April 2021 Newsletter


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


  • 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

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.


  • 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…


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


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

March 2021 Newsletter


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!)


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

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.


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.

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


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



Geek out on the incredible benefits and science behind floodplain meadow restoration through the awesome resources of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership: 


  • 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

February 2021 Newsletter


A warm welcome back to our Friends of Bartonsham Meadows newsletter. Thank you so much for supporting our campaign.

Last night flood warnings were issued for the Wye which is a pollution concern as the meadows appear to have been sprayed recently. Please take care.

This month…

  • We were informed by the Church Commissioners (the landowners) that the farm house, buildings, and higher paddock have been sold.
  • The Church Commissioners invited us to partner with a grazier who shares our vision on an annual basis.
  • We wrote a land management proposal for the Church Commissioners that sets out a vision for long term restoration of the meadows to species-rich floodplain management.
  • We reached out, with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, to potential grazing partners through the Hereford Green Network. 
  • We have shared our management plan for the long term transformation of the meadows with Hereford Council, Jesse Norman MP, and the Bishop of Hereford.
  • We have continued to share all of your wonderful pictures, videos and related events.
  • Reached 100 followers on Instagram and in our Facebook group! Thanks for the support, if you haven’t yet, you can follow us here for Instagram and here on Facebook.


  • We’ve got an exciting feature on a Virtual Tour of the Meadows this coming Tuesday (7:30pm) with Bartonsham History Group. Featuring a full bridge-to-bridge tour, discover hidden historical nuggets and an update on the meadows from us at FOBM. See the flyer below and email web@bartonshamhistory.org.uk to register. 
  • We have further meetings scheduled over the next few weeks with the Church Commissioners and Hereford Council.
  • We’re continuing to develop our campaign and communication strategy for 2021. Shout out any suggestions or ways in which you could help us.

We are always keen to support similar initiatives in the area. Here’s a list of events (and one TV programme) that might be of interest to you coming up in March…

  • 2nd March 10am-1pm: Towards Net Zero Using Nature Based Solutions in Floodplains  – “The aim of this workshop will be to invite senior and informed speakers and participants to debate how we can optimise land use in floodplains to deliver nature based solutions to flood risk and diffuse pollution, the loss of biodiversity and human health crises.”  Contact Olivia Nelson to attend Olivia.nelson@open.ac.uk   
  • 3rd March 1pm-1:30pm: Say Yes to Life: The Forgotten Problem – with Ruth Valerio “What does it mean to be human? What is our relationship with the world that we live in? What does our future look like?” Book here
  • 17th March: Herefordshire Wildlife Trust City Branch Talk: Putting Herefordshire’s Wildlife into Recover: What do we need to do to create a county rich in wildlife? Nature Recovery Networks, Biodiversity Net Gain and the 30 by 30 campaign. Book here
  • Available online now: Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home Episode 3 includes a clip about a former dairy farm that has been re-wilded. 
Credit: Lisa Stevens


  • 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

Friends of Bartonsham Meadows

January 2021 Newsletter


Firstly, if you’re new here (and we’ve had a few new sign-ups, up to 135 of you!) – a very warm welcome to Friends of Bartonsham Meadows. Thank you so much for choosing to support our campaign.

It’s been a busy month:

  • We’ve spoken again with the land-owners, the Church Commissioners, alongside Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. We have set out our vision for how the land could be managed to transform it from intensive agriculture to outstanding natural habitat delivering broad social and environmental public goods. Our proposal centres biodiversity and regenerative land-management practices which we are endeavouring to establish on a long-term basis.
  • Herefordshire Wildlife Trust City Branch kindly hosted a presentation about our project on Thursday 21 January. We were blown away by the turn out – a total of 64 of you! Thank you to everyone who came along. If you were unable to join us, you can view the recording of the presentation here.
  • Anna Gundrey, Charlie Arthur and Ruth Westoby were interviewed by Nicola Goodwin of BBC Hereford & Worcester Radio which was broadcast Monday 18th January. Here is the recording. The interview and topic post on their Facebook page received some great feedback and lots of support which was really great to see. 
  • Working group member and consultant ecologist Anna Gundrey has written a wonderful piece on the environmental case for a floodplain meadow at Bartonsham. It will be up on our website soon, but you can also read it here.

Of course, we’ve also been keeping our eye on the floods and the snow this month, see below some of the images we’ve gathered.. a huge thank you to the contributors!

Credit: Will Steel
Credit: Christine Earl
Credit: Elaine Underwood
Credit: Anne Dodwell


We’ve been consulting with our working group on our 2021 priorities and strategy. If you would like to feed into this process please email us with suggestions for us to work on and any ways in which you could offer support through volunteering your time or expertise, or making a financial donation.

From our online event with Hereford Wildlife Trust.


  • Keep sending us your images and footage of the meadow, so we can 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.
  • Get in touch with feedback and ideas via email or social media.

All the best

Friends of Bartonsham Meadows

A PDF Version of this newsletter can be downloaded here

December 2020 Newsletter


Thank you for supporting positive ecological management of Bartonsham Meadows.

This month we have:

  • Continued our discussions (online)with the Church Commissioners, with our next discussion scheduled for mid-January
  • Improved our Stronger Towns Fund bid, lead by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, and re-submitted it to the board
  • Presented (Ruth) to the Community Association (online) introducing our project and giving an update on progress
  • Planned to gather our finest ecology heads together for a walk-round and assessment of the state of the meadows with a focus on wildlife populations
  • Reached 100 supporters!


We’re excited to have an online introductory event in January. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust City Branch are kindly hosting us to give a presentation about our project. There’ll be short talks from Andrew Nixon (Herefordshire Wildlife Trust), Anna Gundrey (ecology consultant), Bill Laws (historian), Ruth Westoby (FOBM convenor) and plenty of time for Q&A.

It will take place on 21st January at 7pm – sign up below! It would be great if you could spread the word and join us.


  • Record images and footage of the meadows, especially now the floods are up, and share with us to keep a record and for use on social media
  • Donate to help our project grow (get in touch if you would like to make a donation)
  • Encourage friends to sign up to our mailing list
  • Consider joining Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
  • Get in touch with feedback and ideas

This project has only been kicked around since February 2020 and since then we have been bowled over by the encouragement, engagement and support it’s received. In the teeth of an extraordinary and difficult year it has felt important and powerful to get active for positive change right on our doorstep. We’re so grateful for the generous donations which have enabled us to cover costs and develop the project. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us, got involved and enabled this project to get off to such an awesome start.

Wishing you a peaceful 2021,

Friends of Bartonsham Meadows