Open Spaces Group Update - July 13
Posted on: Jul 16, 2013
Posted in: open-spaces-group news
A new pond for Witchford
At the end of June the plan for a new pond near Cathedral View Park on Manor Road finally came to fruition. A pond was shown on the site in early ordnance survey maps but it was filled in in 1975, when there was a reference in the parish council minutes to 'New Pond', so this is the name by which the new pond will be known The ground was cleared in December 2010 as the first stage in re-creating the pond, to a plan drawn up by Witchford scouts. However, the site is traversed by an 11 kV overhead powerline, and a check of services revealed the presence of underground electricity cables. Locating the underground cables and obtaining the approval of the power services company to carry out the work was a lengthy process only completed recently.
The current work of excavating for the pond has been a parish council-led operation, thanks to the efforts of Cllrs Jellicoe and Palmer, supported by Witchford scouts and the Open Spaces Group, and aided by the loan of a dumper from Carl Goodjohn. In the autumn the scouts and the OSG will work together to plant up and seed the pond surrounds with native trees, flowers, rushes, sedges, and reeds to make it more attractive to wildlife such as amphibians, dragonflies and breeding birds, and during the winter we expect the pond to fill with water.
Sandpit Drove Conservation Area
The wildflower meadow in the Sandpit Drove is not faring as well this year as last. We have few of the annual weeds that plagued us last year, and the perennial weeds such as nettle, dock and burdock have not been growing too profusely, and hand weeding by volunteers in June has helped to keep them under control. However the high fertility of the soil over much of the meadow has meant that coarse grasses predominate and there are fewer wildflowers. That said, we saw a number of cowslips earlier in the season, and there are now a good many clover, buttercups, melilot, oxe-eye daisy and yellow rattle, a plant that parasitises the roots of grasses. This probably means a change of approach next year, undertaking a cut in early May to keep the grasses down.
On 17 July we shall hold an evening wildlife walk along Sandpit Drove, to look at the pond (where this season moorhens bred, producing two young) and the meadow, possibly to see bats foraging, and if we are lucky, a barn owl hunting. We shall finish at the memorial bench by the pond for nibbles and liquid refreshment (bring your own!).
In June the Woodland Group held its annual Meadow Mow, when as usual the Witchford scouts provided bacon baps to enjoy after cutting and raking the grass. A high turnout of scouts and OSG helpers also cleared the entrance path of nettles and trimmed the boundary hedge.
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