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As one season's tasks end, another season's begins
Another good turnout saw the autumn's planting season wrapped up with the cleaning of used pots and trays, and the start of the winter tasks of hedge-laying and coppicing. There was also the perennial job of cutting back bramble and stacking it on the dead hedge near the footbridge.
Another good turnout despite the weather
A dozen of us worked our way along the path beside our native hedge, pulling up nettles, cutting off dogwood suckers and planting out Greater Stitchwort plug plants in their place next to the hedge. Although it did rain a little on us we didn't get too wet and were pleased with the achieved tidying. We hope to look forward to seeing the resulting delicate white flowers in the spring.
Planting in the autumn sunshine
There was a good turnout of a dozen people this morning to help. We planted nearly 200 plug plants of wildflowers including ox-eye daisy and purple loosestrife, plus over a hundred snakes-head fritillary bulbs into the meadow. We even cleared brambles from steps leading down to the river beside the blue bridge, so that we could fill cans to water them.
Four of the group had started the regular autumn job of planting out wildflowers, some grown from seed collected in the meadow, some from bought seed, last Thursday.
It was rewarding to have passers-by enquire what we were doing and to thank us for our work. However, it is unfortunate that others continue to fail to pick up their dog mess. Very few realise (including our group) that this field became available as open access to the public in the late 1990s rather than being built on.
Tidying at the start of Autumn
There was a good turn-out at the meadow today and several different tasks were completed during the morning. All the paths were mowed, overhanging vegetation was trimmed down the path to the bridge, a section of our hedge was rescued from being swamped with hops, some scything of patches of Canary Reed Grass was done and some seeds of Black Knapweed, Field Scabious, Betony and Bird's-foot Trefoil were collected for future planting in the meadow. We await the hay cut very soon when the farmer has a spare day.
The hot summer continues!
Yet another sweltering task morning in the meadow saw about ten of us tidying up. Paths were mown, overhanging brambles and stingers were removed from beside the hedge and river bank paths, and litter was removed from the site. Although the best of the flowers are over there are still many yellow Birds-foot Trefoil attracting loads of Common Blue butterflies.
New Interpretation Board
The meadow now has a new Interpretation Board, designed by Katy. It displays photographs of various species taken by members of the group while in the meadow, information about the birds, butterflies and flowers that may be seen and updates our contact details. See a photo of the board in our Gallery (and click on General).
In addition to the recent press coverage in the Gazette & Herald paper and website, we hope to have further coverage about the new board.
P.S. Later in the month another article and photo appeared in the Gazette & Herald featuring the new board.
Picnic on an even hotter day ...
Nearly a dozen of us ventured into the meadow to do an hour or so's work in the hot sun. We cleared brambles that were obscuring the view of the river, trimmed back vegetation from along the hedge and towards the bridge, mowed the paths and scythed some vigorous grasses in the meadow.
Michael then led a saunter around the meadow to admire the wildflowers that are blooming. There are the purples of knapweeds and betony, the darker blue of meadow cranesbill, the lighter blue of scabious and the yellow and orange of bird's foot trefoil.
We then gathered around one of the log seats for a picnic to celebrate 15 years of work in the meadow. See the article and photo on the Gazette & Herald website http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk. There was plenty of food and drink, including a delicious, decorated chocolate cake, made by Angela.
On another hot, sunny day ...
Like last month we divided into two groups: one remaining with Angela to prick out many more wildflower seedlings comprising Ox-eye Daisy, Cuckoo Flower, Purple Loosestrife and Yarrow, and the other cutting off hogweed heads to prevent them from seeding all over the meadow.
P.S. A couple of days later Chickory, Wild Marjoram and Tufted Vetch were planted into the meadow.
On a hot, sunny day ...
With the temperature climbing as if it were Summer not Spring, ten of us came out to help. One group chose to prick out lots of seedling wildflowers into pots, ready to plant out into the meadow later in the year. Many of these seeds had been collected from the meadow last summer and sown into trays in March.
Another group pulled young nettles at the far end of the meadow and then planted out Field Scabious there. They had been grown from our seeds last year.
A couple of us dismantled the Interpretation Board to see how the structure was faring, before we work out quite how we are going to install our updated replacement design.
Indoor meeting at the pub
We discussed progress at the meadow since the AGM last autumn, including the award ceremony for the Wiltshire Life Conservation Group of the year and the production of the updated interpretation board. Various ideas were put forward for future activities as it is our 15th year, such as a picnic and a moth event. The Activities lists for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 so far and the list of seeds planted so far this year are available by clicking above.
Second placed Conservation Group of the Year
At the Wiltshire Life Awards 2018 yesterday evening Baydons Meadow Wildlife Group gained second place in the Conservation Group of the Year category. The winner was the Marlborough Downs Space for Nature, a group of farmers and others who are enhancing habitats for wildlife as well as sharing their knowledge with the public.
Our group can be rightly proud of the dedication in trying to improve the field, slowly converting it into a wildlife-rich meadow, hedgerow and copse. Hopefully, we can also increase our involvement with the public, showing them the variety of plants and creatures to be found there.
Well done to all our volunteers!
The last of Winter ... we hope!
As the snow had all but melted and the bitter wind had eased, it was fairly pleasant in the meadow this morning. At least a dozen of us seemed eager to be out in the fresh air for a couple of hours. We did a bit more hedgelaying and that will be it for this season: the sap was certainly starting to rise in the tree trunks. That activity generated plenty of branches and twigs which were stacked and wedged to form something of a habitat pile/dead hedge on the other side of the path from the laid hedge.
The dogwood suckers beside the hedge were cut down to prevent them from taking over and more brambles were removed from around the wooden fence at the far end of the meadow.
Snowdrops have flowered over the past month along the hedge and beside the copse.
More of the Green Gym activities
There was a cold wind but about 10 of us kept warm with coppicing a hazel tree, hedge-laying and cutting back brambles. Soon we will be rewarded by the sight of early spring flowers like snowdrops and dog violets.
Derek from our group was interviewed on BBC Wiltshire Radio just after 9am this morning to advertise the group's activities in the meadow. He talked about how he became involved, what we are trying to achieve and about some of the tasks we did there. We would welcome anyone to come along and get involved for fitness, social interaction, learning new skills while helping the community - or even just to stop for a chat with us while they are walking through with their dog!
Shortlisted for a Wiltshire Life Award!
The group has been shortlisted for the Conservation Project of the Year at the awards, which will be held in Swindon in March, for their work in transforming the once overgrown piece of land near the River Avon into a bustling wildlife haven. See the online article in the Gazette and Herald on the 19th December 2017 and page 24 of the physical edition just after Christmas.
The green gym after the Christmas festivities!
Nine of the group were in the meadow this cold, breezy morning, keeping active in order to keep warm! We added several more metres to our laid hedge and were pleased with the result as it looked fairly even. The meadow was smarter with a litter-pick completed by Angela. More of the bramble that was encroaching onto the meadow was removed and added to the top of the dead hedge near the footbridge and Michael trimmed some hazels that were shielding an Alder Buckthorn tree on the river bank.