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Friday, April 11, 2008

Conservation of wild flower meadows

Here are some photos from the field described below.
They show the Bee Orchid,Common Blue butterfly, Field Scabious and Yellow Rattle.

We are hoping to see a new local nature reserve created on a grass meadow. This kind of landscape is becoming rare here due to the usual culprits of intensive agriculture and urban development. We have the support of the Wildlife Trust and the following note has been sent for publication in our local news paper as part of our efforts to get the support of the community.

A new nature reserve

I am very hopeful that we will eventually see the Council adopt part of the unimproved wild flower meadow as a nature reserve. This means that part of this open unspoilt field will be managed in future to maximise the already rich flora and fauna. Two species of wild orchid are already well established. This autumn, we can start the process of restraining the stronger growing grasses to encourage an increasing number of wild flowers. One way we hope to do this is by spreading Yellow Rattle seed.


Here is a description of this interesting plant:

Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus Minor

Flowering season June-august

Height 10-50cm

Yellow rattle needs sowing in the autumn and in amongst grass.

It can help weaken existing grasses which may leave room for other wildflower species to flourish.

Yellow rattle is an annual it is also a parasitic plant, which will not survive unless sown amongst grass. Ideally sow it in the autumn, once established it will self seed readily.


A proposed walkway round the field should be agreed in time for visitors in 2009 making it easier to get close to this natural landscape.

On the southern boundary in the adjoining field, a new 200 yard long hedge has just been planted with volunteer help. This new hedge contains 7 different native species such as Wayfarer Tree, Field Maple and Spindle, all attractive to wildlife and this will become a major feature of both fields.

The adjoining field is also being managed as a wild flower meadow and the two areas will be complementary in their ecological value.

Last summer fifteen species of butterfly were seen in the fields and hedges.

The need for sporting opportunities has not been ignored. With the encouragement of a local running club it is hoped to base a new junior running and fitness group at the field, making use of the track around the field and the existing recreation ground. As a member of the club with some relevant experience I am supporting this proposal and welcome your involvement.

It was very encouraging to see so many replies to the Questionnaire in favour of the reserve. Now, with the plans taking shape, more help is needed to make this a new important feature of the village.

If you would like more information or can offer to help in any way please call me.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Conservation on nature reserves

I've been discussing with one or two members why we in our local group of the Wildlife Trust find it difficult to find volunteers for the many ways in which they can easily help both our local group and also the work on the nature reserves. One way may be to use our summer visit programme , see our diary blog, to get people out and to explain what jobs are there to be done.
The Trust has developed its web site quite well over the last year or so and now has a diary showing where help is required out on the reserves. Here is a copy of the current web page. You can see it and more on the SWT web site. ( see link on this blog):

Sun 30 10.30am SCV Greylake ST 399 348 40,000 reed seedlings to plant. Please bring garden trowels or hand forks. Wellies advised. Meet at main gate on A361.
Thu 10 10am TCV SWT. Fyne Court. Path and step repairs and surfacing. Meet car park GR 222321. Contacts: Jim & Jean Ayling
01823 337462.
Sun 13 10.30am SCV Catcott Heath ST 406 413 Cutting internal paths, internal ditch clearance and flap-valve repair. Meet at end of Higher Ropes Drove.
Thu 24 10am TCV NT. Wellington Monument. Step building and access work. Meet car park GR143167. Contacts: Jim & Jean Ayling
01823 337462.
Sun 27 10.30am SCV Chilton Moor Reserve ST 377 430 Lowering gutter ends, gate and fence repairs . Meet at end of Plain Heath Drove.
Sun 11 10.30am SCV Street Heath Reserve
ST 465 392
Bracken control, path cutting, fence repair. Meet on approach drove beyond Rose Cottage.
Sun 25 10.30am SCV Sharpham Moor
ST 465 389
Erect new stile, handrail and sleeper bridge, fence repairs and bramble cutting. Meet at reserve gate, reached from drove at Avalon Farm-Durston's Peat.
**This will be led by Mark Blake (07795 147910)
Sun 8 10.30am SCV Westhay Moor ST 453 436 Bracken control and removal, fencing works in the old mire. Meet at main car park.
Sun 22 10.30am SCV West Sedgemoor
ST 381 264
Clearing ragwort to allow graziers a hay cut to maintain the fantastic diversity of these meadows. Meet at Dewlands Farm.
Sun 6 10.30am SCV Street Heath ST 465 392 Bracken control, path cutting, maintenance of rare sedge pits, fence repair. Meet at approach drove beyond Rose Cottage.
Sun 20 10.30am SCV Stoke Camp ST 483 513 Helping Chalkhill Blues by removing thistle, nettle and ragwort. Meet at Draycott Sleights entrance, some 600m up New Lane between Old Chapel and Red Lion pub in Draycott.
Sun 31 10.30am SCV Catcott Heath ST 406 413 Clearance around decoy pond to open flight path for birds and to minimise leaf litter silting pond. A few trees to be felled. Meet at end of Higher Ropes Drove.
Contact details:
SCV: Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers:Anne & Norman Lees 01278 641521
P&SCV: Polden Hills and Somerton Conservation Volunteers: Emma Daniel c/o SWT 01823 652400
TCV: Taunton Mid-Week Conservation Volunteers: Margaret Palmer 01823 337570
WSCV: West Somerset Conservation Volunteers: John Dixon 01643 703654
PMCV:Peat Moors Conservation Volunteers: Alan Brown 01458 223067
Swains Lane Residents Group: John Morton 01823 661996
BTCV Somerset : Tel 01935 415255; email:
NP: Neroche Project: Sam Winzer:

Clearly there is a great deal that can be done and its obviously a good idea to ask other groups how they go about finding people. We really need a volunteer to volunteer to make a project of researching the problem!!