A warm welcome to our Friends. Thank you so much for supporting our project for Bartonsham Meadows.
Throughout July’s torrential rain and blazing heat we’ve been busy. Actions this month:
Hosted an informal follow-up to our first balsam bash on 4th July to cut further swathes behind the treatment works. Many locals have made huge efforts to continue to tackle the Himalayan balsam. What remains is now flowering but we will be back next year! Met with the Church Commissioners on 7th July to discuss weed mitigation, advocate for floodplain restoration, and ascertain the requirements to pitch to buy the land. More in the ‘land management update’ below. Hosted our penultimate summer event, a Wildflower Walk around the Meadows, on 11th July. Huge thanks to everyone who came along and made a donation, we all brushed up our weed, grasses and wildflower knowledge! Thanks to Anna Gundry for leading the walk and providing tick-off plant ID sheets and info leaflets to help along the way. See photos below. Check out below for details of our final #FoBMSummer event, the Bioblitz. Showcased the project at the wonderful Walking the Wye handover on Castle Green on 18th July. The #SaveTheWye pilgrims made such a powerful, moving entrance to Hereford. It was great to be a part of the celebration picnic with other local organisations - and a warm hello to anyone who has joined our mailing list since having a chat with us on that day! Supported The Civic Society’s well-attended walk of the Meadows on 22nd July hosted by Jeremy Milln with history contributions from Bill Laws and David Whitehead. Ruth Westoby gave a quick introduction to our project. Walked the site with the committee and a potential new tenant on 26th July. Watch this space……
IN OTHER NEWS…
We’re officially a Community Association! Very exciting stuff. You can view our constitution below. Now we have our brilliant committee of volunteers behind us, we’re in the process of formulating our membership scheme. See the events section below for how to get involved in our first official public meeting (hosted online) to learn more about becoming a subscribing supporter of our project.
LAND MANAGEMENT UPDATE
The Meadows are technically fallow, left unmanaged since the crop was taken in Autumn 2020. This has led to spectacular growth of vegetation which has benefited insects and birds. Yet proscribed weeds such as dock, thistle and ragwort predominate. We are campaigning for restoration of biodiverse grassland characteristic of traditional floodplain meadows to deliver benefits for people, wildlife and the environment. We continue to explore options for acquisition of the land on behalf of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust should the Church Commissioners be persuaded to dispose of it. We have also established a dialogue between the Church Commissioners and their agents and the country’s leading experts on floodplain meadow restoration. There has been extensive communications but as yet no immediate plan.
7th July meeting outcomes:
- Agents for the Church Commissioners agreed to cut and remove the weeds potentially to the anaerobic digester plant at Hampton Bishop. Two weeks after that discussion it appears the remnant crop is now too woody to be of value for anaerobic digesters.
- We understood from this meeting that the Commissioners are now not seeking to remove this parcel of land from the previous tenant’s Mid-Tier Stewardship Scheme.
- We note that there are a range of views on the most appropriate restoration both in the interests of the environment and in the interests of expediency. The Friends group have communicated that we support a programme of cutting and carting as preliminary weed control in preparation for restoration of a grass sward, rather than herbicides and ploughing.
- Agents for the Commissioners have asked us to communicate their preferred option with our supporters and we will of course do so. We have invited them to present their plans for the site at a public meeting in September.
Land management summary
- The developments over the last year and a half since the Friends group got going can seem a little complex! After our June newsletter we produced a one page summary linked below. Check it out for an overview and do share with all interested parties.
SAVE THE DATE!
Our membership scheme is launching soon! We are hosting our first online public event as a committee to present our project and offer our membership programme. We’d love as many of our supporters to attend as possible. Expect presentations from members of our committee to give an overview of our aims as a lobbying environmental group. We have invited the Church Commissioners and their agents to present their plans for the site and answer questions.
The online event will take place on Monday 13th September, 7pm. Put the date in your diary! We’ll be following up with more information, including booking links, nearer the time.
YOUR SUPPORT IS INVALUABLE, PLEASE:
- Come along to our Bioblitz
- Send us your images of the Meadows
- Share this newsletter widely
- Join us on Instagram and Facebook
- Become a member of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust here.
- Make a donation to keep our project going. Dick, our new treasurer, is working on opening us a bank account but for now we would truly appreciate cheques dropped off the old-fashioned way here or you can donate via our Eventbrite page when checking out for events. If you feel you could contribute to a valuation please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth, Will and all at Friends of Bartonsham Meadows