Nature might have started slowing down over the last few weeks in preparation for winter but FoBM has been cracking on at pace with various activities and plans…
TALKING FLOODPLAIN MEADOW RESTORATION WITH THE EXPERTS. DISCUSSION AND Q&A.
On the 9th of November we have a very special online meeting when experts in meadow restoration and upkeep will share their knowledge and insights. Participants will have the chance to discuss what restoration might look like at Bartonsham. This is an event not to be missed.
Sign up below to attend the event and please share with those you think might be interested. It is free but donations are welcome (which you can add when you sign-up via Eventbrite).
FoBM will also share the way in which its membership structure will operate over the next 12 months at the meeting.
A VISIT TO THE MEADOWS BY PAUL WALKER THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF HEREFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL. Counsellor Jeremy Milln facilitated the visit as a part of the CEO’s walking tour of the ward on 25th October. Jeremy was able to report: “Paul Walker very much enjoyed his visit to Bartonsham Meadows yesterday and asked me to thank you for going out of your way to meet him there and show him round. He was clearly hugely impressed by the efforts of the Friends group and genuinely delighted and inspired by what he heard and saw.” Paul Walker noted that he would like to support the project and it was suggested he speak with the Bishop, Rev Richard Jackson. Richard has previously supported FoBM’s aims by writing to the CEO of the Church Commissioners.
LASTEST ON LAND MANAGEMENT PLANS
FoBM spoke with the Church Commissioners’ land agent for an update on land management on 22nd October.
The Church Commissioners have decided against reseeding this Autumn on the basis that it is difficult to cultivate now whilst avoiding ploughing, and a reluctance to invest in a temporary lay of an annual ryegrass. The agent has received advice that groundcover is sufficient to hold the soil through winter floods even in the field beside the house. FoBM have shared images of the current groundcover – and bare patches.
The agent has arranged for the land to be topped by a contractor, weather permitting, using a batwing hayter and the cuttings left on site. After this cut the land will be put to bed till the spring, when it will be drilled.
The Church Commissioners have sought advice from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership and Hereford Meadows and will meet with them next month. However, this is for a baseline plan rather than a reinstatement as floodplain. The agent is also to put together a brief to find a tenant early in the new year on a flexiterm contract for 5 or 6 years. The shortness of the tenancy rules out Herefordshire Wildlife Trust who cannot take on a lease of less than twenty-five years.
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE THE CHURCH COMMISSIONERS
On the 18th October various members of the committee had a really helpful conversation with Andrew Mottram who was able to offer insights to the workings of the Church Commissioners and how best to approach them. Andrew was the vicar at All Saints and works with the church for innovative use of the estate.
The Rev Luke Aylen, who walked the land with Jeremy and Ruth at the end of September, has petitioned the Diocese and written to the Church Commissioners. Luke has raised the case for including environmental issues, and specifically Bartonsham Meadows, in the Church’s wider area’s mission action plan. Luke recently arrived in Hereford from an urban ministry in Bristol where he had obtained valuable experience in community supported agriculture and organic garden projects. Luke is a ‘designated pioneer’ for the Church of England which has given him leave to ‘think outside the box’ especially in tackling the Climate Crisis and in social action work. Luke is working to turn some of the Commissioners’ land at Three Elms into an eco community farm if it goes ahead with the large scale house-building proposed there.
REPTILE SURVEY DRAWS A BLANK... BUT WE'LL BE BACK A month-long survey along the permissive path behind Park Street failed to produce any evidence of reptile populations. Next spring a similar survey will be conducted but along the river bank. Hopefully any slow worms will be quicker on the uptake. MEADOWS BIRD SURVEY After the unexpected skylarks visits this summer, what’s about in winter? Our monthly bridge-to-bridge (Canary to Victoria) survey, uploaded to the British Trust for Ornithology’s Bird Track, threw up robin, blackbird, house sparrow, blue-, great- and long-tailed tits, buzzard, kestrel, tawny owl, great spotted woodpecker, magpie, rook, crow, starling (a murmuration of around 100), lesser black backed and black headed gulls, mute swan, moorhen and mallard. Expect to see goosander, kingfisher, cormorant and a shy little egret on the river; field fares and redwings are flying over now along with song and mistle thrush.
FOBM IN FLYCATCHER
FoBM received a huge publicity boost this month with a five page spread on its aims and work in the journal of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, 2021.
UPCOMING EVENTS FROM HEREFORD WILDLIFE TRUST CITY BRANCH
Wild Plants in Urban Environments’ a Zoom talk by Dr Mark Spencer this Thursday November 4th 7:30 pm, followed by Q&As. A well-known forensic botanist, Mark is also keen to make us aware of the wild fungi, lichens, and plants which pop up through our pavements, through the cracks in walls, and along our kerbs. To find out more about Mark’s work have a look at his website and show reel at www.markspencerbotanist.com To book for this free talk click on https://www.herefordshirewt.org/events/2021-11-04-city-branch-online-talk-wild-plants-urban-environments or go to the Events page on the HWT website https://www.herefordshirewt.org/
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT. AS EVER, PLEASE COULD YOU –
- Send us your sightings! – We’d love to see your reports of any birds, beasts, plants and floodwater… email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share this newsletter
- Join us on Facebook and Instagram
- Become a member of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust here
- Become a formal member of the Friends Group – once we have a sec to get the details on the site!
Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth, Will and all at Friends of Bartonsham Meadows