March 2021 Newsletter

HELLO

A warm welcome back to our Friends of Bartonsham Meadows newsletter. Thank you so much for supporting our campaign.
This month we have…

  • Discussed the short and long-term management of the land with the Church Commissioners and their agents.
  • Secured the support of the leader of Hereford Council, David Hitchener and his chief financial officer.
  • Walked the site with the land agent, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, and a potential organic grazier.
  • Presented our vision to the Rt Rev Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford, who has undertaken to support our project by engaging with the Church Commissioners.
  • Liaised with Jesse Norman MP to write to the Church Commissioners on our behalf.
  • Opened a survey on current land usage which has had an amazing 177 responses. More details on the responses below!
  • Drafted a constitution to consolidate our organisational structure.
  • ontinued to share all of your wonderful pictures, videos and related events.
Credit: Julia Goldsmith. (Read on to find out more about her photography!)

LAND MANAGEMENT UPDATE…

The Church Commissioners would like to arrange a short-term contract to manage the land through a grazing regime. This would involve seeding the land as soon as possible, allowing the sward to establish which would take around a year, then grazing the land. The Church Commissioners have again confirmed the land will not be built on or put to arable.

The Church Commissioners have agreed to be advised by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust on an appropriate seed mix for the site. We have lobbied against an intensive grazing regime with a mono-rye grass culture. They have assured us that they will not use glyphosate before seeding the land and will utilise what existing sward there is. We have also asked them not to plough but to drill seed with light gauge machinery.

We are continuing to present the case for a long-term land management solution to restore the meadows to traditionally managed wildflower floodplain meadow which would secure carbon sequestration and flood mitigation.

Credit: Ruth Westoby
INITIAL SURVEY RESULTS... 

We opened a survey to capture current land use and enjoyment. Thank you to the 177 people who have filled it in!

The survey remains open - please take five minutes to fill it in if you have not already, and share widely. The survey is available here.

Results highlights - of the 177 respondents 80% of you visit the meadows at least weekly and 40% of you are dog walkers.

We anticipated our consultation on future use of the meadows with an option to tell us what you’d like to see - there was an overwhelming thirst for sustainable land management, as an educational resource, community space,  including lots of wildflowers and indeed wild swimming!

We are developing a comprehensive consultation on future use of the meadows. Get in touch if there are particular options you’d like to see included in the future use survey.

SHOUT-OUT TO OUR SUPPORTERS…

It’s brilliant that so many of you share our vision for this space. We are working hard to ensure this can be made possible for the future of Bartonsham Meadows, and it wouldn’t be possible without your encouragement. Thank you, let’s keep going!

None of this would be possible without the tireless support of local experts, representatives and advisors – especially the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. We are not a membership organisation but they are – please consider joining them to enable them to continue to support projects such as this and work for wildlife throughout the county.

 Credit: Julia Goldsmith.

The photographer Julia Goldsmith has shared her stunning images of the meadows and flood aftermath. About Julia:

I have been photographing the after effects of the two recent floods, including lost objects and rubbish which have re-surfaced and been deposited back onto the land. I am drawn to the chaotic nature of the river banks and what’s left behind as the man-made and natural co-exist. I have started to capture some of the objects in isolation.
UPCOMING EVENTS...

We will be contributing a project update at Hereford Civic Society’s online event on 15th April. Details to be shared on our social media in due course.

We hope to collaborate with the Friends of the Upper Wye and George Monbiot’s forthcoming documentary ‘Rivercide’.

Bartonsham History Group and the Civic Society are hatching plans for a Summer meadows walk.

Presentation on digital mapping (April 15th): David Lovelace, well known landscape historian and digital mapping expert will explain how he is realising his ambition to create a landscape mapping tool - free at the point of use, to enable anyone who needs the facility to access digital (historic up to the present) maps of the city and surrounding parishes. Stay tuned for more details.
“This wash off has to be a result arable crops on a flood plain.” Christine Earl

INTRODUCING…

We were delighted to meet with Friends of the Upper Wye and hope to work with them on citizen science projects.

About Friends of the Upper Wye

“We’re Friends of the Upper Wye – a grassroots community group that has formed to protect and champion the Upper Wye, covering the area from the Wye’s source on Plynlimon in mid-Wales to its confluence with the Lugg at Mordiford, Herefordshire. 

There is a paucity of data about the state of the Wye and an urgent need for more regular monitoring at many more locations. With support from Cardiff University, the Environment Agency and the Wye and Usk Foundation, the Friends of the Upper Wye are now designing a citizen science programme to monitor water quality. They hope that people power can help to fill the data gap and compliment the monitoring work being done by Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency. They’re looking to recruit volunteers who live near the Upper Wye, or a stream or brook which feeds into it, and who are willing to regularly monitor their local patch.

Whilst the citizen science programme aims to expand scientific knowledge of the Upper Wye and its tributaries, the group is simultaneously launching an arts project to celebrate and elevate the cultural importance of the Wye. Eamon Bourke dreamed up CodwchYrAfon / LiftTheRiver and is inviting people to submit ‘river samples’ which could take any form one can imagine, be that memories, photos, poems, paintings, songs or something else.

A third strand of the Friends of the Upper Wye is exploring the idea of applying for designated bathing water status for The Warren at Hay-on-Wye, following the success of campaigners in Ilkley whose efforts led to a section of the Wharfe becoming the first river in the UK to achieve this status.”

Nicola Cutcher

www.fouw.org.uk

NOT CONVINCED?

Geek out on the incredible benefits and science behind floodplain meadow restoration through the awesome resources of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership: 
http://www.floodplainmeadows.org.uk/

IF YOU SHARE THE VISION FOR SPECIE-RICH FLOODPLAIN MEADOW AT BARTONSHAM, PLEASE COULD YOU…

  • Record images and footage of the meadow, and share with us to keep a record and for use on social media
  • Share this newsletter with friends, family and anyone who could support us
  • Encourage friends to sign up to our mailing list and our social media feeds
  • Consider becoming a member of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Consider making a donation to our campaign here
  • Get in touch with feedback and ideas via email or social media

All the best

Ruth, Chloe and Friends of Bartonsham Meadows