Gallery

Visit the gallery for photographs of the meadow and some of the species we've seen.

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2024

Summer has arrived and everything is still growing

2nd June

A dozen of us enjoyed a warm and sunny morning in the meadow. There was still plenty of hogweed to be cut to reduce the amount of seed falling on the ground and the weeds were cleared from around the saplings planted in the spring. Paths were mown, nettles were strimmed and cuttings were put on the compost heaps.

We also experimented with a new task for us: using a quadrat of 1m long bamboo canes positioned randomly on the grass we examined what plants and grasses were growing in that area, resorting to identification books and phone apps to establish the species. Grasses are not easy and have grown so much that it is difficult to find other plants hiding below. A skill we need to practise?

Everything is growing now

5th May

Mid-spring and it is the time when the yellows of cowslip and dandelion are steadily replaced with the yellow of buttercups across the meadow.

Now that it is a little warmer but often still wet, the grass has been growing rapidly, so the mowing teams are swinging into action to cut the paths round the meadow. We realign the paths so that they stay narrow and do not creep across the meadow.

We strimmed a couple of areas of thick grass so that some grass is short and some longer, to provide a variety of habitats for invertebrates.

Another group of us started the task of cutting off the hogweed flower heads to reduce the quantity of seed, otherwise hogweed may take over as it is so vigorous. There are still many white umbellifer flowerheads around the edge, mostly cow parsley which is not such a thug, so there remains plenty of nectar for the insects.

We also planted another donated walnut sapling by the river bank and pulled up nettles etc. from around the other saplings planted recently.

A variety of tasks in the meadow this morning

7th April

It was very windy but mild, and for once it didn't rain!

Ten of us were busy with all sorts: mowing the paths, strimming the edges and round the log seats, scything patches of young nettles, planting another two donated saplings (rowan and crab apple), pulling up countless sycamore saplings from under the mature ones, pulling up sticky burr from overwhelming last month's saplings and building a barrier of sticks to deter trampling them. There was even time for a litter check-up.

The area is greening up now that spring has arrived and the primroses and celandines are being replaced with cowslips and dandelions. The buttercups are just beginning to flower and there are a very few snakes-head fritillaries.

Tree planting #IDigTrees

3rd March

This morning ten of the group helped to plant fifty bare-root saplings around the meadow. These were provided free by the I Dig Trees initiative of TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) to whom our group is affiliated. This was a 'Wildlife Booster' pack to encourage all sorts of wildlife e.g. invertebrates, birds and mammals to nectar, berries and nuts. The tree species comprised hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, elder, spindle, dogwood and silver birch.

We enjoyed a rare dry, fine, sunny morning digging and planting them into gaps in our native hedge and alongside the cycle path. The task was completed with provided stakes and guards and photos were taken of the activities - see some of them in our gallery.

Lots of people and lots of jobs

4th February

It was very mild and very windy this morning but a dozen of the group were in the meadow.

The various jobs that were tackled included coppicing another hazel in the copse by the cycle path, cutting off and pulling down more bramble that was festooning the trees, raking up willow twigs from the verge, doing more hedge maintenance, and picking up a couple of sacks of litter from all around the meadow. All the cut material needed to be processed and stacked in various habitat piles and dead hedges.

New Year and new CEO

7th January

The group of us gathering in the meadow for the first task of the year met Beth, the new CEO of the landowner (Chippenham Borough Lands Charity). She was enthusiastic to hear about our work and keen to connect all the organisations concerned with the natural environment in the river corridor through town.

There were several tasks today: coppicing a couple of the hazel trees beside the cycle path, finishing brushcutting alongside the native hedge, spreading a few tree-chippings on the muddy entrances, pulling up nettles from the scrub belt, maintenance on the native hedge and a litter-pick.

A good morning's work in the cool, fresh air - a change from the constant rain of recent weeks!