A seriously interested group of eight people met on a very wet evening, to discuss the next step in the revival and renewal of the wildlife pond in the Meadows.
Chaired by Nick Batchelor, Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, the discussion first covered the reprise of the Wildlife Trust’s recommendations and then an update on the site clearance by the GVFB during January – considering some of the weather that we had in January, the members of the GVFB who did this work should be highly commended for their efforts!
The meeting then went on to discuss the planting of the areas that needed this most and it was decided that the sloping bank should be addressed first.
The plants that were to be used would all have to be native species, as suggested by the Wildlife Trust, some of which could be transplanted in small quantities from other areas of the Meadows. Other plants can be purchased at a reasonable cost, but it was made plain that these plants must be suitable for wildlife ponds – not all the plants used in garden ponds are suitable, or native *.
The Wildlife Trust recommended that this work should be carried out during February, weather permitting, as some wildlife would be making its way to wet areas by then.
However, the whole of the Meadows is a designated flood plain and although it’s been a particularly dry winter so far, there are still lots of damp and wet places in the Meadows, not to mention the River Ise and the old river bed near the path,
However, in order to give a home to those insects and mammals that would be attracted to the pond, a date was set for the first plantings to take place on 18 February. If the weather is not suitable, then an alternative date of 25 February was suggested. Who will be doing the transplanting? Several members of the group offered their services, well, we did start this post with the words: “seriously interested people”.
Other useful suggestions that cropped up during the meeting included contacting:
– Brigstock Country Park as a source of information and possibly plants, if they are doing a partial pond clearance at any time,
– Boughton Estates, for the same reasons,
– Asking for donations of plants from village residents, subject to the proviso mentioned above *.
The Wildlife Trust recommend the following plants for wetlands and water margins: Water Mint, Gypsywort, Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Water Chickweed and Water Forget-me-not, as well as less common species such as Mare’s-tail, Bur-marigold, Golden and Marsh Dock. By no means a complete list, but the pond isn’t a very large one, by any measure.
Finally, the subject of recording wildlife was touched on. When (and not if) wildlife is seen not only in the pond, but throughout any part of the village, then the following organisation is the one to go to, to record the sightings:
One last comment: any work in the Meadows, donated by the Duke of Buccleuch to the village, are subject to the approval and permission of the Parish Council. Nick will take a report of the meeting back to the February PC Meeting on Monday 13 February, where it is hoped, the suggestions and decisions will be ratified.