April 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…

  • Contributed an update at Hereford Civic Society’s online event on 15th April. You can see Ruth’s update on our YouTube channel here
  • Drawn up a constitution to formalise our Friends group as a community association to help facilitate positive environmental change. People signed up to this newsletter are our ‘supporter tier’ – folks who like to hear our updates, hear about volunteering opportunities, attend public meetings and generally support the project. We’ll create a member-tier for those who are able to financially support us through an annual donation to the group.
  • Planned a raft of summer events! See below for more details.
  • Started removing the plastic tree guards from the saplings across the Canary Bridge. More details below for how you can help!
“Lots of lovely cuckoo flowers in the meadows at the moment. Orange tip butterflies like to lay their eggs in them.” Elaine Underwood

OUR SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS…

  • 204 of you have had your say and responded to our survey so far, thank you so much!
  • You all seem to use the meadows fairly regularly, with the most popular frequency falling between daily, 2-4 times a week and weekly.
  • 20% of those who responded swim in the Wye from the meadows, mostly seasonally… although we see you brave 6 who still swim weekly.
  • 40% of you are regular dog walkers.
  • The most popular footpath along the meadows is the footpath running past the river (96%), shortly followed by Green Street to Canary Bridge (91%).
  • 50% of you use the meadows to socialise.
  • 3.5% of you use the meadows to commute to work.

There were countless responses which shared our vision for the future of the meadows.

“The Bassom from a coracle in the evening” Pete Reading
LAND MANAGEMENT UPDATE...

A suitable regenerative land management system has yet to be put in place for the meadows but we’re continuing to support negotiations between the land agent and the prospective tenant farmer.

We understand they’re moving ahead but more slowly than we had hoped, due to one specific open issue, currently with the land agent to resolve.

Subject to reaching an agreement, the in-coming tenant farmer manages her land regeneratively and is committed to the use of grazing livestock to restore the meadows.
Hereford Wildlife Trust continues to help enormously in supporting our efforts to find the right solution for restoration. 

The office of Jesse Norman MP has been actively communicating our longer-term vision for restoration to the Church Commissioners.

UPCOMING EVENTS…

  • We’ve started planning loads of summer events, and are delighted to share an outline below. More info to come in separate emails so keep an eye out and save the dates! All events will be free with the option to donate on Eventbrite.
  • Litter-pick: A wholesome afternoon of litter-picking in the fields – we hope to have power in numbers! Equipment provided but if you’ve got your own pickers, feel free to bring them along.
  • Wildflower walk: A Wildflower walk around the meadows. Join ecologist Anna Gundrey and others to help compile a botanical species list for the meadows and river bank, whilst picking up plant ID tips along the way. 
  • 24 Hour Bioblitz: How many animal and plant species can we record in a 24-hour period? This will be an informal and fun event for all the family to create a snapshot of the multitude of life that is present on Bartonsham Meadows. The event will include a dawn bird walk, a dusk bat survey and much more in between. 
  • Himalayan Balsam Bashing: Join us for an overdue active summer project to rip away the Himalayan Balsam from the river bank to prevent any further damage to other plantlife. 

We’re also plotting some river events and a walk with the Civic Society too…

PARAMEDIC WHO HIGHLIGHTED THE MEADOWS' HIDDEN ARCHAEOLOGY...

Friends of Bartonsham Meadows would like to add their condolences to Dawn Daw and her family over the loss of husband Jeremy ‘Jack’ Daw, the Hereford paramedic killed in an ambulance accident at Moreton on Lugg recently.

In her tribute Hereford Mayor Cllr Kath Hay recalls how Jack’s metal detecting skills helped uncover a hoard of Roman coins near Kimbolton in 2013. Jack was also an enthusiastic conservator of metal mileposts and, according to archaeologist Tim Hoverd, was currently restoring the Byford Milepost.

FoBM also recalls his 2019 discovery of a stock of lead musket balls, which, he believed, dated back to the Civil War. Found on the south east side of the Meadows, a site consistent with keeping leadwork downwind from the troops’ camp, Jack’s find emphasises the archaeological importance of Bartonsham Meadows.

Jack, who was raised in Whitecross (his parents ran the Britannia in Cotterell Street until the late 1960s) had planned to share his finds with Bartonsham History Group after the lockdown. He will be sadly missed.
 
 - Bill Laws
Jeremy ‘Jack’ Daw. Image sourced via @YourHerefordshire

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: COMMITTEE ROLES…

We need your support to pursue this project for the restoration of Bartonsham Farm to species-rich floodplain meadow.

  • We need you! Would you like to join our committee as treasurer or secretary as we move towards formalising ourselves as a community association? If so please get in touch.

If that’s not your cup of tea there are a host of other ways to help. 

  • Join us at our summer events.
  • There’s an informal push to continue to remove the plastic tree guards on the far side of Canary Bridge – got an hour or so this Saturday afternoon?  Ping us an email for details. We’ll be meeting at 4pm on the east side of Canary Bridge. Litter pickers provided.
  • We value your images and footage of the meadows to both keep a record of the land and for use on social media. Please continue to share with us.
  • Do share this newsletter with people you think could support us.
  • Consider becoming a member of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust here.
  • Consider making a donation to keep our project going. Help us make the case for this vital green space here link to page on website – currently in a sorry state [I’ll try and get some fresh pics].

Get in touch with feedback and ideas via email or social media.


All the best

Ruth, Chloe and Friends of Bartonsham Meadows