Summer 2023 Newsletter

As promised we’ve got a BUMPER of a newsletter for you – everything from events, updates and a Nettle Cupcake recipe:

  • HWT Site Management Plan
  • HWT Questionnaire
  • May Day Celebrations and FoBM Update
  • Recent Bird Species List
  • Why Is the River Wye So Important?
  • Wilder Hereford in Art & Poetry Events
  • FoBM Events & Nettle Recipe

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust: Site Management Plan

Words: Dave Hutton, of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) have now signed a 25 year Lease with the Church Commissioners who own the site and have drawn up a draft plan for the management of Bartonsham Meadows to be agreed by the Commissioners.

HWT’s Primary Objective is to manage the site as a Nature Reserve to enhance and maintain biodiversity and to maintain public access for quiet enjoyment of the Natural Environment.

Dave Hutton (HWT)

The Trust has been working alongside the Friends of Bartonsham Meadows to produce a plan which aims to maintain the majority of informal paths around the site so that people can continue to use the site to enjoy the peaceful environment that the Meadows provide. 

We plan, over time, to restore the majority of the site to a floodplain grassland, rich in wildlife which will be managed using traditional methods including haymaking and grazing with cattle and sheep. In order for this to be achieved we will need to divert some of the currently used informal paths so that livestock and people can use the site safely. Over the next few months and years people will see some changes taking place on the Meadows including new signage and fencing and we will endeavour to let people know what is going on before it happens. Activities will include planting new and replacement trees and re-stocking hedges and restoring  ponds. We also plan to earmark an area within the Meadows as a natural succession experiment, where very little will be done and the current vegetation will be allowed to develop naturally. This will be a great opportunity to compare this with surrounding land which will be managed in a completely different way.

In the short term we are exploring ways to remove the majority of standing vegetation as part of the restoration of the Meadows. Ideally we would like to cut and bail and send it to a biodigester or composting site. This is currently proving problematic as we have yet to find someone who wants to take it!  It’s important that we try to remove the vegetation because we need to reduce fertility levels in the soil in order to successfully establish species rich grassland.

An important part of our management will be to record changes in wildlife on the meadows as time goes on, so anyone willing to help with monitoring of birds, plants and insects please get in touch via the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust website.

Dave Hutton (HWT)

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is currently working on applications to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to provide staff and resources for on site management, education and community involvement and we will be seeking funding from other sources and working with the owners of the site on other stands of funding such as Biodiversity Net Gain and Carbon Credits.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Survey

Words: Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Earlier this year, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust took on the lease of the wonderful Bartonsham Meadows in Hereford and are beginning work to restore the site for wildlife and for people, creating a new urban nature reserve.

We’d love to take this opportunity to find out who visits the meadows already, who doesn’t, what might encourage you to visit more and what barriers you might face to visiting.

If you live in, or visit Hereford, we’d be so grateful if you could take five minutes to complete our short survey to help inform our plans:

May Day Celebrations and FoBM Update

Words: Anna Gundrey

What a wonderful turnout we had for our May Day celebration. Over 200 people gathered to celebrate our new nature reserve. The event was jointly organised by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) and Friends of Bartonsham Meadows (FoBM), and was the culmination of FoBM’s three year campaign to bring Bartonsham Meadows under favourable management to provide a haven for nature and an oasis of tranquility within the heart of the city for the people of Hereford.

FoBM convenor Ruth Westoby told celebrators: “Today is a dream come true. We have lobbied hard to secure the long term future of the Meadows and now it’s time to celebrate.” Ruth and ‘Green Woman’ Bex Huggett then led a procession to unveil a rare native black poplar on the Meadows. After the unveiling by local school children, Bartonsham resident Naomi Bell declared: “I started walking these fields in the 1940s and they have changed out of all recognition. I’m delighted by the restoration plans.”

As the new Reserve Manager David Hutton has set out above plans are now afoot to begin the process of restoration of the Meadows to a biodiverse floodplain grassland. FoBM are working closely with HWT to achieve the objectives of the emerging Management Plan, but this is a community project and we invite everyone to get involved. HWT have created a questionnaire to to find out what local residents want. It is already available online and hard copies will be distributed in a little over a week. The leaflet includes further details on how to get involved through HWT. 

Please get in touch with Mo Burns if you would be willing to deliver some leaflets

FoBM are also carrying out a series of events on the Meadows. In May we had a balsam bash on the land behind the sewage works, and we ran a family-friendly bird watch in June. We have an open meeting coming up at which HWT are presenting their management plan (26 June), and we’ve got an extra balsam bash (25 June) and a butterfly count and picnic (16 July). This is part of a nationwide count run by Butterfly Conservation (BC), which is aimed at helping BC assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies we see. Looking further ahead to National Tree Week at the end of November, we will be putting a call out for volunteers to help with hedge planting. We’ve got loads of trees to plant, and this will be an exciting moment as we can finally start to take active steps towards the rebirth of Bartonsham Meadows. All these events are listed below – get them in your diary!

Tree-Mendous Fundraising

In March this year we successfully applied for a grant from Hereford Council’s Green the City fund. We were awarded the maximum amount of £5,000, which we will use to buy trees to replenish and restore the hedgerows on the Meadows. We aim to replant at least 250m of hedgerow.

And, more good news! The Woodland Trust will be delivering a pack of 420 trees in November as part of their ‘Free Trees for Schools and Communities’ initiative.

All these trees will be planted in existing hedge lines in November/December. Get in touch to get involved in tree planting.


Words: Bill Laws

The family bird event in June yielded some interesting species, with both sedge and willow warbler identified as well as reed bunting and red kite.  Whitethroat have also been seen on several occasions this month, and a stone chat was spotted calling to its young. We now have a count of 64 species, with the mature oak trees on the line of the Old Hopyward Field and tall vegetation teeming with bird activity.  More hedgerows, and increased plant diversity will only help to increase this abundance.

Species List:

black headed gullgoldcrestlinnetsand martin
blackbirdgoldfinchlittle egretsedge warbler
blackcapgoosanderlong-tailed titsiskin
blue titgreat titmagpieskylark
buzzardgreater spotted woodpecker mallardsong thrush
canada goosegreenfinchmandarin ducksparrow hawk 
carrion crowgrey heronmistle thrushstarling
chaffinchgrey wagtailmoorhenstock dove
chiffchaff herring gullmute swanstonechat
coal tithobbynuthatchswallow 
collared dovehouse martinpheasantswift
common sandpiperhouse sparrowpied wagtailtree creeper
cormorantjackdawred kitewhitethroat
dunnockjayreed buntingwillow warbler 
feral pigeonkingfisherrobinwood pigeon
garden warblerlesser black-backed gullrookwren

Balsam Bashing

There was a great turnout for the May Balsam Bash. The focus of activity was the area behind the sewage works, and many square metres of himalayan balsam plants were crushed, bashed, flailed and trampled. Carrying out this work early in the season will hopefully give native plants such as reed canary grass, reeds and willow that usually get out-competed by the balsam, a chance to establish. There is another ‘bash’ planned on 25th June to build on the good work so far achieved in our third year of bashing balsam.

This project is for everyone and we look forward to taking it forward as a community.

The River Wye

Why is the Wye so important?

Listen to Jamie Audsley, HWT CEO and Friends of the Upper Wye explain why.

River Wye catchment area landowners, businesses and clubs may have legal claim for damages against chicken producers for pollution.

Words: Law firm Leigh Day

Law firm Leigh Day is investigating the potential for a civil claim against chicken producers whose farming on an industrial scale is polluting the water quality of the River Wye.

Landowners, businesses, wildlife organisations and clubs such as swimming, angling and water sports organisations may have the right to use the watercourse and the right to receive water in its natural state without undue interference in its quality or quantity.

The civil claim is likely to allege that farming for poultry producers such as Avara and Noble Foods is raising phosphorous levels in the River Wye, causing algae blooms which in turn cause biodiversity loss. The entitlement to clean free-flowing water courses means the landowners may have, among other potential claims, a nuisance claim against the chicken producers.

The civil claim is being investigated by a team led by Leigh Day partner Oliver Holland who said:

“The pollution of the River Wye has reached such an extent that some predict it will suffer irreversible harm within a couple of years. We believe poultry producers have a case to answer for their role in bringing about this deplorable situation. We urge all those who think they may have been impacted by this urgent issue to contact us.”

— Oliver Holland, Leigh Day

“The pollution of the River Wye has reached such an extent that some predict it will suffer irreversible harm within a couple of years. We believe poultry producers have a case to answer for their role in bringing about this deplorable situation. We urge all those who think they may have been impacted by this urgent issue to contact us.”

Anyone who thinks they might have been affected in the way described can contact Nicholas Smith at Leigh Day on or call 020 7650 1200.

Wilder Hereford in Art & Poetry

Words: Richard Bevin

Local artists and poets have been exploring the nature reserves around Hereford with a special focus on the restoration of the Yazor Brook. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s City Branch have been hard at work for six years cleaning up and improving this brook system which runs through the heart of the city. All this effort is bearing fruit, with much beauty and nature to discover as you walk its banks at any time of year.

Wilder Hereford in Art & Poetry is a partnership between the Apple Store Gallery, City Branch and artist Richard Bavin. We are putting on a gallery show and free public events suitable for all ages. You are warmly welcome to join us.

Our programme begins with a Pop Up Exhibition in High Town on Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July, and we are linking up with the Save the Wye Festival on Castle Green on the Saturday. Call in to say hello, find out more about the Yazor Brook restoration, enjoy our art and poetry and pick up a postcard with details of all our events.

Wilder Hereford Dates

30th June – 1st July 10am – 4pm

Pop Up Shop at 4 Gomond Street in Hereford’s High Town with displays about the Yazor Brook restoration alongside art and poetry

1st July

Save the Wye Festival on Castle Green

12th July – 12th August

Exhibition at Apple Store Gallery

Sat 15th July, 2 – 3.30pm 

Private View – contact the gallery for an invitation

Sun 23rd July, 11am – 3pm 

Meet the Team at the Apple Store Gallery – gazebos with pop up art & poetry, information about the Wildlife Trust’s work, 2pm short guided walk to see nearby sections of the brook

Sun 30th July, 11am – 3pm 

Meet the Team in Moor Park near The Range, gazebos with pop up art & poetry, stream dipping, Wildplay, information about the Wildlife Trust’s work, 2pm short guided walk to see nearby sections of the brook

Tue 1st August, 7pm

Poetry Event at Apple Store Gallery, small entry charge £5 covering light refreshments, tickets from gallery

FoBM Events

On Thursday 15th June we had the first event with Jenny Cashmore – delightful and heart-warming!

Risograph workshop with Jess Bugler

Wednesday 21 June 13.00 – 15.00

Book through

Foraging with Jenny Cashmore and Sara-Marie Senior

Thursday 22 June 12.30 – 14.30

Book through

Image: Dock Eaten by Dock Beetle, Jim Stevenson (taken on the ‘Explore’ part of Jenny and Sara’s events)

Balsam Bash

Sunday 25 June 14.00 till you drop

Meet at Canary Bridge.

Wear long trousers and long sleeves.

Fobm Open Meeting

Monday 26 June 19.30

The Barrels function room.

Short business meeting followed by Dave Hutton’s presentation on HWT’s management plan.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Strategy Launch:

A Wilder Herefordshire – More Nature Everywhere

Tuesday 27 June 18.00

Join the HWT strategy event where Ruth will say a few words.

HWT say, “Join us to hear about the direction we’re now heading in and reflections from those we’ll be working with – farmers, young adults, landowners, action takers and more! Everyone attending will also be invited to participate.”

Fobm HWT’s Wilder Artist and Poets group

in partnership with HWT City branch

Friday 30 and Saturday 1 July  10.00 – 16.00

Gomond Street. Pop in and check out our vision and fill in the HWT questionnaire.

Save the Wye

Saturday 1 July 12.30 – 16.30

Castle Green

Find out more about our River and what we can do to save it.

Big Butterfly Count and Picnic

Sunday 16 July 14.00

Meet at Green Street entrance

Choose a spot on the Meadows to watch for 15 minutes – we can provide spotter charts. Then regroup for a picnic. We could make this an annual event and monitor the success of the developing habitats as the years progress.

And last but not least let’s eat the Meadows!

Nettle Cupcakes

Makes 12

Recipe taken from ‘Forage: Wild Plants to Gather, Cook and Eat’ by Liz Knight

“I added lemon cream cheese frosting because it made them less stodgy, more yummy”.

Fran Morgan
• 75 nettles• 120g sugar
• 100g plain yoghurt• 2 free-range organic eggs
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon• 250g self-raising flour
• 120g butter• 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 120℃, 250°F, gas mark 1/2
  2. Plunge the nettles into a bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, straining them immediately into a bowl of ice-cold water. Squeeze out the water from the leaves and blend in a food processor with the yoghurt, lemon zest and juice until smooth. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, and slowly add the eggs, flour and baking powder. Fold together and finally and the nettle/yogurt mix.
  3. Pour into muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes bounce back when gently pressed.
The Nettle Cupcakes proved popular on the refreshments stall on 1st May!

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