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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Spring 2023 Newsletter


Herefordshire Wildlife Trust sign long lease with Church Commissioners to create a floodplain meadow nature reserve at Bartonsham Meadows. Read on for the details…


Words: Bill Laws

The signing of the 25-year lease between the Church Commissioners, owners of Bartonsham Meadows, and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has been welcomed by Friends of Bartonsham Meadows (FoBM).

FoBM, which organised several community consultations and wildlife surveys at the site, had campaigned for the Meadows to be returned to a wild-life friendly, floodplain meadow since the catastrophic floods of 2020/2021.

FoBM’s Ruth Westoby: “We are campaigning for the restoration of the floodplain along with the traditional hedgerows and ponds which would mitigate the effects of the Wye flooding and significantly reduce the carbon footprint here.“

She added: “Our focus has been to put biodiversity at the forefront – to speak on behalf of endangered plantlife and animal life – and we are delighted to see tentative signs of improvement.” (Skylarks returned to the Meadows last year after a long absence.)

FoBM’s immediate brief has been fulfilled in securing the long-term future of this site and they will turn to supporting the Trust going forward. Fobm will also keep a watching brief on who benefits from the ‘environmental uplift’, which will be all the more significant in the light of the Meadows lying fallow and unmanaged over the last two years leading to an explosion of dock and thistle.  “Our community surveys suggest that people would be unhappy if the benefits, accrued from the carbon capture, were not put to good use within the parish,”  said Ruth.

For more information contact

SAVE THE DATE - May Day celebrations

Please come and celebrate this unprecedented success with us on May 1st

Pop the date in your diary, probably a bit of tree planting and cider and savouries, maybe 2-4pm with a programme of events throughout the day on the Meadows. Working on that plan now!

Can you help us? Set up, bake cakes, tidy up?
Please email Ruth at

Wild at heart and scruffy chances: the Fobm Vision

Words: Anna Gundrey
Images: Laura French-Jones; Gareth Dart

Natural landscapes are scruffy places with tussocky grassland, sprawling scrub and broken trees. Dead wood lies where it lands amongst the leaf litter and fallen apples. Biodiversity thrives where there is a variety of different habitats and structures, and an abundance of different food sources and microclimates. The uniformity of traditionally managed gardens and conventional agriculture leaves no space for this. A tidy verge or a closely trimmed lawn has no seeds or nectar and no natural cover to hide in.

The Meadows at the moment are a ‘mess’ with a rank sward of rotting docks and thistles.  But  look what that unkempt land has attracted – so many people have been excited to see a barn own quartering the fields this month. The tall vegetation has provided cover for voles and this in turn has brought the predators. This is so exciting, not just because barn owls are now very rare, but because it provides a ray of hope that if nature is given half a chance it will take it and return to our barren countryside.

The current state of the Meadows is not ideal but it is at a sweet spot where it is still relatively open but provides some structure for ground dwelling animals to thrive. If left unmanaged it will get denser and ranker and less diverse and gradually succeed to scrub. This is where extensive agriculture is so important. The grazing of animals, and/or periodic mowing mimics the effect of the large herbivores of prehistory, making open spaces and disturbed ground which creates diverse habitat niches and allows less competitive plants a chance to set seed.

Once the fields are returned to grassland and traditionally managed as floodplain meadows, they will provide a sustainable structurally diverse and species rich habitat in which nature can thrive. But it won’t be tidy – it will be wild and wonderful and we will be able to celebrate that we have made space for nature right in the heart of the City.


Dwrcymru Welsh Water updated us on February 24 2023 that the previously announced works are to be reduced. This from them:

“We wrote to you in November regarding the work which we were going to be carrying at both Eign and Rotherwas waste treatment works to remove a higher proportion of phosphorous from the treated water before returning it safely back to the river Wye. Since then, further investigations have been made and it was discovered that by improving the current dosing on at Eign treatment works, we could reduce the phosphorus level from our waste water treatment works whilst doing less intrusive work.

 “Therefore, we’re currently finalising the details of the new plan and will be reducing the working area needed. We will write to you again once the working area and start date has been confirmed.”


Words: Bill Laws

Birders and bird watchers are delighted by the news that The Meadows will be managed as a reserve. Recent count included:

Black bird 11
Blue tit 3
Canada geese 3
Chiff chaff 6
Cormorant 1
Carrion Crow 10+
Dunnock 2
Goosander 5
Great tit 1
Great spotted woodpecker 1
Long tailed tit 5
Lesser black backed gull 4
Mallard 26
Magpie 6
Moorhen 2
Pheasant 1
Robin 5
Song thrush 2
Wren 14
Wood pigeon 35+


• April 23 2023 2pm, Litterpick along river behind treatment works

• May 1 2023, Celebration of our new nature reserve! Details TBC

• May 21 2023, Balsam bash

• May 24-25 2023, Floodplain Meadows Partnership Conference:


That’s all from us this for now, watch out for updates on the May 1st Celebration… In the meantime, please continue to send us photos and news of the meadows.

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Dick, Gareth, Jen-May, Jeremy, Mo, Rhian, Ruth & Will

Winter 2022 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to our latest newsletter. In case you’ve been missing us we have now moved to quarterly newsletters.


As yet, unfortunately, the lease has not been signed. The Church Commissioners, who own Bartonsham Meadows, have agreed to lease the land to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust for twenty-five years. However, the signing of the lease has proven rather elusive. The Church Commissioners assured us that they have completed the lease for their part and hope it will be signed by the end of the week. We will be sure to share the announcement as soon as we hear.

Gareth Dart
Jobie Hoar


HWT is preparing to take on the lease and nurture the land in the interests of plants, animals and people. The weed burden is such that they are considering spraying and lightly ploughing to achieve floodplain meadow reversion.

The Friends group have campaigned tirelessly for the past three years for the best long term outcome for the meadows in terms of benefits to plants, people and environment. We do not consider spraying to be an optimum strategy for land management. We regret that the lack of management by the Church Commissioners over the last two years has led to a deplorable weed burden that is unlikely to be alleviated through non-chemical means.
Sara Ingram – Yellow Fieldcap


Check out Will’s map! Here are the hedges and ponds as they used to be and as we would love to see them restored. This would increase habitat diversity and provide navigational routes and wildlife corridors for ground-dwelling animals and bats.

Will Steel. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database rights 2022


There are developments afoot at the sewage treatment works. Welsh Water are working with their ecological consultants, Arup on the project. They have provided us with the following update to share in our newsletter.

Work at Eign WwTW – Ecology

Update: 2nd November 2022

Eign Wastewater Treatment Works is responsible for treating the wastewater it receives from those living in the town of Hereford and surrounding catchment area, before returning it safely to the watercourse.

There are a number of factors which contribute to pollution levels in rivers which are not in the control of the water industry. Our modelling on the River Wye for example shows that our assets are responsible for between 25 - 33% of the phosphorus in the main water bodies, with Combined Storm Overflows (CSO) only responsible for 2%. The remainder is caused by other factors such as urban surface water drainage, misconnected drains, agricultural run-off and animal faeces as well as private septic tanks.

However, we recognise that there is more that we can do to help keep our contribution to the absolute minimum. That is why over the next year we’ll be carrying some work at both Eign and Rotherwas waste treatment works to remove a higher proportion of phosphorus from the treated water before returning it safely back to the river Wye.

What we will be doing?

From the middle of November until May 2024, we’ll be carrying out some work at Eign Wastewater Treatment Works. This will include building new pumping stations, installing screen chambers which will remove heavy particles from our waste water, and introducing an enhanced treatment process which will remove a higher proportion of phosphorus from the treated wastewater.

We have been working closely with an ecologist and a number of environmental surveys have been carried out within the area over recent months, including:

•   Phase 1 Habitat

•   Great Crested Newt

•   Invasive Species

•   Badger and bait marking (to establish badger territories)

•   Water vole

•   Fish habitat assessment and vibration assessments

•   Bats

•   Otter

•   Dormouse

We have also applied for several licenses, which will enable us to carry out our enabling and main construction works.. 

As part of our enabling work, at the start of the project we will need to carry out some vegetation clearance between our site and the river. The vegetation is located in between the two security fences surrounding the treatment works just north of the services bridge and includes the removal of:

·   3 mature yew

·   2 mature Scots pine

·   1 semi-mature Scots pine

·   4 semi-mature conifer

·   1 mature holly

·   1 semi-mature red cedar

·   Some scrub and ground cover

We are currently working on a comprehensive biodiversity enhancement plan and will share this with the Friends of Bartonsham meadows for comment as soon as it’s ready.
Giles King-Salter, Will Watson, Anna Gundrey and Charlie Arthur


Words: Anna Gundrey

Still no news on the lease, but let’s be optimistic and focus on the When and not the If.  Our survey this summer revealed that a third of respondents would be interested in volunteering to restore the meadows.  

HWT offers a multitude of volunteering opportunities, with something to suit all interests and abilities, from wildlife surveys to practical work parties. Current opportunities include harvest mouse surveying (with training included), tending the wellbeing garden at Birches Farm and, if you are feeling really energetic, being a repair and maintenance volunteer at Queenswood. More locally, HWT City Branch are involved in numerous projects with volunteering opportunities across Hereford, such as the  Yazor Brooks’ Restoration Project and at  the city’s three nature reserves at Wyevale Woods, Hampton Park Road and Lugg Meadows.  Fingers crossed there will soon be four!

At Bartonsham, help will be needed with practical work such as gate building, tree planting and hedge laying. If poking around in a quadrat is your bag, ongoing botanical monitoring will be required to gauge the success of habitat restoration measures. There are likely to be more creative opportunities too: designing interpretation boards or art installations for example.

I got my first job through volunteering with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust (not to mention meeting loads of wonderful new friends), so I am slightly biased, but for me it’s hard to beat spending time outside working with a like-minded group of people to improve the environment.

We will be putting a call out for volunteers in the Newsletter when the big moment comes, but in the meantime, if you would like to get involved with HWT’s  City Branch, email or for countywide volunteer opportunities with HWT as a whole, go to 


Talking of volunteering, pop into the shiny new HWT charity shop on Church Street to buy gifts for yourself or others, drop off donations of clothes (they are particularly keen for women’s clothes so get sorting out your cupboards) or consider volunteering your time in the shop (if being inside and dry is your volunteering thing).


Words: Will Watson

The River Wye from Bartonsham Farm, October 2022  © Will Watson

On 22nd September this year Giles King-Salter and Will Watson conducted an aquatic invertebrate survey of the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm and further downstream just below the footbridge.  This coincided with the low water levels which enable us to safely reach the riffles and the overhanging vegetation where the majority of the invertebrates will be found.  At the footbridge site we found 17 species of aquatic invertebrate and 13 species upstream on the old farm side with 24 aquatic invertebrates species in total found including the 2 sections (see Tables below).    We were pleasantly surprised to find a reasonable range of mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies.  At Bartonsham Farm we found the nationally scarce (provisionally RDB 2) Yellow Mayfly Potamanthus luteus.  There are a scattering of records from the Rivers Usk and Taff in Wales and from the River Teme in Worcestershire but surveys in the River Wye undertaken in 1995 by the Environment Agency found it be widely distributed in the middle on reaches of the river.  According to the Environment Agency this species may now be spreading.  In addition to the Yellow Mayfly we found the rare long-toed water beetle Pomatinus substriatus. It is listed as Nationally Vulnerable.   It has only been recorded at about 30 sites in Britain over the last 40 years.   There are records for this species from the River Wye from Symonds Yat, but not from Hereford. 

In many respects the assemblages of aquatic invertebrates found at Bartonsham was perplexing because we had a reasonable range of the species which are considered sensitive to pollution but some of the species that are typically super abundant were missing from the samples.  This included the Freshwater Shrimp Gammarus pulex/fossarum which in a 3-minute quick sample can be found in the thousands ( Robert Aquilina, Freshwater Ecologist).  The only species of shrimp found was the North American shrimp Crangonygx sp.  It was suggested ( Robert Aquilina) that a toxic chemical maybe implicated in its decline, perhaps a chemical that interferes with the respiratory system in Gammarus; Gammaridae are identified as strong indicators of pesticide pollution. 

A long-toed Water Beetle Potaminatus substriatus found in the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm on 25th September 2022 © Will Watson
FamilySpeciesCommon name
DryopidaePomatinus substriatusa long-toed water beetle
LymnaeidaeRadix balthicaWandering Snail
TateidaePotamopyrgus antipodarumJenkin’s Spire Shell
PlanorbidaeGyraulus albusWhite Ramshorn
BithyniidaeBithynia tentaculataCommon Bithynia
EphemeridaeEphemera danicaa mayfly
CalopterygidaeCalopteryx splendensBanded Demoiselle
PotamanthidaePotamanthus luteusYellow mayfly
HydropsychidaeHydropsyche contubernalisa caddisfly
AsellidaeAsellus aquaticusTwo-spotted Water-hoglouse
SericostomatidaeSericostoma personatuma caddisfly
LeuctridaeLeuctra fuscaa stonefly
CrangonyctidaeCrangonyx pseudogracilis/floridanusa shrimp
Table 1 Aquatic Invertebrates in the River Wye at Bartonsham Farm 25th September 2022
The Yellow Mayfly Potamanthus luteus.  Photo Courtesy of Buglife
FamilySpeciesCommon Name
CalopterygidaeCalopteryx splendensBanded Demoiselle
PlatycnemididaePlatycnemis pennipesWhite-legged Damselfly
ElmidaeElmidae sp.a riffle beetle
BithyniidaeBithynia tentaculataCommon Bithynia
LeuctridaeLeuctra fuscaa stonefly
HeptageniidaeHeptageniidae sp.a mayfly
BaetidaeBaetis scambus/fuscatusa mayfly
AphelocheiridaeAphelocheirus aestivalisRiver Saucer Bug
PhysidaePhysella sp.a bladder snail
HydropsychidaeHydropsyche pellucidulaa caddisfly
PolycentropodidaePolycentropus sp.a caddisfly
HydropsychidaeCheumatopsyche lepidaa caddisfly
CrangonyctidaeCrangonyx pseudogracilis/floridanusa shrimp
LeptoceridaeLeptocerus interruptusa caddisfly
SphaeriidaeSphaerium corneumHorny Orb Mussel
ErpobdellidaeErpobdella octoculataa leech
LymnaeidaeRadix balthicaWandering Snail
Table 2 Aquatic Invertebrates in the River Wye at Bartonsham Footbridge 25th September 2022


Words: Bill Laws

Having missed a month, we were back with a quick visit on a sunny November morning with the river in full spate. Kestrel, buzzard and a fly-by from a red kite have been seen on the Meadows recently. This morning we saw:

Black-headed gull (1)
Blackbirds (5)
Blue tits (40)
Canada geese (20 flying south in V formation)
Carrion crows (10+)
Chaffinch (2)
Chiffchaff (1)
Cormorant (2 - a river bird still persecuted for its diet)
Great spotted woodpecker (1)
Great tit (5)
Grey heron (1)
Lesser black backed gull (5+)
Magpie (4)
Mallard (25)
Mistle thrush (1)
Mute swan (5)
Pheasant (1)
Pied wagtail (1)
Robin (3)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Woodpigeon (24)
Wren (5)

There were three goosanders (also persecuted for their diet!) up river too.  Let us know what you’ve seen?


Words: Dick Jones

Four hundred and sixty-six households responded to the survey. Key findings are posted here. 

Q1       414 (89%) of 466 respondents use the Meadows.

Q2       412 (88%) would use the Meadows more if restored to a wildflower meadow.

Q3        15 different uses were listed; 236 people indicated more than one purpose.

Q4       373 (90%) of people who use the Meadows arrive on foot. 64 (15%) also use other modes of transport.
Q5         392 (95%) agreed with temporarily restricting access to certain areas for the purpose of environmental management
Q7       304 (65%) respondents agreed that improving access would be beneficial.

Q8       The most frequent suggestions for improving access to the Meadows were:

  • Removal of kissing gates and installation of gates suitable for access by buggies, wheelchairs, and people with mobility issues
  • Self-closing gates to ensure containment of livestock


  • Widening, levelling and upgrading of paths for easier access
  • Installing boardwalks in wetter areas
  • Installing a ramp at the junction of the path with Outfall Road

Q10-12 Making the Meadows a nature reserve could attract 117 of the respondents to become Herefordshire Wildlife Trust members.

Q13  167 indicated an interest in being new volunteers for FoBM and/or HWT.

Q14    156 (33%) of respondents would be prepared to make financial donations.

Q16   Only 6% of respondents were under 35.

Q17    6% of respondents who use the Meadows have a disability compared with 25% who reported not using the meadows.

Q21    22% of those who participated in the survey added comments:

  • 62% of the comments were highly supportive of work done by FoBM, the importance of developing the Meadows and their management by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
  • 25% of the comments were in relation to earlier questions including volunteering, making donations, access and signage
  • 5% of the comments queried the need for inclusion of questions about gender, religion and ethnicity
  • Other comments:
  1. Possibility of renewable energy – solar panels and ground source
  2. Reinstatement of ponds, the withy, orchards and trees
  3. An offer of help with artwork and design
  4. Preference for not having livestock
  5. A question raised on flood mitigation
  6. Importance of maintaining privacy of Park Street gardens which back on to the Meadows
  7. Importance of linking with Save the Wye Campaign
  8. Idea of designation of River Wye as swimming area to prevent pollution
  9. Comments on Church Commission


HWT City Branch AGM December 8 7.00 - 8.30pm Kindle Centre

Speaker: Will Watson

Bye bye Scout Hut December 11 4.00 - 8.00pm
Bartonsham History Group is joining the Community Association (JABA) to mark the final days of the Scout Hut with a Christmas party.

Twelfth Night Wassail Friday January 6 2023 6.00 - 7.00pm
Bartonsham History Group and the Friend’s Group join forces for a Moot Point Wassail. Expect a noisy family procession, apple and cider cups by a fire pit, and music and mayhem that will guarantee a great year in 2023!


That’s all from us this quarter. We wish you a very merry festive period. Stay warm, send us photos and news of the meadows. Please report flooding to us when it happens but obviously stay safe - flood water kills.

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Dick, Gareth, Jen-May, Jeremy, Mo, Ruth & Will

August 2022 Newsletter


Welcome to our August newsletter. The big news is we had a great AGM! Thanks so much to everyone who came along and shared their enthusiasm for creating a biodiverse floodplain meadow at Bartonsham. We’ve written it up as a blog which is available here and follows various updates in our newsletter.


  • The Church Commissioners told us they would be signing a 25 year lease with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in September or early October at the latest! There will be a ban on ploughing it up again 🙂
  • Huge gratitude to the 437 of you who have filled in our survey! Some results are included in the blog. We have shared the full anonymised results with HWT to assist them in applying for lottery funds to support the restoration of Bartonsham Meadows.
  • A whopping 60 odd people attended our AGM to hear about the project, share enthusiasm and questions, and eat and drink goodies including Fran’s dock seed cake.
  • In response to requests from local residents and FoBM the Commissioners cut a fire break along the back of Park Street (days before a fire broke out on the adjacent farm across the river).
  • Last weekend the Council mowed the river path to ease access, in response to requests from Jeremy Milln.
  • Want an information-rich one minute on floodplains? Check out this video Caroline Hanks of Herefordshire Meadows recommended from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.

The Friends group want to give a really big shout out to two members of the working group - Rhys Ward who produced the visionary interactive map and Chloe Bradman, our communicative communications manager. We will be less snazzy and snappy without her. Finally, we are so sorry that Andrew Nixon is leaving HWT. He’s been an amazing support to the group since our first meeting and we wouldn’t be where we are now without him.


It is not celebration time ‘til the lease is signed, but we hope it’s just around the corner. Suggestions for celebrations have included Civil War re-enactments and mass dock-scything massacres. Ruth currently favours a more modest litterpick with hipflasks but we are open to suggestions.

By Elaine Underwood


Bill said ‘We recorded 23 species during the monthly Meadows bird count on August 22. A couple of birds – robin, sparrow and starling – proved elusive that morning. Here’s the full list (which included a young sparrow hawk hunting down a small bird)’

Black headed gullsGoldfinchMoorhen
BlackbirdGreat titMute swan
Blue titGrey heronPheasant
BuzzardHouse martinSparrow hawk
Carrion crowKingfisherSwallow
Chiff chaffLesser-black backed gullWoodpigeon
DunnockLong-tailed titWren
Spot the heron… By Bill Laws

 - Continue to send us your pics and updates on the meadows
 - Consider becoming a supporting member here
 - Share this newsletter with friends and neighbours

Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will

July 2022 Newsletter


Welcome to our July newsletter. With the mercury recently nudging towards 40℃ and a heap of responses to the current usage survey piling up to mull over, it’s time to check in with what has been happening on, or in regard to, Bartonsham Meadows.

Please do fill in our survey over the next few days and join us and our speakers on August 22 for our AGM or next week for the History Group walk.


Discussions continue between the Church Commissioners and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust on the details of a long-term lease. No details yet but we hope to have positive news in the next few months. Fingers crossed.

Our requests to the Church Commissioners to cut and carry the weeds off site have remained unanswered. The local ward councilor, Jeremy Milln, has continued to push for action from the Commissioners on the weeds and the flood damaged gates. Should Herefordshire Wildlife Trust take on the site they would knock back the weeds this Autumn. 

Concerns have been expressed to us abut the fire to the meadows given the amount of tinder dry vegetation. Bill has been in touch with the local police who recommended raising the matter with the landowners and cutting a perimeter fire break. He has also asked Balfour Beatty, who are responsible for cutting the rights of way, to cut the rights of way. Jeremy has raised the matter with the Church Commissioners who have promised a full response next week. In the meantime – no bonfires or BBQs please!

 Photo: Jeremy Miln

We have been blown away by the number and variety of responses to our survey. Last few days to fill it in!

We are doing this both to improve our own understanding of current local usage and thoughts regarding the meadows, and also to generate data to help Herefordshire Wildlife Trust apply for funding to transform the site into a traditionally managed floodplain meadow. To apply for funding from organisations like the National Lottery we need to know how people use the meadows and what concerns them. The ‘diversity’ questions tell us how demographics shape appreciation of the Meadows and are required for funding application.
Tortoiseshell on Ragwort. Photo: Elaine Underwood
Want to know more about floodplain meadows?

Check out the recording of this event that we held at the end of last year. There is more information here, and in the resources on the Floodplain Meadow Partnership site here.


Bartonsham History Group Walk Tuesday!
Thistle seed. Photo: Ruth Westoby

We’re holding an AGM on 22 August at the Scout Hut. Come along for cake from 7pm, we’ll razz through a business meeting at 7.30pm with an update on our project and the survey results.

On completion of business, Caroline Hanks, Herefordshire Meadows, will speak about meadow restoration in Herefordshire.

Andrew Nixon, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, will then speak about the process of floodplain restoration at Bartonsham and what this would look like on the ground for all of us.

Bring your questions! We’re sure Caroline and Andrew will have the latest on weed mitigation, best relationships between walkers and wildlife, and the biodiversity gains to be made. We’ll have plenty of time for questions and you can send in your questions in advance to

Small print: the meeting will not be live streamed or recorded but we will produce a blog for our next newsletter.  In accordance with the constitution if anyone would like to stand for the positions of chair, secretary or treasurer please let us know. The people currently holding those positions are willing to serve another term. Our constitution is here and minutes from the AGM will be available on request.


chiffchaffkingfishermute swan
collared dovelesser black-backed gullpied wagtail
greater spotted woodpeckerlittle egretrobin
grey heronlong-tailed titsand martin
grey wagtailmagpiesong thrush
herring gullmallardswallow
house martinmandarin duckswallow
house sparrowmoorhenswallow
31 different species of birds counted on 18th July

Black headed gulls have returned and numbers of lesser black backed gulls, mute swan and mallard counted had increased dramatically. The four young mandarin ducklings are now fully grown.

Purple Loosestrife. Photo: Elaine Underwood


  • Continue to send us your pics and updates on the meadows
  • Consider becoming a supporting member here
  • Share this newsletter with friends and neighbours
Best wishes,

Anna, Bill, Charlie, Chloe, Dick, Gareth, Jeremy, Mo, Rhys, Ruth & Will