Robin (3)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Woodpigeon (24)
Wren (5)

There were three goosanders (also persecuted for their diet!) up river too.  Let us know what you’ve seen?


Words: Dick Jones

Four hundred and sixty-six households responded to the survey. Key findings are posted here. 

Q1       414 (89%) of 466 respondents use the Meadows.

Q2       412 (88%) would use the Meadows more if restored to a wildflower meadow.

Q3        15 different uses were listed; 236 people indicated more than one purpose.

Q4       373 (90%) of people who use the Meadows arrive on foot. 64 (15%) also use other modes of transport.
Q5         392 (95%) agreed with temporarily restricting access to certain areas for the purpose of environmental management
Q7       304 (65%) respondents agreed that improving access would be beneficial.

Q8       The most frequent suggestions for improving access to the Meadows were:

  • Removal of kissing gates and installation of gates suitable for access by buggies, wheelchairs, and people with mobility issues
  • Self-closing gates to ensure containment of livestock


  • Widening, levelling and upgrading of paths for easier access
  • Installing boardwalks in wetter areas
  • Installing a ramp at the junction of the path with Outfall Road

Q10-12 Making the Meadows a nature reserve could attract 117 of the respondents to become Herefordshire Wildlife Trust members.

Q13  167 indicated an interest in being new volunteers for FoBM and/or HWT.

Q14    156 (33%) of respondents would be prepared to make financial donations.

Q16   Only 6% of respondents were under 35.

Q17    6% of respondents who use the Meadows have a disability compared with 25% who reported not using the meadows.

Q21    22% of those who participated in the survey added comments:

  • 62% of the comments were highly supportive of work done by FoBM, the importance of developing the Meadows and their management by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
  • 25% of the comments were in relation to earlier questions including volunteering, making donations, access and signage
  • 5% of the comments queried the need for inclusion of questions about gender, religion and ethnicity
  • Other comments:
  1. Possibility of renewable energy – solar panels and ground source
  2. Reinstatement of ponds, the withy, orchards and trees
  3. An offer of help with artwork and design
  4. Preference for not having livestock
  5. A question raised on flood mitigation
  6. Importance of maintaining privacy of Park Street gardens which back on to the Meadows
  7. Importance of linking with Save the Wye Campaign
  8. Idea of designation of River Wye as swimming area to prevent pollution
  9. Comments on Church Commission


HWT City Branch AGM December 8 7.00 - 8.30pm Kindle Centre

Speaker: Will Watson

Bye bye Scout Hut December 11 4.00 - 8.00pm
Bartonsham History Group is joining the Community Association (JABA) to mark the final days of the Scout Hut with a Christmas party.

Twelfth Night Wassail Friday January 6 2023 6.00 - 7.00pm
Bartonsham History Group and the Friend’s Group join forces for a Moot Point Wassail. Expect a noisy family procession, apple and cider cups by a fire pit, and music and mayhem that will guarantee a great year in 2023!


That’s all from us this quarter. We wish you a very merry festive period. Stay warm, send us photos and news of the meadows. Please report flooding to us when it happens but obviously stay safe - flood water kills.

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Dick, Gareth, Jen-May, Jeremy, Mo, Ruth & Will

August 2022 Newsletter


Welcome to our August newsletter. The big news is we had a great AGM! Thanks so much to everyone who came along and shared their enthusiasm for creating a biodiverse floodplain meadow at Bartonsham. We’ve written it up as a blog which is available here and follows various updates in our newsletter.


  • The Church Commissioners told us they would be signing a 25 year lease with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in September or early October at the latest! There will be a ban on ploughing it up again 🙂
  • Huge gratitude to the 437 of you who have filled in our survey! Some results are included in the blog. We have shared the full anonymised results with HWT to assist them in applying for lottery funds to support the restoration of Bartonsham Meadows.
  • A whopping 60 odd people attended our AGM to hear about the project, share enthusiasm and questions, and eat and drink goodies including Fran’s dock seed cake.
  • In response to requests from local residents and FoBM the Commissioners cut a fire break along the back of Park Street (days before a fire broke out on the adjacent farm across the river).
  • Last weekend the Council mowed the river path to ease access, in response to requests from Jeremy Milln.
  • Want an information-rich one minute on floodplains? Check out this video Caroline Hanks of Herefordshire Meadows recommended from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.

The Friends group want to give a really big shout out to two members of the working group - Rhys Ward who produced the visionary interactive map and Chloe Bradman, our communicative communications manager. We will be less snazzy and snappy without her. Finally, we are so sorry that Andrew Nixon is leaving HWT. He’s been an amazing support to the group since our first meeting and we wouldn’t be where we are now without him.


It is not celebration time ‘til the lease is signed, but we hope it’s just around the corner. Suggestions for celebrations have included Civil War re-enactments and mass dock-scything massacres. Ruth currently favours a more modest litterpick with hipflasks but we are open to suggestions.

By Elaine Underwood


Bill said ‘We recorded 23 species during the monthly Meadows bird count on August 22. A couple of birds – robin, sparrow and starling – proved elusive that morning. Here’s the full list (which included a young sparrow hawk hunting down a small bird)’

Black headed gullsGoldfinchMoorhen
BlackbirdGreat titMute swan
Blue titGrey heronPheasant
BuzzardHouse martinSparrow hawk
Carrion crowKingfisherSwallow
Chiff chaffLesser-black backed gullWoodpigeon
DunnockLong-tailed titWren
Spot the heron… By Bill Laws

 - Continue to send us your pics and updates on the meadows
 - Consider becoming a supporting member here
 - Share this newsletter with friends and neighbours

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will

July 2022 Newsletter


Welcome to our July newsletter. With the mercury recently nudging towards 40℃ and a heap of responses to the current usage survey piling up to mull over, it’s time to check in with what has been happening on, or in regard to, Bartonsham Meadows.

Please do fill in our survey over the next few days and join us and our speakers on August 22 for our AGM or next week for the History Group walk.


Discussions continue between the Church Commissioners and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust on the details of a long-term lease. No details yet but we hope to have positive news in the next few months. Fingers crossed.

Our requests to the Church Commissioners to cut and carry the weeds off site have remained unanswered. The local ward councilor, Jeremy Milln, has continued to push for action from the Commissioners on the weeds and the flood damaged gates. Should Herefordshire Wildlife Trust take on the site they would knock back the weeds this Autumn. 

Concerns have been expressed to us abut the fire to the meadows given the amount of tinder dry vegetation. Bill has been in touch with the local police who recommended raising the matter with the landowners and cutting a perimeter fire break. He has also asked Balfour Beatty, who are responsible for cutting the rights of way, to cut the rights of way. Jeremy has raised the matter with the Church Commissioners who have promised a full response next week. In the meantime – no bonfires or BBQs please!

 Photo: Jeremy Miln

We have been blown away by the number and variety of responses to our survey. Last few days to fill it in!

We are doing this both to improve our own understanding of current local usage and thoughts regarding the meadows, and also to generate data to help Herefordshire Wildlife Trust apply for funding to transform the site into a traditionally managed floodplain meadow. To apply for funding from organisations like the National Lottery we need to know how people use the meadows and what concerns them. The ‘diversity’ questions tell us how demographics shape appreciation of the Meadows and are required for funding application.
Tortoiseshell on Ragwort. Photo: Elaine Underwood
Want to know more about floodplain meadows?

Check out the recording of this event that we held at the end of last year. There is more information here, and in the resources on the Floodplain Meadow Partnership site here.


Bartonsham History Group Walk Tuesday!
Thistle seed. Photo: Ruth Westoby

We’re holding an AGM on 22 August at the Scout Hut. Come along for cake from 7pm, we’ll razz through a business meeting at 7.30pm with an update on our project and the survey results.

On completion of business, Caroline Hanks, Herefordshire Meadows, will speak about meadow restoration in Herefordshire.

Andrew Nixon, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, will then speak about the process of floodplain restoration at Bartonsham and what this would look like on the ground for all of us.

Bring your questions! We’re sure Caroline and Andrew will have the latest on weed mitigation, best relationships between walkers and wildlife, and the biodiversity gains to be made. We’ll have plenty of time for questions and you can send in your questions in advance to

Small print: the meeting will not be live streamed or recorded but we will produce a blog for our next newsletter.  In accordance with the constitution if anyone would like to stand for the positions of chair, secretary or treasurer please let us know. The people currently holding those positions are willing to serve another term. Our constitution is here and minutes from the AGM will be available on request.


chiffchaffkingfishermute swan
collared dovelesser black-backed gullpied wagtail
greater spotted woodpeckerlittle egretrobin
grey heronlong-tailed titsand martin
grey wagtailmagpiesong thrush
herring gullmallardswallow
house martinmandarin duckswallow
house sparrowmoorhenswallow
31 different species of birds counted on 18th July

Black headed gulls have returned and numbers of lesser black backed gulls, mute swan and mallard counted had increased dramatically. The four young mandarin ducklings are now fully grown.

Purple Loosestrife. Photo: Elaine Underwood


  • Continue to send us your pics and updates on the meadows
  • Consider becoming a supporting member here
  • Share this newsletter with friends and neighbours
Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will

June 2022 Newsletter


Long evenings, warm sunshine, even the odd thunderstorm: it’s summer in the Meadows. Welcome to the June edition of the Friends of Bartonsham Meadows newsletter. 


Negotiations are still ongoing between the Church Commissioners who own Bartonsham Meadows and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust on the terms of a long lease.

We have been in touch with the Church Commissioners to request cutting and removal of the thriving weeds before they add to the seedbed, but no response. In the meantime that’s lots of food for the birds.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust too have communicated the need to top, and the Church Commissioners have told them they will look into it.


To help create the change we want to see on the Meadows please could you fill in our survey? This is vitally important to get the data we need to understand how the Meadows are used and the support for biodiverse floodplain restoration right here. We need this data to inform our campaigning and funding. Please fill it in and share widely 🙂


Anna Gundrey, chief advisor, with Sally Webster from Verging on Wild doing a quick survey of how things are coming along and instructions to the grass-mower taking the picture at the end of Park Street
Photo: Mo Burns


Words by Anna Gundrey

Over the last two years we have been carrying out various surveys of the Meadows to understand what its current ecological value is and provide a baseline to allow future management for nature conservation to be targeted appropriately.  As part of this survey programme a group of us had a walkover of the Meadows in June to assess the vegetation coverage and record the extent of the weed coverage.  I am sure no one will be surprised to hear that we found that across the Meadows there was approximately 70% coverage of ‘injurious’ weeds.  The field closest to Canary bridge, Ox Pasture, is particularly striking, as it has almost total cover of broad-leaved docks, with other species restricted to path edges.  Some have a bit more variety to them – the central field (which includes the row of oak trees) has a good cover of mixed grasses growing in it, but lurking below was an abundant crop of creeping thistle. 

Injurious weeds, as prescribed by the 1959 Weeds Act, are native species that have been deemed to cause a problem to farming productivity. There are five species listed in the Act.  These are broad-leaved dock, curled dock creeping thistle, spear thistle and common ragwort.  All too clearly these plants, as native grassland species, have a rightful place within a meadow habitat they can soon get out of control if the land is not managed sympathetically as we can see all too clearly at Bartonsham.  We have all five species on the Meadows, with broadleaved dock and creeping thistle being the most dominant.  Both these species grow readily from root fragments and have capitalised on the inappropriate cultivation of the Meadows.

Both these species support a range of invertebrate species –  look out for the painted lady butterfly which is on the wing at the moment and whose caterpillar food plants include creeping thistles – and the seeds are valuable forage for birds such as finches.  But a virtual monoculture of any plant species is rarely good news as it lacks the variety of structure and range of feeding opportunities that a mixed habitat can supply.  That is why a well-managed flood-plain meadow is so beneficial to wildlife .  A good example can support up to 43 plant species per sqm, and with that botanical variety comes invertebrate diversity and so-on up the food chain.

Tithe Map. Bartonsham Meadows’ field names from the tithe map (held at Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre)


Dick Jones and Bill Laws are on the case. This month (20th June) they spotted:

blackcaplesser black-backed gullrobin
blue titlesser whitethroatrook
carrion crowlong-tailed titsand martin
chiffchaffmagpiesong thrush
great titmallardstarling
greater spotted woodpeckermandarin duckswallow
herring gullmistle thrushswift
house martinmoorhenwood pigeon
house sparrowmute swanwren

Dick said, ‘Lesser whitethroat and swift are on the list for the first time and there were four young spotted with the mandarin duck!’


Bill Laws directs our eyes skywards this month.

This July marks a significant event in local aviation history: the fatal aerial bombing of Rotherwas’ munitions factory.

At six a.m. on a bright, clear morning eighty years ago a German Dornier flew over the Meadows and, moments later, dropped two bombs on the factory. 

“I saw the bombs come out,” Ken Hursey, the son of the camp’s police superintendent, told me in 2001. “I watched the third bomb bounce along the ground, clear the perimeter fence and bounce straight into the front of our house.”

Ken was the only survivor in a house of six people including his parents. Inside the factory another 17 workers were killed, and many more were injured.

September 3rd, however, heralds a happier chapter in aviation anniversary. In 1913 pioneering aviator Benfield C Hucks landing his £1,200, 80 hp Gnome Bleriot monoplane on the Meadows and for the next two days performed aerial displays (Hucks is credited with perfecting the loop-the-loop manoeuvre) and carried fare paying passengers on a £5 solo flight over the city.

With war looming, Hucks and several fellow pilots who were based at Hendon, toured the country to persuade politicians and the public to invest in aerial warfare. Hucks flew through the war and died of pneumonia after contracting Spanish flu on the last day of war. 

The images, kindly loaned by Derek Foxton, show Hucks on The Meadow ‘by kind permission of the Mayor’. We have yet to work out which was ‘The Meadow’ on which he landed.

A Luftwaffe spy shot of Rotherwas munitions factory showing part of the Meadows taken in 1940. Two years later on July 27 the Germans were back – on a bombing run.


JABA Balsam Bash and Litter Pick

Sat 2 AND Sat 9 July 10.30 at Victoria Bridge, Bishops Meadow or find along the riverbank. Please help out! Gloves provided.

JABA volunteers at work on the riverbank. Photo by Elaine Underwood.


Sat 9 July 5.15pm come and talk with us and attend the screening and discussion of RIVER at the Courtyard.

Save the Wye is screening of the amazing film River followed by a panel discussion on the state of the Wye.


Part of the Wye July campaign:

This beautiful film celebrating the world’s rivers is written by adventurer Robert Macfarlane and features music by Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood, Richard Tognetti and William Barton.  It has won prizes for its sheer beauty and innovative cinematography – drones, satellites and conventional filming make it a unique experience.

Throughout history, rivers have shaped our landscapes and our lives; flowing through our culture and our dreams.  RIVER takes us on a journey through space and time; spanning six continents, it shows rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before.  Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script creates a film that is both dream-like and powerful, honouring the wildness of rivers but also recognising their vulnerability.

From the Director of SHERPA and MOUNTAIN.

History Walk

Tues 2 Aug 6.30pm

Delve into the history of our Meadows, from the Scots army encampment during the Civil War to the busy river wharves of the 19th century, with Bartonsham  History Group. Meet by the Meadows gate on Green Street. 

Annual General Meeting

Mon 22 Aug 7pm FoBM AGM (venue TBC)

Please come to our Annual General Meeting! We warmly iinvite for all interested in the future of the Meadows as a carbon capture, wildlife-friendly, community enhancing, managed floodplain. Please come to support and learn more about how we can achieve this aim together at our first AGM on. Venue to follow in next newsletter.

Photo: Elaine Underwood

- Continue to send us your pics and updates on the meadows
- Consider becoming a supporting member here
- Share this newsletter with friends and neighbours

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will

May 2022 Newsletter


Welcome to our May newsletter!

** Weed savvy? Help us do a grassland audit on Friday 3rd June 11am (read on for details!)**


The Herefordshire Wildlife Trust are continuing to negotiate with the Church Commissioners on the terms of a long lease. This is a relatively slow and technical process but HWT are hoping to have good news to report soon. In the meantime they have put an application together for a mid-tier stewardship scheme to cover arable reversion and some capital items.

We have been in regular contact with the Church Commissioners to request permission to carry out balsam mitigation work as well as to request them to carry out weed mitigation. Specifically we have asked them to top the weeds and remove them from the site. We noted that weed mitigation is time-sensitive and is important to make arable reversion easier. We also noted that such work would need to be undertaken again two months after initial topping. Unfortunately the Commissioners have not responded to these requests but we will continue to be in touch.
Image by Ruth Westoby


Three routes bridge the watery boundary between the Bartonsham Meadows and Putson.

Eign Bridge, designed by the Great Western Railway’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1855, and rebuilt in 1923, is our oldest.

Its neighbour, the Canary Bridge, was completed in 2013 while the Sewage Bridge, which lies a little way upstream, was finished in 1974. A structure as unlovely as its name, it pipes sewage to the treatment plant at Rotherwas. Although the top deck was designed to carry traffic, it never did and instead served as a clandestine short cut for local SAS men heading to their base at Bradbury Lines.

The other bridges have military links. The Canary (originally the ‘Greenway’, pictured below) was renamed in recognition of the 6,000 mostly women munition workers who filled empty shells with explosives at Rotherwas through two world wars. During the First World War, munitioneers could cross the Eign rail Bridge on foot: a walkway was built on the side of the bridge for them.
Bill Laws
The ‘Scots’ Bridge (like Scots Hole and Scots Close) took its name from the force of 15,000 Scottish mercenaries who, under the Earl of Leven, lay siege to Royalist Hereford in 1645.

According to Adrian Harvey, addressing Hereford Civic Trust (‘De-coding the Seige of Hereford’) in May, the Parliamentary Scots had, that summer, attacked and killed Royalists at Canon Frome before heading south to Ross and Mitcheldean. Sensing an opportunity to take Hereford they swung back towards the city and, setting up observation posts on Aconbury and Dinedor, bridged the Wye somewhere at Bartonsham.

The bridge allowed them to bring heavy artillery on to the Meadows and plunder the South Wye for food and forage. The siege began in July with miners from the Forest of Dean tunnelling under the City walls. But a final assault, planned for September 1, was abandoned when a relief force of Royalists threatened from the north. The Scots retreated to Gloucester, the bridge was destroyed and to this day no-one (least of all the illustrator of this drawing) knows where it stood.

Recent archaeological trenches on the Row Ditch, thought to have been used by the Scots, failed to produce any Civil War artefacts, but metal detectorist Jack Daw did discover a quantity of lead musket balls close to the Canary Bridge. It seems there’s more work to be done on our historic Meadows.

Note: it’s against the law to carry out metal detectoring without the permission of the landowner.

Bill Laws


Weed savvy? Then please join our working group from 11am Friday 3rd June when we will carry out a weed / grassland audit of the meadows. The intention is to survey what is there to help inform future management decisions. We’ll be walking each field and recording dominant vegetation type and weed coverage. Anyone who would like to help is welcome. Meet at the Green Street entrance to the meadows at 11am. Please feel free to share this note with friends who are keen on plant ID.


We have completed our reptile survey along the river and sadly had no sightings.  The mats that we placed for the reptiles to shelter below gradually disappeared  (into the river perhaps…) leaving us with only 2 by the end of the survey.  This means that we can’t confidently conclude that reptiles are absent without further survey, but results certainly indicate a lack of reptiles on the meadows.   It may be that reptiles have been absent for many years.  Their position on an ‘island’ of greenspace formed by the river and the city to the north, means that once gone, it would be difficult for reptiles to re-colonise.  The regeneration of the meadows may provide an opportunity to reintroduce these lovely creatures.

We are continuing to check the reptile mats we laid along the river close to the treatment works. If you would like to check the (few remaining!) mats check the instructions in the poster and please report your findings on this form.


We are excited that Hereford’s tree wardens will carry out a survey of the tree species in the hedgerows, riverbank and the belt around the treatment works.

Image by Elaine Underwood


Sadly we had to cancel our public balsam bash planned for 22nd May as we had not received the requisite permissions in time from the land owners of the riverbank - the Church Commissioners and Welsh Water. We had hoped to hold an event on 12 June as well, but we’ll presume that is postponed as well unless we send out communications to the contrary.

JABA did get their permissions sorted and are holding a Himalayan balsam and litterpick on Saturday 11th June 10.30 - 12.30. Please meet at the Victoria Bridge.

The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has prepared some fabulous materials to explain why and how you should identify Himalayan Balsam and pull it here.


The first section of the public footpath from Outfall Works Road past the treatment works became particularly treacherous last winter.  Jeremy Milln, your ward councillor, had asked for the guard railing to be extended lest someone slip into the swollen river, but Balfour Beatty’s response was to put up a notice closing the path.  It is safer in the summer, but do please go carefully if you continue to use the path until we can get it improved.


All three metal kissing gates to access the meadows are in poor state, damaged by flooding, most particularly by the Storm Dennis floods in February 2020. We were promised Bellwin funds towards repair but it has proved extremely hard to secure, track and spend against a transparent procurement process added to which some works require landowner co-operation which has not been forthcoming lately. Hopefully by the time Jeremy writes about this in a future FoBM update there will be better news.


Please do come and chat with us! On Friday 3rd June Bartonsham History Group is holding a Jubilee celebrations and recreation of this historical photo. We’ll have a stand and are looking forward to tea and cake.

Outside the Scout Hut, on the Green off Eign Road, over ninety mums, dads, children, grandparents and teddy bears gather for a photo shoot. It’s June 1953 and they’re celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. 


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Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will