Hurst Water Meadow Trust News – August 2017

Summer on the meadows

We hope that you have enjoyed the meadows during the summer months.
The flowers and butterflies in the Hurst have been particularly good this year. Many of the wild flowers in the Hurst are ‘indicator species’ recognised by DEFRA as contributing to the Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier status. An advisor from Natural England makes periodic inspections to ensure that the Hurst meets the qualifying requirements for an annual grant from the scheme, and the flora is of particular interest. The grant helps the Trust to pay for insurance cover, professional tree surgery, countryside skills training, tractor maintenance, and the purchase of hand tools and other equipment.

Our open morning to celebrate National Meadows Day was attended by more than fifty people, some of whom had never visited the Hurst before. A large ‘bug hotel’ was built, invertebrates were swept up with nets in the long grass and examined, drinks and cakes were enjoyed. Everyone was intrigued to watch Richard Tilley open his mammal traps and find small mammals which could be closely observed before being set free; and there was video footage from the trail camera which showed the larger mammals that frequent the Hurst.

Dog mess continues to be a problem

and has got worse in recent weeks. This may be because there are more visitors to the meadows during the holiday period but it may also be because other distractions take our attention away from our dogs. If residents see a dog owner fail to pick up after their dog please help by pointing this out to the owner and suggesting that they pick up. An effort by all walkers to combat this problem might be effective.

Autumn work ahead

Weekly work parties have met throughout the summer, mainly keeping nettles down and clearing vegetation from around recently planted trees. Eleven members of Sonning Common Green Gym joined us one Saturday to work on Overy Mead Piece near the confluence. We hope that they will be back helping us again soon. Autumn and winter work will include remedial tree work, cutting back scrub growth which is encroaching into grassland, and continuing to lay the hedge beside the car park at Old Bridge Meadow. If you would like to join the volunteer workers and perhaps learn to scythe or hedge-lay please let us know. It doesn’t have to be a regular commitment but you will be made very welcome and tools will be provided.

Gillian Johnson (Hon. Secretary) on behalf of the Trustees
01865 340925
Website: www.hurst-water-meadow.org.uk

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Posted on August 8, 2017 in News and Articles

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